Print 5 Steps to Cat Exercise

It's a troubling trend; Just like in humans, the average weight of cats is increasing. Lorraine Jarboe, DVM, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, says cats today are becoming heavier. "Twenty years ago, the average cat weighed 8 pounds," she says. "Now most cats weigh 10 pounds."

Extra weight can contribute to problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Increased risk of surgical/anesthetic complications
  • Grooming difficulties

What Is an Ideal Weight?

Unlike dogs, there's not a vast difference between the largest breed of cat and the smallest. Still, knowing the average weights of different breeds helps determine the ideal weight for your cat. Here are some guidelines:

  • Small cats, including the Cornish Rex, some Oriental Shorthairs, and Siamese, should weigh 6 to 7 pounds.
  • Medium cats such as the Burmese, Abyssinian, and most un-pedigreed cats should weigh 8 to 12 pounds.
  • Large cats such as the Maine Coon, Manx, Persian, and Ragdoll can weigh up to 20 pounds.

No matter what breed of cat you have, if you follow the five steps below, you'll have a fitter feline.

Step 1: Schedule an Examination of Your Cat

Body structure and health needs vary. Your veterinarian can help you decide the right weight for your cat. "If a cat is too heavy for me to examine the abdomen," Dr. Jarboe says, "I'm adamant about weight loss."

Step 2: Get Your Cat Moving

Playing with your cat is a great way to keep her active, and it's fun for you, too. Throw her stuffed mouse across the room for her to get. Put catnip in a Kong® cube toy and let her chase it. Encourage your cat to follow you around the house. Every little bit of exercise helps. Experts suggest at least 20 minutes of play or exercise a day for cats.

Step 3: Choose the Best Diet for Your Cat

Your cat's nutritional needs depend on her age, activity level, and health. Eukanuba® Adult Weight Control Formula for Cats is perfect for healthy adult cats who need to lose a few pounds or just maintain their weight. It helps control your cat's weight because it has fewer calories and less fat than our adult formulas.

Step 4: Measure the Food You Serve Your Cat

When calculating portions, work from your cat's goal weight (obtained from your veterinarian) and use the feeding guidelines on the package as a starting point. Never put your cat on a crash diet. This may contribute to hepatic lipidosis, an often serious liver disease that occurs when a cat is forced to metabolize its own body fat rather than energy from food. And measure your cat's food carefully. That handful you thought was one-third of a cup could be one-half.

Step 5: Be Consistent When Feeding Your Cat

When cutting back, you may have to endure some pitiful meows. But you're helping your cat get fit for her own good.

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