There are several ways in which owners can help their cats to lose weight:

·        Making a slight adjustment to the diet early on, particularly once the cat has been neutered, can have a major effect in the long term.  Changing from a maintenance diet to a ‘light’ one may be sufficient, or reducing the intake by about 10 per cent over the course of the day.

·        Keep a food diary so that you can really keep track of what your cat eats.  Leaving food down ‘ad lib’ is much more likely to lead to a problem than measuring out a set amount each day and feeding it in small meals.

·        Make sure no one else in the family or neighbourhood is feeding your cat.  Putting a clearly marked collar on your cat may help.

·        Spend some time each day playing with toys that encourage your cat’s hunting and chasing instincts.  This can be as simple as a low-energy laser spot or one of the fishing rood type toys.

·        If you feed dry food, food-based toys will help encourage your cat to keep active.  These can be purchased or even handmade.

By Laura Dumm·        In multi-cat households, it’s good practice to get into the habit of feeding each cat separately, as their feeding requirements may well differ.  It is possible to buy feeding bowls with electronic lids that are triggered by the microchip of just one specific cat.

·        Moist foods are less dense in calories, so these may be a preferable choice for overweight cats.

·        Find support – many vet practices run nurse-led weight reduction clinics on a regular basis.

·        An obese cat may need encouragement to become more active.  If he’s been used to being a couch potato, spend a few minutes every hour or so if possible, throwing a cat nip toy just a few inches past where he’s sitting or lying.  The act of getting up and retrieving it, having a little bat around will burn a few calories.  This will mount up over the course of the day.  He isn’t likely to want to run around if he’s only used to snoozing all day, so patience is the key word here.

·        Rather than cutting a meal out completely, reduce the amount he has each meal time slightly.  Done in this way, he is less likely to realise that he’s eating less.  Write it down in the notebook to keep track of what he’s eaten.

And finally, if he looks sad, and lies on the floor pretending he’s starving to death, don’t cave in.  Start playing with him or groom him, to take his mind off his stomach.  If he associates play time as a happy time with you, his personal assistant, then he might just forget how hungry he is and enjoy the play time sessions instead. 

Huge thanks to Laura Dumm for her wonderful illustration.  Find Laura on Facebook:

A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure