Overweight cats may have a reduced life expectancy, with studies indicating that it may be just under 2 years in cats1. If your pet is overweight it’s important to undertake a weight management programme so you can help them live longer, healthier lives.
Calorie intake is important in helping prevent weight gain. It’s important for you as an owner to feed an appropriate diet and volume of food for the age and life stage is recommended regardless of feline begging. Measuring cups are commonly used, however, studies have highlighted the inaccuracies of measuring cups, with results ranging from underfeeding by 20% to over feeding by 80%2. Using digital food scales is always recommended, for cats where inaccuracies due to smaller feeding volumes can be greater.
Once food portions have been accurately measured out, discussing feeding behaviours with your vet can be very important in understanding individual pet – owner dynamics.
A survey found that feline owners believed their cat was begging for attention, pet treats, or cat food.3,4,5
These results indicate that owners often misinterpret their pets feline begging as a need for food/sign of hunger3,4,5. Putting a treat strategy in place is also important, as many owners don’t realise the number of additional calories these treats equate too. It is recommended that treats make up no more than 10% of a pet’s daily food ration and providing advice on low calorie options can help prevent excess weight gain.
Cats are known as “contra free loaders.” In other words, they prefer to work for their food. So why not ban the food bowl to make feeding time more stimulating! Interactive feeders and slow down bowls are a great way of providing gentle exercise and stimulation for older pets or pets with mobility problems. It is also a great way to slow down fast eaters or busy young pets. There is now a wide variety of commercially available slow down bowls for cats.
Limiting begging behaviour can also be supported through tailored nutrition.
ROYAL CANIN® FELINE CARE NUTRITION APPETITE CONTROL CARE has a moderate fat level which reduces energy intake, while adapted protein levels help maintain muscle mass. A specific blend of fibres helps increase the feeling of fullness after a meal, and L-carnitine, involved in the healthy metabolism of fat, is included. High moisture in the wet formulas and a high density kibble reduce calories so the food volume is maximised and the cat has a greater sense of satiety, the feeling of fullness after eating.
Over 90 per cent of owners reported controlled begging behaviour between meals after four weeks when their cats were fed ROYAL CANIN® APPETITE CONTROL CARE dry formula.
ROYAL CANIN® FELINE CARE NUTRITION APPETITE CONTROL CARE will be available from your specialist pet retailer from October 5th 2020.
For more information visit royalcanin.com
- Teng, K.T., McGreevy, P.D., Toribio, J. et al (2018) Strong associations of 9 point body condition scoring with survival and life span in cats. Feline Med Surg: 1-13.
- German, A.J., Holden, S.L., Mason, S.L., Bryner, C., Bouldoires, C., Morris, P.J., Deboise, M., Biourge, V. (2010). Imprecision when using measuring cups to weigh our extruded dry kibble food. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 95 (3): 368- 373
- Satiety Consumer Study (11-21-14), IPSOS2014
- Murphy, M. (2016). Obesity treatment. Environment and behaviour modification. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice 46 (5): 883-898
- Kienzle, E., Bergler, R. (2006). Human-animal relationship of owners of normal and overweight cats. Journal of Nutrition 136 (7):1947S-1950.