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FAT CATS - by Liz Gordon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Saturday, 02 February 2013 09:40

Without a doubt, "Garfield" is infamous for being the world's most-recognizable FAT CAT!  But in real life, Cat Obesity is no laughing matter.  Dr. David Summers, Ph.D. shares his feline weightloss methods with us.  

What to do?

No more free-feeding your cats; the nibblers will have to learn to meal feed. If your cats have had a communal feeding dish, the first step is to get separate dishes. A feeding schedule has to be established where everyone has their own dish, and their own space.  With some cats, it's best they be fed in separate rooms.

While most can be in the same area, don’t line up their dishes all together. You can use a baby gate to seperate dishes. Or if you have an aggressive-overweight cat, a feeding crate, where the entrance is small enough so they can't get into the crate or box. 

You could also go VERTICAL.  Most cats love to climb and will feel quite at home feeding in an elevated spot. Initially you will have to supervise their entire feeding, but your cats will soon learn when & where to eat.  Start by having the food available for 30 minutes then pick up any uneaten food. As they learn to meal feed, pick up their dishes after they walk away; don’t leave any food down.

Slow it down!

You can help them do just that, by using a bigger dish where the kibble is only one to two layers deep. This will make it harder for them to pick it up, therefore forcing them to eat more slowly. If you're feeding wet food, add some water to it to help pace their consumption - but not so much that they turn away from their food.

Sometimes separate rooms, partitions, or elevated dishes are not practical or possible.  There are foods that can help in these situations, because the same food can be fed to all cats. The most common are multi-cat foods, which have carnitine.  That helps burn more fat in an overweight cat and is still very healthy for any others. 

Recent research has shown cats fed lower carbohydrate foods are better at controlling their appetite, much like the Atkins diet for humans. Carbohydrate level is not something you'll see mentioned on the label. However, you can find a guaranteed protein level. For almost all foods there's an inverse relationship between the level of protein in food & the level of carbohydrates.

Higher protein cat foods tend to have fewer carbohydrates, but higher fat levels - which may seem counter-intuitive to what we normally think of, regarding weightloss. The amount fed, has to be LESS, but because the carbohydrate content is lower, the appetite is suppressed.  For this reason many cat parents have had success, by supplementing with wet food - that has high meat protein & moderate fat content. There are also dry cat foods that have higher protein levels.  Look for ones high in protein, and low in fat.


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