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A Cat Diet

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.

Associated posts:

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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Comments for
A Cat Diet

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Jan 15, 2010 Commercial cat food
by: Michael

Spot on Everycat. Commercial cat food promotes overeating. It is very hard to find commercial cat food that is not too expensive and which mirrors good quality homemade cat food.

Do you have a recommendation?


Jan 10, 2010 Cats diet
by: Jan Plant

I am so glad you all contribute so much excellent information here.I wouldn't know where to begin to look up any of this info.Surely not Y/A. I knew some of this,but never thought about the carb. problem in cats also.Thanks so much!


Jan 09, 2010 Dump the rubbish!
by: Everycat

The best weight reduction diets for cats are the best diets for any cat - species appropriate, high quality proteins, essential micronutrients etc which unfortunately most commercially available cat foods (in the UK) are most definately not.

Avoiding foods which contain more han 5% carbohydrate gives a cat a head start in losing weight, because it's short digestive tract is 100% suited to metabolising good quality protein via an incredibly small proportion of carbohydrate.

In the wild, a cat gets carbohydrate in the form of whatever it's herbivorous prey has in its stomach at the point of death. This will always be in small quantities as the size of prey is appropriate to the size of predator.

So many prescription foods contain 30% to 50% carbohydrate in the form of cerals such as wheat and soy. This is disasterous for our cats, leading to obesity and all it's complications and also such horros as IBD.

Rice is the only useful carbohydrate for cats and then only in tiny quanities for cats with sensitive digestive systems - rice along with white fish or chicken.

The addition of vegetables, pulses and herbs to cat food is a total nonsense and the product of clever marketing to humans.

Cutting calories leads to the cat being very hungry, unsettled and stressed. As in humans it's now been proved that it isn't just calories in and calories out, it's the source of those calories that matter. Carbohydrates do nothing but sabotage successful weightloss in overweight carnivores. They lead to greater hunger pangs. Feeding unpalatable foods, I consider a waste of money and a torment to the cat.

Even Hills MD the diet for diabetic or overweight cats contains something like 36% carbohydrates and all manner of dreadful and useless by products from human food processing.

Cat food manufacturers, it's the cat you are supposed to be nourishing NOT just your profits!
Please make species appropriate foods for cats. They can do it in America and the rest of Europe, why can't you manage it in the UK?


Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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