You might think your kitty looks adorable with chubby cheeks and a round tummy, but we all agree that extra pounds have never been good for anyone. Luckily for you, there's no need to take your furry friend to the gym, you can reverse the problem at home with additional activity and the right diet food for cats. With hundreds of options available online and offline, you might take months of research to find the right option for the plum cat. Or you could skip this step and use this guide to pick one of the best diet cat food brands that'll make the kitty lithe and happy again.
Hill's Science Diet Adult Chicken Recipe Dry Cat FoodCheck price
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management Feline FoodCheck price
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Kitten Ultra Soft Mousse in Sauce Canned Cat FoodCheck price
Why Bother Choosing The Best Cat Food for Overweight Cats?
Have you ever used those formulas to calculate your body mass index and learn whether your weight is healthy? The same can be done for your kitty. Of course, only the doctor knows the ideal weight depending on the breed, age, activity level, and other factors, but most cats should stay under 10 pounds. A couple of extra pounds might not seem so critical for you, but for your tubby, they translate into 20% extra body mass (that's 30 pounds for someone at 150 pounds).
Still not convinced your cat needs to go on a diet? Let's take a look at the long-term consequences of extra weight. These include:
- Cat diabetes. It's common among obese pets, and returning to a healthy weight may lead to full remission.
- Arthritis. With chronic joint pain, your kitty will hardly want to jump and run, resulting in a passive lifestyle and increased weight gain in a vicious cycle.
- High blood pressure. Coupled with different health issues, it might lead to internal organs failure and the loss of eyesight if left untreated.
The worst part is that the clinics are loath to treat obese cats. They are more prone to complications post-surgery, and they suffer more from anesthesia than cats keeping to a healthier weight.
As you see, choosing the best diet cat food is not a fad. It is crucial for your kitty's long-term health if you've noticed signs of weight gain. Coupled with increased activity and proper food management, diet meals will protect the cat from multiple health issues and risks.
Here Are Top 5 Cat Food for Overweight Indoor Cats in 2021
Hill's Science Diet Cat FoodCheck price
- High-protein, low-fat formula
- Enhanced with vitamins and antioxidants
- Includes L-carnitine to promote weight loss
- Includes grains, so isn’t suitable for gluten-sensitive cats
- Inconsistent kibble size and quality
Whether you want your kitty to shed that extra pound or keep a healthy body mass, this formula is a one-size-fits-all solution. Made on US soil using top-shelf ingredients in a tried and true combination of high protein and low fat, this dry food only holds 300 calories per cup, making it more efficient than ever. Unlike cheaper alternatives, Hill's does not include peas that cause digestive problems for some tabbies. Moreover, the ingredients list is free of synthetic additives for improved taste and color. This food comes as close to natural as special diet cat food can get.
Blue Buffalo Weight Control CatCheck price
- High-protein, meat-first recipe
- Includes LifeSource bits with vitamins and antioxidants
- Limited bag size options
Despite its affordable price tag, Blue Buffalo kibble is always meat-first, carbs later type of food. In this, it is perfect for weight loss. Another distinction from other manufacturers is the lack of grains, soy, and poultry-based by-product meals which lower the cost and nutritional value of your kitty's dinner. The one downside of this option is the unbalanced pH that might cause urinary troubles for your favorite felines. Keep clean water within reach at all times, combine this kibble with wet food, and visit your vet if you notice the tabby having any troubles.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management Feline FoodCheck price
- Extra rich in protein from chicken and other sources
- Includes prebiotics and probiotics for better digestion
- Comes with skin and coat health supplements
- Recent recipe change
- Some ambiguous ingredients (poultry by-product meal)
Developed by a dedicated team of vets and nutritionists, this formula is as delicious as it is filling. Turkey, chicken, and grains make it into a high-protein treat with minimal fat content and a surprisingly low calorie count. Rich in fiber, this canned food will keep your kitty from begging for treats in between meals, as she will remain happy and sated for longer. A balanced combination of vitamins sustains feline health in the long term and prevents indoor pets' urinary tract issues.
Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat FoodCheck price
- Freeze-dried raw pieces mixed with kibble
- Grain-free and suitable for allergy-prone cats
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Legumes may cause digestive issues
- Smaller portions are less filling for some tabbies
Freeze-dried cage-free chicken is what makes this cat food stand out among the rest on our list. The best raw cat food diet is delicious, healthy, and perfect for maintaining the right weight. Besides, Instinct does not include many of the ingredients added to lower the kibble price (meaning soy, wheat, by-product meal, and artificial flavors and colors). Still, you might want to take a closer look at recommended portion size and instructions, as this food is a bit more calorie-dense compared to other diet options (385 kcal per cup).
Royal Canin Weight Care Dry Cat FoodCheck price
- High-protein, low-fat chicken-based recipe
- Enhanced with L-carnitine for steady weight loss
- Includes filling fiber to support digestion
- Unusual kibble shape
- Unsuitable for grain-sensitive cats
While not the cheapest, this kibble is a favorite of many a cat lover. It does, after all, promise guaranteed weight loss within two months of adding this food to the diet. Considering the high protein and fiber content coupled with a low fat percentage, Royal Canin is a surefire way to get the cat to lose a pound or two. L-carnitine is a useful addition to the ingredients list. It balances fat metabolism and accelerates weight loss for active cats.
The Best Wet Cat Food for Weight Loss
When it comes to the best diet wet cat food, you can't beat Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management Feline Food. After all, it was developed and formulated by doctors and scientists who know exactly what your tabby needs to lose the extra weight and get healthier throughout this unpleasant and stressful process.
This variety contains multiple sources of healthy and lean protein. However, some cat lovers might be opposed to the presence of meat by-products among the ingredients. Wheat and corn are also present, along with natural and artificial flavors. However, the full spectrum of vitamins balances out the formula to make it as healthy as possible without causing potential issues for your kitty's urinary tract and digestive system.
This wet food is not the cheapest, though you could save by buying in bulk by the case of 24 cans when you are sure your kitty enjoys this option. You might have to get your vet's approval before buying, but that's more of an advantage than a downside.
The Best Dry Cat Food for Weight Loss
Unsurprisingly, Hill's Science Diet Cat Food is among the best dry cat food for weight control options on the market. 97% of Chewy reviewers recommend this product, and the number of positive diet cat food reviews across the Internet is staggering. It might also be the only kibble on our list that has virtually no health-related complaints by cat owners. If that's not a solid proof of its quality and safety, what is?
However, if you believe in organic products or freeze-dried raw components, look elsewhere. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with Hill's Science Diet. Over the years, it has proved to be an effective way to control feline weight gain without endangering the digestive system, urinary tract, and other internal organs.
What Makes Hill's the Best Weight Loss Cat Food?
- Best value for money (around $40 for a 15-pound bag)
- USA-based study proven weight loss results
- Well-balanced nutritional value with only 300 kcal per cup
- Alternative flavors available for increased kitty meal variety
- Made in the USA with globally-sourced natural ingredients
If you're not sure Hill's Science Diet is suitable for your cat, don't go buying the biggest bag they offer. Start with a modest 3-pounder and move your way up once your cat becomes accustomed to the updated smell, flavor, and shape.
The Best Diet Cat Food
Millions of pet owners worldwide trust Royal Canin to preserve their pets' tip-top shape, and Weight Care Dry Cat Food is another example of perfectly-formulated kibble. The best diet dry cat food is only 255 calories per cup, securing its place among the least calorie-dense options on the market. It means that you get precise control over how much nutritional value your kitty gets and adjust the portion size depending on the weight loss speed.
To boost feline metabolism and ensure top shape, the brand relies on a balanced combination of L-carnitine, and supplements. Chicken, grains, and peas make up the kibble so flavorful that it will have your tabby racing for the bowl every time she hears the bag being opened. While we're on the topic of the bags, there are several sizes available. Start with a 3-pound option to get your kitty hooked on the latest flavor. Afterward, you can switch to a budget-friendly 6-pound or 14-pound option.
The one complaint Royal Canin fans have is the brand's tendency to introduce unexpected changes. It can be something as benign as the new kibble shape. However, the company may also alter the components, so be sure to check the package you buy is what you expect it to be.
Things You Should Know About Overweight Cat Health Risks
Fat cats might look cute, but they don’t live long. They face lots of health issues, but we’ll cover the four most common ones.
Overweight cats often suffer diabetes mellitus as their bodies become non-responsive to insulin. And diabetes comes with its own host of potential health risks. Luckily, losing extra pounds can lead to remission.
Extra weight puts more pressure on your cat’s bones and joints, and no amount of chondroitin can protect him from hurting his legs when jumping from high perches. If not addressed, arthritis can lead to lameness.
Known to accumulate fat in overweight cats, the liver can lose most of its functions due to obesity-induced hepatic lipidosis. The condition may be lethal if your cat suffers stress or stops eating when you switch to weight management food.
Dry, flaking skin and even feline acne are common in overweight cats who don’t usually suffer from allergies. Besides, all that extra fat can make your kitty clumsy and unable to groom herself. The easiest to notice, skin problems can be resolved through weight management and proper food choice.
Feline Obesity Is Your Responsibility
Only domesticated animals get overweight, and the problem is becoming more common. You are responsible for your tabby’s meals, and so you should take responsibility for her obesity.
Ideal Cat Weight
It’s not a number or a range, rather a score on a body condition scoring chart. The ideal weight is 5 on a 9-point scale. Your cat’s weight is ideal if
- You cannot see the spine or ribs but can easily feel them under a thin layer of fat.
- You can see an abdominal tuck if you look at your cat in profile.
- You can barely feel a small fat pad on your kitty’s tummy.
How to Tell if Your Cat is Obese
Visit a vet for a precise evaluation of your cat’s condition. Still, a simple examination at home with a body condition scoring chart will give you a good idea when weight management is in order.
If your tabby does not meet one of the ideal weight requirements above, she is likely overweight or obese. You will notice that the ribs are difficult, if not impossible, to palpate. When you look at your kitty from the top, you won’t see a visible waistline, and you’ll notice a rounded tummy if you look at her in profile.
Ways to Help Your Cat to Lose Weight
Negative energy balance is key to weight loss in cats. Achieve it though
- Proper portion size. Weigh you kitty and follow the feeding guideline on the cat food packaging.
- Increased daily activity. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes per day to keep your kitty on her paws or use automatic toys to do the job for you.
- Interactive feeding. Combine mealtimes with fun games using interactive feeders that will have your kitty chasing the healthy treats.
The Verdict. What Is the Best Low-Calorie Cat Food?
With hundreds of options on the market, why choose one of the three suggestions we make? That's easy!
Royal Canin Weight Care Dry Cat Food has the longest history of proven weight loss that no up-and-coming brand can beat, so it’s our choice of best diet cat food (dry).
Hill's Science Diet Cat Food offers a scientifically-designed ingredients list that upholds perfect health while lowering the weight.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management Feline Food is something your trusted vet will suggest as a safe and sure way to help your cuddly kitty let go of that extra pound or two.
What Do You Look for When Choosing Diet Wet Cat Food or Kibble?
Finally, if you have tested these brands and found them wanting, here are a couple of tips to find the perfect weight-loss meal for your cat. Quality food should possess:
- Minimum fat with heightened percentage of protein+fiber combo to ensure low caloric content
- Vitamins, minerals, L-carnitine and other stuff to support the feline health
- Delicious flavor and aroma to entice your cat into switching from current kibble
- Balanced pH to prevent urinary infections and kidney stones
- No synthetic additives to affect flavor, color, or shelf life that could hurt your kitty's health
Follow these simple rules, and your kitty will get lean, strong, and healthy in no time!
You’ll need a high-protein, low-fat formula with animal-based protein sources and plenty of fiber. There are dozens of options on the market, but Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, and Blue Buffalo are among the best.
If your vet doesn’t offer a recommendation, choose any reputable brand, like Hill’s, Royal Canin, Purina, or Blue Buffalo. Check out the ingredients lists to ensure there are no known allergens that could affect your kitty.
Dry and wet weight management food is equally effective if you follow the feeding recommendations and increase your tabby’s activity level.
Follow the feeding chart on the bag. It holds the daily portion size for your cat’s weight and activity level. Start with switching some of the current kibble with diet food and gradually replace the usual food with the new one.