Why isn’t my cat losing weight after decreasing his calorie intake?

Original Question: The food my cat is eating is 500 cal./cup. He was just weighed at the vet and he is 9.6kg or 21.16 lbs. I was currently feeding him just over 1/8 of a cup 2x a day which doesn't seem like a lot but because he did gain weight since last year I am thinking he needs 1/8 of a cup 2x a day. This cat does not get any treats and does NOT have access to other cat food. The other cat weighs 9 lbs. and finishes the same amount about every other day. Thanks for any help :) -

Why isn’t my cat losing weight after decreasing his calorie intake? Jul 24, 2017

Hi there,

Achieving weight loss in your pets is never easy. Please ensure that you have ruled out any medical reasons for weight gain with your veterinarian before focusing on diet changes. If my calculations are correct, you are feeding about 125kcal/day. This is not many calories, and I would be very surprised if any cat was not losing weight at this level of calorie restriction. So, you will need to investigate possible reasons why you are not seeing results.

A few things to consider – are you using an appropriate measuring cup? Some pet owners use a “cup” that is really a coffee mug or another, likely inaccurate measuring tool. Are you ensuring that the measured amount is level with the measurement line? If the kibble spills over this line, you will not be feeding the correct amount of calories. One thing that veterinary nutritionists often recommend is measuring the weight (in grams) of the food rather than measuring in a cup. You can do this on any kitchen/food scale. It will be much more accurate. I encourage you to read the article by  our expert nutritionist Jackie Parr about the downsides to measuring cups for pet foods. Finally, are there any other possible sources of calories? Some pet owners supplement the dry kibble with wet food and forget to account for these calories as well.

Weight loss can take time. Once you have made a change, stick with it for at least 1-2 months before assessing if you have made progress.  If you are not seeing results, you may want to try a diet formulated specifically for weight loss (note that weight maintenance diets and weight loss diets are different!). Your veterinarian can guide you on a specific recommendation. Hope this is helpful!

Dr. Kim Hester

Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

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