We're all feeling it. While there have been some silver linings to these days of quarantine due to COVID-19, many of us are feeling a case of the BLAHS. And by "BLAHS", we mean that we're Binging Lots And Hoarding Snacks. It's completely understandable, and our pets might even become a bit of collateral damage. Some cats' bodies seem to want to put on weight anyway so, if you're home more and spending a lot of time giving your feline the snuggles they so love, they might also be putting on a few LBs.
It's not the end of the world, but extra weight on cats can have some negative health effects, including cardiovascular issues, joint pain, and even skin issues due to not being able to adequately groom themselves. Whether your cat likes to eat like Garfield or is just feeling the effects of these lazier days, there are things you can do to keep your cat from gaining weight. We've shared nine tips to keep your cat from becoming overweight below.
1. Give Your Cat the Thrill of the Hunt
Just because your cat purrs when you're near and sleeps in the crook of your arm doesn't mean they're not a hunter at heart. Many of our cats are instinctual hunters, which is why outdoor cats often bring their owners "gifts" of dead mice and the like. Lucky us! Even if your cat is an indoor cat, they still will likely get a thrill out of a hunt you create for them, whether it's tossing a bouncy ball down the stairs or rolling a piece of tinfoil across the floor.
2. Will Work For Treats - Motivate For Your Food-Motivated Cat
Is your cat one of those cats who seems to only think about food? We can appreciate that, and you can actually work that to your advantage. Put your cat's favorite treat in a container that they can bat around a bit for a while. Of course, the game needs to end in the treat being given to your cat. Otherwise, that's just teasing!
3. Play is Purrrrrfection for Cat Weight Loss
You might normally have the excuse of having a full calendar as to why you don't have time to play with your cat, but this quarantine gives you the perfect excuse to get down on the floor with your furry feline friend. Whether you use a ball or a feather or just channel your inner kid and roll around for a while, your cat will think they've died and gone to cat heaven. Or if you're willing to put in the time to spend on leash training, you can even take your cat for a walk!
4. Viva La Vet!
Most veterinarians are advising that you only bring your cat to the vet in case of emergency right now and, even then, they are mostly only doing curbside service. However, veterinarians are always willing to help point you in the right direction as far as proper cat nutrition, and can usually give you some good articles from their online pet libraries. Veterinarians are big into preventive care so they want to help you avoid the health issues that can come with cat obesity.
5. Bid Farewell to Free-Feeding
Free-feeding - in which you leave your cat's food bowl on the floor all day to allow them to come and go and at their leisure - works for some cats. But if your cat is showing signs of gaining weight, you want to be sure and limit their portion sizes and pick up the bowl between meals.
6. Embrace Your Cat's Play Schedule
As we mentioned earlier, cats love to play, and that equates to exercise for them. But some cats are lazier during the day and are more nocturnal. Your tendency might be to discourage that but, if you can avoid the noise by closing your door, allowing your cat to play when they want to could be the key to keeping off any excess weight.
7. H20-So Fun
Just as with humans, drinking water can help cats to feel fuller for longer periods of time. As PETA has noted, making water-drinking fun for your playful cat can pay off when it comes to weight loss. You might even think of investing in a water fountain.
8. Create a "Catio"
If you've spent any time on Pinterest, you've surely seen these. They are cat patios for indoor cats that allow them to have access to the outside while still remaining safe and enclosed. You could go all out and create something big but a tiny one off a window in your home would work just as well.
9. Think About Adopting Another Cat
Socializing cats can be a challenge, so if you're not willing to invest in the time, this might not be the best idea. But if you've got some bandwidth due to the quarantine, adopting a cat friend for your current cat can get them to be more active and playful.
Just because we're social distancing doesn't mean that we can't remain active. And getting our cats in on the action will prevent weight-related illnesses down the line. If you're worried about the adverse effects of some extra pounds on your cat, please contact us - we're happy to help!