How To Get A Cat To Lose Weight

It’s no secret that being overweight, and underweight, can lead to health problems down the line. Obesity in animals can lead to things like “arthritis and diabetes,” [1] which can be very dangerous.  In the long run, it’s better to maintain your cat’s health as opposed to making up for it in the future. Treat your fur-baby right sooner rather than later. Stay for a few tips on getting an indoor cat to lose weight.

Food Portions

One of the best ways to get a cat to lose weight to reevaluate their diet and make meal choices that give them exactly what they need. Make sure that they aren’t getting too many table scraps or overeating during meals. It’s common for miscommunication to end in pets getting fed twice for one meal, so it’s important to have the whole household on the same page when keeping your cat healthy. A study on pet weight loss suggests a reduced-energy maintenance diet as an “initial step” [2] for getting a cat to lose weight. It's for a trial 2-3 week period to lose those first couple of pounds and get the dice rolling. However, when decreasing the food intake of your cat, please be mindful of their nutrient intake and monitor their energy levels.  

  • Choose food options that give your cat plenty of nutrients so that when you shrink their portions, they still get what they need. Consult your veterinarian on keeping their nutrient intake up.
  • Cat feeders are a great choice because they can either open at a specific time for meals or only open for a specific cat’s microchip. Which would be great for those carefully managing the diet of multiple cats.

Exercise Wheels

Training your cat to run on an exercise wheel is easy with positive association through treats and toys. Start by placing a treat on the wheel to get them interested. This step can take as long as you need if your cat is hesitant about it. After that, try placing it under their nose then moving it out of their reach to get the wheel rolling. It's seems a bit cruel but it's only to show them the ropes. Going to the gym isn’t always an easy feat so cut them a little slack if they don’t get it at first. Don’t forget to compliment them after each use!



It’s not a common trait of cats to favor walks so it might take a little more thought to get their cardio in. A playmate is a great option if you have enough space for two (or more!) cats. That gives your cat more options to choose from for exercise and a partner to play with! Plus, why adopt one cat when you could adopt two? Though if this option isn't currently in the cards, here are some alternatives:

  • Buy some lasers and send your cat running across the room, without them even knowing you can get a few laps in.
  • Set aside a time to play the same you would to walk a dog. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just get them moving.
  • Find a self-playing cat toy that'll give your cat a good time all on their own. 


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[1] Keller, E., Sagols, E., Flanagan, J., Biourge, V., & German, A. J. (2020). Use of reduced-energy content maintenance diets for modest weight reduction in overweight cats and dogs. Research in Veterinary Science, 131, 194-205.

[2] How you can help the fat cats - and other animals that may need to lose weight; Owners of podgy pets can get help to keep their beloved animals in tip-top condition, and could even win a pet-friendly holiday. (2019, February 14). Chronicle [Newscastle upon Tyne, England].