Inactivity, constant access to food and stress are common factors that can contribute to unhealthy weight gain in cats.
Cats, especially those who stay indoors, require environmental enrichment to keep them active and prevent them from becoming bored and sedentary. Stress is another factor to consider when thinking about inactivity. Not only will a cat that is experiencing stress often hide, reducing their activity levels, a cat that has little environmental enrichment can become bored and this can cause stress in cats creating a vicious cycle.
Over-eating can also contribute to weight gain in cats. This is often a result of competition between cats in the home: concern that another cat will eat all of their food fosters an unhealthy desire to eat as much as possible, as quickly as possible. This stress over resources can also lead to other stress related behaviours.
Provide environmental enrichment, including toys, climbing structures and active play sessions with you.
Monitor your cat's food intake: feed measured amounts at set times of day, rather than “buffet style” free access feeding.
Talk to your veterinarian about different cat food choices to help encourage a healthy weight.
Plug in a Feliway Diffuser in the room where your cat spends most of its time. Keep the Diffuser plugged in continuously for at least 30 days to help reduce overall stress. Replace Refills monthly or as needed.
If weight gain continues, book an appointment with your veterinarian to confirm there is no underlying medical condition that is contributing to the weight gain.
Keeping your cat fit and at a healthy weight is essential for their long-term health. Obesity in cats is a major health concern that can lead to other major health problems like heart disease, osteoarthritis and diabetes.
When trying to encourage weight loss in your cat, slow and steady is the best approach. Rapid weight loss in cats can lead to a very serious disease of the liver. If your cat stops eating, see your vet immediately.