These days, obesity is as common in animals as it is in humans. And the reason is similar, too. Unhealthy food and not doing exercise or taking a stroll down the park in the least can lead to obesity in cats. And it is not funny when your cat lies there, reduced in mobility and with increased health risks. Therefore, you should do your cat and yourself a favor and help him lose the extra pounds. Not only will it be healthier, but also happier.
To reduce your researching, we have found for you some of the best cat foods for weight loss. We can not make your cat work out, but we can surely help with the eating habits, and benefit your cat. So we have found out everything that you need to know about the best diet cat foods.
Best Diet Cat Food Comparison:
- Review of 7 best cat foods for weight loss:
- 1. Nutro Max Indoor Cat Adult Dry Cat Food:
- 2. Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Chicken Recipe:
- 3. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Weight Management Adult Dry Cat Food:
- 4. IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight and Hairball Care Dry Cat Food:
- 5. Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food:
- 6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Weight Control Dry Cat Food, Chicken 11-Lb:
- 7. Natural Balance Fat Cats Dry Cat Formula:
- Who should buy the diet cat food:
- What is meant by the ideal cat weight:
- Is your cat overweight or obese:
- Why your cat is overweight:
- 3 ways to calculate the calorie needs of your overweight cat:
- Tips that will help your cat to lose weight:
- What to look for in the best cat food for weight loss:
- Other important features to consider while buying the best cat food for weight loss:
- Buying guide for the best cat food for weight loss:
- How to make your cat eat diet food:
Review of 7 best cat foods for weight loss:
Here are some of our top picks for the best cat food for overweight cats based on calorie count, taste, flavor, and food values: and to help you, we have categorized some of them according to the needs of your cat. Have a read:
1. Nutro Max Indoor Cat Adult Dry Cat Food:
This is what we think is the best dry cat food for weight loss. This is a very reasonable pick if you are on a budget while providing your cat with quality food. It is highly packed with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and has 30% protein in it, which is acceptable enough to feed your cats. A lot of health benefits you can provide your cat in 370 kcal per cup, which is quite reasonable. What is more, it is even safe for human consumption, since it does not contain “meals” which are meat by-products.
2. Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Chicken Recipe:
This pack is designed to make your cat lose weight and maintain it in the future. This is both fast and effective. Within ten weeks, more than seventy percent of cats lost weight after eating this balanced diet of Hill’s Science, after being fed as instructed.
It is made with all-natural ingredients and is free of added color, preservatives and artificial flavor. It has only the flavors of real chicken, lamb, salmon; whichever you prefer from the options. If you still aren’t convinced, Hill’s Science Diet offers you with a 100% money-back guarantee, so you are not risking much if you have your cat try it.
3. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Weight Management Adult Dry Cat Food:
This pack comes with a specialized formula to provide your cat with all the complete and balanced nutrition. Recommended by vets for cat owners with a picky, obese cat, this formula boasts a twenty percent less fat content than the predecessors of the brand designed for a similar purpose, and therefore, is quite appreciated in the best dry cat food for weight loss market. The pack features 46% protein, which is a great amount to have in your cat food while being affordable. It made using real chicken, and has vitamin E and added Taurine in it.
4. IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight and Hairball Care Dry Cat Food:
This is one of the best cat foods for overweight indoor cats. IAMS weight control cat food is very well known for its effectiveness. This formulated keeping in mind how exercise-indifferent indoor cats are. So, IAMS has created a specialized formula that will add the extra help to your cat’s maintenance of an ideal weight. It is made using high-quality ingredients and has chicken in it. The high-quality protein here with the essential amino acids helps the cat to lose weight, but not lean muscle mass. This is the most helpful feature that you will get to help your cat shed the extra pounds.
Besides a weight-loss formula, the cat food also has a blend of fibers that reduce hairball formation in cats. So, this is also the best diet cat food to tackle hairballs.
5. Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food:
The Blue Buffalo weight control cat food is a tried and tested one in terms of cat weight management. Containing 30% protein and just 9% fat provides an optimum balance of calories and proteins, without any added fat to the already worse condition of your cat. The best thing is that no by-products or meals are used in their products. We have shown you so far how companies add by-product to their food to increase the protein content, but it is actually very harmful to the overall weight of your cat and its well-being.
From the different customer reviews that we have read, we have seen that Blue Buffalo does actually do what they promise, and help your cat lose weight.
For owners who have a picky eater, you can mix it up with some more caloric food and make it more enticing to your feline.
6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Weight Control Dry Cat Food, Chicken 11-Lb:
This pack is a mixture of high-quality protein and yummy deboned chicken for cats who want to lose weight but not to compromise the taste. It also contains Taurine and other essential nutrients that make sure that your cat is doing all good with the food value as it loses the extra weight.
The instruction from the manufacturer is such that you need to ease your cat into the diet food. One of the ways you can do it, is by mixing three-fourth of its current food with one-fourth of this diet food, and increasing the proportion as time passes. This transition is pretty seamless for your cat to understand.
7. Natural Balance Fat Cats Dry Cat Formula:
This may not be one of the most well-known brands that cat owners have heard of, but they are the ones who provide you with a high-quality, low-calorie diet cat food that can help obese cats solve their problems.
With only 305 kcal per cup, it is an option that sacrifices on the calories and loads up on the nutrition. It contains as much as 35% protein in it and has trace Taurine too. Compared to well-established brands, this is a good (and compared to some, better) option for cat parents to spend their money on. One of the best things about food is that it is free of grains. The best thing is probably that it works while being friendly on the wallet.
Besides the dry cat foods, there is a set of best-wet cat foods for weight loss, but we want your cat to exercise the jaw muscles too, so we will discuss them another time.
Who should buy the diet cat food:
In America, cats are increasingly becoming overweight. As you would know, a cat that is overweight or obese can experience problems in mobility and a lot of harmful health problems that can hamper their quality of life and be a threat to their lives. If they are left to themselves without taking care or changing their habits, they will only put on more pounds. And it is needless to say, the lesser movement and activity in cats, the lower numbers of calories they burn daily.
Since cats will not shed the extra weight by themselves, it is on the owner’s responsibilities to put them on a balanced diet plan and exercise routine that will help them shed weight and maintain the ideal one.
So, the answer to the question is, any cat parent that feels like their cats need help with weight management, should purchase a diet cat food. The cat does not have to necessarily look swollen and lie on the ground like a lump of fur until you realize it is time.
Another thing that you need to know is that besides buying the right food, as soon as you feel that your cat needs help with its weight, consult with a veterinarian. Only after they confirm the food that you plan on buying will be a good choice for your cat should you buy it. Because not all cat foods are the same. And yours will not need the same diet food as your neighbor’s cat.
What is meant by the ideal cat weight:
If you want to ask how you will know your cat is of the ideal weight, and not too fat or too thin, know that how much should be the weight of your cat depends on their size, age, weight and of course, gender. Generally, most domestic cats weigh roughly 8 to 10 pounds. If your feline species is Maine Coon, it will naturally weigh more.
As is taken from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, if your cat is diverging from the conventional cat weight with respect to the criterions we just mentioned, it does not conclude in the fact that it is fat. Some cats have more lean muscle than the others, nothing to worry about extra weight then. Lean muscles and body fats are completely different. So, in such cases, you don’t need to change your cat’s diet plan or work out routine. It doesn’t need to shed off pounds.
It all comes down to what the vet has to say. Performing a few tests and routine checkups will confirm what is wrong with your cat’s weight and what measures need to be taken.
Is your cat overweight or obese:
So, how will you check if your cat is overweight or obese? Try judging by these criterions
- Has your cat’s activity level decreased over time? They may become more sedentary due to several other reasons, so it will be better if you take the vet’s advice on this.
- Has there been a change in sound when they jump from higher places to the ground? If it is louder than it was before, and not because it grew from a kitten to an adult cat, or if the thud seems suspicious to you, have its weight checked.
- Can you not feel the ribs of the cat when squeezed gently from both sides? It may be overweight.
- Does your cat have fat rolls you can see as it walks? It weighs more than is needed for it.
- Does your cat visually look plumper? There couldn’t be a better telltale sign that your cat is overweight.
While these are some good possibilities to judge with, only your vet can confirm if your cat is overweight.
Why your cat is overweight:
One of the biggest reasons why cats are overweight is because the owners feed them recklessly. Anything done in excess is not good, be it feeding your cat or caring for it. An average cat needs approximately 200 calories per day, but the free feeding practice makes the cat have food near it 24*7 and they are not trustworthy enough to eat in an adequate amount on their own. Who would, anyway?
This problem is especially prevalent in indoor cats. And this free feeding does not only apply for cat treats, but also for human food. Any food high in calories and carbs should be avoided. You have to have a diet that matches its lifestyle. If it is leading a sedentary life, you should not be feeding it as much as you were when it was active.
Besides this, another reason for your cat to gain weight may be because of some disease that it has, or is developing, God forbid. If you think that is the case, you should visit the vet with your cat to have it checked.
Another reason for cats to gain weight is a decrease in exercise. It is natural that with age, the activity of your cat will decrease but there’s a difference in that and them being less active when they are not supposed to be.
3 ways to calculate the calorie needs of your overweight cat:
Other than asking your vet, we have found three techniques for you to calculate the calorie your overweight cat needs. Here they are:
1. 80% Technique:
If your cat eats 100% food now while being overweight, and you want it to lose weight, cut back its food to 80%. And if you want, you can reduce it to 60% to see if your cat is okay with it too. If you are not okay with it, you can try the other two methods.
2. Crystal Ball Technique:
(13.6 x W) + 70 = Calories required
You can use this easy formula to calculate your cat’s required calorie intake. Here W is your cat’s weight in pounds. If your cat weighs 15 pounds, it is having way more calories (274) compared to the calorie intake of an ideally-weighing cat (206).
If you are not very comfortable with using numbers and percentages, use your common sense and feed your cat less until it reaches ideal weight. In that case, you can feed it moisture-rich food, so that there is more water than food compared to its earlier eating habits.
Try these until you are feeding your cat with our assorted best weight-control cat foods.
Health risk associated with overweight/obese cats:
The following health risks are associated with overweight cats:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Respiratory diseases
- Skin diseases
All of these are extremely serious cat health conditions and can be fatal if not treated on time. Liver diseases and cancer even can happen for excessive weight gain in cats. This alone, if not anything else should push you towards purchasing the proper diet food for your cat and increase its movements.
There are also possibilities to mess up the blood pressure in cats if they become obese. High B.P. becomes a common problem then. Not just this, eyesight impairment due to retinal damage and hypertension is also seen in overweight cats.
The 3 to 5 times more arthritis levels cause the cats to face discomfort and pain while jumping and landing, causing them to become sedentary and tame and give up playing and hopping around altogether.
When it comes to surgery, overweight cats are harder to anesthetize. They take longer to recover from the effects of anesthesia, making vets other than the one for your cat reluctant to perform surgeries on it when injured.
Tips that will help your cat to lose weight:
Helping your obese cat to lose weight can be a challenging matter for a couple of reasons. It already has reduced mobility and reduced exercise tolerance. This means that it will be harder than ever to make it exercise that the needs to burn the extra calories.
Another challenge that cat parents frequently face is that conventional diet foods are less tasty than the non-diet ones that your obese cat already is having. So it is harder to make them eat diet food. You can trick them into it once or twice, but there is no fooling your feline friend for long. The transition from a tasteful, unhealthy food to a healthy, tasteless one is a real challenge, we tell you! If done wrong this may result in gastrointestinal upset.
Getting your cat to eat food that is healthy and will help him lose weight is tricky but not unachievable. There are some options that you can try as we suggest: One of them is the 50-50 ratio where you put half of the old food and half of the new one which is the diet food. Another option is to sprinkle some taste enhancer on top of your cat’s diet food, like beef broth or chicken broth, that needs to have an enticing smell. The third option is to mix wet diet food with dry cat food or wet cat food with dry diet food to make things more palatable for your cat.
Another thing is that other than telling if your cat is overweight, what should be the changes in diet, etc. your vet can actually tell if your cat can exercise, which is just as important to find out. If your vet is unavailable or you do not want to set up an appointment with one, and have a weighing scale, be sure as to your cat not losing one to two percent of its body weight per week. That way, maximum eight percent of its body weight should be shed per month. And if your cat is losing less than four percent of body weight per month, it is necessary to rethink your changes. But losing weight too quickly will strain your cat, and can be put back on as fast as it was lost. It is better if the weight is lost little by little than at once.
Also, when you start a weight loss program for your cat, you should not only do the maths and follow the techniques to find out the calorie content, you need to be aware of the amount you are feeding it too. This can be difficult to judge as it varies according to the cats. The smartest thing you can do is just reduce it in bits. Or what you can do is buy portion packs which need to be fed per meal so that you don’t have to worry about it.
To sum up, there are 3 main ways to help your cat lose weight:
1. Portion sizes
Monitor how much your cat eats per meal and reduce the intake until everything is fine. Adjust it as needed. If they are still growing, change your plan. Since all the foods we have recommended here come with a 300-400 kcal per cup, you can use any diet food with a similar guide to help your cat lose weight.
Again if you are someone who loves to free-feed your cat and leave out food for them to have whenever they want, you will need to change that too. If you are out of the house for work and you wonder what will happen if you don’t free feed, you can buy an automatic feeder that will dispense of cat food when it is time. This will stop the over-feeding.
2. Interactive feeding:
Interactive feeders can make mealtime more exciting for your cat and hopefully make them move around a little. Make your cat work for their food even if they get annoyed working both physically and mentally to get what they want. It will also slow them down from slurping and crunching food whenever they want to whenever they are up for a game. And they will only come to have food when they are hungry enough, compared to scoffing off food just because it is lying there.
3. Extra activity
You have to increase your time with the cat and play with it like you used to. There are a lot of engaging toys to keep your cat active and playful. You should get them moving for 20-30 minutes each day.
But we know how busy life can be and how you can’t always manage to get the time out for your cat. In that case, look for something that will keep them engaged until you come back. Though it will not be a human interaction replacement, it is still better than nothing.
What to look for in the best cat food for weight loss:
In the simplest of terms, you should look for high protein, low-fat cat foods.
The role that carbs play in a cat’s diet is the most important factor to consider in a cat’s diet. This is typically used to glue the kibble together and make the food go a longer way than it would. And at the same time, they sacrifice the protein content in the cat food, which is way more important than the carbs.
In fact, cats have absolutely no reason to have carbs in their diet. Not because they are bad, but because they are unnecessary to be increased in amount and have the protein be reduced. Cats can easily survive on a wholly proteinous diet. What’s more, not for just cats indoors, but wild cats also don’t have too many carbs except for the intestines and whatever is in the stomachs of their prey.
Again, a diet too rich in carbs and not enough protein makes the cats lose their lean muscles, which easily reduces the metabolic rate of the cats, and increases the weight gain in cats, making them overweight or obese. If the diet isn’t adjusted to high-protein and low carbs, matters automatically spiral out of hands.
The best type of cat foods is those which have a protein content of more than 35% or more. As is the nature of weight-loss foods, your cat is going to shed extra fats, so it has to have food rich in protein in the percentage mentioned. If your cat food alone isn’t giving it, make sure there are dietary supplements which provide the same.
There are also recommendations as we have researched, that cats should be given high-fiber foods. But these again sacrifice the necessary protein required to retain the cat’s muscle mass. They are short-term miracle weight-loss assistants, but feeding your feline with too much fibrous food will mean that you are cutting down the protein, which is, as should be clear as crystal by now, the most unnecessary thing we would want in a cat losing weight. You can increase the fiber intake after your cat has reached the ideal weight level and you are capable to maintain it.
Other important features to consider while buying the best cat food for weight loss:
These are what more you will need to look for in the diet foods:
A diet cat food can have fewer calories, but not lesser nutrition. Your cat is on a diet means that it needs lesser calories than it takes now, but it doesn’t mean that they need lesser nutrition. Since it is now having lesser food than it was, you should up the nutrition level, if not keep it the same. And needless to say, the nutrition should come in a complete, balanced form.
Just as human diet food can be unappetizing, cats can have diet foods that guarantee the best of taste, but taste like vomit. And that will obviously force them not to eat, so the whole purpose will be defeated. So, you have to pick it with caution and if possible try and test with some foods before deciding and settling for the right one.
3. Wholesome ingredients:
The ingredients contained in the cat food should be traced from all-natural sources and have the littlest to none possible artificial ingredients. Sometimes, to cut down on the calorie content to fit the need, manufacturers use artificial ingredients. So while you are opting for lesser calories, opt for the foods that have natural, healthy ingredients in it, free of by-products.
Buying guide for the best cat food for weight loss:
Proving a buying guide for the best diet cat foods is tough. One buying guide may not be enough for a cat that has a dental problem and a cat that has kidney problems. What we can do is generalize things for you. If you can take care of the following things, you can buy a diet cat food good enough for your cat to lose weight. We have tried to include everything we discussed so far in these few points.
So, let’s reiterate it all so that you have a quick buying guide when you are out there buying food for your obese cat:
- You should opt for a high-protein, low-fat/carbs diet cat food.
- You should cut down on the fibers.
- There should be less “meals” or by-products of meat or fish in the food.
- You should look for protein contains more than thirty percent.
- The ingredients should be natural.
- The ingredients should be free of grains/gluten, soy, artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors.
- You should always have your cat checked with your vet before making dietary changes.
- Branded options aren’t always better than not-too-popular ones.
- Take care of the taste of the food.
- The food should smell good.
- The first three to five ingredients of the list should tell you what type you are buying.
- Don’t sacrifice quality for the price, there are high-quality foods with half the price on the tag, just find it out, or take another look at our reviews.
How to make your cat eat diet food:
After all this, you must be wondering how to make your cat eat it. First of all, go straight to the vet. Make him weigh your cat. Ask them how much weight needs to be shifted to get back to the ideal weight range again. Ask him if there are any medical conditions that need to be addressed, and discuss the food options that you have brought or are intending to buy.
Remember that there are no fussy eaters than cats, so swapping his diet from a glorious, delectable meal of his choice to something that tastes really bad, is not the best way to make your cat eat the diet food. You can try the mix and match idea we gave earlier for a change and see what happens. You can do an easy 15% diet-85% old food mixture for 1-2 weeks and see how your cat responds till you make bigger changes.
Remember that starvation diets are the worst thing you can do to your cat. If you are planning to make it not have anything for a really long time and make it eat the band new diet food that you got from the shop or ordered online, and you think the will have it as the only option that it has from hunger, you are wrong and even unfair. Do not do that. There is a disease called hepatic lipidosis that is especially common in cats for such mishaps. Don’t let this get on your cat. Focus on nutrition and the amount.
Another thing that we should warn you about is the litter-trouble that you will face your cat having when you change its diet to a weight-loss, low-calorie type. This does not, by any means, mean that your food is of low quality and do not g complaining to your manufacturer, but it is simply the cat’s digestive system adapting to the diet food. It can happen with the best of foods. But if you are certain that it is not for the diet food and the situation prevails, see a vet.
Lastly, totally stop with the free-feeding. If you are thinking this is diet cat food, nothing will happen if I overfeed my cat on it, it is already low on calories; you are dead wrong. Do not leave any food lying around for them not even human food that they can reach and grab and limit the treats-intake to less than ten percent of your cat’s diet.
After all these, you should be successful to help your cat reach a healthy weight goal and have him maintain it through a balanced diet and exercise. But after it has reached his its goal, do not get it back to the original diet and start treating him to a lot of tasty for all the hard work it has done to achieve the goal. Slowly increase the calories and food intake required to maintain a healthy weight. You can’t still start free feeding, but still, follow the instructions on how to feed your cat from the labels on your cat food packet. You can also follow our formula to find out the right calorie count for your cat easily if you know the current weight. Just make sure your favorite feline friend is not gaining any weight sooner or later!
Once you have decided on the best cat food for weight loss, don’t forget to check out our The Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach
Have a nice day!