Obesity is a growing problem in our pets, and cats are no exception. They can grow very complacent with a lifestyle of squidgy sofas and full food bowls! In the wild the very act of sourcing food would be enough to keep a cat trim, they would cover a lot of ground while hunting and would need to stay fit to catch prey, they would also eat little and often, unlike the full meals they often get in a domestic lifestyle.
We all know the dangers of overweight cats, including heart disease, diabetes and joint problems. The best thing you can do to keep your cat happy and healthy is to mimic its natural lifestyle as much as possible. This will keep your cat mentally stimulated as well as improving its health and well-being. Below are some suggestions to help you do this:
Place food at top of stairs or on window sills
Place food in treat dispensers- these are toys with a hole in that you fill with treats and the cat rolls it around in order to release them. Alternatively you can take a box with holes cut in the side and place biscuits in. You cat will enjoy retrieving them with his paws.
Buy a food maze-this is a bee hive shaped product with different layers. You place biscuits on the top layer and the cat moves them by posting their paws through holes in the side. The biscuits gradually get pushed down to the bottom layer where they fall into a bowl for the cat to retrieve. You can set levels of difficulty once your cat gets the hang of it! (If you use a food maze or a treat dispenser be sure to fill them from your cat’s daily allowance-not extra!)
Play with your cat! This does not need to involve expensive toys-they often like a screwed up piece of paper, a length of string or a folded crisp packet just as much! Your cat’s natural play instinct is driven by an innate desire to chase and hunt so incorporate running, pouncing and catching into your games. Have fun discovering what your cat likes-some like to chase along the floor while others like to catch in the air, some like feathers and fluff while others prefer something solid to carry. Your cat will be burning the calories, having fun and enjoying some important bonding with you!
Your local veterinary nurse will be happy to give you more information and help you monitor your cat’s weight.