Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder among domestic cats and is why many cat owners turn to cat food for weight loss.
According to research, roughly 40% of cats seen in veterinary clinics are obese, and another 10% are over the healthy weight.
Not only can obesity impact a cat’s energy levels and mobility, but it can cause heart problems, diabetes, and joint and bone issues like osteoarthritis.
Managing a cat’s weight is essential for overall health and wellbeing. Any domestic cat can develop obesity if food isn’t correctly portioned and regulated. Some breeds are more prone to weight gain and must be monitored closely.
Never starve your cat of nutrients during their weight loss. Although the nutrient density and portion size will differ in a weight loss formula, don’t sacrifice whole food nutritional ingredients for the sake of losing weight.
Below are the top recommended foods for healthy weight control.
Best Overall (Recommended)
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- Real chicken is the #1 ingredient in...
- Wholesome cat kibble that features...
Best Wet Cat Food For Weight Control
What Is Cat Food For Weight Loss?
Cat food designed for weight loss is typically lower in calories and fat than your cat’s average food. By opting for a diet with a fat content between 10% to 12% per serving, you’ll force their body to utilize their current fat stores for energy which will more efficiently burn through their accumulated fat.
With a lower calorie density, your cat will eat fewer calories than before, promoting weight loss. It is important, however, to not simply feed them a higher quantity of weight loss foods to equal the calories they consume before. This defeats the purpose of your new diet, and your feline will not lose weight.
Many diets designed for weight loss include higher percentages of fiber to cut back on any water retention or digestive issues. If your cat has problems digesting, they’ll constantly be bloated, adding to their bulk. By eating more fiber, their bathroom schedule will remain more regular, and they won’t experience digestive issues, thus losing weight.
As with any cat food, the crude protein percentage should still be high in a weight loss diet. Ensure the protein percentage per serving is at least 30% and eating high-quality protein from an animal source.
Cat breeds differ in body structure so it’s always best to have body condition checked by an animal nutritionist or veterinarian. Confirm that your cat is overweight and needs a reduced-calorie diet.
If your veterinarian recommends that your cat should be on a weight loss diet, take note of the nutrient percentages they recommend in the optimal weight loss diet, as this will optimize your cat’s health.
Types Of Cat Food For Weight Loss
It’s important to implement weight loss diets as soon as possible after you notice your cat has gained too much weight.
You could experiment with which type of weight-loss food your cat prefers and if they take better to one type over another, stick with that.
- Twenty-Four (24) 3 oz. Pull-Top Cans -...
- Made with real turkey and rice
- Optimal protein level helps cats lose...
Many of the wet food patés as made with simple and nutritious ingredients like whole-food animal-based proteins and simple grains or vegetables to add fiber to the meal.
While many cat owners prefer not to feed wet food due to it generally being caloric and fatty, cats tend to enjoy wet food every once in a while. This can offer more variety and appeal to their taste buds more than dry kibble.
Introducing a weight loss or weight management wet food is a great way to get your cat excited about their food while ensuring they aren’t eating far over their calorie allotment for the day.
Dry kibble is a staple in any pet parent’s household as it’s easy to feed, simple to clean, and loved by most pets. There are many dry food options out there for cat owners looking for weight management formulas!
Many of these options focus on being high protein and grain-free. Grain products aren’t essential for a healthy balanced diet for cats and don’t offer much if any nutrition. Grains are often used as a filler to bulk up feed and cut back the cost of making the food.
Grains are the last thing you want to see in their diet if they’re trying to lose weight. The closer you can get to a purely animal protein-based diet, the more you’ll see the energy levels rise while the weight drops off your cat.
Should You Buy Cat Food For Weight Loss?
Cat food for weight loss is highly recommended, but only if your cat needs it! This is a significant distinction to make and an opinion that your veterinarian should weigh in on.
If your cat isn’t overweight, there’s no reason for you to switch them to a weight loss diet. However, if your cat is even slightly overweight, there are major benefits in making the switch to avoid further weight gain and potential obesity later in life.
Weight-loss diets for your cat will maintain a healthy weight in cats that are already a bit heavy for their body size. When managing weight properly, you’ll see a plethora of benefits in your cat! Not only will their heart and bone health improve, but their energy levels will skyrocket.
As you see them losing weight and becoming healthier, they’ll be more apt to playing, climbing, and engaging with you. They won’t be as sluggish and, in turn, will continue losing weight from an increase in activity level.
You’re likely to see improvements in their skin and fur health, digestion, immune function, and overall liveliness compared to when they were overweight.
The major con of weight-loss diets comes from inadequate weight-loss formulas. If you provide your cat with low-quality food, their lethargy may continue to worsen, and they could become malnourished.
This is a major problem as the body will go from overweight and having too much fat in their bodies to going to a heightened state of stress where their body is fighting to retain fat as a survival instinct.
In this case, you’ll find that they have fat pockets and their body shape becomes distorted or strange since they’re storing fat to be used as energy in an attempt to survive as long as possible since they cannot gain energy from their food.
This is why it’s so important to research weight loss diets thoroughly and double-check with your veterinarian to make sure your cat still has a healthy amount of calories and all the nutrients they need to thrive.
The Best Cat Food For Weight Loss
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Dry Cat Food
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The Blue Buffalo diet uses peas as additional fiber, high-quality grains like oatmeal, and deboned chicken to provide the nutrients required for a healthy weight, immune system, and organ health.
- The first ingredient is high-quality deboned chicken
- Antioxidants are added through whole fruits to boost immunity
- Ingredients are natural, whole foods
- No wheat, corn, or soy
- No animal by-products
- Does have grains in the formula which can impact cats with allergies
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food
This healthy-weight cat food contains cellulose to give your cat an extra dose of fiber while maintaining its first ingredient as chicken. This is a veterinarian-approved diet due to the additional vitamins and minerals added for immune health.
- Fortified with vitamin c, vitamin e, and antioxidants
- Supports healthy weight loss with high protein low-fat content
- It contains wheat and corn, which can be harmful to cats with allergies
- High price point
Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free
- ENJOY A LIFETIME OF WELLBEING TOGETHER:...
- SPECIALLY MADE FOR INDOOR CATS: This...
- WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Crafted to support...
The Wellness Complete formula has additional vitamins and minerals to minimize shedding while benefiting the lean muscle development in your cat during their weight loss.
- Fortified with omega-6 and omega-3 for a healthy coat
- Supports joints and bone health
- No meat by-products or artificial ingredients
- High protein content at 35% per serving
- The first three ingredients are whole animal-based protein sources
- Has 12% fewer calories than their typical cat diet
- Some consumer feedback reports that cats didn’t like the taste compared to the old formula.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials
- Contains one (1) 14 lb. bag of NUTRO...
- Real chicken is the #1 ingredient in...
- Wholesome cat kibble that features...
This cat food formula utilizes natural fiber and protein to help your cat drop weight in a balanced and healthy way. The first ingredient is real chicken that’s rich in nutrients and cats love the taste.
- Made with whole ingredients
- No corn, wheat, or soy products
- No meat byproducts used in the formula
- Higher fat content than many competitors (14%)
- Made with rice which can slow down weight loss
Purina Pro Plan Weight Management
Purina’s weight loss diet utilizes prebiotics and probiotics to optimize digestion and promote the healthiest weight loss possible in your cat. This high protein formula is made primarily with a mixture of chicken and rice.
- 20% less fat than their standard formula
- Very high protein levels (43% per serving)
- It contains both corn and wheat
- Uses meat by-products that are lower in quality
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
This high protein and grain-free diet uses antioxidants to maintain immune health while helping your cat drop those extra few pounds they’re carrying.
- No grains or fillers
- Utilizes peas and sweet potatoes as a source of fiber
- It uses high-quality protein and no byproducts
- Affordable price point
- Some cat owners report allergic reactions to this food.
Halo Natural Dry Cat Food, Non-GMO
This natural cat food supports animal welfare in the farms that they supply their meat from to create a high-quality product that aligns with the company’s ethics.
- Only supplies from sustainable and ethical farms
- No by-products or protein “meals”
- Non-GMO and natural ingredients
- Uses peas to optimize digestibility
- Higher in fat than many competitors (13%)
AvoDerm Natural Indoor Formula Wet Cat Food
This wet food is designed to promote healthy insides and outsides. Fortified with omega fatty acids for coat and skin health, this wet food will holistically maintain your cat’s health.
- Low in fat
- The first four ingredients are high-quality protein sources
- Added peas for fiber
- To make a whole meal, you may need to use more than one can
- It contains some grains which can cause allergies
Before switching to any new food, there are several factors to consider. Your cat’s health is the most important thing, and by touching on all these considerations, you’ll be sure to optimize their wellbeing.
The first thing you’ll always want to consider before changing your cat’s food is their body condition score. This scale is used to determine how much of your cat’s body weight is fat versus muscle. If your cat has a high body condition score, that means they’re overweight.
Weight-loss diets differ in how many fewer calories they have in comparison to a regular diet. To find the perfect diet, you need first to identify your cat’s weight loss goal. In determining this, you’ll need to first consult with your veterinarian. They will determine how many pounds your cat needs to lose.
If your cat is prone to diarrhea or constipation, you’ll need to take a deeper look at the source of fiber in the food. If they’re prone to constipation, you’ll want more soluble fibers in the feed, while cats more prone to diarrhea need more insoluble fiber to firm up their stool.
If your cat doesn’t have any known digestive issues, try to find a food that has fermentable fiber like peas, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes. This will simply optimize their digestion and keep them from getting overly bloated or gassy.
If you don’t look at the fiber source, you may be causing more gastric problems without being aware. This is an easy fix to ensure your cat is comfortable and absorbing all the nutrients possible.
Weight loss diets don’t have to be tasteless or harsh. Determine the kind of food your cat typically enjoys to best decide on a weight loss diet. If your cat does better with wet food, get a weight management wet food rather than trying to wean them onto kibble.
There are so many options out there for weight management food that you don’t need to compromise on ingredients or preferences.
Before switching to a new food, always be sure to get your cat allergy tested. It’s common for cats to have allergies to grains or experience intolerances to certain meat by-products or meals. This is primarily because of the processing and low quality of the ingredient.
Introduce new foods slowly to catch a potential allergy before it gets worse. If your cat starts to experience any digestive issues or vomiting, change the food right away and do another allergy test with your veterinarian.
If your cat already has a condition like diabetes or arthritis, it’s vital to be feeding them a diet to help with disease management. Not all weight-loss diets will support bone health or maintain optimal blood sugar levels for diabetic cats.
Be sure to talk with your veterinarian first about your cat’s needs and do your research into the foods they shouldn’t be eating based on any pre-existing conditions so you’re conscious of always avoiding them.
A cat’s food should shift as they age. The right food as a kitten will not be the right food as an adult or elderly cat. Therefore, always consider your cat’s age when purchasing a new diet to ensure the vitamin and mineral balance is optimal for their life stage.
How To Know If Your Cat Is Overweight
If you’re unsure if your cat is overweight, a veterinarian can do a proper evaluation for you. They’ll determine if your cat is overweight or suffering from any other health issues.
Below are a couple of ways you can determine if your cat is overweight yourself.
With obesity and increased body weight comes lethargy. If your cat doesn’t have a willingness to play, seems to tire quickly, or overall seems unmotivated, they may be overweight. This can bring on more exhaustion as it takes much more energy to play or run around.
If you see any mood changes, make sure you bring your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible to see if a switch in diet could be the best course of action.
Body Condition Test
You can perform the following check to test their body condition. Run your hand down the back of your cat, first feeling for their shoulder bones, spine, then hip bones. While they shouldn’t be protruding from the cat’s body, you should be able to feel their bones and see them when pressing on the skin.
If you cannot find or feel any of your cat’s bones as you run your hand down the body, this is a tell-tale sign that your cat has too much fat on its body.
How To Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Once your cat starts on its weight loss journey, remember that there are several ways you can support them on this path. It’s not all about food intake; there are other important factors in encouraging weight loss.
While much of weight loss comes from diet, the other part comes from exercise. If your cat is particularly lazy, be sure they’re still getting the exercise they need during the day. This may mean that you have to get a toy that excites them and commit 30 minutes of your day to engage in play with your cat.
The more active you can keep them, the more weight they will lose.
Automatic Cat Feeder
A great way to help your cat lose weight is to use an automatic cat feeder. With this, you can create the perfect portions and set timers for mealtimes throughout the day. This helps you avoid leaving a massive pile of food for your cat if you’re gone for most of the day.
Using an automatic feeder will get your cat onto a schedule for mealtimes, allowing their body to adjust more quickly to their food intake. You can put treats, wet food, dry food, or medication in an automatic feeder then not have to worry about how much your cat is eating over your day.
Best Cat Food For Weight Loss
Conclusion On Cat Food For Weight Loss
Some cat breeds are prone to weight gain compared to others so make sure you monitor your cat closely to avoid any health issues. There are many great products on the market to help your cat manage their weight loss but the best prevention is you.
Managing your cat’s weight by giving them regular exercise is the best prevention. Don’t leave food out if your cat can’t control their eating habits and limit their portions where possible.
As always, you should consult with your vet if you think your cat is gaining weight. Regardless of how your cat becomes overweight, making the switch to cat food for weight loss can get them back on track to living a healthy and active life.
Last update on 2021-09-17 at 06:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API