Getting your cat to lose weight can be especially challenging since you can’t just hitch them up to the leash and take them for longer walks every day, or play more catch in the backyard. But it’s definitely important and worth doing since overweight cats are prone to the development of serious diseases such as diabetes.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they have to eat meat. We’ve altered the diet of housecats to be more convenient (and affordable). Commercial cat foods often contain large amounts of grains, which may predispose them to weight gain. Often if we increase the proportion of protein in the diet, by using special foods that are designed to accomplish this, we can stimulate metabolism and cause weight loss.
Other strategies include increasing activity with more playtime. There are also “puzzle toys” that allow you to place kibble on the inside. The cat must play with the ball, rolling it around on the floor to get the kibble to come out.
Remember that rapid weight loss through severe calorie restriction is an extremely dangerous strategy to employ with cats. The mobilization of fat stores can lead to a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis. Never undertake a weight loss program with your cat without the help of your veterinarian.