Keep your feline friend’s weight healthy with these smart picks
More information regarding our evaluation process is available here. Independently researching, assessing, and recommending the top options are our editors. We may receive commissions on purchases made after clicking on one of our chosen links.
Some cats, particularly indoor-only cats, are prone to accumulating too much weight, which increases their risk for a number of health issues. Overweight cats require a little extra special care in order to preserve their well-being and health. If your cat needs help losing weight, you can try a variety of things. Switching to a weight loss or weight management plan is one action you may take to lead your cat in the correct direction.” The first thing to realize is that cats can lose weight on any kind of food. According to veterinarian Georgina Ushi-Phillips, cats lose weight because they consume fewer calories than they burn. “Cat weight reduction diets can aid both cats and cat owners through this process, although all foods will need to be consumed in a general calorie deficit.” When calculating calories, be sure to compare wet food to wet food and dry food to dry food. This is true because weight, which is influenced by moisture content, is used to calculate calories.
Examine labels thoroughly and look for important certifications to help you choose the right brand for your cat. “Looking for more fiber diets is a terrific area to look,” says Dr. Ushi-Phillips. Since fiber is absorbed differently from other foods, pet parents may typically offer their cats more food because increased fiber will help cats feel more satisfied. As a result, everyone will be happier.
The following is a list of the top cat foods currently on the market, including both wet and dry options, for weight loss and weight control.
Best Overall: AvoDerm Natural Indoor Weight Support Recipe Adult Canned Cat Food
To be ranked at the top, a weight-loss cat food must be reasonably priced, widely available, nutritionally balanced, and have a proven track record with cats and their pet parents. Natural Indoor Weight Control Formula AvoDerm Because canned cat food was first developed to manage skin and coat issues, it is a fantastic choice for older and less active cats. It is made from avocados from California, which include omega fatty acids and beneficial fats that support healthy skin and fur.
Perhaps the best feature of this product is its simple and well-known ingredients, which include blueberries, cranberries, flaxseed, dried egg, chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, tuna, rice flour, oats, oat fiber, dried egg, pea fiber, and vitamins and minerals. The premium protein sources satiate your cat while giving it the healthy building blocks it needs to flourish. Several of the components’ antioxidants support a robust immune system.
What We Like
- No meat by-products
- Made with nutrient-rich foods including avocado, flax, eggs, blueberries, and cranberries
What We Don’t Like
- Only one flavor
Best Overall Dry: Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken for Healthy Weight
There are a number of recipes for dry cat food weight loss available, but not all of them are the same. Nature’s Variety’s Instinct Raw Boost for Healthy Weight Dry Cat Chow stands out for balanced nutrition and flavor that your cats will like since it combines a high-protein chow with freeze-dried raw chunks.
This American-produced meal has 25% less fat and 15% fewer calories than the non-weight-controlling dish. We appreciate that the first ingredient is cage-free chicken as they are merely minimally processed bits of actual chicken. This guarantees that the item is both cat-friendly and high in protein. The untreated state of the raw components makes them rich in vitamins and minerals.
Furthermore, this recipe is made without the use of grains, potatoes, maize, wheat, soy, artificial colors, or preservatives. According to cat owners, their cats consumed less of the food than they would have with standard store brands, thus it lasts longer.
What We Like
- Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
- Includes safe raw foods
- Contains probiotic for healthy gut
What We Don’t Like
- Contains meal by-products
Best Budget: Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle Weight Control
There is no need to spend a lot of money on cat food to regulate weight. The perfect balance between premium quality and a reasonable price is achieved by Pure Gold Slim as a Board Weight Management Adult Dry Cat Food. This grain-free dish is made using recently caught Alaskan pollock, which is rich in omega fatty acids.
This meal mimics a cat’s typical diet by being high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and with a moderate number of calories. It was developed especially for weight management. This balance helps to sate your cat’s hunger while maintaining its energy level.
Fillers, artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives are not included in this list of ingredients. A long list of well-known ingredients, including pollock as the first ingredient, peas and chickpeas for vegetable protein and fiber, chicken fat and eggs for satisfaction and nourishment, turkey, ocean fish, and chicken meal for enough protein, pumpkin for a healthy digestive system, antioxidant blueberries, cranberries, and salmon oil, come after.
What We Like
- Company in holistic food since 1974
- Contains antioxidants
- Includes probiotics for a healthy gut
What We Don’t Like
- Turkey, ocean fish, and chicken meal are by products
- Only one flavor
- Not available in wet food
Best for Senior Cats: Blue Buffalo W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care Wet Food
Many senior cats struggle to maintain a healthy weight as they become older, particularly indoor cats and those with medical conditions that sap their energy or restrict their movement. As older, overweight, and/or obese cats usually face urinary issues, take into account a food that addresses both problems.
Blue Buffalo W + U Weight loss and urination Canned wet food gives your cat the right proportions of fat, calories, and fiber to help it regulate its weight in addition to controlled mineral levels that keep urine pH lower to prevent crystal and stone development. In order to make your cat feel fuller despite the food’s lower calorie content, powdered cellulose, a plant fiber, has been added to the food, which has chicken as its first ingredient. Maintaining a pH equilibrium in the urine requires controlling the concentrations of salt and magnesium.
Blue Buffalo also offers True Solutions Fit & Healthy wet and dry cat foods, which are slightly higher in calories but don’t place as much of an emphasis on urinary health as W + U. Blue Buffalo also claims that its science-based recipes are developed by a group of Ph.D. animal nutritionists, food scientists, and veterinarians so that you may feel confident in your choice.
What We Like
- Manages two problems with one food
What We Don’t Like
- Prescription required
- Only one flavor
Best Organic: Castor & Pollux Cat Organix Shredded Chicken
Despite the fact that we were unable to find an organic cat food specifically formulated for weight reduction, many cat parents have found that after switching to organic cat food, their cats naturally lost weight and kept it off. Despite the fact that there aren’t as many brands of organic cat food as there should be, those that are really shine.
The first ingredient in this dish is organic free-range chicken or turkey. Due to the low filler content and high protein content from prey meats, your cat’s appetite will be satisfied without eating extra calories. Additionally, the organic ingredients were produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, synthetic preservatives, growth hormones, or antibiotics.
Castor & Pollux has been making organic pet food since 2003. The entire Organix line of wet and dry cat and dog foods has been certified as organic by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) since 2017. Ten of its recipes have been approved by the Non-GMO Project. They are made in a kitchen that is certified as organic, even in the United States. This brand has also received accreditation from the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages.
Numerous recipes include “superfoods” rich in nutrients such organic cranberries, flaxseed, dried eggs, and coconut flour. Castor and Pollux offers a variety of kitten-specific diets, but all of their offerings are nutritionally sound for all phases of life.
What We Like
- Omega-6 and 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and fur
- Added fiber to reduce hairballs
What We Don’t Like
- Not available in all stores
- Some picky cats won’t eat it
Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Halo Holistic Grain-Free Healthy Weight Indoor Cat Dry Cat Food
If the right foods aren’t offered to cats with sensitive stomachs, they could experience problems. Healthy digestive recipes can provide your cat with comfort and help it keep a steady weight in addition to cat probiotics.
Healthy Indoor Holistic Grain-Free Weight Halo Wild Salmon and Whitefish Dry Cat Food was developed for the benefit of both the environment and your cat’s health. Halo is a locally made food made with non-GMO vegetables, salmon and whitefish that has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and no antibiotics, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Making ensuring that none of its meat meals or whole meats were produced in factories is the company’s policy (or by-products). Your cat’s stomach is less prone to ache since whole meats are simpler to digest than processed meats.
Halo offers specifically developed recipes for sensitive stomachs for both dry and liquid foods. Even though Halo meals aren’t meant to help with weight loss, you might be able to find the perfect balance for your cat among these foods because their caloric content is only slightly higher than that of the Healthy Weight foods.
What We Like
- Fiber helps them feel full
- Reduced calories and fat to support weight reduction
What We Don’t Like
- Not available in a wet food
Since AvoDerm Natural Indoor Weight Control Formula Canned Cat Food is high in beneficial fats and excludes animal by-products, we prefer it (see on Amazon). If your cat has urinary difficulties, as many obese cats do, you might want to ask your vet about prescribing the dual-action Blue pill. Weight Management and Urinary Care at Buffalo W+U Lowering the pH of the urine and preventing the formation of crystals and stones are two effects of canned food (see on Amazon).
How to Select Cat Food for Weight Loss
To support the weight concerns unique to your cat, it’s always a good idea to discuss the crucial traits to look for with your veterinarian. Prepare to test a few before you find the ideal fit for your overweight cat.
Texture between Wet and Dry
In the wild, a cat would eat a range of things, including fresh meat, which supplied most of the water they required. Their preference for raw and moist foods may be somewhat affected by an innate preference for certain foods. Domestic cats do, however, have their own perspectives, just like people do. Some folks could like meals with large bits or soft minced food. When your cat is eating, keep an eye on it. I believe they lick their food. Does the gravy come first? From their behavior, you could infer what textures they preferred. Most veterinarians advise switching up the meals every day of the week, alternating between wet and dry ones.
Although there isn’t much research to back up these claims right now, raw cat food is a growing trend in pet diets and is thought to be the healthiest choice because heat doesn’t harm proteins and other essential ingredients. Furthermore, research has revealed an increased risk of listeria and salmonella bacterial infections in raw pet foods, which can be dangerous to both cats and human caretakers.
manufactured in the USA
If you reside in the United States, be sure the cat food is marked “Made in the USA.” The specifications needed to produce pet food vary widely between countries. Examining foreign foods revealed pollutants that should not be consumed, including heavy metals and even plastic additives.
Carbohydrate and protein content
The amount of nutrients, moisture, and fat in the food you feed your cat must also be taken into account. Since cats were created to hunt, they are carnivores by nature. They would consume prey that is heavy in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates.
The DMV’s Georgina Ushi-Phillips advised pet owners to look for sources of high-quality protein. For our carnivorous cats, protein is almost always a great option, and consuming a lot of it can also help cats retain their muscular mass while losing weight.
It should be noted that protein and fat content statistics will be higher in dry foods than in wet foods since dry food percentages are provided on a dry basis while wet food percentages are presented on a wet basis and contain a high percentage of water. You should strive for at least 8–10% protein in wet foods and at least 25% in dry foods. A minimum of 5% fat should be present in wet food, whereas a minimum of 20% to 30% should be present in dry food. Some cats will reject meals that don’t have the recommended amounts of protein or fat.
Last but not least, Dr. Ushi-Phillips encourages pet owners to avoid adding too many carbohydrates to the first few ingredients “The ingredients are included along with the initial amount they make up. Certain types of carbs will be present in foods with greater fiber, but they shouldn’t make up the majority of the food. To prepare nutritious carbohydrates, use ingredients like organic pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or brown rice.
Ingredients Cat food ingredient labels provide the amounts of protein, fat, fiber, and moisture in addition to listing the ingredients in order of weight from most to least. Start by looking for dishes that list a specific type of meat’s high protein content. Whole grains are desirable if any grains are used because of the minerals they contain.
Cats also need more than a dozen additional nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. The amount of nutrients needed varies depending on the period of life—from kitten to adolescent, during pregnancy and nursing, and as an old cat. If the cat food you feed it is balanced and sufficient for their stage of life, they won’t want any additional vitamins.
Manufacturers of store brands utilize natural preservatives to extend shelf life and prevent spoiling. Vitamin E and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are both natural preservatives (tocopheryl acetate or tocopherol acetate).
Organic and natural
The United States Department of Agriculture regulates the use of the term “organic” in cat and human food (USDA). Law mandates that the USDA adhere to the same standards for cat food as it does for human food. The processes utilized to cultivate, care for, and handle a crop or an animal are referred to as “organic.” Organically cultivated crops must be raised for a minimum of three years on pesticide-free land. Antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), synthetic growth hormones, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, dangerous and persistent pesticides, or food that has been exposed to radiation are all prohibited from being included in the food itself.
Cattle used to produce organic pet food must be given organic feed, be free of hormones and antibiotics, and have access to the outdoors. To be eligible for USDA Certification, each of these requirements must be satisfied and each must pass USDA inspection. Unless the label clearly states “USDA Certified Organic,” you cannot be sure the food is organic.
Sometimes a percentage, such as “95 percent USDA Certified Organic,” will appear on the label even when only a small portion of the ingredients are derived from organic sources.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials defines and regulates the term “natural” for both pet food and animal feed (AAFCO). If a feed or component only originates from plant, animal, or mineral sources and wasn’t made using chemicals, it is said to be “natural.” Not all ingredients that are advertised as “natural” are, however, actually good for or healthy for your pet. Beware of “fillers,” which are low-cost, nutritionally-deficient additives. They are included to make your pet feel more satisfied overall while using fewer premium ingredients. Soy, grain products, corn and wheat gluten, animal by-products, and fruit or vegetable pulps are typical examples.
Probiotics Many products now come with pre-, post-, and probiotics to support a healthy gut and balanced intestinal flora. Domestic cats do not normally eat rats and other animals, therefore they do not come into touch with the bacteria that wild cats would. Pre-, post-, and probiotics are recommended if you have the option, especially if your cat has a sensitive stomach or has just taken antibiotics or other medications.
Which cat food, dry or wet, is better for weight loss?
Wet food has a significant amount more moisture than dry food, which can help cats feel fuller for longer. According to Dr. Ushi-Phillips, this helps people and cats lose weight. However, one major benefit of dry kibble is that it’s much easier to measure an exact amount to ensure you’re reaching the necessary calorie requirements. A workable solution is to add a little water to dry kibble before feeding it. You can obtain the precision of dry food while enjoying the advantages of added moisture. This one can be chosen based on personal preferences since both options have a good chance of success.
Are cat meals higher in protein better for losing weight?”
In general, cats respond quite well to high-protein diets, regardless of the goal, as they are true carnivores in the sense that they would only eat meat in the wild. Dr. Ushi-Phillips suggests that a higher protein intake during weight loss may help cats maintain their muscular mass. “A healthy cat needs muscle, but muscle also has a greater metabolic rate and requires more calories to maintain. Thus, having more muscle may increase a cat’s basal calorie requirements and facilitate the creation of a caloric deficit.
Why Should I Trust the Product Review from the Cat?
For the past 35 years, Lorraine Wilde, the essay’s author, has had at least two cats in her home, some of whom have unique needs. Her current elderly cat friends are having trouble with their intestines and urinary tracts. When researching these brands, Lorraine evaluated the type and quality of the ingredients, the firms’ research and development of the food, and their business ethics.
Because Lorraine only feeds her pets the best food possible, she recently switched to Evanger’s EVx Restricted Diet Urinary Tract and Evanger Organics Turkey and Butternut Squash canned food to help address her elderly cats’ health issues.
Dr. Georgina Ushi-Phillips, a veterinarian, contributes articles to BetterWithCats.net on animals. She received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Florida after being born and raised in Wisconsin. Her specialties include nutrition, soft tissue surgery, and emergency medicine. The family that Dr. Ushi-Phillips likes spending her free time with consists of her husband, two children, and hound mix Pearle.
A recent trend in pet foods, raw cat food is said to be an optimal choice because heat has not degraded proteins and other essential nutrients, although there is not yet much research to back these claims. And research has shown that raw pet foods carry an increased risk of salmonella and listeria bacterial infections, which can be dangerous for both cats and human caretakers.
Made in the USA
If you live in the United States, make sure your cat food is labeled with “Made in the USA.” Standards for pet food production vary widely by country. Many foods produced in other countries have been tested and impurities like heavy metals and even plastic fillers were found that are unsafe for consumption.
Protein and Carb Content
It’s also important to look at the nutrition, moisture, and fat content of your cat’s food. Cats evolved as hunters so their natural diet would be primarily carnivorous. They would consume prey that contains high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a nominal amount of carbohydrates.
“Pet parents should also look for high protein,” Georgina Ushi-Phillips, DMV. “Not only is protein almost always a good option for our carnivorous cats, but high protein can help cats preserve muscle mass as they lose weight.”
Note that protein and fat content numbers will be higher in dry foods than in wet foods, because wet food percentages are reported on a wet basis and contain a high percentage of water while dry food percentages are reported on a dry basis. You should look for about 8-10 percent minimum for protein in wet foods or at least 25 percent in dry food. Fat content should be a minimum of 5 percent in wet food or 20 to 30 percent in dry food. Some cats will turn their nose up at foods with less protein or fat than is recommended.
“Lastly, pet parents will want to avoid too many carbohydrates within the first several ingredients,” says Dr. Ushi-Phillips. “Ingredients are listed in order with the greatest amount first. While higher fiber food will have some carbohydrate sources, they shouldn’t be the main ingredients.” Healthy carbs should come from ingredients like organic pumpkin, sweet potato, or brown rice.
As in human food ingredient labels, ingredients in cat food are listed in order from most to least based on weight and include the percentages of protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Look for foods that list a high protein content of a specific meat first and if any grains are included, whole grains are best because of the nutrients they contain.
Cats also require more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. The amounts of nutrients needed vary in each stage of life—from kitten to adolescent, during pregnancy and nursing, and as a senior cat. If your pet food is well-balanced and complete for your cat’s current stage of life, they won’t require any additional supplements.
To prevent spoiling and increase shelf life, manufacturers use natural preservatives in store brands. Non-synthetic preservatives include vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate or tocopherol acetate).
Organic and Natural
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the use of the term “organic” in human and cat food. By law, the USDA must apply the same standard to cat food that they apply to human food. “Organic” refers to the way a crop or animal is grown or raised and handled. Organic crops must be grown on land free from pesticides for at least three years. The food itself must not contain toxic and persistent pesticides, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), or have undergone irradiation.
Organic livestock whose meat is used in pet foods must be fed organic feed, not be given antibiotics or hormones, and have access to the outdoors. To become USDA Certified, all of these requirements must be documented and have been confirmed via USDA inspection. Unless you see “USDA Certified Organic” on the label, it’s difficult to be sure the food is truly organic.
When only a portion of the ingredients are from certified organic sources, you’ll also see a percentage on the label, such as “95% USDA Certified Organic.”
Similarly, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines and regulates the term “natural” for pet food and animal feed. “Natural” means a feed or ingredient is derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources that have not been produced by a chemically synthetic process. However, some ingredients can be labeled “natural” without actually being good or healthy for your pet. Look out for ingredients known as “fillers” that are low-cost and have little nutritional value. They’re added to make your pet feel full with fewer high-quality ingredients by weight. Common ones are corn and wheat gluten and grain products, soy, animal by-products, and fruit or vegetable pulps.
Many brands are also adding pre-, post-, and probiotics that promote a healthy gut and intestinal flora. Domesticated cats that aren’t eating a natural diet of rodents and other critters aren’t exposed to bacteria they would encounter in the wild. So opt for pre-, post-, and probiotics when you have the option, especially if your cat has a sensitive tummy or has recently taken antibiotics or other medications.
Is dry or wet cat food better for weight loss?
“Because wet food contains significantly more moisture, it’s not only less calorically dense but can also leave cats feeling more full. That makes the weight loss process easier for both cats and people,” explains Dr. Ushi-Phillips. “However, it’s much easier to measure a precise amount of dry kibble to make sure you’re hitting the correct calorie targets which is a big benefit. A middle-ground option is to add a little water to dry kibble. That can give you the accuracy of dry food with the benefits of extra moisture. Both options can work, so it’s okay to let individual preferences decide this one.”
Are high-protein cat foods better for weight loss?
“Because cats are true carnivores, in that they’d only eat meat in the wild, they usually do very well with high-protein diets regardless of the goal. When it comes to weight loss, higher protein can help preserve muscle mass as cats drop weight,” notes Dr. Ushi-Phillips. “Not only is muscle important for a healthy cat, but muscle is also more metabolically active and requires more calories to maintain. That means more muscle can increase a cat’s base calorie requirements and make it easier to achieve a weight-reducing caloric deficit.”
Why Trust The Cat Product Review?
This piece was written by Lorraine Wilde who has had at least two cat companions in her home for the past 35 years, including some special needs kitties. Her current older feline companions have been challenged by digestive and urinary tract health issues. When researching these brands, Lorraine evaluated the type and quality of the ingredients, companies’ research and development of the food, and their business ethics.
Because she has only the highest standards for what she feeds her pets, Lorraine recently switched to Evanger’s EVx Restricted Diet Urinary Tract and Evanger Organics Turkey and Butternut Squash canned food to help improve her older cats health issues.
Dr. Georgina Ushi-Phillips is a practicing veterinarian and veterinary writer for BetterWithCats.net. She grew up in Wisconsin and earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida. Her professional interests include nutrition, soft tissue surgery, and emergency care. In her free time, Dr. Ushi-Phillips enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and her hound mix, Pearle.
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