WEIGHT CONTROL AND CAT DIET: SO WHAT’S AT PLAY?
Ensuring your cat has a healthy body weight is essential to her short-term, and long-term, wellbeing. Not only does it contribute to her overall quality of life, but it can also help to reduce health risks and help to extend her lifespan.
Unfortunately, recent surveys reveal that up to 50% of household pets are either overweight or obese . This high percentage is largely due to pets not receiving a diet that is adapted to changes in their lifestyle over time e.g. specific nutritional benefits and/or quantity of food or lack of exercise. As one might expect, just as for us humans, your pet's nutritional requirements change depending on their lifestyle. It’s a question of balance.
However, weight gain in cats may also depend on other influencing factors such as:
- prior history of diseases
- lack of exercise.
Today, it is widely acknowledged that a pet’s modern lifestyle calls for a more personalised feeding routine that takes the most influential lifestyle and life stage factors into consideration.
ACHIEVING THE RIGHT BALANCE
If you were wondering how much food should you feed your cat, you can make sure that feeding your pet the appropriate amount of food in relation to her gender, age, lifestyle, and whether or not she is neutered, is key to maintaining a healthy body weight.
A word from Dr Cornelia Ewering , a nutrition expert from Perfect Fit™ - “Although 'how much' you feed your pet plays an important role in your cat’s bodyweight, 'how' and 'when' you feed her may play an equally important role. Eating takes less than an hour in your cat’s day; she spends most of her time sleeping (14 to 18 hours a day). Therefore, her meals must be spread-out throughout the course of the day, in small quantities. Specifically designed kibble dispensers may naturally satiate her, efficiently spacing her meals throughout the day. And it also has the added benefit of providing some mental stimulation for your cat as she is encouraged to search and work for her kibbles!
Having said this, simply adjusting your pet’s calorie intake is only part of the solution. Veterinarian recommended cat food can help you, but successfully balancing your pet’s body weight requires a comprehensive approach that calls for a healthy lifestyle, one that includes regular exercise, which can actually be achieved through playing.
A word from the Dr Corinne Lesaine, consulting veterinarian for Perfect Fit™ – “Your cat stays fit by playing hunting and searching games. In a stimulus-poor environment, your cat sees feeding as a way to deal with boredom, and giving into begging with food and treats will reinforce this behaviour. You might consider saving the treats for playtime or learning time, as these are excellent opportunities for you to please her and counteract her boredom with fun and stimulating activities, throughout which you can reward her for her efforts. In order to help her maintain a healthy body weight, her food portions should be adjusted in accordance with the number of treats she’s received throughout the day. »
THE HEALTHY TRIO
It is no secret that a key factor in successfully managing your pet’s wellbeing is through adopting an integrated approach that combines healthy nutrition (enventually using weight control cat food), the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation through playful interaction. These three ‘core values’ can be expressed as the three pillars of wellbeing that are feed/move/play, and which we believe are the key to keeping your pet in good shape throughout life!.
The idea of this integrated approach is that the three pillars work together and individually contribute to one another to enhance your pet’s overall wellbeing. More than just providing your pet with a more balanced lifestyle overall, this approach will lead to even closer pet-owner interaction. It’s a win-win situation!
Managing your pet’s weight requires a certain amount of discipline, but it is fundamental to preserving her health and ensuring her wellbeing throughout life. Just as the quality and quantity of food that you feed your cat are two determining factors, especially in sterilised cats who are more prone to weight gain, giving her the opportunity to move and physically exercise is equally important. We predict that playing will soon become your best friend in motivating your cat!