Best Cat Food for Weight Loss in 2021
In this article, I’m going to review the best weight loss cat food, compare the types of cat food for overweight cats and explain the difference between them, and also share actionable tips on how to choose the best cat food for weight loss.
Best Weight Loss Cat Food 2021
Cat owners know the Blue Buffalo brand for their focus on real-meat ingredients. Also, they manufacture recipes under low temperatures, ensuring the cat food will stay fresh longer.
Key benefits of this low-calorie cat food are that it’s full of natural components, essential vitamins, and minerals. No artificial flavors, corn, soy, or by-products are included; and, this recipe is also OK to feed kittens. The formula has antioxidants in the ingredients, which helps to maintain a cat’s wellbeing by dealing with hairballs.
The primary source of protein here is deboned chicken and brown rice. Taurine, L-carnitine, and omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain eye and heart health, weight loss, and shiny coat with healthy skin.
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food is still low in protein (only 30%) and calories as it’s aimed at helping cats lose weight. The brand recommends ¼ to ½ cup daily if your cat is of 5-9 pounds, and ½ to ¾ cup for 10-14-pound cats. You can also feed this recipe to maintain the cat weight.
Any cons? The recipe contains pea protein, which is quite hard for a cat to digest.
- Food type: dry cat food for weight loss
- Size: 3 lb / 7 lb / 15 lb
- Calories: 346 kcals/cup
This recipe is among the best indoor cat food for weight loss, thanks to its natural and high-protein components. Including real chicken, turkey, salmon, and duck as the primary ingredients, it remains a low-calorie recipe for weight control.
Chicken Soup for the Soul Weight & Mature Care Canned Cat Food provides a kitty with all essential elements such as taurine, vitamins A, E, and B12, as well as DHA for brain development and healthy lifestyle of your four-legged friend. Feel free to include it to a cat’s diet if she is not allergic to seafood (salmon is present in the formula).
Another critical detail most cat owners worry about when choosing the best diet food for cats is the absence of by-products, soy, corn, and wheat in the formula. This Chicken Soup for the Soul recipe contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, so please feel free to try and see if your cat likes it.
How to feed an adult cat with the recipe? Give one can per 6-8lbs of her body weight daily. Also, the manufacturer provides us with transition instructions for this food: They recommend a gradual transition over 7-10 days to avoid problems with digestion. Just add a small amount to your cat’s previous diet, and increase the amount gradually day by day.
- Type: wet cat food for weight loss
- Size: 5.5 oz
- Calories: 148 kcal/can
This one may become your best cat food for weight loss if your feline is not allergic to its components. While the formula is high in protein thanks to natural chicken and rabbit meat inside, some cat owners admit their felines had diarrhea and vomit after eating it.
Yet, this recipe has no artificial colors or preservatives, which makes it OK for a cat to eat. As well as many other low-fat cat food brands, Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Recipe contains antioxidants enabling a cat to lose and maintain the right weight, as well as omega acids for a cat to have healthy skin and shiny coat.
The natural probiotics in the formula boost a cat’s immune system, and the absence of grains and by-products guarantees a minimal amount of fat inside, which is suitable for a cat’s diet too.
With all that said, please ensure your cat drinks enough clean water on the diet: As well as all dry food recipes, this one lacks moisture.
- Type: dry cat food for weight loss, grain-free
- Weight: 2 lb / 5 lb / 10 lb
- Calories: 496 kcal/cup
Purina’s Pro Plan weight management formula is high in protein and low in fat, which makes it one of the best weight loss foods for cats. As well as other best low-calorie cat food formulas, it’s full of vital nutrients like omega fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and taurine to promote healthy muscles, immune system, skin, and coat.
Customer feedback on this food varies (some noticed problems with digestion when fed a cat with it), but most are positive. So, I would recommend you to consult a vet: Once tried and got no problems with the cat’s wellbeing, feel free to include this recipe to her diet.
Among the cons of this recipe is the fact you can’t give it to kittens. But it’s OK to refrigerate what your feline leaves behind and continue feeding with it next time. As for feeding guidelines from the manufacturer, they recommend giving one can per 3½ lbs of cat body weight daily. Just divide it into two or more meals.
- Type: wet cat food for weight loss and management
- Size: 3oz
- Calories: 79 kcal/can
This formula deserves its place among the best natural cat food for weight loss, thanks to its ingredients. 82% of proteins here come from real meat (duck, turkey, and chicken), it’s low in carbohydrates, and it’s rich in BC30 probiotics supporting healthy gut flora. These probiotics are also useful for a cat’s digestion and normal immune response.
Nulo Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is free from artificial colors and flavors. It contains no soy, corn, wheat, or white potatoes. All the ingredients are USA-made, and carb sources here are chickpeas, sweet potato, and lentils.
What also makes this formula worth trying is a relatively small size of kibbles. It helps cats polish teeth and prevents plaque and tartar.
As noted by the manufacturer, the amount of food to give daily may vary, depending on a cat’s age, breed, and activity level. General guidelines recommend feeding ½ -⅔ cups to a cat of 5-9lbs, and ⅔ -¾ to a cat of 10-14lbs. If your cat weighs over 14lbs, give her 1 cup + ¼ cup for every 4lbs.
- Type: dry and grain-free cat food
- Weight: 2 lb / 5 lb / 12 lb
- Calories: 468 kcal/cup
This wet cat food formula is low in calories to meet the needs of indoor cats who are less active and, therefore, prone to weight gain. High in protein from chicken and tuna, the recipe also contains avocados and taurine to pack a cat with antioxidants, vitamins, phytonutrients, and omega fatty acids. All these components allow a cat to gain all the essential nutrients while on a diet.
Thanks to real chicken broth inside, providing enough moisture, this formula supports the urinary and overall health of your cat. It’s excellent cat food for overweight cats if they aren’t allergic to seafood.
If you plan to feed your overweight cat with nothing but this wet food, make sure to read the instructions from the manufacturer. Depending on your cat’s age, size, and activity level, the daily amount of AvoDerm Natural Indoor Weight Control Formula will vary:
For a cat of 8lbs, give ⅓ – 1¼ cans per day; if your kitty is fattier, let’s take 15-18lbs as an example, then you will need 2⅓ – 3 cans to feed her daily.
- Type: wet cat food for weight loss
- Weight: 5.5oz cans
- Calories: 151 kcal/can
Veterinarians recommend this formula because around 70% of cats lose weight within ten weeks of feeding with it. Its ingredients include only natural components, which makes it one of the best low-calorie cat food on the market.
The manufacturer recommends this food for all adult cats who are less active and, therefore, prone to weight gain. The only drawback of this Hill’s Science Diet recipe is that you can’t give it to kittens, pregnant, or nursing felines. For these cats, they have other recipes, such as Science Diet Kitten or Science Diet Kitten Indoor.
So, what’s inside the recipe? There’s chicken as a primary source of protein, brown rice, L-carnitine to maintain weight loss, and taurine that is so necessary for a cat to stay healthy. Fat and carbohydrates are present here too, but they are within normal limits.
As for the feeding guide from the manufacturer, they recommend asking a veterinarian for help with adjusting feeding amounts of the food to a cat. The amount per day will depend on the ideal weight of your cat. For example, if she needs to lose weight up to 8lbs, feed ½ cups daily. And, a common rule for feeding with dry cat food is to keep fresh water available to your cat at all times
- Type: dry cat food for weight loss
- Size: 3 lb / 5 lb / 15 lb
- Calories: 300 kcal/cup
This formula joins the team of the best natural cat food for weight loss. All the ingredients here are real, full of vitamins C and E as dietary antioxidants, and rich in chelated minerals for easy digestion through better absorption. Protein and omega fatty acids are also here.
PetGuard Weight Management Cat Food suits cats of all ages (feel free to give it to kittens and pregnant cats too), and it is free from artificial colors and preservatives. It helps to save a cat from food sensitivities, though some owners still notice stomach upsets when feeding with it.
The formula comes in different flavors, but the most popular ones are Beef/Barley (represented here) and Beef/Chicken recipes. The manufacturer insists that all the beef they use in recipes is free-range and fed a vegetarian diet. Packaging may vary, but cans are usually of 3 or 5.5oz.
As well as most wet cat food recipes, this one contains enough moisture for a cat’s needs. However, I recommend giving fresh water to your cat anyway, especially since wet cat food may change the flavor when in refrigerators.
- Type: wet cat food to manage weight
- Size: 3 oz
- Calories: 93 kcal/can
Royal Canin’s Weight Care is the lowest-calorie cat food in our list of the best weight loss food for cats. This formula is full of essential nutrients for a feline, and it reflects the needs of all overweight cats. Yes, we can’t call it the cheapest option on the market, but the brand has deserved customer trust for high quality and formulas backed with decades-long research.
This recipe is high in protein and fiber for a cat to support healthy muscles, and it’s relatively low-fat though enriched with vitamins and minerals. But with all the pros comes a tiny con such as the presence of grains in the ingredients. It’s not critical yet unwelcome for a cat to consume.
Natural flavors, L-carnitine for healthy metabolism and weight management, and precisely shaped kibbles for more comfortable chewing and reducing plaque – all these details make the recipe worth your attention if you have got an overweight cat at home.As for feeding guidelines, they depend on your cat age and activity level. Royal Canin recommends ½ cup daily for 6-8lb cats with low activity, and ⅝ cup or ¾ cup for cats of 11-13lbs and low activity. Feel free to visit the official website or carefully read feeding recommendations on the package.
- Type: dry cat food for weight loss
- Size: 3 lb / 6 lb / 14 lb
- Calories: 276 kcal/cup
Canidae Grain-Free Diet Cat Food comes in several flavors, including chicken, tuna, and salmon. All are great, but here I describe their cod formula, such as Morsels in Savory Broth. It’s full of high-quality fish protein (make sure your cat doesn’t have any allergies or sensitivities to seafood), containing all critical ingredients for feline nutrition.
The recipe comes as a high protein cat food for weight loss, free of grains, by-products, potatoes, or carrageenan. The manufacturer says it’s also OK to feed kittens and pregnant or nursing felines with this food, paying attention to their age, size, and activity levels.
Remember that most wet food for cats is OK to keep in a fridge up to five days after opening. However, make sure you feed a cat at room temperature. Also, your feline needs to have access to clean, fresh water, even though cat food manufacturers insist their canned products have enough moisture inside.
So, for adult cats of 6-8 pounds, feed 2 ½ – 3 cans daily. When feeding a kitten, give up to 2 ½ times this amount. If your cat is pregnant or nursing, allow her free access to food.
- Type: cat diet food, wet, grain-free
- Size: 3 oz
- Calories: 71 kcal/can
Essential Things to Keep in Mind
Overfeeding is among the top causes of obesity in cats, and that is why some vets don’t recommend free-feeding (that’s when food is available to your feline 24/7). Having an indoor cat who is not so active, it’s better to control how much food she eats, especially if you start noticing her overeating.
Some medical conditions may predispose our felines to obesity too, so make sure to visit a vet regularly. And given that obesity is more common in older cats (that’s because of their natural decrease in exercise), please tailor a cat’s diet to her lifestyle and age.
Remember about the health risks for your overweight cat: diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. The cuteness of a fatty kitty isn’t worth these troubles, don’t you agree? So let’s be responsible owners and help our felines deal with overweight if they get any.
And when looking for healthy cat food for weight loss, please pay attention to its macronutrient ratio, aka the balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
For cats on a diet, choose food with minimum carbohydrates. They aren’t necessarily bad, but that’s not what a cat needs when trying to deal with being overweight. Focus on protein and fat sources in the food, as they are vital to cat health, and look for low-carb cat food that’s rich in proteins.
The low-fat cat food brands I reviewed above in this article are good options to consider. Check the best weight loss cat food with more than 30% of the protein inside.
And last but not least:
When your cat is on a diet, please keep an eye on her to make sure she eats diet food. Starvation is not the option, as it may lead to hepatic lipidosis, a liver disease overweight felines can get when they start eating too little suddenly. Even when on a diet, a cat needs to get all the essential nutrients.
How to Place a Cat on a Diet Right
We love our cats, no matter how fatty and fluffy they are. And yet, we understand the problem of obesity in felines. So once we start suspecting that our four-legged friend becomes overweight, it may be high time to place her on a diet.
But how to do that right so as not to hurt a cat, her health, and overall wellbeing?
First of all, please visit a veterinarian to make sure your feline is overweight and needs cat diet food. Don’t take any drastic measures yourself: A specialist will see the health condition of your cat and will recommend some best food for fat cats.
After that, when a cat food for weight loss is in your pocket, it’s time to put a cat on a diet, step by step. Believe me, it can be harder than you think, especially when a feline gets used to one particular food, and now she’s forced to eat a different one.
These steps can help you cope with the challenge.
Step 1: Figure Out How Many Calories Your Cat Needs for Weight Loss
First of all, ask a vet about the ideal weight for your cat and how many calories she needs per day when in it. For losing weight, cats need to eat 75-80% of their daily norm. Drawing from these numbers, you can estimate how many calories to give to your cat so she would start losing weight.
Let’s say your cat’s ideal weight is 5-8 pounds, and she needs to take between 24 to 35 calories a day per pound to stay healthy. So we have 8×35=280kcal per day, which means that our cat needs 280 – 20% = 224kcal daily to start losing weight.
The approximate amounts are:
- 180 kcal/day for an ideal weight of eight pounds
- 210 kcal/day for a weight of ten pounds
- 230 calories/day for a weight of twelve pounds
All the best diet food for cats has feeding recommendations and provides customers with a number of calories per cup or can, so you will easily estimate how much food to give. Also you can use our guide about how much should your cat eat.
Step 2: Limit Her Access to Food
Say no to free-feeding when your cat is on a diet. You shouldn’t let a feline get unlimited access to her food. Put a portion down for 15-20 minutes, and then pick it back even if she hasn’t eaten it all. It will help you see how much food she eats exactly.
Try providing a cat with smaller portions but more frequently. Divide her diet food into three or four servings a day: It will help her stay well-fed, and she will not meow all the time, asking for food.
Step 3: Change Her Regular Food for a Diet Cat Food Gradually
If your cat refuses to eat a new diet cat food, please don’t force her. Start with adding a small amount to her regular meal, and then transit to a diet food gradually over 7-10 days. It will help your cat get used to new food intake and avoid problems with digestion.
Another point to consider:
No matter if you choose dry or wet cat food for weight loss, make sure your feline has access to fresh and clean water all the time. Therefore, you’ll minimize her overeating: often, cats feel hungry and eat when they are just thirsty.
Related guide: Hydrating your cat using cat fountains.
Step 4: Work on Changing Her Behavior and Weigh a Cat Weekly
It stands to reason that an active cat burns more calories and loses weight more effectively than a cat with no exercising or playing games. So, entertain your feline, spend more time playing with her, and motivate her to move more. Exercises will reduce her appetite and improve metabolism so that she will lose weight faster.
Weigh your cat and record her weight every week. It will help you and your vet see the progress and correct a cat diet for further results.
The Most Common FAQ’s About Cat Food for Weight Loss
What should I feed my cat to lose weight?
First and foremost, visit a veterinarian so he could check your cat’s health and tell you a reason for her overweight. Together with the specialist, you will develop a diet for your cat to lose weight but still get all the essential nutrients for her health. Your vet will recommend some low-fat cat food brands to you. Also, feel free to check the reviews of cat food for overweight cats (like this one you’re reading here) and choose both dry and wet options to feed your cat.
Is wet or dry cat food better for weight loss?
The best option would be to combine both dry and wet cat food for overweight cats, so your feline could get enough moisture and all the necessary elements of her diet. Feeding a cat with dry food only, you keep her out of the right amount of liquid. (Make sure your cat has free access to fresh and clean water!) And feeding with wet food only, you deny a cat the opportunity to vary her diet. Semi-moist cat food should also be a supplementary source of nutrients.
What is the best dry cat food for weight loss?
It depends on your cat’s weight, health conditions, and nutrition needs. The most popular one in the lists of best diet food for cats is Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food: They focus on real-meat ingredients and are low-calorie enough for a cat to lose weight with no harm to health. Alternatives to try might be Royal Canin Weight Care Dry Cat Food and Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Food: Both are even lower in calories than Buffalo Weight, but they have some nuances anyway. (Please check the reviews above.)
What is the healthiest cat food for weight loss?
If looking for the dry cat food for weight loss, pay attention to Nulo Grain-Free Dry Cat Food: 82% of proteins here come from real meat (duck, turkey, and chicken), it’s low in carbohydrates, and it’s rich in BC30 probiotics supporting healthy gut flora. For a wet cat diet food, consider PetGuard Weight Management Cat Food: low in calories but rich in vitamins and proteins, it suits cats of all ages and contains enough moisture for a cat’s needs.
How much wet food should I feed my cat for weight loss?
It depends on how many calories your cat needs to consume daily. For her to start losing weight, please feed 20% fewer calories than your feline needs when in her ideal weight, to provide caloric reduction. Let’s say her ideal weight is 6 pounds, and she needs 200 kcal to maintain it. Now, when she is overweight, you need to feed her 160 kcal (200 – 20%). So, check the calories of her wet food and feed accordingly.
How can I help my cat lose weight?
Buying weight-loss food for your cat is not enough. You should make sure that your cat eats the right amount of this food. An automatic cat feeder is a great option that will feed your cat the right portion every time. If you have several cats with different diets, you should separate them with RFID cat doors.
Also, your cat should be active enough. One of the best indoor solutions is a cat exercise wheel — highly recommend you to check it out.
In a Word
Obesity affects about 40% of felines, and it’s the most common nutritional disorder among domestic cats. Though some medical conditions can also lead to it, the main reason for obesity is overfeeding our four-legged friend with her favorite and, undoubtedly, solid food.
Yes, fluffy and fatty cats may look adorable; but, responsible cat owners understand that overweight is a big problem leading to major issues with health: diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart and liver disease, or even cancer. Understanding the gravity of the situation, we agree to put our cat on a diet and start giving low-calorie cat food to her so she could stay healthy.
With so much cat food for overweight cats on the market, please focus on protein-rich formulas for cats (no less than 30% of protein inside) but low-calorie recipes, both dry and wet, to organize and control a diet for your feline. I did my best to review ten best cat foods for weight loss and make a weight loss cat food comparisons here, so feel free to consider any of them for your fluffy friend.
But regardless of what cat diet food you choose, please consult with a vet specialist. Health conditions, age, lifestyle, and breed of our cat – all these influences a diet she needs for a positive outcome.