Top Food Choices to Help Cats Lose Weight
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.
Weight Loss Food for Cats that Like Gravy: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Savory Selects Overweight Management Formula Canned Cat Food
Composed of fewer calories than the average cat needs, this diet from longtime pet food producer Purina was formulated with veterinarians, nutritionists, and researchers to figure out a formula that helps your cat achieve a healthy weight. The gravy inside caters to the texture preference of some cats and makes it smell tastier for them too.
Shop now: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Savory Selects Overweight Management Formula Canned Cat Food, $52; chewy.com
Best Wet Cat Food for Weight Loss: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support Weight Management Loaf in Sauce Canned Cat Food
This low-fat, high-protein food for overweight cats also contains a ton of fiber, which helps cats stay fuller longer and prevent them from wanting to eat when it’s not feeding time. And the wet texture helps keep kitty hydrated.
Shop now: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support Weight Management Loaf in Sauce Canned Cat Food, $50 chewy.com
Best Dry Cat Food for Weight Loss: Hill's Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food
Did you know that obesity can increase a cat’s risk of diabetes, skin problems, and urinary illness? That’s why it’s so important to help your cat achieve a healthy weight, and this dry cat food from Hill’s is clinically proven to do just that.
Shop now: Hill's Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, $46; chewy.com
Best Cat Food for Weight Loss and Urinary Health: Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food
If your cat is prone to developing urinary struvite or calcium oxalate crystals, this diet promotes weight loss as well as nutrients to lower the risk of developing these painful, blockage-causing crystals.
Shop now: Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, $51; chewy.com
Best Cat Treats for Weight Loss: Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Cat Treats
As long as you remember that 10 percent or less of your cat's daily calories should come from treats, this low-calorie packaged treat might fit your cat's plan to slim down. According to VCA Hospitals, water-based vegetables like broccoli, green beans, and cauliflower are healthy low calorie treats your cat could try, too!
Shop now: Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Cat Treats, $5; chewy.com
Cat Food for Finicky Overweight Cats: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Savory Selects Wet Cat Food Variety Pack
If your cat likes variety in wet food, this assortment comes in three flavors like the less expensive brands in grocery stores, but still carries the weight loss help of a special diet.
Shop now: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Savory Selects Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, $52; chewy.com
Cat Food for Felines That Love Their Paté: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Weight Control Formula Canned Cat Food
For cats who like soft food but without the gravy or extra liquid, this paté is formulated for weight loss. Royal Canin also states this food has nutrients to help lower the risk of developing urinary crystals.
Shop now: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Weight Control Formula Canned Cat Food, $42; chewy.com
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.