Dieting your cat through habit adjustments

Cat overeating can be linked to a habit. And feline habits are linked to lifestyle rhythms. If you adjust the habit you can potentially reduce food intact. Ways to diet a cat are important as according to the veterinarians there is an obesity epidemic among the domestic cat population in developed countries. I’ll explain what I mean through personal experience.

Domestic cat expecting a treat
Domestic cat expecting a treat. Photo: Pixabay.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


Every morning I buy the newspaper and when I return home I give my cat a treat of prawns. That’s the routine, the rhythm. My cat will ask for prawns at this moment even if he does not want them or is hungry enough to eat them. This is because I’ve generated the habit.

Rarely he refuses to eat them even though they are his favourite treat. This is a good response. He’s able to respond to his lack of appetite. But he does ask me for the treat. He only realises that he doesn’t want it when the meal is presented to him.

Under those circumstances some cats – perhaps those who are bored – might eat the prawns nonetheless. This is overeating and failing to respond to a signal that the cat lacks appetite.

How many treats to give a cat a day?
How many treats to give a cat a day?

If you stop giving treats at certain times it might break the routine. In doing so it might stop that trigger moment which tells the cat to eat even though he is not hungry.

It has always surprised me that domestic cats overeat. How else can they become obese other than eating more than they need? One reason is habit.

Their treats and meals are dished up at the same time in a rhythmical way. The cat expects and he responds automatically and eats. This is pure cat domestication. You don’t see it in the wild where wild cats are opportunistic hunters. They grab what they can when they can.

I believe that one aspect of dieting a cat is to break up these habits. Another, of course, it to simply feed him or her less. The former is probably easier for the cat than the latter.

P.S. My cat is an ideal weight. He always has been.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

1 thought on “Dieting your cat through habit adjustments”

  1. My cats have a bowl of dry food that is replenished as needed; an endless supply, if you will. I also give them wet food two or three times a day, when the elder one asks for it. They also get treats when he asks for them. I know what he is asking for depending where he sits. The younger one doesn’t always stop by for her treat, which is good since she is a little too plump.

    Although my process is not perfect, I have somewhat found a way around the over-treating issue. In their endless food bowl, I place one brand of cat food. As their treats, I use another brand of cat food, Fancy Feast. They like it better than the other brand, which allows me to “treat” them with the FF.

    This way I can monitor their “treats” as well as make sure the older one is getting enough to eat. I don’t think the older one eats at the endless bowl any more. The younger one needs to play more. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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