Palatable or Not? Photo copyright Stockxpert
Here is a cat diet that is extremely simple. It is not based on one of the ever present and sought after Hills Science Diets that have a "d" on the end; r/d, l/d or any other "d" (and there are lots). No, it concerns the "c" - pure commonsense.
In the modern age of relative prosperity (barring the current recession at Jan 2010) becoming overweight is easy. We like our food. It is a great stimulus. And if we eat a bit too much so might our cat.
There are three ways for a healthy cat to loss weight; eat more food that contains less calories, put down less food (less available food) or the cat eats less by choice, (or an overlap of all three).
This is a cat diet that is about the last method - our cat eating less by choice, a reversion to the way it should be. There is of course the option of more exercise but for the indoor cat natural exercise is harder to come by and are we going to play enough?
Cat manufacturers spend a ton of money on making cat food smell and taste better so cats like it more. Smell plays a major role and what smells good to us does not mean that it smells good to our cat.
I recently bought some quite expensive wet cat food supplement, Burns Chicken and Rice and it smelled great to me but not to Charlie, my three legged friend nor Timmy the stray. It is a right-off, virtually. But it is potentially a great cat diet. And this is the trick.
We should have a bit of knowledge about our cats preferences in regard to food - what they like, what they turn their noses up to and the mass of food in between. Armed with that knowledge (and if we don't know it is easy to find out) we can try the following.
For, say, three of the 7 days of the week we can put down a food that is less palatable to our cat and if we have two cats that, of course makes it more complicated but it should be food that is less palatable to both cats. The cat will eat it when hungry but not when not hungry, the normal state of affairs.
After about three weeks or so the cat loses weight. Different types of food (all should be of good quality) can be used to increase or decrease weight. If our cat has suffered some weight loss but is deemed in good health by our veterinarian putting down an extremely palatable food may encourage an appetite; the opposite objective but a cat diet nonetheless.
The first call is learning our cat's preferences, which should come fairly naturally over time anyway and then it's just a question of cat food management.
Note:... this cat diet may sound harsh. We have to decide whether the ill health that can accompany overweight cats outweighs some days of eating food that is not the cat's favorite. Wildcats often have to eat food that is not favoured.
Definiton of Palatable: Acceptable to the taste; sufficiently agreeable in flavor to be eaten.
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