1

I have a five year old male cat named Marble; unfortunately he is overweight, although he is a big boy with bigger frame.

I want him to avoid developing a potential life threaten condition. I lost my first cat many years ago, and was heartbroken--I never want it to happen again. So I'm trying to help Marble get healthier and lose some weight.

The problem is that he has built a routine where, whenever I eat, he is expecting special treats--and I already cut his treats by only feeding 1/3 or 1/4 of that small container at a time, twice a day. I personally don’t think that’s too much but I could be wrong; my girlfriend used to blame me for our previous cat's obesity issue, even though he was only with me alone for a couple of months before she took him away.

But it could be that I never realized the way I treat my cat is wrong, so I'm looking for some ideas to help my current cat lose weight and get healthier. I'm not sure what the options are out there, should I leash walk him regularly, force him to be more active, or buy some sort of exercise wheel? He is picky with new things, for example, a cushion bed bought for him sat there for three years, and he only started using it right before I was about to throw it away, and he never liked the litter robot either. I'm hesitant to buy new equipment knowing he may never use it. I also thought about adopting another cat, so he has a buddy to play with, could be more active, and at least won't be lonely when I'm traveling.

3
  • 2
    You're feeding a quarter of a container of treats at one time? Definitely consult your vet, and be sure to disclose that; that alone sounds extremely excessive.
    – Allison C
    Apr 14, 2023 at 14:23
  • Like I said the container is small, only 1.3oz, 1/3 of it isn't that much, but I will talk to my vet
    – FelisZ
    Apr 21, 2023 at 22:31
  • When it comes to treats, that's still an excessive amount. Treats should be a few at a time at most, they're treats, not food, and overfeeding treats is absolutely contributing to your cat's weight issues.
    – Allison C
    Apr 23, 2023 at 1:19

1 Answer 1

6

Consult your vet.

It sounds like you honestly aren't sure how much exactly your cat should be eating. This is something you should definitely consult with your vet about. Your vet may also have recommendations for diet food. It may take trial and error over multiple visits to figure out exactly what diet works for your cat, so be honest with your vet and persistent.

Stick to the plan.

Many pet owners find it difficult to resist giving their pets extra treats, especially when their pet is on a diet, and probably more insistent with begging than usual. Do not do this, or you will undermine your own progress.

Since you've already established a pattern of your cat eating when you eat, if you choose to keep doing that, give him only food you planned on giving him as part of his meal, and decrease his meals accordingly, so you still stick to his diet plan. It can be hard to get cats to lose weight. But if you're firm and consistent, hopefully you'll achieve some positive results.

As for encouraging him to be more active...

The easiest way is to simply to play with your cat more.

  • Lure toys.

They're cheap, and they're surely the best toy for tempting disinterested cats. A lazy cat won't play much on its own, but if you put enough energy into giving it interesting prey to chase, it may just give it a go.

  • Food dispensing toys.

Your cat is probably food motivated, given his problem, in which case these toys will definitely work. Rather than giving him additional treats in the food toys (which would of course undermine his diet) feed him his meals this way.

  • Make him chase down his food.

Assuming you're feeding the cat dry food, try just simply throwing his kibble and see if he'll chase it. A lot of cats will, and it's a completely free way to encourage exercise.

As for walking on a leash, it could help if you manage to convince the cat to accept the leash, but there is a distinct possibility that he will not even if you put a lot of work into training him to accept it. But I still think it's worth giving it a try, if you're willing. Leashes are cheap enough you might not consider it too big a waste of money if it fails.

Lastly, regarding cat exercise wheels, I would not recommend one in your case. Those are surely fairly costly, and in my opinion, they seem pointless if the cat isn't motivated to use it on its own. After all, if you must coax the cat to use the wheel, you can just as easily coax it to move around the room, no wheel necessary. I think they're only potentially useful for very high energy cats that might like using the wheel on their own because they like running around that much.

2
  • 2
    Another good way to make the cat work for treats and encourage exercise is hiding them around the house. This can encourage some of the more lazy cats to patrol their territory more and help to reinforce the notion that walking around the house is a good thing, as it leads to rewards. Additionally, since we humans are typically easily swayed by our feline masters, it might be a good idea to research brands of treats that present the least health concerns, e.g. pure freeze-dried meats.
    – bgse
    Apr 17, 2023 at 15:18
  • Those are all good advice, I always just handed him the treats, its time for him to work a little bit, thank you all!
    – FelisZ
    Apr 21, 2023 at 22:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.