A reader has said:
My year-and-a-half-old cat is overweight. I’ve cut is wet food in half (he gets about a teaspoon twice a day) and my cat eats about 1¼ cups of dry food per day. He always seems hungry but I don’t give in and feed him. What is your advice on feeding my cat?Meow Guide reader
A veterinarian’s response
Your cat is very young, so we want to nip this weight problem early to avoid a lifetime of potential weight-related problems.
Dry food is much more caloric than canned food. Feed your cat more canned and less dry food. Without seeing your cat, I cannot tell what his current weight is, and what it really should be.
Your vet can determine your cat’s ideal weight, and then determine how many calories your cat should get each day.
Your cat can lose weight in several ways. Say your cat should receive 200 calories a day. You can feed the same food you’ve been feeding, only less of it. Unfortunately, this rarely works, because cats often complain (often loudly at 3:00 a.m.).
Your cat already acts hungry all the time, so cutting back his food probably wouldn’t work. You could feed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, or you could feed a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
The high-protein low-carb diet sounds like it makes more sense metabolically, as cats are true carnivores, but I have not had much success with this diet.
I’ve had much greater success feeding cats a low-fat, high-fiber diet. The fiber in the diet causes cats to feel “full” and they often don’t complain about the amount they’re getting.
If you feed your cat mostly canned food rather than dry, it tends to be even more successful. Every veterinarian stocks these low-fat high-fiber prescription diets.
Talk to your cat’s veterinarian about your cat’s ideal weight and how much to feed. The goal is to achieve the target weight slowly, over the course of about six months. Good luck!