1. The quality of your cats food is as important as quantity control. Cats are carnivores so their bodies are designed to process a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Feeding a cat solely dry food and processed treats can contribute to their weight gain. For a little variety, try giving them boneless chicken, beef or fish.
2. Some feline breeds are just larger than others, so it’s important to know what is normal for your cat. Other than the obvious hanging tummy, a veterinarian will be able to measure your cat’s fat to muscle ratio and determine if kitty needs to go on a diet. Your veterinarian may also do lab work to determine your feline’s overall health.
3. Measure feed according to the back of your bag of food. It might be hard to resist your felines charm and “free feed” them, but keep in mind that overweight cats live shorter lives. Obese cats suffer from heart and liver conditions, and can develop diabetes as a result of excess weight. Poor health due to overeating can be prevented by limiting their daily food intake.
4. Make meal time play time. “Is your cat a couch potato and only motivated by food? If he/she eats dry food, take a portion of their usual meal and roll it piece by piece across the floor, causing them to chase it to get dinner,” suggests Dr. Wasson.
Try putting treats into a container that your cat can bat around. If you can keep track, it is always fun to hide dry food to see if your cat will find it.
5.”Does your cat climb and jump? Try using a fishing pole-type toy with feathers or a stuffed toy attached to the end, which will encourage amazing acrobatic leaps and jumps,” suggests Dr. Wasson. “Cat furniture with sisal rope makes a great jungle gym and promotes appropriate scratching behavior.”
6. Keep your cat moving. Toss a rubber bouncy ball or foil ball across the floor, down the stairs, or up the stairs. Be sure to toss it away from the cat to get them moving. You can also throw a ping pong ball into an empty bathtub.
7. Move your cat’s food during feeding time from a counter to the floor and back again, forcing your feline to jump around during eating.
8. Bring home a laser pointer or cat nip toy. Does your cat hide and pounce? Try placing a cardboard box or paper bag (no plastic bags) in the middle of the floor and throw a catnip mouse inside.
9. Separate his water and food so that simply moving from one to another burns some calories. Keeping the food and water bowls on different floors would be ideal.
10. Make sure there are safe vertical spaces in your home for your cat to jump on. This could be a window sill, set of empty shelves or a cat tree. This way, even when you’re not home to play with your kitty, he still has an opportunity to burn some energy by jumping.