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How to tame the fat cat

Everyone wants their cats to live long and healthy lives. They provide pet parents with unconditional love, companionship, a hello at the door, and even warm feet. To help keep kitty healthy, maintaining proper body weight is important. Cats that are overweight or underweight are not able to function at their optimal health potential.

Maintaining a cat's healthy weight contributes to a healthy, long life.

Is your cat fat?

Healthy cats come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no single “right” weight. Depending on breed and body type, your cat could have an ideal weight range of anywhere from 7 to 25 pounds, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Obesity is a real problem for some cats and may lead to joint problems, diabetes and shortened life span.

Three steps can help determine if a cat is overweight. Also check more detailed guidelines at the cat body condition scoring chart from APOP:

1. Take a look at your overweight cat from above. You should be able to see a noticeable “waist” between your cat’s ribcage and her hips. If your cat is too fluffy to tell for sure, run your hands down her sides to feel for an indentation.

2. Take another look from the side. A lean cat should slope upwards from the ribcage to the back legs, rather than sporting a tummy pouch.

3. Give your cat a squeeze. Feel your cat’s torso. You should be able to make out her spine and ribs clearly, without pressing too hard.

If kitty appears to be overweight, there are some easy changes that will help. Just like with humans, body weight largely correlates to exercise and diet. Try these ideas suggested by the ASPCA:

1. Cut out the table scraps. Keep your cat at a distance when you’re eating, so you’re not tempted to feed her morsels from your plate.

2. Provide your cat several small meals during the day rather than one or two enormous feasts.

3. Only feed your cat from her bowl so she can re-learn good eating habits. If you have a self-feeder, consider removing it overnight or times when you are not with kitty. Never remove a clean, fresh water source.

4. Cut back on snacks and treats.

5. Give your cat plenty of affection and attention so she doesn’t turn to food out of boredom.

A visit to your vet may be needed to help you determine the best way for kitty to get thinner. When you take kitty for her annual vet visit, this is a good time to discuss nutritional needs. As cats age, their nutrition needs can change. They may become less active and need fewer calories to maintain good health. Any medical conditions may also affect kitty’s dietary needs.

A high quality, premium cat food is the best diet for a cat. Cats are natural carnivores (meat eaters) and need the amino acids and other nutrients in meat to maintain body health. Cats’ bodies cannot convert non-meat substances in many cat foods to all their essential nutrition needs. Hound & Gatos Pet Food provides an all meat diet balanced for the unique needs of cat nutrition. It is grain free and all natural, providing the animal protein a cat needs to maintain a healthy body weight. H & G is made in America and sold in over 1600 retail outlets in the United States and Canada, and online.

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