How many calories does my cat need to lose weight?
The reference book that I have says that an older cat who is about the right weight needs about 20 cal per pound of bodyweight per day and sometimes even less to meet his or her calorific needs. A cat hospital website says that the average indoor cat should have 20 cal per pound of bodyweight to maintain an average weight. An indoor/outdoor cat will need somewhere in the order of 35 cal per day per pound of weight.
If the average weight of the cat is about 10 pounds then then the average daily intake should be around 200 cal. The cat food labels should tell you how many calories are in a serving of cat food and the serving size. From these figures you can work out the number of calories your cat needs to lose weight. If you have an alternative opinion please voice it in a comment.
There are weight reducing cat foods on the market but they don’t work! Weight control cat foods are low in fat and high in processed grain carbohydrate plus indigestible fibre. It is argued that this sort of food will not reduce weight and possibly do worse. It is similar to the constituents of typical dry cat food which puts on weight. A lot of people think that the increased use of dry cat food is at least partly responsible for the cat obesity epidemic.
One vet says that weight control foods invariably fail because the cat receives less natural nourishment because the added fibre creates constipating residue and decreases nutrient digestibility. The cat experiences less satisfaction from protein and fat signals to his brain and craves more food. And highly processed carbohydrate stimulates greater overproduction of insulin with deposition of more fat. Usually the cat will not lose weight unless the portion size is reduced to “near-starvation levels”. The cat is hungry and miserable.
Dietary fat does not make a domestic cats fat but high levels of dietary carbohydrate do. The Atkins diet for humans is the kind of diet that a domestic cat needs. Remove carbohydrate and replace it with protein and fat. Most wet foods have the right balance of nutrients to sustain health in the cat. It is said that simply converting from dry to wet cat food will help the cat to lose weight. A lot of cats do not overeat wet foods and the corollary is that a lot of cats overeat dry cat food. The fat and protein content of wet cat foods “sends the natural satiety to the cat’s brain when enough food has been consumed”. Overweight cats should be given set portions rather than a bottomless bowl of dry cat food.
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Obese cats will lose from 4 to 16 ounces per month without restricting portion size severely. An overweight cat of around 14 or more pounds should need about 9 ounces of good quality wet cat food daily to provide an adequate supply calories and to keep his appetite satisfied. Overweight cats of about 12 – 14 pounds need about 6-7 ounces of low carbohydrate food every day.
The books referred to are: Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook and Your Cat. The veterinarian referred to is Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM who wrote Your Cat. The website referred to is: www.allfelinehospital.com.
I am SO glad you mentioned the reference to the Atkins diet. From a medical view point, both diabetic and hypoglycemic, carbohydrates have NEVER caused weight loss. And don’t forget that the natural diet for cats contains almost all meat/fat. They don’t naturally eat grains of any kind, especially not corn.
Increasing their activity level a little bit more each day will also help with their weight loss. Don’t start a sedentary cat out with hours of play the first day. Remember what it feels like when you over do it at the gym? Sedentary cats will experience the same. Plus, they may have a heart attack from over exertion.
Thanks Cat’s Meow for your wise input – appreciated.