Has your cat been eating too much and sleeping more? Have you noticed it starting to have trouble fitting through the pet door? Cats sometimes need to lose weight, too. Given their size, even two pounds overweight can be harmful to cats' health and happiness. If you've noticed signs of obesity in your cat, you may be in the market for cat food designed for weight loss.
Cats can be quite picky, so finding the right weight-loss food might be daunting. We've saved you the trouble by curating a list of the top 10 best cat foods for weight loss this year! Our favorite is nulo's Adult Trim. We love the whole, natural ingredients and high protein content of this dry food! Check out the rest of our recommended products below, and check out our buying guide for tips on how to shop on your own.
Some owners may never have considered the fact that cats can and should go on diets. But the startling fact is that almost 60% of America’s domestic cats are overweight. Worse, that figure is up by almost 40% compared to the statistics gathered in 2016!
The ideal weight for domesticated cats is around ten pounds (with exceptions in breed). If your cat is overweight on the scale, or if you can’t feel its rib cage when you press your hand against its side, it might be obese.
Just like humans, cats that are overweight are more likely to develop serious health issues. Diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis are just a few of the common culprits that afflict overweight kitties. Your cat might not find diet food as tasty, but it will become a happier, healthier pet in the long run by avoiding or managing the health risks of obesity.
Another danger that obesity poses to your cat is that it can mask the earlier symptoms of serious disease. Common signs of a sick cat are a lack of energy, less grooming, and overeating—these are all behaviors that overweight cats trend towards.
Cats tend to “put on a face” when they’re feeling unwell. It’s simply part of their survival instinct to show as little physical weakness as possible. So basically, if your overweight cat is feeling unwell, you might not notice until things have become dire.
Everyone wants to play, cuddle, and spend time with their cats. Unfortunately, heavier cats tend to become sleepier and less energetic. Even young cats that should still be very interested in toys and socializing will quickly lose interest if they gain too much weight.
An even harsher reality of extreme obesity in cats is that it often causes chronic pain. Fat secretes hormones that can easily lead to inflammation. If your cat is in pain, it will withdraw from you and even become irritable or defensive. It may be hard to give your pet blander diet food, but the results are worth it.
Now that we've covered why going on a diet is so important if your cat is overweight, let's look at the top 10 best cat foods for weight loss! We've curated this list based on the quality of the ingredients, how well cats respond to the foods, and whether or not each food creates a healthy balance for your cat in terms of nutrients.
Salmon & Lentils Recipe
Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Medley, 24 pack
Chicken, 12 pack
Made with Chicken, Trout, and Salmon
Chicken & Brown Rice
with Chicken, Peas, and Potatoes
Chicken & Rice Formula
|Grain-free||No, but grain-free is available in a separate flavor|
Rachael Ray Nutrish
Grain-Free Adult Trim
Appetite Control for Spayed/Neutered Cats
Perfect Weight Adult
Science Diet Light Adult
Chicken Recipe Paté for Indoor Cats
Peak Woodland Catch
Indoor Hairball & Weight Control
Freedom Grain-Free Weight Control
Pro Plan Weight Management
Fit as a Fiddle
High-Protein, Low-Carb, and Filled With Extra Essentials
Healthy Source of Protein and Fiber for Indoor Cats
A By-Product-Free Formula for Sensitive Stomachs
Satisfying Diet Food for Chicken-Lovers
Whole-Meat Formula With a Variety of Flavors
Grain- and By-Product-Free, Fully Nutritious
Decent for Weight-Loss, Great for Hairball Relief
Grain-Free Weight Loss Food Full of Antioxidants
Protein-Rich, Tasty Weight Loss Food
Seafood Delight Packed with Protein and Superfoods
|Amount||5 lbs.||6 lbs.||2.9 oz.||7 lbs.||5.5 oz.||6 lbs.||6 lbs.||11 lbs.||7 lbs.||6 lbs.|
|Grain-free||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No, but grain-free is available in a separate flavor||Yes|
Many cat foods on the market will claim to help your cat lose weight, but how do you know which brand and type will be best for your cat? Here's a guide on how to choose the best cat food for weight loss.
Most professionals recommend canned food over dry food. Cats don’t drink a lot of water in the wild; they get their water from the food they eat. The pros of canned diet foods are an easy and meat-based protein source that caters to cats’ natural diets, as well as an in-food source of moisture. Canned food also has fewer carbs than dry food, which is important for cats on a weight loss diet.
The perks of dry cat food are ease of use and the fact that it bolsters dental health. Chewing on well-formulated dry food helps prevent plaque build-up on your cat's teeth.
Dry food can also be put into feeding machines, so your cat will be fed on schedule whether you’re home or not. If you have a busy work schedule or can’t afford to manually feed your cat for each meal, you might benefit from selecting a dry formula as your cat’s main diet food.
When your cat is on a dry food diet, be sure to provide it with plenty of fresh drinking water. If your cat doesn’t drink often enough, try putting the dry food directly into some water when feeding your cat. This will ensure your cat still gets plenty of moisture.
The best diet foods for cats are high in lean protein and low in carbohydrates. While you might be tempted to look for low-fat foods to help your cat lose weight, cats process crude fat differently than humans do and need quite a bit of it. Your cat needs at least 20% fat in its food. That said, most diet foods do use leaner meats like chicken, turkey, or whitefish.
Fat and protein percentages will be written on the nutrition label of each food under a section called Guaranteed Analysis. If you want to calculate the rough percentage of carbohydrates in the good, you can add up the other percentages under the Guaranteed Analysis label, then subtract that number from 100.
One of the most common carb culprits in commercial cat foods is corn, which is used as a filler. We recommend low-carb foods if you want to encourage weight loss in your cat. Most dry foods will rely on carb-heavy ingredients like corn for cohesion, but a good weight loss food will use healthier fillers such as peas, potatoes, or pumpkin.
Unfortunately, not all sources of meat used in cat food are equal. Many commercial cat foods use "animal meal" and "animal by-products." Unfortunately, byproducts are more likely to include parts of the slaughtered animal that aren't digestible to cats, such as feathers.
It’s important to check the ingredients of your selected cat food so you know where the meat was sourced. Look for foods that source their protein from whole meat, or at the least from a by-product-free meal. Whole meat is preferable to meal, as it hasn't been processed to remove moisture.
We recommend sticking with food brands that are transparent about what sort of meat products they use. These do tend to be higher-grade brands and therefore higher-cost, but they are also safer for your cat.
If your cat has allergies or some other health condition that you aren't aware of, putting it on a different food might result in severe illness. We recommend checking with your vet before switching to a new food, especially if your cat is a senior or has had food issues in the past.
One health issue that can be made worse by a change in food is kidney disease. Kidney issues are common in cats, and even specially-formulated diet foods can contain high levels of phosphorous. Senior cats especially are at risk of renal failure and may require food with low phosphorous levels.
Another health issue to be aware of when searching for diet food is allergies. Cats can be allergic to meat-related proteins that are found in cat foods. Common examples are chicken and fish proteins, so your vet may recommend a turkey or egg-based formula if an allergy test of your cat comes back positive.
It's best for your cat's health that it has a checkup at least once a year. Don't be afraid to bring up a change in diet during your annual vet visit; it might make the choice of weight loss food an easier one.
Cats don't appreciate sudden change. If you want to start your cat on a new diet of weight-loss food, it's important to make the change little by little and to stop free-feeding your cat. For an in-depth and interesting look at how to change your cat's food successfully, check out cat expert Jackson Galaxy's video above.
Still looking for something to spoil your furry friend with? Check out our other recommended products for cats!
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