Even though people might not love being home all the time, our pets are excited for all the extra attention — for the most part, anyway. But with more treats, less exercise, and a new schedule, our cats might be putting on some extra quarantine weight. Luckily, helping your cat get back to their normal weight is easy. Here’s how to help!
Just like it’s not healthy for humans to scarf a meal down, it’s not good for your cat to gobble down her food either. Overeating, or eating too fast, can lead to an upset stomach, which is not only unhealthy for her, but not so fun for you. There are a couple reasons your kitty may be devouring her meal in a few bites: she may be bored, or worried that another pet is going to steal her food, or is just really into eating — which, can you blame her?
As long as you’re sure she’s getting enough food each day and doesn’t have any nutritional deficiencies that may be causing her to eat quickly, you don’t need to worry too much. But you should find ways to help her slow down. A slow-feeder bowl or mat that is shaped like a maze won’t just help her savor her meal, it’ll also provide mental stimulation which may help reduce boredom and the mischief that comes from it.
How to help: Petstages Fun Feeder Wave Cat Bowl
Some cats will easily lose weight if you just reduce how much you feed them, but that’s not the only option. A low-calorie and minimally processed food made with high-quality proteins and no artificial ingredients will help your kitty stick to a diet that’s nutritionally complete and get back to a healthy weight even faster. Best of all, it will leave her feeling satisfied after she eats!
How to help: Whole Hearted Weight Control Chicken Recipe
A lot of people think that wet food is just for special occasions, but because cats get most of their water from their food, it’s actually a great choice for all meals. Canned food has higher moisture levels (a minimum of 75 percent water) versus dry food (less than 10 percent water), which not only helps keep cats healthy and hydrated, but helps your cat feel satisfied so you can cut back on calories.
How to help: Sheba Perfect Portions
While wet food is a great source of water, it shouldn’t be the only source your cat gets — but getting a cat excited about water on its own takes a little work. A cat fountain, which keeps the water circulating, will not only keep the water fresh and better-tasting, but cats are also naturally drawn to running water, something left over from being outdoor hunters.
How to help: Harmony Waterslide Classic Pet Fountain
Of course cats deserve the occasional treat, but cutting down on the snacks is a simple way to ensure they stay at a healthy weight. The rule of thumb is that treats shouldn’t make up any more than 10 percent of your cat’s daily calories. It’s also a good idea to give treats as incentive for training or exercising, or a reward for putting up with something uncomfortable, like taking a pill or nail trimming. If you want to feel even better about the treats you’re giving your cat, opt for dental chews. They help prevent plaque and tartar buildup, which not only assist in eliminating bad breath, but can also promote a healthy mouth.
How to help: Greenies Feline Dental Treats
Your cat needs playtime and exercise to stay emotionally and physically healthy. A bonus: Not only is staying active good for weight loss and weight management, but it may help alleviate boredom and stress. Plus, it’s a great way to bond and only takes about 15 minutes or so twice a day. Any toy that stimulates and fulfills their desire to hunt is almost sure to be a winner — extra points for anything that reflects light or lets them scratch. As you know, all cats are different, so it may take a few tries to find what yours likes, but once you do, the rewards for both of you will be well worth it.
How to help: Go Cat Teaser Cat Catcher Wand; Petstages Chase Meowtain Cat Toy
With just a few small changes, you can get your kitty back to a healthy weight, which will allow her to move more, play more, and lead a long and healthy life full of snuggles, the occasional treat, and, of course, midday naps on your keyboard right before an important meeting.
Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. She resides in the Upper Haight/Cole Valley, but spends as much time as possible in Tahoe with her 140 pound Saint Bernard, Monkey, or at 49ers games (which, sadly, Monkey cannot attend).