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Feline obesity series: Weighing cat food, another tool for weight loss

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Many people think that cats are 'easy' pets. Provide a litter box, food bowl, water, toys and you're set -- right? Well, for those feline friends that love to eat, or lack an 'off switch' when it comes to eating, the fight against obesity is not easy.

In one report, four people in a household were asked to measure out 1/4 cup of cat food. When placed on a scale, there were 4 different results. A key to weight loss in cats is feeding a consistent amount of food (same amount of calories per day). Weighing a cat's daily ration of food can lead to more accurate calorie intake.

A basic kitchen gram scale can be used to measure kibble. Generally, they cost around $25.00. Local kitchen supply stores and Walmart and Target carry them.

Not only does weighing the kibble lead to consistent feeding by different members of the household, it may also be easier to calculate calories. Not all pet food manufacturers print the kilocalories per cup (kcal/c) on the bag, but most are required to print the calories per gram or kilocalories per kilogram (cal/g or kcal/kg). There are 1,000 grams in 1 kilogram. Most adult cats need between 180 and 230 kcals per day.

Although this strategy might not work for every household, weighing food is another tool in the tool box that can be used to help your cat maintain a healthy weight.

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