The Purrfect Diet for Your Fat Cat

From - February 11, 2018

The Purrfect Diet for Your Fat Cat

SUNDAY, Feb. 11, 2018 -- Has your favorite tabby gotten a tad tubby?

You can help that fat cat slim down safely. But be forewarned: It wo not happen overnight.

Researchers at the University of Illinois put eight overweight neutered male cats on a diet for 18 weeks. They wanted the cats to lose enough weight to be noticeable but not enough to put their health at risk.

"The intent with this diet was a healthy weight loss: getting rid of fat while maintaining lean mass. The big question was how much does it take to make cats lose weight, especially lazy neutered males?" said Kelly Swanson, a professor in the department of animal sciences.

"It turns out you have to keep reducing their food intake because they are not very active. It takes a long time," he said in a university news release.

The goal was to help the cats shed 1.5 percent of their body weight per week. That's in line with recommendations from the American Animal Hospital Association.

Faster weight loss risks liver trouble. "They ca not handle that much," Swanson said.

The researchers started by reducing the cats' food intake by 20 percent, and then kept cutting it back every week -- just like people might do to see continued results on the scale.

"When we go on a diet ourselves, we might lose a lot of weight in the first few weeks and then hit a road block. Same with these animals," Swanson said.

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