Obesity in Cats: Raw to the Rescue
Has there ever been a time where you have looked into your beloved felines eyes and lovingly said “Garfield, it’s time to go on a diet.” To Garfield’s horror you went to the store and brought him home a big bag of weight loss food and then you put him on a set feeding schedule! After a few months of being on his diet you notice that Garfield has lost little to no weight and you are now convinced that he has been the one secretly eating all of your lasagna.
Obesity and the Diet; a breakdown
An important factor to consider is the role that carbohydrates play in Garfield’s diet. Carbohydrates are not directly associated with fat – even though excess carbohydrates are stored as fat – due to the effect of protein levels in his diet. With a higher concentration of carbohydrates the protein intake is reduced and this in turn can result in an insufficient intake of protein levels which properly maintain Garfield’s energy and his overall appearance. Cats of all shapes and sizes have no necessary need for carbs in their diet as they use protein and fat as their energy sources. Diets with a moderate amount of protein that are accompanied with an average digestibility, can and often do result in the loss of muscle mass. Cats utilize protein as their energy source due to their metabolic requirements and with a diet that lowers their metabolic rate this can make weight gain even worse.
Why doesn’t a high fiber/low fat diet work?
You see Garfield is not a very active cat as it is and often times having him on a weight loss food does not help him. More often than not weight loss plans include feeding an energy restricted diet such as low-fat, high fiber, and/or a high-carbohydrates diet. While this does help reduce fat, in turn it leads to the detriment of Garfield’s lean body mass. To successfully lose weight the cat’s body requires a loss of adipose tissue – which is a connective tissue of loose fat – and they must maintain lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is the fundamental driver of energy metabolism. When Garfield begins to lose his lean muscle mass this becomes his number one contributor to weight gain because his appetite has not been condensed and his fully tummy quota has not been reached.
Which diet works best?
High protein! For Garfield to lose weight the best diet for him to be on is a diet with a protein percentage of 45 or higher. Studies found that cats who had a low -carbohydrate, high-protein diet lost weight yet maintained their lean muscle mass. This makes feeding kibble problematic because it requires carbohydrates as a binder. These binders, such as grains, peas, potatoes, and corn keep the food together which keeps it looking like a biscuit. This makes it extremely difficult to achieve a low-carbohydrates diet. When cats are let to live in their natural setting their unique biology, which makes them a true carnivore, would never consume the high levels of carbohydrates they do at home. Additionally any available high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are not low-calorie so it can be easy to over feed.
The absolute best diet we can recommend for Garfield is the Raw Diet. Not only do raw diets offer foods that are low-calorie, low-carbohydrates, and high in protein but they also offer a wide array of other health benefits.
Put A Stop To “Free Feeding”
If you are feeding Garfield kibble, free-feeding him will not help him lose weight either. If he has access to his food all day, even if it is a high protein, low-carbohydrate food, if he consumes to many calories our poor boy will continue to remain obese.
Garfield should be given set meals such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Doing so will give him an increased thermal effect on his meals and will increase his metabolic rate, which of course helps with his weight loss.
Why Feed Raw?
Felines are carnivores (obligate), plain and simple. They are biologically designed to eat and digest whole, raw prey. Since raw food has zero to no carbohydrates in it biologically, it makes sense. For Garfield to go from eating carbs every day to eating the cleanest and most nutritious food that he would be getting if he were a feral cat, it will have a rapidly fast and positive impact on them overall, internally and externally.
Other Ways Raw Can Make A Difference
With raw food many day to day things our cats do, will drastically change and for the better. By feeding Garfield and his friends a food with no carbs in it you are also helping them;
- Reduce their shedding
- Fewer to no hairballs
- Improve their temperament
- Reduce litter box odor
- Help keep their teeth pearly white
- General health improvement
- Less food consumption
- Content and happy cats!
If you have any other questions about Garfield and his weight loss plan, please feel free to contact us for a consultation by email or phone or visit us in store!
-The True Carnivores Pack