Cats Health Cards N°12. How to manage overweight in the cat?



How to manage overweight in the cat?

Cats have less energy requirements than dogs, which predisposes them to obesity (a cat needs half the size of a dog of the same size). It is necessary quickly to fight against any excess weight, not because of the physical appearance that the latter gives to the cat, but more to keep the animal in excellent state of health.

Indeed, obesity favors the emergence of pathologies (it can for example generate diabetes) and it aggravates all the pre-existing pathologies.

Significantly overweight reduces the quality of life of the cat and its life expectancy.

When should I estimate that my cat is overweight?

Given the individual variations of size and size in the cat, it is not possible to define an "ideal" weight for a cat of a given age.

A simple method, on the other hand, makes it possible to estimate whether your pet is too big or not:

A cat has a correct weight if it is possible, by placing the hands flat on each side of its chest, to easily count its ribs with the pulp of the fingers without having to press.

If the ribs are difficult to count, the animal is overweight.

In addition, fat accumulates preferentially in the area of ​​the groin in the cat. If a pocket of fat is present at the bottom of the kitty's belly, it is too big.

Why is my cat too big?

Overweight has several possible origins: These may include problems with the cat's lifestyle or the environment in which it is operating. Eating mistakes can also cause weight gain. Finally, some diseases are often accompanied by obesity.

Overweight related to the cat's living environment or changes in lifestyle


Sterilization reduces the cat's energy requirements by 30% and tends to increase its food intake and make it more sedentary: it eats more and does less exercise ...

Your veterinarian will advise you on a diet adapted to the changes induced by the intervention in order to avoid any weight gain.


When the living environment of the cat is too calm, no distraction is proposed (few games present at home, no possibility of exit ...), or it remains alone permanently, it will develop a certain form Of anxiety which can itself result in the appearance of bulimia: the cat finds a calming in the consumption of food.

This "boredom" is sometimes highlighted by abnormal behavior of the animal like a "quarter of an hour of madness" in the evening, aggressions around the time of the meals, or even "attacks" on everything in motion (Including owners ...)


Sometimes the cat lived in an environment that suited him perfectly but an important change will change his habits and be accompanied by weight gain. This may be the case when:

~ Moving house with garden for an apartment

~ Death of a member of the family or animal with which the cat played enormously

~ Owners returning after a work stoppage or long absence of masters for holidays ... (the cat is left alone all day)

Errors concerning the type of food proposed or its mode of distribution


Many food errors are committed by ignorance of the feeding behavior of the cat in the natural environment:

In the wild, it hunts many prey all day. It therefore eats small amounts but 15 to 20 times a day.

Often the cat receives two large meals during the day. He then does not have access to the food permanently as he would like, which stresses him.

As soon as he is offered a meal, he ingests it very quickly by "fear of missing" and the owner, having the impression that the cat did not eat "to his hunger", offers him a new ration: a True vicious circle appears then ...


Poor or inadequate foods can also cause weight gain.

A food too rich in fat increases the appetite of the ration: the cat eats much more than its hunger.

Diseases responsible for obesity

Some cases of obesity can be explained by diseases or previous cat treatments that can cause significant weight gain. This is the case for endocrine disorders (diabetes or thyroid problems), malformations or tumors of the central nervous system, or repeated administration of certain drugs such as corticosteroids.

Behavioral disorders

Two types of behavioral pathologies can explain in the cat the absence of regulation of the food intake: an hyperactivity or a serious problem of anxiety or even a depressive state.


Some cats with hyperactivity fail to control themselves: they are in permanent activity and never manage to calm down. They also do not experience the feeling of satiation and eat very large amounts of food.

Eating disorders are accompanied, in this case, by other behavioral problems: these cats are particularly brutal when they play and very awkward (they spill everything in their path ...), they are permanently in motion and sleep very little.

The excess weight of these animals is often limited because of their permanent activity and frequent vomiting which follows the absorption too much of their meals.


When an animal is very anxious, it can find some appeasement in eating.

Obesity can therefore be directly linked to the presence of severe anxiety or depression.

Other behavioral abnormalities can then be highlighted and confirm the malaise of the cat:

~ Sleep disorders (sudden awakenings, day / night inversion)

~ Toilet absent or on the contrary much too important (the cat can go up

Tearing all the hair under the belly to force lick ...)

~ Unclean

~ Cat "lost", disoriented, constantly mowing

~ Unusually cowy cat

~ Chat still back, no longer interested in games ...

How to make my cat lose weight?

Overweight related to cat lifestyle or eating mistakes

When the excess weight of the animal is directly associated with the type of food, the way it is distributed or a "boring" living environment that is not conducive to movement and energy expenditure, Simple changes generally make for a clear improvement in the situation.

Your veterinarian will help you set up a real "slimming plan" that will take into account your pet's feeding preferences and that will give the cat a minimum of exercise.


In order to provide the cat with a minimum of physical exercise, he will be offered various games of observation, hunting, chase-pursuits, playful activities to share with his masters and, if possible, outings On a leash, on a small balcony or in the garden)

All of these activities will not only increase the cat's physical activity (thus limiting weight gain) but also improve its mood (with reduced risk of over-consumption of food by anxiety).


The ideal mode of distribution of food is that which is closest to the mode of feeding the cat in nature:

The cat must have access to small amounts of food throughout the day.

The chosen foods will not be too palatable (for the cat to eat without excess) and the quantity of food to be distributed will have been carefully calculated by your veterinarian according to the ideal weight to achieve in order to ensure progressive weight loss while avoiding Any risk of deficiency.

The feeding preferences of your pet will be taken into account. Thus, several types of plans can be proposed:

- a diet based on a household ration (vegetables, meat, starches and food supplement containing vitamins and trace elements) in carefully calculated quantities

- a diet based on dry industrial foods (diet croquettes)

- a mixed industrial ration (including both croquettes and cat boxes or fresh bags adapted to weight loss)

To respect the cat's natural diet, rations will be distributed throughout the day. Practically, if the cat is accustomed to a wet feed, small quantities of fresh boxes or sachets will be distributed to him several times during the day, while allowing him access to self-service kibble.

To increase the feeding time, various games can be set up around the feed: fixing a plastic cup in height which forces the cat to retrieve the croquettes with the hammer, ball or distributor cylindrical holes that drop Croquettes when the cat puts them in motion, croquettes hidden in various places of the house hardly accessible (under carpets, in narrow passages ...). Leave room for your imagination! Thanks to these games which increase the time of food intake, the cat will have the impression of having eaten much more while the same amount of food has been given to him.


Changes in rations should be made smoothly to allow the cat to adapt to it gradually without stress.

It is very important to ensure that the cat accepts his diet and that he never stays more than 48 hours without eating. In fact, excessive weight loss and too little intake can cause severe liver problems in the cat (hence the importance of taking into account the animal's feeding preferences and carefully calculating the rations to be provided with Your veterinarian)

Do not hesitate to inform your veterinarian of any problem encountered during the diet (cat refuses to feed, insistent mingling or aggressions around food ...). It will help you to make changes to the diet in order to decrease the cat's hunger sensation by increasing the volume of the diet or improving its palatability (for example, by replacing a portion of the croquettes with a wet food or vegetables Low calories like zucchini)

Overweight associated with chronic disease or chronic disorder

When the excess weight of the animal is associated with a disease or behavioral disorders that has given rise to serious anxiety or even depression, medical care becomes essential.


When a specific pathology explains the weight gain of the animal (endocrine disorder such as diabetes, central nervous lesions ...), only the specific treatment of this disease will allow the cat to regain a normal weight.


When obesity is indicative of severe behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity, anxiety or depression, your veterinarian will not only develop appropriate behavioral therapy for your cat, but it will also be associated with drug therapy that will help The cat to regain some "well-being".


Excess weight in the cat can have various origins. In some cases, the introduction of medical treatment will be necessary to return to a correct weight. In others, a diet will suffice. However, this diet should be set up gradually, be well studied and take into account the tastes of the animal to avoid failure. Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice.