How to Put One Cat in a Multi-Cat Household on a Diet

One of the biggest problems in a multi-cat household is when one of them is overweight while other cats in the household are fit; therefore, one cat has to go on a diet while the others do not. This begs action from both you and your cat, so what can you do?

Feed your cats in separate rooms and establish a schedule of when you are going to feed them. Get rid of any free feeding for your overweight feline, slowly increase more playtime, and gradually cut down the calories daily until the cat achieves a healthy weight.

If for some reason this solution doesn’t seem possible in your situation, it may be necessary to buy a baby gate to separate your cats’ dishes. 

A third suggestion I have for you: try getting a kennel or cutting a hole in a box that is big enough for your normal cats but too small for your chubby feline. 

Another option is going vertical. Most cats aren’t afraid of heights and love to climb

They should feel very comfortable eating somewhere high up while the fatty stays on the ground by itself with nobody to bother. 

How do I stop my overweight cat from eating other cat’s food?

The solutions on the first question are also applicable for this one. 

  • Feed them in separate rooms.
  • Use a baby gate.
  • Cut a hole in a box that is big enough for your other cats but too small for your chubby feline. 
  • Feed the other cats on a higher place where they can climb while the cute fatty stays on the ground.

You may have tried to limit your chubby cat’s food only to see them stroll over to its housemates’ dishes and polish off whatever’s left in their bowl. Strangely, this scenario in multi-cat households likely depicts that the overweight feline is the most dominant one.

While the cat is on a diet, there should be no communal feeding dish, and instead give your pets each their own smaller dish. 

The Spruce Pets explains that this behavior is an assertion of dominance. The domineering feline hisses, hits, and growls at the others. 

They may also urinate in areas that the other cats frequent, push them out of the food bowl until they are done eating, and make them feel threatened. 

With this thief-like behavior, you will notice that the fatty might eat faster so that it can move on to the next plate. Try slowing your cat down.

In order to make your feline to eat slower, use a big dish but only put about two layers of kibble in it. It will make the kibble harder to pick up, forcing your cat to slow down. 

If you exclusively feed your cat wet food, then add a little bit of water to slow them down. Just be careful not to add too much or else your cat might turn away from their meal entirely and the point is not to starve them.

How much should a healthy Bengal cat weigh?

In the case of a Bengal cat, Daily Paws, Dimensions.com, and ASPCA state that they should be 8 to 15 pounds heavy (3.6 to 6.8 kilograms) and 8 to 10 inches in stature (20 to 25 centimeters). Though, ASPCA informs us that they can also be 13-16 inches tall (33 to 40 centimeters).

Although, according to Spruce Pets, larger male Bengals can weigh as much as 20 to 22 pounds (9 to 10 kilograms).

At what point is a cat overweight?

To put it simply, obesity is an accumulation of excess body fat.

In every animal, there’s an ideal body weight, especially for naturally lithe athletes such as cats. However, since body fat cannot be determined easily by ordinary owners without veterinary tools, you can use the ideal weight as a guide.

VCA considers cats that are 10-20% above the healthy range to be overweight. If it’s more than 20%, then it’s obese.

So, by 10%, they start weighing around 8.8 to 16.5 pounds (4 to 7.5 kilograms), which makes them overweight. By 21%, which is 9.7 to 18.2 pounds (4.4 to 8.3) kilograms), then they are considered obese.

Is wet food or dry food better for overweight cats?

Wet food or canned food is a better option for a cat on diet. 

As to why you should choose wet food, it’s because of the water content. MSD Veterinary Manual goes through a great detail regarding the management and nutrition of domestic cat and dog, but here’s a very simple explanation:

“The moisture content of canned pet foods varies from 60% to [less than] 87%. Dry pet foods contain 3%–11% water, and semimoist foods contain 25%–35% water. 

“As a result, dogs and cats consuming predominantly canned food generally drink less water than those consuming predominantly dry diets.”

Wet food in literal terms means food full of water. When you go on a diet, the healthiest tip so far is to drink more water so you can eat less, and it’s applicable for your pet too! 

Aside from that fact, canned food has fewer calories, but don’t obsess over that! 

Remember these six classes of nutrients: carbohydrate, fat, protein, water, minerals, and vitamins. The first three are very crucial in giving energy for your feline, and the last three are just as important to maintain its body’s nutrients.

You can search about diet foods that help your overweight cat and are also healthy for your normal cats. 

There are multi-cat foods that have a substance called carnitine that helps burn fat and helps healthy cats maintain their slimness. Like the Atkins diet for humans, felines aren’t as hungry when they consume a diet that contains fewer carbohydrates.

Unlike human foods, however, the number of carbohydrates per serving of cat food will not be displayed on the bag. What you can find on the bag is the guaranteed protein level of the kibble. 

Protein and carbohydrates have an inverse relationship, so if the protein level is very high, then the number of carbohydrates will be very low.

Foods with high protein levels will also have high-fat levels, which might sound strange because humans tend to avoid fats to lose weight.  Because of the high fatty content, you have to feed your cat less food to instigate weight loss, but since there are fewer carbs in the food, your cat’s appetite will be suppressed. 

Wet foods have some of the highest protein content and a moderate amount of fat, so you might consider switching at least one of your cat’s meals to wet food. There are also some dry foods that are pretty high in protein content, so try to find a kibble that is high in protein and low in fat.

One of the foods you might consider is the Performatrin Ultra Slim Care food; it is specifically formulated to be high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It also contains a mix of quickly and slowly absorbed carbohydrates in order not to have a spike of glucose after consuming it. 

The recipe also contains Carnitine and green tea extract to help your cat burn carbohydrates quicker than they usually would.

How much should I feed my cat to lose weight?

Dunloggin Veterinary Hospital tells us that 6 ounces (170 grams) of canned cat food is about 250 calories and a cup of dry food is equal to 300 calories. For an 8-pound cat, an ideal intake of calories should be 240 calories a day.

Not so hard to follow, is it? That’s just a general guide, as your cat’s diet depends on its level of activity, age, weight, height, and even length.

For a more personalized diet plan, go to one of these two vet-verified cat calorie calculators: Pet Nutrition Alliance and PFMA.

Remember that the ideal weight should be around 8 to 15 pounds heavy (3.6 to 6.8 kilograms), and any number higher than this range is overweight or obese, so let’s talk about how to shave down that weight.

I’ll explain this further with a borrowed example from VCA’s article.

“For example, if your cat is 18 pounds (8.2 kg), you can calculate its ideal weight to be 10 to 12 pounds (4.4-5.5 kg), but a more realistic initial goal may be 15 pounds (6.8 kg). After the cat loses this weight, a re-evaluation will be made to determine whether further weight loss is needed.”

VCA provides this table as a general guideline for daily caloric needs:

Ideal weight (lbs)Calories (kcal) required to meet 80% RER per day
8180
10210
12230


Again I say this: cut down the calories gradually. An ideal weight loss should be one pound per month and is achievable within six to eight months.

At the end of the day, it’s always wise to have a tailored diet plan for your cat made by a veterinarian.

Why is my Bengal cat fat?

There are a few culprits, and I’ll arrange them in bullet form.

  • Free feeding.
  • More food and less play.
  • An underlying medical condition.

Make sure your Bengal eats in moderate amounts and don’t go overboard in giving away snacks! Schedule playtime and put that little athlete into hunt mode.Sometimes, when a cat grows too skinny or obese, unpleasant things happen inside the body. Have a talk with your veterinarian about this because it certainly will not solve itself.

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