Hills prescription diet cat food

Top Food Choices to Help Cats Lose Weight

The best cat weight loss programs mix a veterinarian's advice with portion control and maybe even a new, special diet.
By Brendan Howard
January 20, 2021
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OK, so your cat's a little round around the middle, or your veterinarian has told you that your favorite feline is overweight. And the coronavirus pandemic isn't making your pet's weight any easier to manage. In fact, a recent survey from Hill's Pet Nutrition says that a whopping one-third of pet owners report that their animals have gained weight during the pandemic.

If the issue is not an underlying medical condition, the two things you can adjust to help your cat lose excess weight are exercise and diet. Unless your cat would be more active with a new housemate or better toys, your cat's diet is where you can maintain the most control. You can feed your cat less of the food he already enjoys, or try a different formulation made specifically for weight management.

Remember though that cats can be finicky, especially about texture (wet vs. dry), says Lori Prantil, MPS, DVM, who counsels pet owners on nutrition at VCA South Shore Weymouth

"Cats can develop texture preference early in life," Prantil says. So a dry-food eater may turn up her nose at wet food. "We don't want to give a paté eater gravy, or a stew eater paté without gravy," she explains.

Your veterinarian may be able to recommend a perfect over-the-counter brand or therapeutic diet that matches your cat's unique medical profile. If you have been told by your vet that your pet needs to shed some pounds, we should clarify that all of these products do require a prescription at checkout.

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Some cat owners also make homemade recipes. If that sounds right for you, Prantil recommends BalanceIT.com. The website's AutoBalancer EZ for Healthy Adult Pets is restricted to healthy pets, so if your cat has any underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or another illness, it's critical to talk to the vet first before making any changes to your cat's diet or exercise routine.