If your cat weighs a few extra pounds, he’s not alone.
According to a study published by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in 2011, more than 50% of felines are either overweight or obese. Obesity in cats is a huge problem and can lead a variety of health issues in the long-run. Overweight cats also struggle with their daily functions, since obesity severely impacts your cat’s health and mobility.
As a pet-parent, watching your cat struggle can be difficult and saddening to witness. While obesity is one of the most preventable diseases in cats, it requires consistency and commitment to get your cat to lose weight. You will have to design to a weight loss plan, encourage your cat to exercise, and carefully watch his calories.
When it comes to weight loss, your cat’s diet plays a major role. Keep reading to learn about the best low-calorie foods for your overweight feline.
Best 8 Cat Foods for Weight Loss
|Best Products||Ratings||Top 5 Ingredients|
|1. Blue Buffalo: Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe||4.5||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Barley, Brown Rice, Pea Starch…|
|2. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Weight & Mature Care Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe||4.3||Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Peas…|
|3. Solid Gold: Katz-n-Flocken Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe||4.5||Lamb, Chicken Meal, Peas, Brown Rice, Ocean Fish Meal…|
|4. Earthborn Holistic: Catalina Catch Canned Food||4.6||Mackerel, Fish Broth, Shrimp, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors…|
|5. Nutro: Perfect Portions Grain-Free Chicken & Shrimp Paté Recipe||4.5||Chicken, Chicken Liver, Pork Broth, Chicken Broth, Shrimp…|
|6. Nulo: Freestyle Salmon & Lentils Recipe||4.2||Deboned Salmon, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Deboned Cod, Whole Peas…|
|7. Merrick: Purrfect Bistro Healthy Grains Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe||4.5||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Barley…|
|8. ORIJEN: Fit & Trim Grain-Free Dry Cat Food||4.6||Chicken, Chicken Liver, Whole Herring, Turkey, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard)…|
1. Blue Buffalo: Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Barley, Brown Rice, Pea Starch
This Blue Buffalo Hairball and Weight Control formula will help your feline feel and look her best. It is made with the finest ingredients with lean proteins from real chicken. This delectable recipe includes many wholesome fruits and vegetables such as carrot, sweet potatoes, and cranberries which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for immune support. It is rich in fiber from brown rice which can help your cat feel full for longer.
Additionally, this kibble includes less calories as well as L-carnitine which helps burn fat. Blue Buffalo also includes their LifeSource bits: a carefully chosen blend of nutrients picked by veterinarians and animal nutritionists.
2. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Weight & Mature Care Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Peas
This low-calorie recipe by Chicken Soup for The Soul is a great option for an overweight cat. Delectable meats such as chicken, turkey, salmon, and duck provide lean proteins, while fiber-rich brown rice and barley provide digestive support. It is designed to boost immunity with superfoods such as blueberries, spinach, and cranberries that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Prebiotic fiber from chicory root will also aid your cat’s digestion, while the exclusion of any fillers such as wheat, corn, and soy can prevent any additional weight gain. Taurine and omega fatty acids in this recipe promote your feline’s overall health.
3. Solid Gold: Katz-n-Flocken Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe with Pearled Barley Whole Grain Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Chicken Meal, Peas, Brown Rice, Ocean Fish Meal
Solid Gold Katz-n-Flocken recipe is made with a delicious combination of lamb, brown rice, and pearled barley. It is designed to promote lean muscle development and encourage healthy digestion. While this is not a weight management recipe, it is made with lesser calories and low fat content, so it is great for overweight cats. The healthy blend of superfoods in this recipe promotes gut health and boosts immunity. This kibble is also star-shaped which promotes slow eating and reduces the risk of vomiting. Supplemental fish oil in this recipe can also aid weight loss.
4. Earthborn Holistic: Catalina Catch Grain-Free Natural Canned Cat & Kitten Food
Top Ingredients: Mackerel, Fish Broth, Shrimp, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors
This wet food by Earthborn Holistic features delectable mackerel and shrimp meat in a fish-flavored broth. It includes taurine, as well as omega fatty acids which have fat burning properties. Additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in this recipe boost your feline’s immunity. This grain-free recipe is made with fewer calories and contains ample moisture, which is beneficial for an overweight cat struggling with urinary problems. All-natural and free of any artificial additives, this wet food is a complete and balanced meal for your feline.
5. Nutro: Perfect Portions Grain-Free Chicken & Shrimp Paté Recipe Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Pork Broth, Chicken Broth, Shrimp
This pate by Nutro is rich in protein from chicken and shrimp, while chicken and pork broth provide hydration to your feline. It is fortified with additional vitamins and minerals to make a complete and balanced meal. The presence of taurine promotes the health of your pet’s heart, which is great for an overweight cat with heart problems.
Additionally, the omega-rich fish oil in this recipe is essential for the health of your feline’s brain, eyes, and coat. This recipe is a great option for overweight cats. It comes in convenient trays which makes mealtime effortless.
6. Nulo: Freestyle Salmon & Lentils Recipe Grain-Free Adult Trim Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Deboned Cod, Whole Peas
This Nulo recipe is designed for weight management with lean proteins from salmon, turkey, chicken, and cod. It aids lean muscle development and prevents additional weight gain due to its high protein content (42%). Low-glycemic peas and sweet potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber for digestive support. It is further enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for immune health.
This low-calorie recipe is a great option for overweight cats since it contains all the right nutrients to prevent health problems associated with feline obesity. Taurine, omega fatty acids, probiotics, and L-carnitine aid your cat’s overall health.
7. Merrick: Purrfect Bistro Healthy Grains Real Chicken + Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Barley
This recipe by Merrick features lean proteins from chicken and turkey, as well as fiber from healthy grains like brown rice. These high-quality ingredients promote lean muscle development and aid digestion. This nutrient-rich blend is fortified with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to boost your feline’s immunity. Your overweight feline can benefit from the fewer calories and fiber in this kibble. Additional taurine and omega fatty acids from fish oil are responsible for the health of your pet’s heart, eyes, brain, and coat.
This recipe is also suitable for overweight cats that have digestive sensitivities since it contains easily digestible ingredients, fiber, and probiotics for gut health.
8. ORIJEN: Fit & Trim Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Whole Herring, Turkey, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard)
This grain-free Fit and Trim kibble by Orijen is a good option for an overweight cat since it contains high protein and moderate fat from animal sources. It is made with the most nutrient-dense parts of the prey including the meat, meat organs, and bone for lean muscle development. The pumpkin, chickpeas, and apples promote immune health by adding vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is coated with a layer of freeze-dried chicken, turkey, and cod for maximum flavor and nutrition.
If your cat is struggling with weight loss, this is a great option since it provides raw protein-rich goodness that is easily digestible. The biologically appropriate nature of this kibble does not lead to weight gain.
9. American Journey: Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Dried Egg Product
This kibble by American Journey is a great option for an overweight cat since it is rich in protein and contains moderate fat. Chicken and turkey in this recipe are a good source of lean proteins that prevent additional weight gain. The addition of superfoods such as pumpkin, apples, and spinach boost your feline’s immunity with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Additionally, this recipe also includes L-carnitine which is a great ingredient for overweight cats since it promotes fat metabolism.
This wholesome recipe provides complete and balanced nutrition. It contains taurine, omega fatty acids, and probiotics which promote the overall health of your feline.
10. ACANA: Indoor Entrée Adult Dry Cat Food
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Herring Meal, Oatmeal, Whole Peas
This Indoor Entrée Adult recipe by Acana is made with lean meats such as chicken and fish for overweight cats. While this not a weight management recipe, an overweight feline will surely benefit from this biologically appropriate diet rich in lean proteins. Rabbit and chicken liver gives this kibble a delicious taste, while cranberries and chickpeas add fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
This kibble contains the right balance of taurine, omega fatty acids, and L-carnitine to promote overall health and weight loss. It is made using the finest local ingredients and will appeal to the pickiest of felines.
While it may not seem like a big deal, a gain of a pound or two could also be significant for your cat. Being overweight is very dangerous for your cat. It can lead to many health issues such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis. A significant weight gain can also reduce your cat’s lifespan, which is something no cat parent wants. The best way to help your cat lose weight is increasing daily exercise and switching them to a low-calorie cat food.
However, it is important to remember that switching your cat to a low-calorie isn’t enough. Your cat, regardless of weight, still needs a good balance of nutrients to ensure their health. Calorie content is just one aspect you should consider. Your feline will still need a good balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates and fiber. In general, wet foods are better for losing weight as compared to dry food.
Keep in mind that drastically reducing your cat’s daily caloric intake will be just as unhealthy as being overweight. Reducing your pet’s portions gradually is the best way to encourage weight loss.
The Risks of Obesity in Cats
While obesity is a fairly common in cats, it affects their overall health in many ways. The risks of obesity in cats include:
- Obesity puts a great deal of stress on your cat’s bone structure. With time, this can cause many issues with bones and joints. Obese cats are at a higher risk for developing osteoarthritis, a disease where the joints progressively degenerate and become weaker.
- Being overweight has also been linked to Type 2 Diabetes in cats. In fact, it is one of the biggest risk factors for the disease in felines.
- Cats that are overweight are also at risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. Obesity can cause your cat’s blood pressure to fluctuate, which eventually leads to heart disease.
- Even being moderately overweight can reduce your cat’s lifespan. A striking 2.8 fold increase in mortality has been shown in obese cats between the ages of 8 and 12.
- An excess of fat in the chest cavity and abdomen can affect your cat’s respiration and reduce his heat tolerance.
- Cats that are overweight are at a higher risk for developing urinary infections and bladder stones.
- Overweight cats have troubled heart and lung function which can lead to anesthetic complications during surgery.
Dietary Changes to Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Once you have determined your cat is overweight, you should help them lose weight with the following tips
- Instead of cutting down portions, switch to a low-calorie cat food. You can reduce the amount of calories you feed your cat while feeding the same amount. Based on your cat’s weight, your veterinarian can guide you about the best options for your cat.
- A cat food with moderate to low fat content (10-12%) is also preferable. Fat is the most concentrated form of calories for your cat. It is also important that the fats included are healthy fats that can easily be broken down. Fats from animal sources are the best for your feline, such as fish oil.
- Switch to a wet food since it is generally low in carbohydrates compared to most dry foods. The moisture is also a plus for overweight cats struggling with urinary infections.
- A cat food high in fiber is much more fulfilling. Switch to a food that is high in fiber to prevent your feline from feeling hungry soon after mealtime.
- Break down your cat’s daily caloric intake into multiple smaller meals. This way, even though your cat is eating less calories, he won’t feel hungry as often since he’s eating more often.
- It is important you reduce your cat’s weight slowly. Rapid weight gain and cutting off your cat’s daily portions can lead to malnourishment and fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) in the long-run.
- Encourage exercise and frequent playtime. Not only is this a great tool to get your cat to be more active, but it is also an effective way to bond with your cat.
Supplements That Could Help Your Cat Lose Weight
If your cat is severely overweight, you can consider giving him L-carnitine supplements after consulting your vet. One study followed 14 overweight cats that were given 250 mg of L-carnitine daily and also restricted in the number of calories they ate each day. A second placebo group was not given carnitine, but was still calorie-restricted.
After 18 weeks, the group fed L-carnitine supplements lost significantly more weight than the placebo group.
How to Find The Best Cat Foods for Weight Loss
If your cat is overweight, it could be due to eating the wrong food all along. When looking for cat food that will help your cat lose weight, look for the following features:
1. High in Lean Meat Proteins
More often than not, simply switching to a species-specific diet can make a big difference for overweight cats. Chicken and fish are the best proteins for an overweight cat since they provide lean proteins.
Many commercial brands use a large number of plant-based carbohydrates as fillers to bulk up food. This means less protein in your cat’s diet and high amount of carbohydrates which leads to weight gain.
2. Low to Moderate Fat Content
You cannot cut fats out from your cat’s diet entirely. Depending on how overweight your cat is, opt for a formula with low to moderate fat content (8-12%). The source of fats is just as important as the content. Animal-derived fats are healthier and easier to metabolize. This includes fat from meat and meat organs.
One of the best sources of fat in cat food is fish oil, which is also rich in essential omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids have also been shown to play a role in weight loss among dogs.
3. Less Carbohydrates
An excess of carbohydrates is never a good idea for your pet. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which can be difficult for a cat with Diabetes to digest. They are one of the main culprits in weight gain among cats. When looking for a food that promotes weight loss, make sure it does not contain an excess of potatoes and peas. Healthy and highly digestible carbohydrates for your pet include sweet potatoes and brown rice.
4. High Fiber Content
Indoor cats are generally less active than outdoor cats, but still eat a high amount of calories. Increasing the amount of fiber in your cat’s diet is not only good for their digestive system, but it can also promote weight loss. Since fiber helps your pet feel full for longer, they don’t feel the need to eat as much as they would otherwise.
5. Beneficial Supplements
Supplements such as vitamins and minerals make your cat’s food a complete and balanced meal. They also serve many vital roles such as boosting your pet’s immunity, improving digestion, and increasing fat metabolism. When buying food for weight loss, look for the following supplements:
- Prebiotic fiber
- Fish oil
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best cat food for weight loss?
There is no cookie-cutter weight loss formula that will make your cat lose weight. In fact, you can get your cat to lose weight with any nutrient-dense and well-balanced formula while controlling portions. Your best options are cat foods that are protein-rich, low-carbohydrate, and fiber-rich with moderate fat content.
How do I put my cat on a diet?
Putting your cat on a diet is not simple since drastically reducing your cat’s portions can lead to health conditions such as hepatic lipidosis. The best way to watch your cat’s calories is to switch them to a low-calorie formula or a wet food since they are lower in calories.
How much should I feed my cat for weight loss?
You can switch to a low-calorie formula and keep feeding your cat the same amount as before. This way your cat gets less calories with the same amount. Or you could consult your vet about how to gradually cut down portions to help your cat lose weight.
How many meals should you feed an overweight cat daily?
Adult cats generally do well with their daily caloric intake broken down into two meals. However, if your cat is overweight, a better approach is to break down their daily caloric intake into multiple smaller meals. This way, you can also reduce the total number of calories since your cat eats more meals and feels full for longer.
Is a grain-free cat food better for weight loss?
There is no reason to believe that grain-free cat food could lead to weight loss. However, if you feed your cat a grain-free diet, it is likely that could be the cause of their weight gain. Grain-free cat foods contain more carbohydrates which can lead to weight gain in cats.
Is wet food better for weight loss in cats?
Generally speaking, wet food contains less calories and more substantial nutrition. The ingredients are closer to their natural state, with the textures and flavors mostly intact. As a result, they are easier to digest and will help your pet feel full with less as compared to dry food.