Health & Care > Purrfect pet health and beauty tips > Five Tips to Help Your Cat Maintain a Healthy Weight

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10/19/2011 22:19:56 PM by Jade07   Send Message to Jade07  6099  views, category: Purrfect pet health and beauty tips view all blogs


 
 

It might be fun to look at photos of obese cats on YouTube, but if you really think about it, extra weight on a cat is unhealthy. It impedes quality of life for our feline friends, even if they are relatively healthy despite the extra weight.
 
It’s not surprising that so many cats are overweight. It’s easy to overfeed a cat, especially for busy folks who work long hours and leave extra treats for their pets in lieu of one-on-one playtime. Unlike dogs, cats aren’t taken outside for a brisk walk when the need to relieve themselves. Their restroom is inside just a few steps away from boudoir, and their entire day may consist of sitting on the windowsill looking across the street. If they’re lucky they have a cat tower or house to play in, but that alone will not keep a cat at fighting weight.
 
 
The first step in keeping your cat trim is to get him moving.

Play with him more often – most cats need fifteen to twenty minutes a day of exercise. If you don’t have time every day to devote to exercising your feline,  have a family member, friend or even a pet-sitter play with your cat.
 
 
Active Toys and “Hiding Places” Encourage Exercise
 
We all know that cats love to play with paper bags (with the handles cut off) and hide inside, punching holes in the bag for fun. Engage your kitty in a game of hide and seek by punching a large hole in the back of the bag and waving their favorite toy outside it for him to grab. Other household objects can provide endless amusement for your cat from toilet paper rolls to shower rod rings and small stuffed animals.. Cats naturaly love to chase and eventually catch all sorts of objects. Even if you don’t configure your house for natural hiding places, cats always seem to make their own “caves” to hide toys. (My cat Lux loves to hide shiny metallic scrunchies behind my computer desk; that is, til he started to bat them under the fridge.) Every cat has a fascination for different toys. Experiment with a few to see which ones capture your pet’s imagination. Cats need to chase, fish and knead and different toys fulfill these needs.
 
 
Combine Eating and Play with Food-Dispensing Toys

Constantly filling your cat's food dish will keep him from bothering you, but it will make him fat. It’s like always having a full dish of candy or chips at your desk at all times. How long would you be able to resist temptation? Keep your cat at a healthy weight by using a food-dispensing toy –make them work before getting a treats or food. You fill the dispenser and then make the cat hunt or “fish” for the kibble like they would in nature. You can start by using treats and slowly introduce dry food to the mix, leaving toys around the house for the cat to discover. This helps housebound cats whose owners work long hours. Some toys/food dispensers for housebound cats are the PetSafe Cat Food Dispenser and the Pipolino.
 

Encourage other natural instincts, such as biting, in a healthy way. Purchase developmental cat toys which satisfy the biting urge and keep cats teeth clean. Some companies sell toys like stuffed chew mice or mint-leaf filled chew sticks geared toward improving a cat’s dental health.
 

 
Never use hands and feet as scratch toys.
 
It may be tempting to play with a kitten this way, but it will cause problems when your kitty grows into a large, agile cat with sharp claws. If a cat swats a pen or other small object off your desk til it falls on the floor, he’s following his natural compunction to “toy” with prey. Of course, if he won’t give this m.o. a rest, he’s trying to get your attention or maybe he’s just plain bored. Schedule more playtime with your kitty or get him another feline companion to keep office supplies on your desk instead of the floor! 

About the author: Marianne Moro is a freelance writer and publicist living in Hollywood, CA. She has written for many publications, clients and websites, including USA Today, Blogcritics Magazine, Modamag and Entertainment Today, among others. She's the proud co-o... more >>

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