How & Why to Keep Kitty Slim

Many cats today are overweight. Although your cat may look adorable when he’s chubby, the extra pounds a cat carries can lead to significant health problems. Obese cats are prone to diseases and complications such as diabetes, constipation and joint pain.

The following tips can help your cat lose weight or keep him slim:

  • Include canned food as a portion of the diet. We recommend feeding about half the daily calories via canned food.
  • Cats that eat mostly carbohydrates will likely be heavier because cats metabolize
    carbohydrates less efficiently than other species. Dry food is high in carbohydrates.
  • Canned food is higher in protein and moisture than dry food so cats feel fuller while consuming fewer calories.
  • Calculate daily calorie requirements.
  • We can help you determine how many calories your cat needs each day. Below is a
    chart with general amounts based on current body weight and reproductive status.
  • Look for the calories per cup or can on the label of your cat’s diet. We can help you to determine how much to feed or recommend a diet specific to your pet’s needs.
  • Remember that the total amount of calories is for ALL food consumed. Include treats as calories consumed. Treats should not account for more than 10% of the daily calories.

Exercise through play!

  • Feed a portion of the daily dry food in a treat ball or other dispensing toy. This is a great way to exercise a food motivated cat!
  • If you have a single pet in the house you can try hiding kibble in various locations to allow them to ‘hunt’ for some of their food.
  • Use a laser pointer to exercise your cat. If your cat isn’t too interested in the laser try using the laser to guide them to a low-calorie treat or piece of their daily kibble amount.
  • Toys on a string are great to allow cats to use their ‘hunting’ instinct and help strengthen the bond between you as you play together.
  • Most cats only like play sessions to last up to 15 minutes at a time. Do not exercise your cat to the point of panting or exhaustion. Multiple short sessions are much more fun and safer!

How to tell if your cat is overweight.

  • Look at your cat from above. There should be a noticeable ‘waist’ between the ribcage and hips. If your cat has too much fur to see through, run your hands down his sides.
  • You should feel an indentation in this area.
  • Look at your cat from the side. The body should slope upwards from the ribcage to the hind legs, there should not be a ‘pooch’.
  • Run your hands down your cat’s back and sides. You should be able to feel the spine and ribs without pushing hard. If you can easily see these, she may be too thin.
  • If you are unsure, contact the clinic to schedule a nutritional consult!
  • Complications of Feline Obesity.
  • Diabetes Mellitus.
  • Cats with diabetes usually require twice daily injections of insulin, special diets and careful monitoring of blood glucose levels. Diabetes can have many serious complications.


  • Cats with excess abdominal fat have difficulty passing bowel movements. This is because cats need to lift all that extra weight up to use the muscles needed to defecate. Constipation is uncomfortable and can lead to other complications.
  • Arthritis/Joint pain
  • Most senior cats will develop osteoarthritis. Cats that are overweight
  • exacerbate the pain due to their joints having to support the extra weight.
  • Lean cats are happy (and healthy) cats! We will be happy to help you determine your cat’s body condition score to tell if he is at his ideal weight. If he needs to lose weight we can help you work out calories and suggest diets based on his specific needs. Call the clinic at (306)373-3500 with any questions or to book a nutritional consult today!

Written by Kaila Montgomerie, RVT