My female cat is 7 yrs old and overweight. She also has irritible bowel. What is the best food to give for her to lose weight?
Type of Animal: Cat
Name of Cat: Aida
Science Diet Sensitive Stomach, Halo Spopt's Stew Sensitive, Grain free dry foods.
Thank you for your question.
Obesity in the cat can be quite a challenge to tackle but can be even more daunting if your cat has dietary sensitivity as well. The first step is to determine how obese Aida is. To do this, we need to look at her weight but also her body condition (since skeletal frame does play a role in how much weight might be too much weight. Therefore, I would advise having a wee peek at a body condition scorer (LINK) and getting a feel for how far off Aida is from the ideal (3). Once you have an understanding of how severely overweight she might be, it will help you get a feel for how much she has to lose.
In regards XXXXX XXXXX weight loss foods, there are a range on the market. The ones I would recommend are Royal Canin Obesity Control (LINK; which my cats are on), Hills R/D, M/D or W/D (LINK). As you will see from their caloric density and nutritional information, these foods contain less calories per gram of feed so that we are able to allow the cats to feel full without over doing their daily caloric requirement. If we find that Aida with her IBS isn't a candidate for these diets, you can modify your feeding of her current diets (depending on their calories) or offer her a restricted diet with a sensitive diet (ie Royal Canine Sensitivity Control LINK)
Whichever you choose, then key is to use the diet guide with the diet of your choice, chose a weight slightly under her current weight and feed the ration for that weight. Once she reaches that weight, then we can feed to a slightly lower rate and so on. We don't want to be drastic and only feed for our ideal weight at the start because this can cause illness (cats don't handle crash dieting, if you know what I mean). Its a case of gradually working them down as they lose weight.
Now the diet is only part of the issue. The other part of the problem is cats, like Aida, is that these cats often have a mismatch of calories in and calories burnt off with exercise. And if a cat has a sedentary life style it is an uphill battle to get them to lose weight
Other steps to take once you have established a diet for her is to divide her dietary allowance for the day and feed two to four small portions daily and control the amounts fed so that over a period of time so she does not gain weight. Get a kitchen scale and measure it out. Don't think in terms of "cups of food" and start thinking in terms of ounces of food. Besides the weight loss diets, make sure you are choosing diets that are low in carbs (since cats can't really digest them and they end up as fat) and high in protein (35-45 %on a dry matter basis). This does tend to be easier to achieve in wet food diets, since they have less cereals/grains then dry. If she doesn't like wet food or is intolerant to wet foods, then you will need to use a dry diet that meets these requirements as a happy medium. And it goes without saying, that she should receive no other food, treats, cat milk, or anything edible besides his appropriate diet at its set daily volume. I know it sounds tough, but its kinder to his health in the long term. If you are desperate to give her a treat, you can keep some of his daily allowance of kibble aside to use as treats. If she pouts and doesn't want it, that is her choice. Alternatively, offer her a catnip toy as a reward, then she has something she can enjoy and will get her moving and playing to help burn off calories. Besides diet changes, just like us, a good way to get weight off is to improve your cat's physical activity. This can be achieved with the addition interactive play toys to the cat’s environment. You can get toys that simulate an escaping prey and that really interest the cat in play behaviors. It will be a case of trial and tribulation to figure out what kind of toys she will play with, and it may take you getting down on the floor and initiating play to get her moving and motivated. Alternatively, you can even get her a kitty harness and leash and walk her around your back garden. If she is an indoor kitty, a lot of indoor cats do enjoy a chance to sniff the plants and mooch around, and this is a way to get them outside and moving. If you are really fighting getting her to move around and burn some calories, you can consider trying more stimulating ways of feeding her. An example is putting her dry meal in a food ball, where he must roll it to get his food out. (LINK). There are all sorts of variations on this, but if you make her work for his food, she will be burning calories while having her kibble. Now it is an uphill battle and it is easy to feel daunted by the challenge. Therefore, speak to your vet clinic and see if they offer weight loss clinics. Many offer free clinics with a veterinary nurse who will be able to guide you on helping your cat lose weight, monitor her weight loss with you, help you adjust the diet, and be your cheerleader when the going gets tough. At the end of the day, the responsible party for our pet's obesity is us. It is on us to help keep them from obesity and its associated problems (ie the inability to groom their girth, associated arthritis, diabetes). Sure, they are willing victims when they meow at the food dish but as their owners we have to make the right choices for them when we can.
So, consider a weight loss formula for Aida and some of the tips above. Check and see if your veterinary practice provides weight loss clinics. Because if you can get her to an ideal weight for his size, it will help ensure that she have a full life with you.
I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
On the link I measured her body type and she is about 25% overweight. I have 2 other younger cats so she is not entirely sedentary. They each get 1/2 cup of food a day with nothing else. No treats no table food. She plays with toys and is very alert. My only prob lem is her bowel movements. No onle else is missing their meals as my next oldest cat (4) is also very large. But he is part Maine Coon and is large boned. The kitten (1) is long and slim. They all eat the same food.
If she is 25% overweight, then you know what your ultimate goal is. Now you need to slowly modify her diet to get her weight down to that final goal. I am glad to hear she isn't completely sedentary, and this needs to be continued. As I am sure you can appreciate, her activity level at this point isn't enough because if it were we would have an obese Aida on our hands. And if they are all on the same diet, then you are likely going to need to switch them over to a diet that can assist her weight loss or feed them separate meals with no 'grazing' in between. And if one is a kitten, then the later is advisable. The volume of food is irrelevant at this stage because not all diets are going to be the same calories (just like some of our foods are higher in calories then others). Instead you have to look at the dietary guide associated with the diet you choose to use (which are included on the links for the diets I have listed) and this will guide you on how much of that particular diet needs to be fed to reach your dietary goal. You might even find that a lower calorie diet can be fed at a higher volume if necessary, it is a case of what we are feeding not how much. You have mentioned that your only problem is her bowel movements, but it is unclear if you just mean in regards XXXXX XXXXX IBS or something else. If you are referring to her dietary sensitivity, then as I mentioned above it will depend on her specific issue and whether she tolerates a weight loss diet or needs to be fed a restricted version of a low calorie sensitive diet for IBS. This is a decision that depends very much on the individual cat and their sensitivities (since this isn't an all or nothing disease), therefore you will either have to trial her on an alternative diet or you may consider discussing which option would be most appropriate with her individual sensitivity with the vet who has diagnosed her with IBS. Dr.B.
I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.