You love your cat, your cat loves snacks so what better way to demonstrate your love to your cat by giving them all the tasty treats the crave? Many people think like this about their cat, however the truth is that over feeding your cat can lead to long term health complications and a shortened life span.
Far too many cats are overfed and under-exercised. This can put your cat’s joints under unnecessary strain which may cause arthritis, it can also lead to heart problems and general cardiovascular problems, as well as diabetes and fatty liver syndrome. As well as all this too many treats can cause a lot of problems for your cat’s teeth particularly as most cat owners rarely bother cleaning their cats teeth. So while you may think you are being kind to your cat by giving them lots of extra treats the reality is that you could be doing them untold damage.
Managing Your Cat’s Diet
Weight management is all about managing food intake, many cat owners don’t believe that their cat eats too much but rather will insist that their cat has metabolism problems or similar. This is never true, regardless of any potential metabolism issues weight can easily be controlled by adjusting portion sizes.
If your cat has put on a few too many pounds, then the simple solution is to reduce their meal portion sizes so that they are consuming less calories than they are expending then weight loss will definitely happen.
As a general rule of thumb it is probably reasonable to reduce your cat’s calorie intake by about 1/3rd. To do this simply give them a third less food than they used to get. Weigh them before you start their diet and weigh them again two or three weeks later, if they have not yet lost any weight then further reduce their portion sizes.
If your cat is significantly over weight then it would be wise to take them to the vet to be weighed and given a tailor made diet plan to get them back down to a reasonable size.
Making Sure Your Cat Gets Enough Exercise
Modern domestic cats have it easy, their wild ancestors could only ever dream of living in comfort with all the food you need right there whenever you want it. Cats weren’t designed to be served their dinner, instead they are designed to spend hours painstakingly hunting down their meals.
Because most cats don’t have to do this they can easily put on weight because they are not having to work for their meals and therefore get very little exercise. With no need to chase food most domestic cats will happily sleep 18 hours a day and live largely sedentary lives, particularly if they are house cats.
It is therefore important to ensure that your cat gets some sort of exercise so that they stay active, mobile and healthy. Here is a list of six quick and easy things you can do with your cat to give them some exercise:
Get an Exercise Wheel
Cat Exercise wheels are a great way to help keep indoor cats active. They are effectively giant hamster wheels (albeit better engineered and less noisy) which your cat be taught with a bit of persuasion to run on. They are a great way of preventing weight gain, and keeping an indoor cat far happier and healthier than it otherwise would be.
Many cats love catnip to such an extent that one sniff of it will send them rolling on their back and wriggling around in all sorts of shapes. Ten minutes of catnip use can be an easy way for a cat to get some good exercise without them even realising!
A cat tree can be used to provide exercise for cats, if your cat is particularly sedentary find a fairly tall cat tree which has sufficient space for you to leave their food at the top of, this will turn every meal time into a chance to get at least a small amount of exercise.
There are not many distractions which will get any cat sprinting around the house faster than the laser pointer! The laser point can be a great tool for providing your cat with some high intensity exercise for a few minutes, however it is always a good idea to finish your cats laser play session with a treat or toy of some sort so they avoid the frustration of never being able to catch the fabled red dot.
Use a Cat Wand
A cat wand is a bendy stick with a small toy attached to it via an elastic string, cats will energetically chase these burning many calories in the process and it’s also a very entertaining way of playing with your cat.
Make your cat hunt for it’s food
Leaving your cat’s food hidden around your house will definitely cause your cat to be much more active, it will also replicate the experience of hunting for them so is good for both their physical and mental health.
Encourage your cat to go outside
It seems an obvious one but many cats only spend a short amount of time outside, encouraging your cat to spend a good few hours outside every day will massively help it improving your cats health. If you are worried about your cat getting lost you can always use a GPS cat tracker to keep tabs on it, some of them can also track how many calories your cat has expended too!
If you allow your cat to roam outside as well as using a tracker it is also a good idea to make sure he can be seen with a reflective collar. Reflective cat collars come in bright colors and are made from rubber-like materials that are smell proof (no stink) and water resistant. Some brands even allow you to personalise the collar’s tag by engraving your cat’s name and your phone number. Having an ID tag attached to your cat’s collar means he has a better chance of getting home if he is ever lost.
If you are still worried about letting your cat go outside you could also get a microchip compatible cat flap which you can set to only allow your cat outside during daylight hours so there is less danger of your cat coming to harm.