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Hills WD and Hill's RD are my favored foods for weight loss in cats, but if allowed to graze, even these foods fail.

Weight Loss in Cats

I have almost never seen a cat lose weight for bariatric or natural reasons. I’ve seen them lose weight after they go ahead and get diabetes, which is the fate of many cats which are wide. But real weight loss in cats is VERY hard to achieve. It’s possible, but here’s the skinny on weight loss in cats:

Hill’s RD or WD diet, fed twice per day in limited quantities and NO GRAZING.

Hills WD and Hill’s RD are my favored foods for weight loss in cats, but if allowed to graze, even these foods fail.

Consider Hill’s WD diet, fed twice per day in limited quantity. Never FAST a cat.

Obesity in cats is very, very common. We all know cats whose bellies tend to sag, or even drag the ground.

But those fat cats might not ought to be so fat.

With significant obesity, these cats are at risk of developing “Fatty Liver Syndrome”, also known as “Hepatic Lipidosis” (by folks on my side of the table). Additionally, it is the natural and logical consequence of a life time of obesity for a cat to become diabetic.

Unlike dogs, you cannot always safely put overweight cats on a hardcore diet.

If you have a cat over 14 pounds that has been examined by a veterinarian and he has told you the pet is indeed obese, and has determined by careful physical examination that the pet is basically healthy and able to withstand a diet, here are some things you can do:

1. Feed Hill’s W/D diet or Hill’s R/D diet. There are canned and dry forms available.

W/D is primarily a urinary acidifying diet, but will not harm normal cats.

R/D is Hill’s hardcore diet food for the really obese cats. It works very well, but many times the cats just won’t eat it.

The key is this: The cat MUST eat!

Fat cats that go “cold turkey” when dieted are at great risk to develop Hepatic Lipidosis. It is for this reason that I do not even recommend “dieting” for cats that may only be as little as 3-4 pounds over ideal body weight!

2. Increase exercise for the cat by attempting to take the cat for walks around the yard. There are leashes and harnesses available that mature cats may tolerate well.

3. Never give the cats treats or scraps. These are the ultimate sabotage for any dieting effort.

4. Feed the primary caloric load in the morning only. Then, if the cats appear hungry in the evening, instead of fasting them, which may be hazardous, offer them a smaller portion of the same dietary food.

5. Hepatic Lipidosis can be prevented in some cases by the concurrent administration of a multi vitamin, but especially Vitamin B complex. There are several excellent cat vitamin tablets available, and any cat on a diet should receive a multi-vitamin twice daily to hopefully prevent Fatty Liver.

If you want your cat to safely lose weight, then you will leave here with the following intentions:

Plans to feed W/D diet, without supplemental scraps and treats, in the morning only (if possible), with twice daily walks, and a vitamin 2 x D.

That sounds so simple. But first, you really need to be sure the cat is worth dieting. A cat only carrying a few pounds extra is really not a candidate for the kind of serious weight loss we are discussing here.

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Dr Erik Johnson

Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.

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