Give smaller meals and see your fat cat running!

Give smaller meals and see your fat cat running!

Have a lazy, obese cat? Feed you kitten smaller, frequent meals to ramp up her physical activity. And humans too can learn this to ward off extra fat.

Just as with people, feline obesity is most often linked to excessive food intake or not enough physical activity.

Researchers got the answer in increased meal frequency that could help increase overall physical activity.

Animal sciences researcher Kelly Swanson determined that both increasing the frequency of meals fed per day, as well as offering meals that contained added dietary water did promote more physical activity among the cats.

"It all comes down to energy in and energy out. It's very simple on paper, but it's not that easy in real life. That can be difficult, but I think these two strategies are very practical ideas that people can use," explained Swanson.

The researchers evaluated the activity of the cats between meals using activity collar monitors.

The cats were placed in their individual cages only during mealtimes so that the researchers could accurately monitor their food intake.

During the activity monitoring times, the cats had limited interaction with people.
"If they know they are going to get fed, that's when they are really active, if they can anticipate it," Swanson added.

The cats showed an even greater spike in physical activity in the second experiment when they were fed meals with the added water.

"Veterinarians would be interested in this because it gives them evidence to be able to recommend something to pet owners that could help with feline obesity and diabetes," noted Swanson.

The key is to figure out how much food is needed to maintain your cat's healthy body weight.

Adding water to dry food, or using wet canned food, may provide a greater gut fill to pets.

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