Best Food For Cat Weight Loss If you have a cat, you know just how important it is to make sure they stay trim and healthy. A cat that’s overweight can develop all sorts of problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and joint pain. Making sure our cats are fit and healthy is an important part of cat ownership. Our blog reviews the best food for weight loss in cats to help get your furry friend back on track.
Best Food For Cat Weight Loss
Is your cat struggling with weight? Well, for starters, you cannot enroll them in the gym. However, you can change their diet to help them lose weight.
Weight gain can be dangerous in cats as it makes them prone to health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, urinary tract disease, and osteoarthritis. In addition, it reduces your pet’s lifespan, which definitely is not a good thing. Bottom line, your cat needs to lose weight. But how?
If you are thinking of reducing their food quantity and putting them on an extreme diet, you are wrong. This will only cause more health problems like fatty liver disease. Instead, your cat should lose weight slowly and steadily. And the best way to achieve this is by introducing your cat to food for weight loss.
To help with that, we’ve reviewed the best cat food for weight loss
The Best Cat Food for Weight Loss
1.Nulo Grain-Free Dry Cat Food for Weight Loss – Best Overall
Nulo Grain-Free Dry Cat Food takes the stand as the best overall cat food for weight loss. It is low in carbs, grain-free, rich in proteins, and has patented probiotics to fuel your cat into action.
This recipe contains deboned duck, turkey meal, chicken meal, and deboned cod, constituting 82% of the proteins. Nulo has included high meat content and fewer digestible carbohydrates to balance the nutrition scale.
In addition, this weight loss cat food has a patented BC30 probiotic, which helps with food digestion, metabolism, and healthy gut flora.
Nulo grain-free cat food has low carbohydrates, which helps with weight management. Even though your feline is overweight, this food will ensure they retain their vitality. This will prevent your cat from respiratory diseases, kidney problems, and osteoarthritis.Pros
- Prevents tartar and plaque
- Grain-free recipe
- Good nutrition
- Great for indoor cats
- Less than pleasant odor
- Higher fat content
2.Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food – Best Low-Calorie Cat Foo
Hill’s Science Diet is the best low-calorie cat food. This is because skilled veterinary nutritionists carefully formulated the diet to guarantee that cats stay healthy and content as they lose weight. Pet owners recommend it because weight changes are visible in 10 weeks!
The formula contains essential nutrients and easy-to-digest ingredients for cats. They include whole chicken, wheat meal, rice, powdered cellulose, and corn gluten meal. All these ingredients have met stipulated requirements of nutrition and purity, so you need not worry about your cat.
This diet is perfect for indoor adult cats between 1-6 years.Pros
- Promotes healthy digestion
- All ingredients are safe for cats
- Cats love the taste
- Inconsistent kibble size
3.Instinct LID Rabbit Wet Cat Food for Weight Loss – Premium Choice
|Calories:||85 kcal/3 oz. can|
If your cat has a poultry sensitivity, it can be difficult to find food free from chicken and turkey. However, Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Real Rabbit Wet Cat Food for Weight Loss will meet your needs. Made with nutrient-rich rabbit and free from grains and dairy, this food will ensure your cat gets everything they need in their diet and nothing they don’t. It is a little pricier than some of the other options on this list but can certainly keep your cat full and healthy.Pros
- Limited ingredients
- High in protein
- Free from poultry for sensitive kitties
- Pricier option
4.Castor & Pollux Cat Food – Best Wet Cat Food for Weight Loss
|Calories:||101 kcal/3 oz. can|
The best overall wet cat food for weight loss is Castor and Pollux Grain Free Chicken Recipe. This food is made from high-quality organic chicken. It’s also higher in fiber to keep your hungry kitty feeling full for a longer stretch. There are a few more calories per can than some of the other options on this list, but the high level of nutrition and the added fiber boost will help keep your cat full and prevent begging throughout the day.Pros
- High in fiber
- Nutrient dense formula
- Organic chicken is the first ingredient
- Slightly higher in calories
5.Blue Buffalo Weight Control Adult Dry Foo
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Adult Dry Food stands out as the best diet cat food. The kibbles are not only delicious but nutritious too. This chicken-and-rice cat food is designed for optimal health immunity, lean muscle maintenance, and weight management.
It is made from real deboned chicken, a fine natural ingredient that will nourish your cat with high-quality proteins. With each serving, your cat gets 30% protein and only 10% fat. It is also rich in calories to help your feline achieve its ideal body weight.
This dry food also contains wholesome fruit, vegetables, and grains. However, it does exclude poultry by-product meals, soy, wheat, corn, and preservatives.Pros
- Antioxidants strengthen the cat’s immune system
- Natural ingredients
- Cold-formed LifeSource Bits from Blue retain potency
- Great for kittens and cats with hairballs
- It is pretty expensive
What should I feed my cat? Wet versus dry food
Walk into any pet shop or supermarket and you will find an array of different cat foods – wet, dry, complete, complementary – so much to choose from, but what does it all mean?
There are many classifications of cat food according to their:
- nutritional adequacy (complete vs complementary)
- life stage (kittens, adult, senior/geriatric)
- sensitivities and lifestyle (hairball prevention, neutered, indoor, sensitive skin, etc.)
- price (economic, premium, super premium).
Complete foods give your cat all the nutrients it needs (with the exception of water) and are designed to be the main part of your cat’s diet. Complementary foods are typically treats and are nutritionally incomplete – they should form no more than 10% of your cat’s diet.
Life stage diets are nutritionally balanced for your cat’s age and lifestyle. For example, growing kittens require more protein and calories, neutered/indoor cats require fewer calories and in senior cat diets, phosphorus levels are reduced to help support ageing kidneys. On top of this, some diets are also adapted for specific requirements, for example, fibres such as psyllium can be added to help prevent hairball formation, and diets can be enhanced with fatty acids to help with skin and coat condition. You know how old your cat is and if they have any specific requirements, but should you feed wet or dry food (or a combination of the two)? Let’s look at the facts.
Wet vs dry
Cat food can be classified according to its water content:
- dry food (<14%),
- wet food (>60%), and
- semi-moist (14–59%). This latter category is mostly restricted to treats.
Wet food is cooked at high temperatures for sterilisation, which results in longer shelf life than dry diets before opening, but once opened, is more perishable. There are several textures available in wet food, such as mousse, loaf, chunks in gravy or in jelly.Dry food is mostly extruded but can also be baked. Wet food is more expensive than dry on a per calorie basis.
Benefits of wet food
Cats have evolved from arid geographical locations and their response to low moisture foods is to concentrate their urine rather than drink more water. Typical prey of the cat has a moisture content of >60% and it has been suggested that feeding wet food would be a more appropriate way to provide water to cats rather than relying on drinking water.
Dehydration in cats has been proposed as a risk factor for several diseases, including kidney disease. However, it is not clear if feeding dry food results in inadequate or worse hydration compared to feeding wet. There are several studies that assess the effect of feeding dry vs wet foods in the water status of cats, and the results are conflicting.
Wet foods are particularly useful for:
- Urinary health – Wet foods are useful to promote more urine that is more diluted, which is useful for prevention of urinary tract problems – the hypothesis is that wet food will promote a more dilute urine that could result in a lower concentration of inflammatory components in the bladder.
- Weight management – Water does not provide calories, therefore, wet food always has a lower energy density (calories) than dry food. Typical dry diets provide more than 3–4 kcal/g (some diets even higher), whereas wet food provides 0.8–1.5 kcal/g, with some weight loss diets providing even less. For this reason, wet food is bulkier and can help with weight loss or weight prevention plans.
- Constipation – Dehydration is a risk factor for constipation and feeding wet food can be beneficial in these cases, and it is a common recommendation to feed canned food to cats suffering from this problem.
Benefits of dry food
The main benefit of dry food is its ease, convenience and cost. Millions of cats over the world are fed dry food (either exclusively or in combination) and can live long healthy lives. Dry food allows for free- feeding and the food can be left out for prolonged periods of time. Some cats prefer grazing their food over the day rather than at specific mealtimes, which is the main feeding method when wet food is used.
Dry food is easier to use with food dispenser toys, as a means of environmental enrichment and to provide mental stimulation.
There are some dry diets that can have beneficial dental effects either reducing tartar formation or slowing down plaque accumulation, the latter achieved mainly by mechanical scraping of the tooth. However, not all dry diets will have adequate kibble texture to address plaque and, even if they do, they might not act on all tooth surfaces. There is a dearth of conclusive data supporting the superiority of dry food over wet on oral health. In any case, the gold standard to promote adequate dental health is tooth brushing. If you want to use a diet that slows down plaque accumulation you should use products assessed as effective by the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal (www.vohc.org).
Dry food has a higher energy density than wet.
This can be a problem in cats that cannot self- regulate their energy intake, and obesity/overweight prevalence in cats is high enough to suggest that many cats are not able to do so. However, in cats that are thin and/or have a picky appetite, which happens in some healthy cats but is also associated with the disease, dry food will provide energy
and nutrients in a concentrated, small volume, maximising the nutritional supply.
My cat only eats dry food – how can I make sure she’s getting enough water?
In cats fed dry (or mostly dry) food, it is important to promote water intake, especially to prevent urinary problems. A constant supply of fresh clean water should always be available. Other factors that can influence water intake include:
- Location of water bowls: keep the water station separate from both food and litterboxes. Choose a quiet place where your cat will not be disturbed while it drinks.
- Choice of water bowl: cats seem to prefer ceramic or steel, since plastic can give water an after taste. Use a wide, flat bowl, since some cats prefer their whiskers do not touch the container.
- Multiple drinking stations: multiple stations can help promote water intake and are indicated in multi-cat households to ensure this resource is not restricted due to conflict.
- Water fountains: some cats prefer running water, so the use of water fountains is a good alternative in these cases. These should be cleaned often, and the filters changed as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Add water to the dry food: to achieve similar moisture to wet food, the ratio is 2–3 cups of water to 1 cup of dry food.
Flavoured water: chicken broth (without garlic or onion) or tuna ‘water’ can be added to the cat’s drinking water to encourage fluid uptake.
Both dry and wet food have pros and cons. Wet food is more expensive and less easy to use but can be beneficial in cats prone to lower urinary tract disease, constipation and that are overweight. Dry food can be a very efficient way to provide calories in thin cats with food volume limitations and allows for the use of food puzzles and food toy dispensers. In order to decide which is best, a complete nutritional evaluation, including diet history and body condition score, should be carried by your vet – this is often carried out during routine check-ups (eg. at time of vaccination).
HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS FOR CATS
Keeping your cat at a healthy weight is really important, not only for their health, but also their quality of life. Obesity comes with a lot of limitations, like making it difficult to play, climb, and jump, which leads to inactivity and under-stimulated minds.
We adopted our cat Bronson at 33 pounds, and with a lot of help from his vet, successfully helped him get down to a healthy 17.3 pounds (7.8 kg). This page is a summary of what worked well for him.
* Please note that Bronson has a large frame along with a lot of extra skin from his weight loss, so we’re not suggesting that 17 pounds is a healthy weight for everyone’s cat. Every cat is different so it’s important to work with your vet on finding the appropriate daily calorie intake for your cat.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CAT’S OVERWEIGHT
Feeling your cat’s ribs is a good way to check to see if they are overweight. You should be able to feel the ribs with little padding from fat. If the padding has a similar feel to the back of your hand, it’s a good indication that your cat is a healthy weight.
Another method is a visual inspection, looking for signs of a waist. If their waist curves inward, it’s a good sign that they’re a healthy weight.
HEALTH RISKS AND ISSUES LINKED TO OBESITY
Obesity is one of the most common diseases in cats. The excess fat in obese cats negatively affects their health for a variety of reasons. Obese cats have an increased risk for many health problems and diseases including:
- Heart disease
- Urinary bladder stones
The quality and length of a cat’s life are shortened by obesity. One of the main causes of obesity in cats is the free feeding method. This is when a cat has dry food available to them at all times of the day rather than having scheduled feeding times. Scheduled feeding times allow you to control the amount of food your cat is having and observe their eating behaviors. If your cat is obese, gradually working with them to use diet and exercise in order to lose weight is the best tactic. Immediately taking away food can lead to other problems such as Hepatic Lipidosis.
PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS OF OBESITY
When Bronson was at his heaviest, he would sleep all day. The only time he would stand up would be to use the litter box and to eat. So his quality of life was extremely low. Some of the quality of life issues he experienced were:
- Not being able to properly groom himself
- Being too heavy for flea and tick medication
- Risks associated with going under anesthesia
- Low energy level, difficulty getting around
- Unable to jump and climb
Not being able to jump up to surfaces like the bed, hammocks, or cat furniture may seem small. But with Bronson, he had to constantly watch our other cats play and have fun on their cat wall furniture from the ground. It had to feel bad knowing they were all able to jump around like superheroes right in front of him and he was just watching from the floor.
For the first two years of his diet, we needed to wipe him after he used the litter box because he wasn’t able to reach his bottom.
If you are bringing a new cat into your home and are interested in starting them on a diet, please keep in mind that before that, your cat needs to continue eating and get comfortable in their new environment. For that reason, the Humane Society suggested we keep Bronson on his dry food diet for the first two weeks. During this time we were monitoring him and making sure he was continuing to eat.
RESEARCHING THE RIGHT DIET
If you’re switching your cat’s food to a new type, it’s a good idea to discuss your plan with your vet prior to implementing your cat’s new diet.
People have many strong feelings about diets, both for humans and their pets. We did quite a bit of research and talked to a couple of nutritionists prior to deciding on which diet to transition Bronson to. A very common thing we were hearing was to avoid dry food. It tends to have a lot more carbs and to be higher in calories. Dry cat food also doesn’t provide the benefits of the extra water content.
Ingrid King has a website called The Conscious Cat. On the site she wrote a really nice article called “The Best Food for your Cat: My Recommendations” which talks about different types of cat food and shares some quality brands. We found this to be a great resource to check out before choosing a diet.
We ultimately went with a grain-free diet by Weruva and are really happy with the product. One really nice thing about wet food, in general, is that you can add water to it. This helps fill your cat up and also provides extra hydration to their diet which is always good.
STARTING WITH A VET VISIT
Before starting your cat’s new diet, it’s important to start with a checkup where your vet can look for underlying health conditions that your cat may have.
When we wanted Bronson to start his new diet, we took him in for blood work and a checkup. They gave him his first official weigh-in and we explained the diet we were switching him to, a grain-free wet food diet by Weruva.
His vet then gave us a daily calorie number to feed him and offered to give him complimentary monthly weigh-ins, but since Bronson’s always hated car rides, we got a baby scale from Amazon instead.
WEANING YOUR CAT TO A NEW TYPE OF FOOD
I hear very often people say their cat won’t eat wet food. Although it may be true, a really important thing to keep in mind is to make the transition very gradually. We started with about a spoonful and mixed it in with his dry food. to his meal. At first, he wouldn’t eat the gross dry food/wet food concoction of slightly damp dry food, until we found a flavor he liked.
After that, we started the slow process of reducing his dry food and increasing wet food over the period of about a month.
Getting a baby scale was a nice investment because it allowed us to carefully track Bronson’s progress. We did weigh-ins weekly and then made slight adjustments to his diet depending on how quick or slow his weight was coming off.
The best time to weigh your cat is first thing in the morning. That way they have an empty stomach and their weight number will be more accurate from weigh-in to weigh-in. It was hard to get Bronson on the scale at first. Initially, we had to lure him onto the scale with treats. But then since it was in the morning and just before his first meal of the day, he got very excited about the treats, to the point where we had to hold him back from getting on the scale too quickly to let it calibrate.
If you’re shopping for a pet scale, be sure to get one without a lip on the top because while these probably work well for babies, they tip over very easily when trying to weigh your cat. There are plenty of nice options on Amazon, but here is a link to one we found with nice reviews.
Cats learn and act out of habit, meaning that having a scheduled feeding time for them is extremely important. Whether you are trying to help your cat lose weight, or maintain their health, a scheduled feeding time should be one of your main priorities.
One of the benefits of a scheduled feeding time is that it allows you to watch and monitor their eating behaviors. You can observe an increase or decrease in appetite, levels of interest in new food, and if they have a lack of appetite overall. These observations can be crucial to understanding and being preventative about your cat’s health. By having a scheduled feeding time, you will notice immediately if they are not eating, which could be the start of an illness. A scheduled feeding time also allows you to keep track of your cat’s daily calories, especially if you have a multiple pet household.
Do not feed snacks or food when your cat whines for them, or this will become more and more prevalent. We feed our cats at 6 am and 7 pm. This is made for our work schedule and makes it less fun on the weekends, but we’ve found it’s really helpful to keep a consistent schedule to help discourage the cats from begging for food. Bronson has these times locked in his head. I typically wake up just before my alarm because Bronson knows it’s about to go off and makes noises in anticipation of the alarm.
Early into Bronson’s diet, I began feeding him a small amount of food in the middle of the night. My thinking was that he was losing weight at the right pace, so this would be a small treat. What it taught him to do was to constantly wake me up for food and it took a few months of bad sleep to train this behavior out of him