Have you ever noticed that your furry best friends love to loaf around? (In fact, sometimes they even look like a loaf of bread!)
It’s natural for cats to sleep an average of 15 hours a day, a throwback to their wild roots (wild cats spend a lot of time resting up in between hunts in order to conserve energy). But since your cats are indoors, they’re probably not using as much energy as their wild relatives do. Plus, they’re probably eating way more than those in the wild do, which can add up to chubby felines. But don’t worry! It’s easy to help your tubby tabby shed excess pounds.
(My pudgy little princess, Daisy, is fit again after I reduced her portions of food.)
1. Get rid of the endless bowl of dry food.
Having a bottomless bowl of kibble makes it harder to monitor how much your cats are eating and encourages them to nibble all day long, which contributes to obesity. In addition, dry food has way too many carbohydrates for optimal feline health (cats don’t process carbs as well as humans do). It’s also low in moisture, which cats need to fend off painful and potentially fatal urinary tract infections. And it’s a myth that dry food fights tooth decay. Instead, try brushing their teeth and/or giving them dental treats that contain bacteria-fighting enzymes after meals.
2. Think portion size.
How much food should a cat eat, anyway? This should help: A mouse = a meal. That’s not really that much food, so quit the overfeeding. You can also read the recommended serving size, or consult your vet for assistance. Finally, think about the quality of food you’re feeding your dear cat. The lower the quality, the more unhealthy “filler” will be in the ingredients.
3. Make them want to exercise.
Catnip makes EVERY cat toy better. Often cats get very excited “under the influence” and will be more inclined to play.
4. Take them for a walk.
5. Use food puzzles.
Food puzzles allow cats to exercise while eating. Your kitty can chase the food while also burning those calories. Purrfect.
6. Make drinking water more fun.
Cats tend to drink more water if it is running and makes a fun gurgling sound. Drinking more water can help them feel full and therefore eat less food. Invest in a fancy fountain and see the difference in their water consumption.
7. Install cat shelves.
Yup, they’re just shelves for kitties, but cats love high spaces. So simply put up a few shelves in a staggered pattern, and your kitties will happily leap from shelf to shelf (and also use them for napping).
8. Rotate and hide their toys.
My girls get bored with even the coolest toys, so rotate toys in and out of your cats’ lives to keep them interested. Another tactic is to hide their toys consistently so they spend time running around trying to find them.
9. Undertake a DIY project.
Use your imagination! Open up several large paper shopping bags before you go to work. (Be sure to cut one side of each handle off to prevent strangulation. The dangling handle will also provide the cats with something to swat at.) To kick it up another notch, wrinkle one bag up in order to make the entryway smaller, cut a peephole or two in another one for hide-and-seek purposes, and hide a toy in a third bag. In effect, you’re creating an exciting game to keep your cats entertained and exercising while you’re away.
10. Adopt a friend for your cat.
Having two cats is similar to having one cat, i.e., it’s really not much more work or expense. In fact, having a second cat can actually save you work by providing your cat with more exercise through play.