All the experts and the veterinarians say that if you are going to embark on a weight loss program for your overweight domestic cat you should do it gently because too-rapid weight loss can result in serious metabolic problems such as hepatic lipidosis, which is also known as fatty liver syndrome. It can be very serious and it can lead to the death of the cat in the worst case scenario. Fatty liver syndrome is a disease which is unique cats and the most common liver disease in domestic cats.
The veterinarians say that they see hepatic lipidosis most commonly when a cat has eaten little or nothing for 3 to 4 consecutive days. And the chances of it occurring are greater in cats who are overweight before the too-rapid dieting began. I’ve mentioned dieting which is meant to be controlled but of course a cat can stop eating for a number of reasons because they’ve lost their appetite. I hadn’t realised how serious a failure to eat could be in terms of damaging a cat’s health.
Weight loss is a current topic of conversation for cat owners because the veterinarians have described a “obesity epidemic” in domestic cats at present in the US and the UK. And preventing obesity is the most important thing that a cat owner can do to prolong the life of an older cat.
Overweight, older cats should be placed on a weight-loss diet but before doing so owners should talk to their veterinarian to make sure that there are no underlying medical concerns which may be impacted by weight loss. As mentioned, they should lose weight gradually at no more than 1.5% of the initial body weight per week. This is 67 grams per week for a 10 pound standard cat.
Current studies indicate that for dieting cat owners should feed a restricted-calorie reduced diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrate which is close to a cat’s natural diet. The cat should be fed a regular diet in the form of measured meals 2 or 3 times a day and when she has finished the food in her bowl she must wait for her next meal. Kitchen scraps and treats et cetera should not be fed and the cat’s behaviour should be monitored in case she is finding food elsewhere. This is a reference to going to neighbours to eat which is common in cats who are allowed outside.
The cats weight should be monitored and recorded losing about 1% of her body weight per week. Above I have said “no more than 1.5%”. This advice does not clash. Exercise should be added to the new diet and many indoor cats need more exercise. L-carnitine as a supplement may help your cat to reduce weight as it can increase lean body mass. A veterinarian should be consulted when feeling about 250 to 500 mg per day. The diet might last from 4 to 8 weeks and the weight should be maintained at the new level by treating a high quality balance food in the proper amount.