Some of you may know that, for quite a while, I've been trying to get Sunny to lose weight. As I said in my last post, Sunny weighed 12.1 lbs (based on several measurements taken the same day to make sure that they were correct) before I started having her diet. After being on a diet for some time now (no special food, just her regular), I am happy to say that she has lost 3/10 of a pound. Yes, she is now 11.8 lbs! For a cat, that is actually a fair amount. She still has a lot to go (she should be about 10 lbs) but this is good progress!
Her diet (for those who have an overweight cat or just might be interested) has consisted of calorie reduction (and NO change to the types of food she gets). When I started, she was 12.1 lbs. A "healthy" cat that size would need about 240 calories to maintain that weight (approximately 20 calories per pound of body weight is the standard) but since she is overweight, I needed to feed for two pounds less (cut 40 calories from her diet each day). *This is important... NEVER (unless a vet says to do so) START a diet for a cat by cutting more than 40 calories from the diet. If weight loss is not achieved, you can start to cut more calories but start by cutting 40 calories and go from there.* So, the first thing you need to do (after accurately weighing the cat) is to find out how many calories are in each cup of the food your cat eats (for mine, it was 391 calories per cup). After finding out how many calories are in each cup, do some math (I can't tell you what to divide by since each food is different) to find the perfect amount of food for your cat to get each day (in my case, it was 1/2 cup, leaving room for a couple of treats without going over the 200 calories that she needs each day). I also came up with a plan that includes canned food (I don't ALWAYS feed canned food, but I frequently do so I needed to have that worked out too). I usually split a 3-oz can of Sheba canned cat food between the two of them. A full can contains about 95-97 calories (I had to contact Sheba since they did not have it listed on the cans or website) so half contains approximately 48 (round up to 50) calories. Then do some more math to find out how much dry you should feed and add the calories from canned to the calories from dry. This method has (so far) worked for Sunny and, once again, there was no change in the type of food she was getting (a big deal for Sunny because she is picky) and she is still able to have treats (in moderation). Sunny has also been encouraged to play more (exercise cannot be overemphasized).
Just to recap: If you have a cat that needs to lose weight, you do NOT have to buy a "weight-loss" food for them. Just limit the calories that they receive and try to get them to play/exercise more. You can also still feed treats, just use them in moderation and try to make them "healthy" treats (protein rich, lower fat treats). Canned food can be more filling for a cat (a good thing since it will make a cat feel more full) so don't limit yourself to only dry food.
Now you don't have to feel helpless trying to get your cat to lose the extra pounds that he or she needs to lose and you can get started on a healthier lifestyle for your cat!