Has your vet mentioned that your cat should lose weight?
Or have you noticed your cat is a lot heavier than she used to be?
It’s probably time to put your cat on a diet!
This can easily be done by switching to a weight loss cat food. But you’re likely baffled as to what the best weight management cat food is.
I’ve done the legwork and researched everything you need to know about weight management in cats – as well I have picked Iams Proactive Healthy Indoor Weight Control as the very best cat food for weight loss.
Our Top Picks For The Best Cat Food To Help Your Cat Lose Weight
First, let’s get started with some commonly asked questions:
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Overweight?
It’s not uncommon for cats to be overweight. In fact it’s estimated that over 60% of cats are! And an incredible 30 – 35% of cats are actually considered obese!
Sometimes it’s obvious if your cat is overweight – you’ll see a hanging pouch or just notice they have a lot more girth to them than they used to.
It’s very important to realize that even if your cat is as little as a single pound overweight it can cause some major health issues (which I’ll talk about later).
Think about it, even if your cat is 2 pounds overweight that’s about 20% of their body weight! Which would be similar to the average human being 25 or more pounds overweight.
So, as you can see, it’s extremely important to monitor your cat’s weight and keep them within their healthy range.
Regular vet visits are the best way to not only ensure your cat is at their ideal weight – but to make sure they have no other health issues. Occasionally cats can gain weight due to a medical issue, which should immediately be addressed.
Veterinary offices have highly accurate scales for animals. And your vet can let you know if anything should change with your cat’s weight, or if it has changed from the last visit.
You can absolutely try to weigh your cat at home if you have an accurate scale. On average, a domestic shorthair cat should weigh 8 – 10 pounds. But again, your vet will be your best source for determining the healthiest weight for your cat.
You should also “inspect” your cat from time to time. Make sure they don’t have a pouch, and when looking at his waist you should see it becoming smaller as it goes back towards his hindquarters.
And when petting your cat make sure you can gently probe their ribs. If it’s difficult to feel them that’s another sign your cat may need to lose weight.
Why Is It Dangerous For My Cat To Be Overweight?
As with humans, being overweight can bring some major health concerns for your cat. Here are just a few risks you have to worry about:
Blood sugar and insulin issues can be an issue in overweight cats. And if your cat does end up getting diabetes it will be harder to control if they are overweight.
Joint Issues And Arthritis
Excess weight can put undue pressure on cat’s joints and cause pain – which can lead to them developing arthritis.
If your cat is overweight every time they jump and land on their feet, they are putting a lot of extra pressure on their joints – therefore leading to more wear and tear on their joints. Remember even a single extra pound will put up to 20% extra pressure on their joints!
And as cats realize it hurts for them to jump and run, they will stop moving more than they need to – which can lead to more weight gain, and other serious health problems.
Excess fat can put extra pressure on your cat’s organs – making them work harder. This can especially happen with the liver where excess fat can quite easily build up.
High Blood Pressure
Yes, even your cat can suffer from high blood pressure. And it usually happens if they are overweight. And it can certainly become more troublesome if they are obese.
Much like in humans, hypertension (high blood pressure) can lead to increased pressure in the eyes causing your cat to lose their eyesight. And it can also lead to organ failure in more extreme cases.
Being overweight or obese can also lead to skin problems in cats. Feline acne and dry skin are the two most common skin issues seen in overweight cats. These skin issues could occur due to too much pressure on the organs, which can create toxins. Or another possible explanation for skin issues is that larger cats may have trouble grooming themselves – which could result in excess bacteria build up.
Since overweight cats are generally less active, and likely drink less water, they can develop urinary stones and other urinary issues which can lead to some major health problems.
If your cat has to have surgery for any reason your vet will likely want to do more tests beforehand if your cat is overweight. And anesthesia is harder to not only administer to an overweight cat, but that same cat will have a harder time coming out of it afterwards.
Some vets may not even be willing to perform surgery or any other medical procedure on an overweight cat due to the health risks.
Lowered Immune System
Overweight cats whose organs are taxed will likely have a lowered immune system. This can lead to heightened infection risks and other illnesses which can be hard for your cat to fight off.
What Are Some Reasons Why My Cat May Be Overweight?
There are a surprising amount of reasons why cats become overweight. A few of these are pretty obvious, but a few will probably surprise you:
Too Much Food
If you’re feeding your cat every time she begs for food chances are she’s eating way too much – and will become overweight.
Eating The Wrong Food
If your cat is eating food rich in carbohydrates, or you’re feeding your cat a variety of foods this could simply be too many calories for them.
Cats need to exercise too! If your cat lays around all day, he is almost definitely going to gain weight.
After the age of 5 cats tend to play and run around less and this inactivity can lead to them gaining weight.
And the older your cat gets the more sedentary they will likely become and this can lead to weight gain. You don’t necessarily need to force your older cat to become more active, but you should alter their diet.
Type Of Cat
In general, purebred cats don’t tend to become as overweight as European Shorthair type cats. Studies have shown that Birman and Persian cats have less of a chance of becoming overweight. While Maine Coon cats can weigh up to 25 pounds and still not be considered overweight!
If They Are Spayed Or Neutered
Because of a change in hormones, as well as the fact that spayed or neutered cats likely need to expel less energy afterwards, it’s not uncommon to see some weight gain.
If your cat has not been spayed or neutered yet, keep this in mind for when you do it. Make sure you talk to your vet about possibly changing to another food or for other tips on how to monitor their weight around this time.
How Do I Help My Cat Lose Weight?
First of all, as I mentioned before, your very first step should be to take your cat to a veterinarian to double check here are no other health issues causing their weight gain.
Your vet should give you some suggestions to help your cat lose weight, and set up a monitoring plan. And she’ll likely advise using a low-calorie or weight management cat food or talk about other diet cat food plans with you. She should also encourage you to make sure your cat gets more exercise.
Do NOT reduce the volume of the cat food you currently feed your cat in the hopes they will lose weight, unless your veterinarian advises you to. Your cat needs to eat enough food to feel full and gain all the nutritional benefits. This is usually when you would switch over to a weight loss cat food – you can continue to feed your cat the same amount they are used to without sacrificing their health.
How The Heck Do I Make Sure My Cat Exercises?
I get it, you can’t take your cat to the gym with you! And don’t ever assume that because you have an outdoor cat they are getting a lot of exercise – because if they are overweight, they obviously are not.
Making sure your cat gets about 10-15 minutes of activity most days of the week should be enough. So luckily there are some great, fun ways to encourage your cat to exercise more.
Get Some New Cat Toys
If you bought a cat a stuffed mouse once and he didn’t take to it – well, maybe he just doesn’t like mice. Also, if you’ve put away your cat toys because your cat stopped playing with them, pull them out! Or get new, different ones. Your cat may have gotten bored with the old ones, but will LOVE the new ones.
Using a laser pointer or special cat laser toy is so much fun for both you and your cat! You can sit down and point it around the room and watch your cat try to catch the dot or whatever object it is projecting.
Toys that dangle from a stick particularly interest cats. Make your cat jump up to bat it or run around the house dragging it behind you and watch your cat try to catch you.
If your cat still has no interest in his toys then get some catnip toys or just some loose catnip and sprinkle it around. Chances are your cat will go CRAZY and run and roll around. Just make sure you get organic catnip.
Get A Cat Tree
Cats instinctively love to climb so getting your cat a cat tree or other climbing structure will encourage them to jump and climb.
If they don’t take to it right away sprinkle some of that catnip on each level to encourage them to play with it.
Get A Leash
Take your cat for a walk! Seriously, I see this all the time. Just make sure you put them on a leash because you don’t want to risk your cat getting hurt or lost.
If you truly don’t want to take your cat out for a walk just take her outside and chase her around the yard. It’ll be great fun – and good exercise – for both of you.
What Should I Know About Feeding My Cat?
It can be hard to know exactly how to feed your cat most effectively. And perhaps what worked for your last cat will not work for the one you have now. Here are some common feeding errors cat parents make:
Feeding Too Much
It’s best to ask your vet how much you should be feeding your cat. But general guidelines say not to continuously fill your cat’s bowl. I know you don’t want your cat to go hungry but offering them an endless supply of food will not help them regulate their calorie intake – and will very likely lead to them becoming overweight.
The average cat requires about 24-35 calories per pound per day. But, always follow the directions your vet gives you, or follow the weight chart on the bag or can.
If you’re not able to be home to feed your cat don’t just leave food out. It may be worth investing in an automatic food dispenser to feed your cat a specified amount of food at a specified time.
Not Offering Water
As with humans, water is SO important for your pets! It helps with their digestive system, and other bodily functions. Cats tend to produce highly concentrated urine and dehydration can only compound the problem. A dehydrated cat is not a healthy cat.
And although your family may drink tap water, if it contains chlorine or other added minerals your cat may detect that and not drink it. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to give your cat water! It may be time to buy some inexpensive bottled water to give to your cat.
Which leads me to…
Feeding Your Cat Only Dry Food
You can offer your cat buckets of water all over your house, but chances are they still won’t drink as much as they should.
Wet cat food gives them some water along with their food – which goes a long way to increase hydration and stave off any health problems.
Not Giving Your Cat Meat
Cats are natural carnivores, which means they require meat and animal parts in order for them to be at their optimum health.
It seems to be a trend these days for people feed their animals the same vegan or vegetarian diet they are on – and this can lead to some dangerous health problems for your cat. Talk to your veterinarian if you are even thinking of making any major dietary changes for your cat.
Feeding Homemade Cat Food
You would think this would be a great, healthy option to feed your cats. But sadly, it isn’t always. Cat food manufacturers formulate their foods based on many years of research as to what cats actually need in their diets.
It’s hard to know, and measure the specific amount of all the vitamins and minerals important to your cat’s health.
If this is still something you feel you truly want to do get a recipe from a trained veterinarian who specializes in cat nutrition and follow it closely.
Feeding Your Cat Treats Or Table Scraps
There are a lot of foods that humans eat which are extremely dangerous for cats to eat so you could be endangering their health. Plus feeding table scraps can teach your cat to beg, which can get annoying, and it could likely lead to your cat gaining weight.
In theory, specialized cat treats aren’t bad. But you need to make sure the ones you are buying won’t affect their weight and have only healthy ingredients. And limit treats to only a few at a time, once or twice a week.
Feeding Your Cat Dog Food
In some cases, cats can eat dog foods with no problems (although NEVER feed a dog cat food!) and this is something your cat may actually recommend for a variety of reasons.
However, even small dogs almost always weigh more than cats, so they generally have higher calorie needs. So, if your cat is overweight feeding them dog food may mean they are ingesting more calories than they need.
Is There A Specific Best Cat Food For Overweight Indoor Cats?
You’ll see some cat foods labelled for use with indoor cats. It’s thought that indoor cats get less exercise and therefore need weight control more. But that’s not necessarily true.
Just because a cat goes outside doesn’t mean he’s getting a lot of exercise.
So, it’s best to just buy for the best diet food for cats you can find and don’t worry about if it’s labelled for indoor or outdoor cats.
What Do I Need To Know About Buying Low Calorie Cat Food?
When looking for the best weight loss food for cats, especially low-calorie cat food, it’s important to make sure it has enough protein. Protein will fill up your cat with the right kind of calories.
Protein also helps your cat develop and keep lean muscle mass – which is imperative for burning calories and keeping up their energy levels.
Carbohydrates are generally only fillers – and are what can lead to weight gain. Cat food meant for weight loss should contain little to no carbohydrates.
When looking for the best low-fat cat food, you must be careful because not all diet cat foods are the same!
Always remember that just because you are buying a weight loss cat food doesn’t mean you should skimp on nutrients for your cat. Avoid any obvious fillers, unrecognizable ingredients, artificial colors and flavors, and anything else you’re not sure about. Read the label to make sure all the good stuff is still in there.
How Do I Switch My Cat From Her Regular Food To Weight Loss Cat Food?
Most cats don’t take well to change. So, changing their food over completely from one feed to the next could cause them to stop eating altogether – which can be incredibly bad for their health and metabolism.
The best way to switch your cat over from his current food to his new weight control cat food is to do it over at least a few days – maybe even a week. Start by adding in a small bit of the new food to his regular food. At the next feed, add a little more of the new food, and continue this each day until the food is switched over completely.
This allows your cat to get used to the new flavor – without being overwhelmed by a sudden change.
Can I Feed Weight Cat Loss Food To All Of My Cats?
If you have two or more cats you may not want to have to buy separate food, and go to the trouble to feed them different food. So, would it really be that bad to feed all your cats weight control cat food?
Again, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to figure out the nutritional needs for your cats individually. Some kittens and senior cats may require different formulas all together. But generally, as long as your other cat(s) don’t lose too much weight by eating weight control food it should be fine.
However, if you are going to feed your cats different food, you’ll likely find they gravitate towards each other’s food – the “forbidden” food!
You’ll need to feed them in separate rooms, at different times, or put one up on a counter perhaps. And they may need to be monitored to make sure they don’t switch bowls. Cat’s can be sneaky!
Here Are Your Best Cat Food Options For Overweight Cats
After doing a lot of research, feeding a lot of cats, and reading a lot of labels I’ve come up with a list of the best diet cat foods you’ll find on the market.
- IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight And Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
- Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult, Light For Weight Management, Liver & Chicken Recipe
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management
- WholeHearted Weight Control Chicken And Pea Recipe Dry Cat Food
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Adult Canned Wet Cat Food
IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight And Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
This is your overall best cat food for overweight cats!
This is also the best dry cat food for weight loss.
And it also gets huge honors for being a great, inexpensive cat food. Seriously, this incredible formula won’t break the bank.
IAMS gives us TWO incredible benefits with this weight control cat food. It not only helps your cat lose and maintain weight but it helps with hairballs as well.
This blend contains chicken as its main protein source to fill up your cat – without them gaining weight. This quality protein also helps to maintain your cat’s high energy levels and supports strong muscles.
It also contains added omega oils and amino acids to keep your cat at optimum health. The L-Carnitine helps boost weight loss in your cat.
In addition to the other quality ingredients in this cat food it contains a fiber and beet pulp blend which reduces or eliminates hairballs.
Just remember if you are using a dry cat formula you will need to provide your cat with lots of extra water for them to drink.
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult, Light For Weight Management, Liver & Chicken Recipe
Best Wet Food Choice
This is the best wet cat food for weight loss!
Hill’s has been manufacturing quality pet food for many years and are proud to boast they are a #1 Veterinarian recommended brand.
This canned food contains a high level of protein to keep your cat full, as well as antioxidants and vitamins C & E to help with your cat’s overall health and immune system.
It’s a very soft food so all cats will enjoy it – and have no issues eating it.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management
This food is your best budget option.
This food contains a whopping 46% protein and 20% less fat than most other cat foods.
It also contains a natural prebiotic fiber to promote a healthy digestive system.
This is another super affordable option for weight loss cat food which still contains no fillers.
And again, since this is a dry cat food please make sure your cat has access to a lot of fresh water.
WholeHearted Weight Control Chicken And Pea Recipe Dry Cat Food
This is your best grain-free option.
The WholeHearted Weight Control formula boasts having two times the fiber and 50% less fat than their other recipes.
And as I said above it contains no grains – and no corn, so this may be the best weight loss cat food for cats who have food sensitivities.
It contains high levels of protein in the form of chicken and lamb – which will fill your cat right up. And it also has added L-Carnitine to help metabolize fat and encourage weight loss.
The added vitamins, minerals and assorted vegetables ensures your cat gets the healthiest food, while still losing weight.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Adult Canned Wet Cat Food
This is your tastiest cat food option.
You may be thinking that Purina already has a weight management formula on the list – and you’re right! But this is the wet cat food for weight loss. Some cats just prefer to have a wet cat food, so it’s great to have options. And it’s an especially good choice for cats who don’t drink a lot of water.
This formula is similar to the dry cat food for weight loss option above, so it also contains a high level of protein as well as added vitamins and minerals to support health.
So, Which One Of These Is The Very Best Weight Loss Cat Food?
If your cat is overweight all of the above cat foods are great options. But I know I have to pick only ONE to recommend as the best cat food for weight loss – and that food is IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight Care Dry Cat Food.
This inexpensive food offers not only an effective way for your cat to lose weight, but hairball control as well!
The added vitamins and minerals help with your cat’s overall health and gives them a nice shiny coat.
Talk about an all-in-one cat food!