Obesity in cats is common. House cats usually sleep a lot, are often bored, and have full access to a buffet of food. Most often, clients do not realize that their cat is obese, they also do not realize that they are contributing to their cat’s condition. Furthermore, clients also do not always realize that their cat being fat isn’t cute, it’s dangerous. Obesity in cats can lead to a myriad of health issues. It increases their risk of developing diabetes, urinary crystals, liver problems, and arthritis. It might be hard to get a client motivated to help their cat lose weight. It can be a frustratingly long process that takes place over years. However, the cat will end up benefiting from the effort and its lifespan can be increased as a result of healthy body weight. Below are a couple of tips that veterinarians and veterinary technicians can give to motivate their clients to help their cats.
1. Choose a vet diet. Veterinarians are not suggesting that clients feed their cats vet diets to make money. They are promoting the diet because studies show that the diet works. Just decreasing the portion of the cat’s normal food can be dangerous. With the decreased portion they might not be receiving the right number of vitamins and nutrients that they need. In addition, the cat will still be hungry after eating its measly portion which can drive a frustrated client crazy. A vet diet ensures that the cat is receiving all of its nutrients. In addition, the cat will be able to have more of it and feel fuller for longer. Often, a vet diet will be supplemented with fiber which helps the digestive tract as well as enabling the cat to eat more of the diet food without consuming extra fat or calories. In addition, it is important to create a feeding plan with the client to make sure that they know how much to feed, as well as, to ensure that the veterinary team is with them to help.
2. Encourage movement. There are a few ways that a client can help encourage their cat to get moving. This might seem difficult at first if all the cat wants to do is sleep constantly, but once exercise begins then it only gets easier. The client can start by feeding the cat its measured potions of diet food multiple times a day. They shouldn’t, however, feed more than the daily amount, but feed that daily amount a little at a time throughout the day. This actually encourages movement. Each time the owner puts food in the bowl the cat will usually get up from its nap and wander to the bowl on its way it might socialize with the owner. Just this is a start to movement. In addition, food can also be served in a food toy. By just feeding the food in a bowl or platter does not offer any challenge. However, feeding the food in a food toy enables the cat to play, move, and hunt to get its meal. Food toys combined with multiple meals a day is a perfect start to encouraging the cat to move.
3. More movement. Its no surprise that exercise is a key role; however, ideally it must be used in conjunction with diet food for best results. Clients should be encouraged to spend time with their cats and play with them. A good idea is to play “fetch” with their food pellets. This way the cat gets their meal and an exercise. Another method is to rotate the cat’s toys. A rotation of new and old cat toys will encourage the cat to be curious. Each week, the client should give the cat half of its toys, and the next week the other half. This way their curiosity will be renewed, and they will have to reintroduce themselves to the toy all over again, encouraging movement. Feline weight loss is hard. It can be difficult for the client, for the cat, and for the vet team but the important thing is that you keep encouraging the client to keep going. Help them notice small victories and help them keep trying. Overall, the cat and the client will be thankful for the help.