A cat weight loss program includes a wet or raw low-carb diet. Overweight cats should not lose weight too quickly. Obese cats have a higher risk of fatty liver disease.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention sends surveys to cat and dog owners nearly every year. Their 2022 survey found that 61% of cats in the US are overweight or obese.

Most people don’t know that their cats are overweight. Or how severe the issue is.

Cat obesity is a serious threat to indoor cats.

You need biologically-appropriate food, exercise, and patience.

Cats must lose weight gradually to avoid serious health issues.

Here’s a safe and effective cat weight loss program:

  1. Take your cat to the vet
  2. Stop free-feeding your cat
  3. Make playtime a routine
  4. Add healthy cat food toppers
  5. Upgrade your cat’s treats
  6. Transition to better quality cat food
  7. Gradually decrease cat food calories

Before you start this cat weight loss program

Cats are sensitive to change. And weight loss needs to be done properly.

Bookmark this page so you can come back to it.

Take it one step at a time. One step per month.

I created a switch to raw notion planner if you prefer to have everything all in one place.

Please read through this guide and linked articles thoroughly before making changes.

Check out the guide today or save THIS PIN to your Cat Care board on Pinterest.

pin image cat weight loss program

Disclaimer: You (and only you) are responsible for your cat. I earn a commission through affiliate links below. No additional cost to you.

1. Take your cat to the vet

As mentioned above, overweight and obese cats should not lose too much weight too quickly.

cat on weight balance board

So first you must take your cat to the vet.

  1. Weigh your cat
  2. Body condition score
  3. Safe weight loss goals
  4. Urinalysis
  5. Bloodwork

Your cat’s weight and body condition score will help you and your cat’s doctor determine a safe weight loss goal.

Ask what an ideal weight is for your cat and how much your cat can lose safely each month.

Dr. Karen Becker suggests no more than 1/2 pound lost per month for overweight and obese cats.

Cats that are 15% overweight are considered obese.

Urinalysis and bloodwork are essential before you change your cat’s food and reduce calories.

I’d also suggest buying a baby scale so you can monitor your cat’s weight weekly at home.

Write it in your planner so you don’t forget throughout the next steps.

2. Stop free-feeding your cat

Free-feeding your cat kibble actually fuels hunger and weight gain due to the high number of carbs.

Feed portioned meals at scheduled mealtimes instead:

  • Weigh out what your cat eats in a day
  • Portion into 3-4 meals
  • Feed at scheduled times
  • No more all-access buffet

Use a digital scale to weigh out what your cat normally eats in a day.

Create feeding schedule routines that work for you and your cat.

Leave food down for about 30 minutes and then pick it up.

Teach your cat to eat at scheduled mealtimes rather than grazing on food all day.

Why do I have to feed this way?

Most dry foods are very high in carbohydrates. The average is 33%, and the highest I’ve seen is 49%.

High carbs fuel hunger and obesity. This is likely why your cat is overweight or obese.

Feeding portioned meals at scheduled mealtimes will help down the road when you transition to new food.

Why am I not reducing calories yet?

Unfortunately, dry food is also low in meat-based protein. Aka nutrition your cat needs. Feeding less kibble will only starve your cat further.

So you are not reducing calories yet. First, upgrade how and what you feed your cat.

Then you will reduce calories gradually.

3. Make playtime a routine

Most indoor cats do not get enough exercise. They should get at least 30 minutes daily, broken up into multiple play sessions.

Upgrade your cat’s toys and have fun!

I know it’s overwhelming and frustrating reading labels and creating new routines.

But playtime is so much fun!

Jericho loves when I tap Matatabi (Silvervine) sticks on the floor and then slide them. He chases them like crazy!

He also enjoys rabbit fur and wool chase toys. Organic catnip and Silvervine are big winners too.

Cats tend to prefer natural toys (I’ve found the best are on Etsy). But I’ve included Amazon above as well to give you options.

4. Add healthy cat food toppers

Healthy cat food toppers can help boost your cat’s nutrition intake.

Cat food toppers will:

  • Help your cat get used to better quality ingredients
  • Provide extra nutrients lacking in kibble
  • Make the transition to better food easier

Healthy toppers include raw goat milk, bone broth, and freeze-dried meats.

Don’t go crazy! Just pick 1.

I’d suggest a similar protein to what your cat is currently eating.

Best food toppers online:

Follow the instructions on the label. Gradually introduce the topper starting with a very small amount.

5. Upgrade your cat’s treats

Upgrading your cat’s treats is similar to food toppers.

Crunchy “dental” treats:

  • Are loaded with carbs and fillers
  • Fuel hunger and obesity
  • Cause picky eating

Healthy cat treats are along the same lines as toppers. Meat-only!

Same as toppers, just pick 1.

Best cat treats online:

Use code save10 for 10% off.

Gradually decrease the number of unhealthy treats and increase healthy treats daily throughout the month.

Make a game out of it!

You can use puzzle toys, treat-release toys, foraging mats, or hide them around your apartment for hunting.

Hide treats on top of condos so your cat can get some exercise. I use glass jar lids to keep areas sanitary.

6. Transition to better quality cat food

A species-appropriate diet for cats is a high moisture, low-carb wet or raw diet.

Do not start the transition until your cat is eating portioned meals at scheduled mealtimes.

Species-appropriate diet for cats:

  • High moisture
  • Good-quality meat-based protein and fat
  • Low (ideally no) carbs

The video above includes my cat food reviews list of all types of food. There are 100+ records available inside and outside the US.

Top choices for high protein, low carb wet food

Raised Right (for adults only). Both protein options are great. Use code PETS20 for 20% off.

Smalls (all life stages). Use code CATICLES for $5 off.

Top choices for raw

Viva Raw complete. Frozen raw food perfect for busy cat parents who want to set up a subscription. Use code JESSCATICLES for 20% off.

Quest Cat Food. Freeze-dried raw and easy to portion and serve. You may be able to mix this with your cat’s kibble without him realizing it! Use code JESSCATICLES for 20% off.

How to transition to wet/raw food

Start with 1 meal. 20-day transition total for each meal. So 3 meals would take 2 months total.

Decrease an additional 5% current food daily and increase an additional 5% new food daily.

Notice how tiny the amount of new food is even on day 3!
  • 95% current food, 5% new food on day 1
  • 90% current food, 10% new food on day 2
  • 85% current food, 15% new food on day 3

And so on. Switch your cat to raw notion planner comes with spreadsheets that do the work for you.

“But I’ve tried wet before, and my cat is too picky”

This is the #1 complaint I get. So you are not alone, my friend!

That’s exactly why my transition and weight loss plan both focus on feeding schedules, food toppers, and upgrading treats first.

These steps will upgrade how you feed your cat. And get your cat used to eating better quality ingredients.

Do not skip the first steps!

I made this plan as straightforward and easy as possible for you while still doing what your cat prefers. There are no unnecessary steps or work.

Many people have told me they tried “everything” before and nothing worked.

Until they actually followed my plan.

7. Gradually decrease cat food calories

Do not decrease your cat’s calories until he’s eating 100% high moisture, low carb wet or raw food.

Gradually decrease calories based on your vet’s plan.

Your vet told you a safe weight loss goal per month and ideal weight for your cat.

Slowly decrease the number of calories your cat eats each month.

For example, let’s say your cat weighs 13 pounds. An ideal weight is 10 pounds and a safe weight loss goal is 1/2 pound lost per month.

A proper cat weight loss program for this example would be 3 pounds lost over a total of 6 months.

Each month you will gradually decrease the amount of food according to each weight goal.

Month 1, gradually work toward the amount of food required for a 12.5-pound cat.

Month 2, gradually work toward the amount of food required for a 12-pound cat.

And so on.

How much do I feed my cat?

Every cat and food is individual. Plus every calorie is not created equally.

Please watch the video below.

There is no one-size-fits-all magic number of how much to feed a cat.

You have to figure out how much to feed based on 3 things: body condition score, weight, and the cat food label.

Weigh your cat weekly and adjust amounts as needed.

cats on condo playing with toy


How do I get my indoor cat to lose weight?

You can get your indoor cat to lose weight by feeding better quality food. Cats will not lose weight and live a healthy life eating dry food only. You have to transition your cat gradually to high-protein, low-carb wet cat food. Then you can reduce calories slowly to help your cat lose weight.

Does dry cat food cause weight gain?

Dry cat food does cause weight gain. Cats are more likely to overeat when they eat dry food. Dry food contains high amounts of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates promote hunger and weight gain. Dry food also contains low amounts of meat-based protein. So dry food causes weight gain because cats need more of it for it to be nutritious.

Why is my cat fat and always hungry?

Your cat is fat and always hungry because you’re not feeding the right food. 82% of cat parents in the US feed kibble. And 59.5% of cats are overweight and obese (2019 data). Carbs in kibble promote hunger and weight gain. Your cat is most likely overeating because you’re feeding dry food only.

How much should I feed my cat to lose weight?

How much you feed your cat depends on his current weight and your safe goals for weight loss. Overweight cats (generally) should not lose more than half a pound per month. You will have to calculate the calories needed for his current weight. Then reduce calories gradually until you reach his ideal weight.

How to get a cat to lose weight with multiple cats

It may be difficult to get a cat to lose weight with multiple cats. You will have to establish portioned scheduled mealtimes. And feed your cats separately. You may use automatic chip feeders to keep your cats out of each other’s bowls. Use treat-release toys or puzzle feeders to slow down cats that eat quickly.

Final thoughts on cat weight loss program

Cat weight loss is only possible with proper nutrition.

Stop free-feeding your cat and ditch kibble.

Check with your vet about a safe weight loss goal and weigh your cat regularly.

Be patient and stick with it.

Get your cat active with puzzle toys and make playtime a routine.

But remember, weight loss comes down to your cat’s diet.

Need help keeping track of everything? Grab my switch to raw notion planner!