We all love our cats, but sometimes we reward them with too much food and too many treats. Obesity in cats is a common phenomenon and can lead to more serious health issues later. If you want to get your cat to lose weight, you must stick to a plan.

1. Schedule a physical for your cat. A vet can ensure that the problem lies with overeating and not something that requires a different treatment. While you’re there, find out how much food your cat requires.

2. Reduce the cat’s food intake. Many owners feed their cats by the cup, and at two to four feedings per day, it definitely adds weight. An average 7-lb animal requires .65 to 1 oz. per feeding. Weigh the cat’s food before serving it, and deliver it only at certain points of the day rather than refilling the bowl whenever it’s empty.

3. Analyze the animal’s diet, as a cat often gets a lot of carbohydrates. Dry food meets nutritional requirements, but lack proteins and other healthy nutrients that the cat needs. Look for foods that are higher in protein, and ask your vet for a brand that can help the animal lose weight without skimping on nutrition.

4. Stop feeding the cat treats. Leave any treats in the cupboard until the animal’s weight has stabilized, and then only give them out on very special occasions.

5. Encourage your cat to exercise. While you can’t take your cat for walks or play fetch with it the way you can with a dog, a more stimulating environment can help the animal to exercise on his own. Buy cat toys or climbing trees so your cat can get a workout in the house.

6. Weigh your cat once every 3 to 4 weeks to make sure that he is shedding weight gradually, no more than a half pound a month. If he won’t stay on the scale, hold him and stand on the scale. Weigh yourself with him and again without him. The difference between the two readings is the cat’s weight.

7. Readjust the feeding amounts once the cat is at a normal weight to make sure he gets the nutrition he needs.

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