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Common Conditions - Articles of Interest - If I put my cat on a diet, will it still love me?

If I put my cat on a diet, will it still love me?

It’s true that cats have a reputation for being able to get what they want. They know how to act in order to get what they want, and they’re particularly good communicators with their humans. 
Obesity in cats can lead to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems, and the best way to rectify this is, just like humans, with dieting and exercise. 

Why do cats get fat?

Like humans, gaining weight is largely based on two factors – how much your cat eats and how much energy they exert. We often confine cats to our homes (which is quite a reasonable thing to do, both for their safety and that of prey species) but it means cats may not do as much exercise as they should, while still eating a full diet. Lack of exercise or inactivity also leads to boredom, which can result in overeating or being overfed.
Other factors for cats becoming overweight or obese include being the only cat in the household with no one to play with, being male, being castrated, and being fed a prescription diet with a high nutrient density. 

How will my cat behave on a diet?

Cats are known for their independent nature, so you’d be forgiven for thinking your cat may become angry if their calories are restricted. But a recent report found that cats exhibited more affectionate behaviour when fed a calorie-restricted diet. Some reports have gone so far as to declare that “cats won’t hate you” if you put them on a diet. Of course, it will take time for them to get used to it, just as it does for humans, but it will be worth it the long run for both parties.
Dr Roslyn Lui from Greencross Vets Werribee also indicates that cats will continue to come home as long as they’re fed. 
“Cats basically treat owners as a food source,” she says. “So as long as your cat is getting food consistently from you, from a survival point of view, it will continue to come home. Being a pet means security, safety, warmth, shelter, water, food and lots of love. I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about.” 
At the end of the day, you need to break the cycle. Train yourself not to be influenced by your cat’s behaviour and always keep their health and best interest front of mind. Your local Greencross Vets can advise on the best ways to help your cat gain and maintain a healthy weight.

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