Weight Management for Cats

Posted In: Feline Health & Wellness

One of the most important ways to make sure your feline friends are living their best (and longest) lives, is keeping them at a healthy weight. Of course, diet is important, but it’s not always as easy for cats to get regular exercise as it is for dogs, since activities like leash walks, dog parks, etc. are likely not an option. But there are certainly ways to manage your cat’s weight!

Does your cat have you trained when it comes to food? For example, when your cat meows throughout the day and night for food, do you feed them? If so, your pet might have you trained! Unfortunately, it may not be in his or her best interest. An estimated 56% of dogs and 60% of cats are overweight or obese. That is over half of all pets!

Extra weight is not just a cosmetic concern for our pets. As little as two pounds of extra weight on a 10 pound dog or cat, causes them to carry 20% more weight on their joints. Over time, extra stress on the joints can cause osteoarthritis. Other negative effects of excess weight include:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Skin disorders
  • Certain types of cancers
  • Diabetes
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Reduced life expectancy - one study proved that diet restriction can add almost two years to a pet’s life! 

If you are concerned that your cat is overweight or seems to be gaining weight, talk to your veterinarian before making any changes in diet or activity level. It is important to determine the best type of food, if your pet is healthy enough for exercise, and the type of exercise that will best suit your pet. Your veterinarian may also recommend blood work to rule out underlying medical conditions that can lead to weight gain such as diabetes or thyroid function.

One of the many services provided at AMCMA’s Integrated Veterinary Pain Management Center is weight loss and body conditioning for both dogs and cats. After a thorough examination of your pet, we can create a diet and exercise regimen that is safe and fun. By combining nutritional counseling, exercise plans, and plenty of support, we can help your pet lose weight safely, get in shape, and stay in shape.

Weight loss can be difficult, and it can take time. But we’re here to help! We have teamed up with Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets to offer some great incentives to get you and your pet started. At your next veterinary visit, if our veterinarian thinks a weight management plan is a good idea, we will take measurements of your pet and create feeding recommendations tailored to your pet’s needs. You can purchase Pro Plan OM (Overweight Management) food in our clinic or through the Purina Vet Direct home delivery program.

The veterinarian may also recommend an exercise regimen. For those pets who have difficulty exercising at home or for whom exercise may not be safe, we also offer our Underwater Treadmill therapy! The underwater treadmill is great for weight loss because it reduces the amount of stress on joints, while providing a workout that helps burn calories and build muscle. While not all cats will be receptive to the “underwater” aspect, we have had success with many felines in this program.

If you are ready to start your pet’s weight loss journey, schedule your appointment today!  


The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.