Written by: Ema Suvajac
It’s been two months since our weight loss journey started and I am happy to report that Pixel is down TWO WHOLE POUNDS since we began! From 19.8lbs to 17.8lbs. It’s hard to believe! Two pounds is a lot of weight loss for cats, and I have to say I am quite shocked that you can’t realllllly visibly notice his weight loss.
Pixel has always carried his weight “well” – dispersed in an even layer around his body, with extra room for storage in his ample primordial pouch, of course. Because he’s never had a big protruding belly, it’s been more difficult to notice his weight loss. Think of peeling one layer off of an onion…that’s basically what seems to be happening with Pixel!
Thankfully the scale does not lie and, as such, I know that we are on the right track!
I’ve been told by my vet’s Nutrition Advisor that I’m a very compliant cat mama, which is why both Pixel and Libby’s weight loss has been steady and predictable. So, I want to share a few tips that have helped us on our journey!
1. Stick to the weight loss plan
Pixel’s diet plan came from the Nutrition Advisor at Pixel’s vet’s office and they recommended Royal Canin Satiety Support kibble and wet food (click here to see why it’s so great). Perhaps this goes without saying, but stick to the plan your veterinary team has given you. Cats are small creatures and they only have a few hundred calories’ worth of food that they can eat in a day. Letting your cat lick up bacon fat from your plate after breakfast, or other human food ‘treats’ will easily put them over their energy requirement for the day. I was notorious for these little ‘treats’ and though it’s been tough to say no, I’ve been sticking to it! And in that vein, make sure everyone in your household is on the same page so your efforts are not sabotaged!
2. Be diligent about about portions and weigh your cat’s food
Your veterinary team can calculate the amount of food you should be feeding your porky kitty in grams or ounces. It’s important that you don’t guesstimate this amount at feeding time. I use a food scale to measure out my kitties’ portions for each meal and I recommend that you do the same!
3. Prepare your cat’s meals in bulk
Let’s face it, it’s a pain in the butt to weigh out food at every. Single. Meal. I’m a big fan of efficiency so I weigh out a few dozen bags’ worth of food for each kitty’s meal for the next few weeks. I keep these bags in a box for each cat in a kitchen drawer (which my sneaky Pixel can’t open.) This meal prep saves me a ton of time and makes it easier to stick to the plan.
4. Get your cat to exercise
Cats are great at being energy efficient. If you let them nap all day, they will likely nap all day. Evolutionarily, being energy efficient is extremely beneficial since filling meals can be hard to come by in the wild. But in a home where your cat doesn’t have to hunt each meal means it’s easy to be lazy. This is why over 60% of owned cats are overweight or obese and why weight loss for cats can be difficult to achieve.
This is where my game of Kibbie Catch comes into play. At mealtime, time allowing, I will literally throw each individual kibble for the kitties to chase and catch! Both Pixel and Libby have come to love it – they get to chase their food! This satisfies their natural prey drive, engages their mind, is fun for them – and they burn calories. All while eating their meal! And bonus, it can be hilarious and entertaining for you to watch!
5. Don’t give in to your cat’s begging
Pixel can be REALLY annoying and persistent when begging for food. It’s important not to give in to feedings before set meal times because this also reinforces and positively rewards this behaviour. I’ve realized that Pixel will default to begging for food when he’s bored, so I will often try to engage him and distract him from his perceived hunger with play (like with the Cat Dancer – his new favourite toy!), and calorie free treats like catnip.
This list could truly go on, but I will keep it at five points for today. I hope these tips help you achieve a healthy weight for your kitty.
Stay tuned for more insights as we learn on our weight loss journey!
P.S. Check out our Feeding Best Practices resource page for more helpful information about weight loss for cats 🙂