How to put a cat on a diet? Obesity is a type of nutritional disease, determined by the body’s excess fat. Overfed cats, have little exercise, or tend to stay weight is at a very high risk of obesity. 

Obesity can have a serious impact on your cat’s health, such as a decrease in life expectancy, even if your cat is only obese. Many organs in the body are affected by excess fat, including bones and joints, digestive organs, and organs involved in respiration.

how to put a cat on a diet


Obesity is most common in middle-aged cats, usually 5-10 years old. Castrated or domestic cats tend to be more obese due to less activity or altered metabolism. Animal lovers often pamper them, constantly throwing pieces of their prey toward them, which makes a normal cat or a cat recovering from an over-calorie-prone food prone to obesity. Being overweight for cats is very dangerous. So, how to put your fat cat on a diet?

What’s the reason why cats become obese?

There are several causes of obesity, the most common being an imbalance between the amount of energy it consumes and the energy it uses – cats eat more than it consumes. 

Obesity is also becoming more common with older cats due to reduced exercise capacity. An unhealthy diet, eating high-calorie foods, alternating diets, and eating regularly can lead to obesity.

Feed freely

The main cause of obesity in cats (as well as in other mammals) is due to excessive consumption of food. Although I do not want to admit this is the reality.


Unlike most mammals, cats do not have the amylase enzyme in saliva to help digest carbohydrates, and humans and dogs begin to digest carbohydrates right from the mouth. 

The amylase enzyme released from the pancreas breaks down large carbohydrate molecules into smaller glucose that can be absorbed into the body. Cats have less amylase activity in humans and dogs. Cats don’t seem to be carbohydrate consuming animals.

The protein

We all know that cats catch mice and birds as their food source. An ideal natural source of food for predators, mice, and birds that provide a perfect diet for cats. Did you know that a mouse or a bird only contains 3-8% carbohydrates?

And this carbohydrate comes from prey and in the digestive tract of prey that birds and mice have eaten. The rest is water, some minerals, and mostly protein and fat.

Biscuits for cats

We seem to think of using cat food as a reward – that’s why cat food is so popular. We feed the cat whenever it is happy or when the cat begins to purr, walks, and seems to be “in need of something”.

This is the normal interaction behavior of a cat, and it has nothing to do with being hungry! But we take that information and assume the cat is hungry, so we reward them with food as if it were a snack.

And most of those biscuits had a taste that cats couldn’t resist. Otherwise, they would not have sold so well and would not have been profitable for the manufacturer.

No exercise

We often fill the cat with food and water, clean the litter box and leave him at home to go to work. You simply haven’t changed the amount of food, the type of food, and the diet you normally feed your overweight cat. If you want to successfully promote weight loss for it, you need to increase the activity that helps it burn calories (calories). 

Most cats spend the day in a chair and are left there all day by their friends. Therefore, nothing can stimulate the interest of predators in it. There is nothing to chase, nothing is hiding, and nothing needs it to run down from the chair and chase. So cats have nothing to do but sleep all day!

Some other common causes include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Endocrine pancreatitis
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Sterilization

How to put your cat on a diet?

Way #1: Determine if your cat needs to lose weight

Step #1: Consider the cat’s body condition

It is essential to determine if your cat needs to lose weight before you give her a diet. The body condition score indicates that five points are obese, and one point is emaciated.

Your cat will fit best when it is three. This is the ideal score. You can rate your cat on a scale based on the following criteria:

  • Point 1: you can see even at a distance from the cat’s ribs, spine, and pelvis. The cat looks skinny, emaciated, no body fat.
  • Point 2: You can easily sense the cat’s ribs, spine, and pelvis. The cat has a distinct waist when viewed from above, and the belly is tucked up when viewed from the side. The cat looks skinny.
  • Point 3: You can feel the ribs and spine but not see them. When viewed from above, the cat has a slight waist and belly (but not sagging) from the side. Ideal.
  • Point 4: You will have difficulty locating the cat’s ribs and spine. Seen from above, the cat has a pear-shaped belly. Seen from the side, the belly seems to sag.
  • Point 5: The spine is obscured by fat. You may notice a thick coat of fat on the cat’s chest and stomach. It has an oval shape. Fat.

Step #2: Visit the vet

If your cat’s body condition is four or five points, then your cat is obese and see your veterinarian for further instructions. Your veterinarian will determine the target weight for your cat based on your cat’s exact size using specialized tools.

They will perform a series of measurements such as cat head length, head width, spine length, wrist radius, and ring measurements.

Way #2: Limiting your cat’s caloric intake

Step #1: Learn how calories affect the cat’s weight

Losing weight from the diet by controlling calories follows a simple equation: the amount of calories cat intakes compared to the calories cat consumes is equivalent to gaining or losing weight. 

Therefore, if your cat burns fewer calories than it takes in a day, it will gain weight. For your cat to lose weight, she needs to burn more calories than the daily calorie intake. In other words, she needs to eat less and practice more.

Step #2: Determine the ideal calorie for the cat

This method is calculated by counting the cat’s calorie count when you switch her to a reduced diet. Your cat should only eat 75 to 80 percent of the rest of his energy needs for ideal body weight and weight. This diet will help your cat lose weight at a healthy rate of one to two percent of body weight per week. The approximate number of calories is:

  • 180 calories/day (ideal weight is 8 pounds)
  • 210 calories/day (ideal weight is 10 pounds)
  • 230 calories/day (ideal weight is 12 pounds)
cats on diet

Step #3: Give your cat a prescription weight loss formula

If you still feed your cat the standard amount of food, it will be challenging for you to reach this calorie. A prescription weight loss formula allows your cat to eat low-calorie and high-fiber foods, which aids in weight loss. Your cat eats almost the same amount of food every day while still achieving the desired calorie reduction.

Step #4: Control your cat’s weight weekly

You should weigh your cat and record weight weekly. It’s a good idea to do when your cat meets weight goals during weight loss. Once your cat has lost a certain amount of weight, you should consult your veterinarian about whether your cat should lose any additional weight.

Step #5: Feed the cat separately

If you have two cats, but one is overweight and is eating the same food, feed them in a separate room. Make sure each cat is eating its own specific diet.

Way #3: Use a metabolic diet

Step #1: What is the metabolic diet?

The metabolic diet works by stimulating the cat’s metabolism, which causes cats to work harder, thereby burning fat while protecting toned muscles. Skinny cats have genes that code for a higher metabolic rate, so they detect the molecules of some foods that are more metabolic than others.

Hills is a well-known manufacturer of the cat’s metabolic formula diet. Feed your cat according to the manufacturer’s instructions based on your cat’s target weight. You can click here for reference

Step #2: The ‘catkins’ diet for cats with diabetes

If your cat has diabetes, refer to the ‘catkins’ diet. Catkins are a low-protein, protein-rich diet, especially good for overweight cats with diabetes. The Catkins diet helps 68% of diabetic cats to reduce insulin compared to 40% of which follow the standard fiber weight loss diet.

See your veterinarian check for diabetes in your overweight cat.

Way #4: Behavioral change

Step #1: Exercise for your cat

Exercising your cat causes it to burn more calories. A cat exercising regularly will lose weight much more effectively than a cat who never does. Besides burning extra calories, exercising your cat will also reduce your cat’s appetite. Exercise also increases your metabolic rate. This can counteract the slow metabolism associated with reduced-calorie diets.

  • Have your cat play a catch game by projecting a laser pointer on the ground and letting your cat chase it.
  • You can also use toys attached to the cord to play with the cat.

Step #2: Provide plenty of water

Water plays a very important role in keeping your cat functioning properly, as well as supporting metabolic function. Like people, drinking water makes your cat feel fuller while on a restricted diet. You must make sure that her water disc is always clean and complete.

diet for cat

Step #3: Entertain your cat

Many cat owners make the mistake of providing food as a way to bring joy to them. Advice is to spend more time playing with your cat, grooming her to reduce potential boredom.

Step #4: Divide the amount of food into different meals a day

Do not put all cats’ food during the day on a plate and force them to eat all day. Even if it’s a diet, you should break down your cat’s diet into several meals. The fact that you give them all the food in one meal can cause ineffective food absorption and metabolic disorders.

Step #5: Reduce rewarding cats with food

You should significantly cut down on the amount of food that you give to your cat whenever your cat finishes any job well. This can dramatically reduce calorie intake for cats. Instead, you should play, groom the cat and pay attention to it as positive reinforcement.

Step #6: Stimulating the cat’s hunting instinct

Another way to change your cat’s behavior is to get her to imitate predatory behavior. Remember, a wild cat lives by catching mice three to four times a day and is accustomed to eating small foods throughout the day. 

Fill a few small bowls of food and hide them around the house to stimulate their hunting behavior. This will cause your cat to ‘hunt’ and consume energy to try to find its food bowl.

  • This fake hunting makes your cat physically and mentally satisfied.
  • You can also use a playing ball filled with food. This makes the cat enjoy playing with the ball and smashing it around to make the kibble fall off.

Final Thoughts

So, how to safely put a cat on a diet? You should pay attention to high-quality foods containing meat, control food intake, and make your cats more active. Help your pet live longer, leaner, and have a more exciting life.

We recommend that you read the cat food and supplies related post based on our experience in cat care.


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