This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.


Purr machine
Purred: Thu Jun 13, '13 2:23pm PST 
Hi everyone wave

I just adopted a cat yesterday. Shes just over a year old and she needs to lose some weight. She has tummy jowls and her body is quite a bit wider than her head. I weighed her on the scale and she is about 12.5lbs. I figure she needs to be around 9-10lbs as shes quite tall.

Her old owner had her on Natural Balance Original Ultra Dry Cat Formula. So I picked her up a bag of Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe instead. As she sheds so much and her skin is dry I'm hoping the omega's help. I also bathed and brushed her out really well.

Now I should mention, I'm a dog person (two poms), so this is completely out of my element for me lol. I'm not sure how you get a cat to lose weight. They seem to do their own thing lol. I am not free feeding her, I decided against that. I'm giving her 1/4cup of wilderness twice a day (around 198kcal/day.

Will just putting her on a strict diet help or what else can I do? Oh and will the stomach jowls disappear as she loses weight or will they stay?

Thank you!

Finnegan (Finney)

I am a- CARNIVORE! Not a- Cornivore!
Purred: Thu Jun 13, '13 4:44pm PST 
The best way is to put her on a wet food diet. Dry food is over processed and doesn't contain any valuable moisture. It's good it's grain free, that'll help a lot. If you can't go all wet food, at least incorporate it into her diet. Maybe dry during the day if you're at work and wet food at night. She needs to lose the weight SLOWLY because kitties can develop fatty liver disease if they lose weight too fast.

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Thu Jun 13, '13 5:12pm PST 
Most people here will tell you to ditch all the dry food and feed canned or raw food isntead. Or at least try to feed mostly canned food (with extra water added) with a very small amount of dry food, like 80% canned and 20% dry. Dry food is horrible for cats. Think candy, greasy hamburgers and fries, super sugary cake, etc. You can read Catinfo.org for the reasons why and what a proper cat diet is. There is a section at Catinfo.org on how to help a cat to safely lose weight.

Twice a day feeding may not be enough. Many cats prefer to eat small meals throughout the day. This can be done with canned food. A programmable timed feeder works great way to go The Petsafe 5 compartment feeder works great way to go You can find it at Petsmart and other pet stores.


Purr machine
Purred: Thu Jun 13, '13 7:07pm PST 
I'm confused, why is dry food so bad? I've just never heard that before shrug

I respect those that feed raw, but its not a route I'll be going for my kitty smile I may be able to incorporate some wet cat food, but I will have to shop around for prices as wet is alot more expensive than dry. Any brands you guys recommend?

I did notice that she does graze. Her morning food lasts until about 3pm, then I put in the second portion in at 5pm. But she still only gets the portion controlled amount. For being a chubby cat she doesn't eat a whole lot.

Is there anything else I can do for her to help her lose the weight?

Thank you kindly for all the suggestions smile


My name is not- Kittyfloss!
Purred: Fri Jun 14, '13 5:02am PST 
Hi, and congratulations on adopting your first kitty!

Dry food is not a great food for cats for several reasons. Dry kibble has a very low moisture content. Our domestic cats are descended from small desert cats (Middle Eastern wildcat, Felis sylvestris) who obtain most of their water requirement from their food and , therefore, they do not have a strong thirst drive. This is also true of domestic cats. Although cats fed dry food will drink water, they almost never drink enough and are therefore constantly in a state of dehydration. This constant state of dehydration is expecially taxing on the urinary tract system and can help cause dangerous crystals, especially in male cats.

Kibble also contains too many carbohydrates, even grain free kibble. Look at the ingredients of your Wilderness Salmon Recipe, potato starch, peas, potatoes, etc. are all sources of carbohydrates. These ingredients are what help the kibble pieces stick together rather than crumble into dust.

Kibble also contains too much plant protein as opposed to meat protein. See the pea protein ingredient in your kibble? That is their to up the total protein content of the food, but plant proteins do not contain the same amino acid profile as animal proteins.

It might be helpful to add here that cats are obligate carnivores, like ferrets and seals. This means that they obtain all their nutritional requirements from meat and do not need any other form of food.

You asked about good brands of canned food. Just look for foods that are grain free and contain "meat" as opposed to "meat by-products". Also, the first ingredient(s) should by meat, not something like potatoes. Brands I buy are Nature's Variety Instinct, Dave's, Weruva, EVO, some Merrick's; many people also get Wellness. Some people say that any wet food is better than any dry food. You can also check out the Fancy Feast Classic flavors. Although they are not "premium" foods, they have fewer iffy ingredients than some other, cheaper, canned foods.

As for losing weight, the best thing to do is to get her to play several times a day. Wand toys, laser pointers, chasing balls, etc.

Best of luck with your new fur!

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Fri Jun 14, '13 9:16am PST 
Many pet food companies won't tell you that dry food is bad for cats shrug And many vets, especially older ones, will tell you that dry food is good shrug Vet school doesn't teach much about proper nutrition shrug

Shade posted some reasons why dry food is bad. Read http://www.catifno.org for a more detailed explanation of why dry food is bad. Catinfo.org is owned and maintained by a real vet who has an interest in proper cat nutrition way to go

Canned food is good if you can't do raw smile We understand that not everyone can do raw food for whatever reason. Yes, canned food is most expensive than a big bag of dry food but think of it this way: would you rather spend a little more money now for a good proper food and avoid many common health issues that can occur later in life? Or would you rather spend as little as possible for a cheap dry food and end up with expensive health problems (diabetes, obesity, urinary problems, etc) later in life?

100% canned is ideal but not doable for everyone for whatever reason. At least try for 50% canned and 50% dry, more canned than dry would be better. Add extra water to the canned food to help make up for the lack of water in dry food. A well hydrated cat is a healthy cat way to go

Any brand of canned food is better than the cheapest dry food, IMO. Ideally, though, you want a brand that is grain-free since cats can't process grains. Do you have a Petco or Petsmatr or other chain pet store? You can find some good grain-free brands there, such as Wellness and Blue Buffalo and Nature's Variety. Fancy Feast, Friskies, etc that you can find at Target, Wal Mart, supermarkets, etc are also good.

There are ways to make canned food more affordable, like buying the largest size can instead of teeny ones, buying the large can size dog version of the food (not all brands use the same formula for dogs and cats, though), buying cases of food instead of individual cans, etc.

Check out the Food and Nutrition forum for threads with suggestions on canned food brands. Here's one: http://www.catster.com/forums/Food_and_Nutrition/thread/774137

Here's a thread about buying good food on a budget: http://www.catster.com/forums/Food_and_Nutrition/thread/774451

Edited by author Fri Jun 14, '13 9:19am PST



Butt-kicker of- all other cats
Purred: Sat Jun 15, '13 6:52pm PST 
You got excellent advice here, and I also encourage you to read catinfo.org. I put my cats on wet food 5 years ago when my male cat was blocked from crystals and almost died. I did not know about wet food being better, even after his first bout with crystals, and instead gave him food from the vet, until I learned that wet food was better. I put him on wet food mixed with water and he has not had any more issues since.

I also had a female cat, who was a kibble-o-holic and would not touch canned food, she was a small cat carrying around 14 pounds when she was more suited to be about 9 pounds. It took a lot of work and it was not easy, but I finally managed to get her converted. She ended up losing the weight, slowly, just like I was told to do, and she went from the 14 pounds to 9.3 pounds over the course of a year.

I have a feeling your cat might be like my girl cat was, and not to anxious to eat wet food. If you decide to make the change, and she won't, please come back and I can tell you exactly what I did and how I managed to convert my very stubborn cat. It can be done! Do not be discouraged if she refuses it at first. Of course, you may get lucky and have one of those pig cats (like both of my boys) who will eat anything you put in front of them, and then it will be easy, but if you have one like Beep, it will not be as easy, but it can be done.

Hopefully you will read up on catinfo.org and see why it is better to feed wet food. You will save yourself much aggravation down the road.


Purr machine
Purred: Sat Jun 22, '13 10:21am PST 
Thank you everyone for all the wonderful advice. I did check out that website and it was a wealth of knowledge smile

Since I last posted I have been trying to do 50/50, but its not going all that well. My husband bought the wrong wet food and got Wellness Signature Select instead of the Wellness Core. Guenhwyvar doesn't seem thrilled about it. The first day I tried and left it out for about 12hrs and she did not touch it. Its been off and on since then. Sometimes she will eat it over a period of 3-4hrs and other times I have to toss it in the trash because she refused to touch it.

I'm going to try the Wellness Core now that shes out of Wellness Signature Select. I'm only getting a couple cans at a time to try to find one she likes.

She already looks less bloated though and she has lost a little bit of weight, not alot, but some. The shedding is not as extreme as the first day I got her either. But I brush and bath her regularly.

I've decided to switch her to 100% wet, the 50/50 dry I think is causing an issue. She won't eat the wet, if the dry is there. When I sat down and actually figured it out its going to cost me about $68 for Wellness Core 5.5oz cans for a month or about $52 for Wellness Chicken/Herring 12oz. So thats doable. I spend that much a month on my dogs, might as well do it for my cat too.

I wouldn't mind some help figuring out exactly how much wet to feed her a day.

Thank you smile

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Sat Jun 22, '13 4:42pm PST 
Yup, if you remove the dry food the cat has to eat the canned smile Dry food is like candy - if it's available the cat will eat it first because dry food is coated in a yummy coating that cat's can't get enough of. Like a Human kid having a choice between steamed veggies and an ice cream sundae with toppings. Of course the kid is going to choose the ice cream sundae shrug

There are tips on how to help a cat to lose weight here: http://www.catinfo.org/?link=felineobesity

20 to 25 calories per pound of ideal body weight will help. Most 10 pound health weight cats only need about 200 to 250 calories a day. But don't drastically reduce the amount of calories just yet. That can lead to fatty liver disease. Figure out how many calories your cat is currently getting and then slowly reduce the amount of calories until your cat is getting enough to start shedding the extra weight.Once the ideal weight is acheieved, then just maintain the amount of food. Don't forget the exercise smile

The nutrition label on pet food is useless because they don't tell exact nutritional content. There are online charts that lists the exact nutrional content of pet foods. Here's a pretty recent canned food chart that includes Wellness: http://www.catinfo.org/docs/FoodChartPublic9-22-12.pdf The 5.5 oz cans of Wellness Core run around 200 calories per can so maybe you can feed one can per day, maybe a little more to start with thinking

A 100% canned food diet will definitely help with the weight loss and also help keep your cat healthy way to go

Edited by author Sat Jun 22, '13 4:44pm PST