Julia Ogden

Written by Julia Ogden

Updated: May 15, 2024

What are the best cat foods for weight-loss?

Updated: May 15, 2024

A cat is considered to be obese when it is 20% above its ideal weight. Just like us humans, being overweight can shorten a cat’s life expectancy and increase the risk of heart conditions and diabetes.

If you are concerned about your cat’s weight, before making any changes with their diet, consult your veterinarian. They can assess your cat's overall health and provide tailored advice based on their specific needs.

It’s important to feed your cat a complete and balanced diet. Choose high-quality cat food that meets their nutritional requirements. Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid excessive treats.

Encouraging physical activity through play and interactive toys can also help keep your cat’s weight down. Toys that dispense treats can make mealtime more engaging and promote movement too.

Instead of free-feeding, establish a regular feeding schedule. This helps in controlling portion sizes and prevents overeating.

In some cases, your veterinarian might recommend a special weight-loss diet. These diets are formulated to help cats lose weight safely. See our list of the best cat food for weight loss below:

  • Blue Freedom Weight Control with Chicken & Potatoes (Dry)

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    Highly Recommended

    Blue Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Adult Recipe Weight Control with Chicken & Potatoes received the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating: 5 stars.

    It is one of five dry recipes in this product range made by Blue Buffalo which is owned by General Mills. It includes a named meat source as the first ingredient and contains no by-product meals, corn, wheat or soy or artificial flavours or perservatives.

    Blue Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Adult Recipe Weight Control with Chicken & Potatoes derives the bulk of its protein from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 33% protein, 11% fat and 48% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 33%.

    Read our review of the full Blue Freedom (Dry) range here
    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, tapioca starch, peas, pea protein
    Texture Dry
    Type Nuggets
    Protein Percentage 33%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For All cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "It's great for overweight cats they don't even know the difference they are tabby cats and they like blue buffalo products the only way to improve this product is to make it more cost efficient but It is a very good product and yes I would buy it again and I would recommend this product to other people with kitties"

  • Solid Gold Indigo Moon with Alaskan Pollock & Egg (Dry)

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    Recommended

    Solid Gold Indigo Moon (High Protein) with Alaskan Pollock & Egg dry recipe received the Cat Food Advisor’s second rating: 4 stars.

    It is one of nine recipes in this product range made by Solid Gold which was founded in 1970 and manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods in the United States.

    Solid Gold Indigo Moon High Protein with Alaskan Pollock & Egg recipe  derives the bulk of its protein from ocean fish. Unfortunately, the phrase “ocean fish” is vague and does little to adequately describe this ingredient. Since some fish are higher in omega-3 fats than others, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this item.

    In any case, fish meat is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 46.7% protein, 22.2% fat and 23.1% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 48%.

    Solid Gold dry food is made from nutrient-dense superfoods such as ocean fish meal, egg protein, pumpkin, cranberry, spearmint, carrot, apple, watercress, rosemary, lentil, celery, parsley, almond oil, beet, sesame oil, blueberry, broccoli, thyme, chicory root, dried kelp, spinach, and salmon oil.

    Read our review of the full Solid Gold Indigo Moon (Dry) range here
    Main Ingredients Ocean fish meal, chicken meal, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pollock
    Texture Dry
    Type Kibble
    Protein Percentage 48%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For All cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My picky fish eater and my not so picky kitty both love this food. They can’t stop eating it. Much less waste and my picky one is finally gaining weight. He was staying too slim for my comfort and the vet’s opinion, and no other food seemed to help him out before this. I highly recommend it for healthy weight, eyes and fur coats. Both seem to be improving in all areas in only a few weeks of starting the transition."

  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Liver & Chicken Entrée (Wet)

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    Recommended

    Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Liver & Chicken Entrée received the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating: 4 stars.

    It is one of 50 recipes in this product range made by Hill’s Pet Nutrition which was founded back in 1907 by Burton Hill.

    Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Liver & Chicken Entrée Cat Food derives the bulk of its protein from pork, which is naturally rich in all 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 38.4% protein, 13% fat and 31.3% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 34%.

    This recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO for all life stages  – kitten, adult and senior cats. 

    Read our review of the full Hill’s Science Diet (Wet) range here
    Main Ingredients Water, Pork Liver, Pork By-Products, Corn Flour, Powdered Cellulose
    Texture Wet
    Type Shreds
    Protein Percentage 38.4%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For All cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "We have only just started using this brand, but my cats both seem to really love it! They lick their plates clean and ask for more. I like that it has healthy ingredients that they enjoy and it will help them both be at a healthy weight."

  • Optimeal Weight Management Turkey & Oatmeal Recipe (Dry)

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    Recommended

    Optimeal Weight Management Turkey & Oatmeal recipe received the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating: 4 stars.

    It is one of eight dry foods  in this product range made by Optimeal, which is owned by Kormotech LLC, a Ukrainian family-run company that produces high-quality dog and cat food for its own brands and private labels.

    Optimeal Weight Management Turkey & Oatmeal Recipe derives the bulk of its protein from turkey, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids a cat needs to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 34% protein, 11% fat and 47.1% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 32%.

    This food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein and animal fats, made with natural, wholesome ingredients, free from carrageenan and artificial colors.

    Read our review of the full Optimeal (Dry) range here
    Main Ingredients Deboned turkey, oats, rice, chicken meal & turkey meal.
    Texture Dry
    Type Kibble
    Protein Percentage 34%
    AAFCO Standards Yes
    Best For Adult Cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cat is an incredibly picky eater, and even she liked this food. She is usually the type of feline who turns her nose up at anything that doesn't smell like her regular diet, yet she was willing to give this a try. And she ate it. And kept eating it until the bag was empty. That earns this food a rousing endorsement from me!"

Why should you not overfeed your cat?

It is important not to overfeed your cat for several reasons:

Obesity: Overfeeding can lead to obesity in cats, this can then result in an increase in the risk of various health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and respiratory issues. It can reduce their overall quality of life and also shorten a cat’s lifespan.

Reduced Lifespan: Obesity is associated with various health complications that can negatively impact a cat’s overall well-being and longevity. Obese cats often have shorter lifespans compared to cats that maintain a healthy weight.

Decreased Quality of Life: Decreased mobility can cause difficulty in grooming and increased susceptibility to various health issues, your cat can then experience a reduced quality of life. Their overall happiness and well-being is impacted because they are less active, less playful and more lethargic.

Financial Burden: Frequent veterinary visits, medication, specialized diets, and potential treatments for obesity-related conditions can put a financial strain on cat owners.

What should you do if your cat is overweight?

To ensure the health and well-being of your cat, it’s important to provide them with a balanced and appropriate diet and monitor their food intake. 

Determining the right amount to feed your cat depends on various factors, including their age, weight, activity level, metabolism, and any specific dietary requirements or health conditions they may have. 

Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the right amount to feed your cat:

Read the feeding guidelines: Most commercial cat food brands provide recommended feeding guidelines on their packaging. Do remember these are just guidelines and may need to be adjusted based on your cat’s individual needs.

Consult with your veterinarian: Your veterinarian is the best resource for determining your cat’s specific dietary needs. They may consider factors such as the cat’s ideal weight, any underlying health issues, and the type of food (wet or dry) that suits your cat best and tailor feeding recommendations.

Consider your cat’s activity level: Look to adjust portion sizes accordingly to accommodate their energy levels. Outdoor cats may have a higher activity level compared to other more sedentary indoor cats.

Monitor your cat’s body condition: Regularly assess your cat’s body condition by feeling their ribs and waistline. You should be able to feel their ribs without excess fat covering, and there should be a noticeable waistline behind the ribs when viewing from above. If your cat is underweight or overweight, adjust the portion size accordingly.

Split meals into multiple servings: Consider splitting their daily food portion into several smaller meals throughout the day rather than one large meal. This helps prevent overeating and promotes better digestion.

Avoid overfeeding treats: Treats should not contribute to a significant portion of your cat’s daily calorie intake and should be given in moderation. Choose healthy, low-calorie treats or consider using portioned-out treats as part of their daily food allowance.

What health conditions can be caused by obesity in cats?

Obesity in cats can contribute to several health issues, including:

Diabetes: Overweight cats are at a higher risk of developing diabetes mellitus, a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. Obesity affects insulin sensitivity, and the excess weight can strain the pancreas, leading to insulin resistance and an increased likelihood of diabetes.

Joint Problems: Osteoarthritis can be caused due to increased stress on joints when your cat is obese. Joint problems can cause pain, reduced mobility, and discomfort for the cat.

Heart Disease: Your cat’s cardiovascular health and overall well-being can be compromised if they are obese. Obesity in cats can contribute to heart disease, including hypertension (high blood pressure) and cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle).

Respiratory Issues: Breathing difficulties can occur in obese cats particularly during physical activities and warm environments. Respiratory issues can negatively impact a cat’s overall quality of life.

Urinary Tract Problems: Obesity can contribute to the formation of urinary crystals, blockages, and bladder inflammation, leading to discomfort and potential complications. Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is more likely in overweight cats.

Hepatic Lipidosis: Fatty liver disease, hepatic lipidosis can occur in overweight cats that experience a rapid loss of appetite or go without food for an extended period. The body’s fat stores are mobilized excessively, overwhelming the liver’s capacity to process them, resulting in liver dysfunction.

Sources

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Article reviewed by
Georgia Jeremiah

Veterinarian

Dr Georgia Jeremiah has a first class honors degree in comparative pathology with field experience in anatomic and clinical pathology, studying disease processes in a multitude of species.

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