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.

I’m Kimberly Baumgart, a future veterinary physician from Manhattan, Kansas. Volunteering in animal shelters and assisting in the local vet hospital, I help pet owners learn more about feline lifestyle. Read my works on Catpet.Club blog to discover the world of healthy nutrition and well-being for your four-legged friend.


  • Mary MewMeow

    I think AvoDerm best high quality cat food for weight loss I ever tried when feeding my cat. She is 6 years old and is constantly fighting with all these extra pounds. With AvoDerm we almost reached our top result – 6 pounds, now she weighs 13 pounds.

  • Neon6

    That’s great you explore such a topic as the best cat food for weight loss! I’ve been trying to find such an article for a long time, cause my cat really needs some special treatment. Dolly weighs over 22 pounds now, and I really don’t know how to deal with the fact. However, now I know that there is a way out, so thank you for that!

  • Kyle333

    Thanks for such a detailed review, I really didn’t know many things about improving cat’s metabolism. However, my cat is constantly gaining weight, though we took all the recommendations from our vet. I think the problem lies somewhere in the endocrine system or sensitive stomach. I would love to read an article about best cat food for weight loss for cats with a sensitive stomach. Are you planning to write an article about such food?

  • Nicole Roberts

    I think that’s one of the most detailed reviews, thanks for that! I also thought that my cat was overweight until my vet told me that 20 pounds are okay for this breed. My fluffy is Norwegian Forest Cat, so it’s okay for him to be so heavy.:)

  • Miss Monika

    Thanks, for such a detailed review about senior cat food for weight loss, it’s really helpful. I personally tried Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin Weight Care; both products are great. However my cat like the flavor of Canin more, so I stopped my choice on this brand. The flavor is really cool, I almost tried it myself, hahaha; it’s quite expensive but worth the money. Will you post another review about the products for healthy cats?

  • Jack555

    Free-feeding is my personal sin as a cat owner. Seems like I love my fluffy too much, and it led to 6 new pounds on my cat’s belly. Gosh, it was so difficult to find a way to lose weight; we went to our vet and he developed the program of losing weight. He prescribed Canidae Grain-Free, and I must say it was a perfect choice. We bought a special treadmill, started to feed our cat with Canidae, and she lost 6 pounds in 2 months!

  • JulyMorning1

    Thanks for the review, now it’s a challenge to choose among these great products. Is there any high fiber cat food for weight loss? I know that high protein is okay for any kind of diet, still, my friend told me that his vet prescribed some high fiber food.

  • Mr CatFan

    I’ve been trying to get my cat off the free feeding, however, it was no good, because every time I refuse to feed her she starts to cry. Don’t know what to do with the fact, I let her eat for 25 minutes, then take away the plate. And here she goes! Now I will try to divide the food into small portions, maybe this will help.

  • KittenOwner

    My cat started to lose weight the moment I realized I have to spend much more time with her. So all the things that you described in changing the behaviour of your cat are true! I bought a lot of toys and treadmills: one of them is in the form of a wheel and a cat has to catch a mouse walking on this treadmill. It’s quite fun, and I enjoy watching my fluffy running and having a good time! I also bought PetGuard, its formula is great for cats of all ages.

  • Kate_theowner

    It’s great that you made such a detailed guide; moreover, I love that there is not only the list of products but also the manual of how to help your cat to lose weight. My kitty doesn’t have such a problem, however, it is always better to prevent the problem. I try to stick to all the rules described in the manual, but it is sometimes hard to make your cat wait for another portion:)

  • Ginger Ross

    Looks like a great weight loss plan for my Charles, I bought him an automatic cat feeder, but that’s not enough actually. Seems like nothing will be good without a proper training system, so I consulted our vet. She said that treadmills and different active games are alright, but it also turned out that we are using the wrong cat food. So she actually said that Hill’s Science Diet is very good, so I am about to test it soon.

  • ReadySteadyGo1

    So great you shared this information with us; honestly, I have been in despair for the last few months because my cat really doesn’t want to lose weight. The diet food I bought remains untouched, and my cat refuses to eat it. Actually, Royal Canin is not our perfect choice, my friend’s mother is a vet, so she told me that it’s all because of my cat’s personal taste. So it has nothing to do with the food itself. Shall I consult the vet before figuring out how many calories my cat needs?

  • Lilyofthevalley1

    My sister is the owner of an obese cat, so every time I visit her she tells me how hard it is for her fluffy to lose weight. Seems like it is even more difficult than for a human being; I’ll definitely show her this article, let’s hope it will help. I think she must get an Abyssinian as well, this breed is quite active, so another cat will play all day long.)

  • Milly Sparks

    What a great idea to share such an article with us! I’m a vet, so I know how hard it is to convince people that obesity is an illness; it’s not about pretty cheeks and all this stuff. Almost ⅓ of the owners whom I consulted told me something like: “Well, it’s just my cat’s nature, he/she has a good appetite, that’s it!” Can I print out this article and hang it on the wall in my cabinet?

  • FunnyGirl222

    Seems like the diet cat food is really a good solution to the problem of obesity, but I never tried it. I was always afraid the contents is not quite good, but now I see I was definitely wrong. My Delilah is a very big cat, and we tried to lose weight just by using treadmills and different active games. I am a freelancer, so I spent all day at home and play with Delilah as often as I can. It really helps but we want better results, so I think we should try one of these brands.

  • Jim Russel

    You are right, exercises really reduce appetite, however, my cat’s metabolism still doesn’t improve. I don’t know how to help my cat, but I think we should try one of these diet foods, cause I heard that PetGuard is very good; my friend buys it, and she is quite a cat lover. Do you know if they have dry PetGuard product line as well?

  • Butterfly7

    I always thought that high concentration of fiber is not good enough for losing weight. But as far as I understand, it is still very helpful for a cat’s health; for instance, Royal Canin has a big concentration of fiber in its products. I don’t know which product to choose now, my cat needs to smell the food first. it’s always like that, I go to a supermarket with my fluffy, he smells the food and then gives a verdict.

  • Myohmy1987

    So as far as I understand, there are plenty of good products on the market. Right now I am searching for the best price/quality combination out of these 10. Of course, they are all good, but I have to be sure I don’t waste my money, cause I had some problems with cat food before. We ordered 20 pockets of a very expensive diet food (it’s not on the list) and the cat never ate it. It would be perfect if you posted some reviews from the owners as well; this would ease the selection.

  • Mike9

    Thanks for the detailed guide, it’s great that you not only published a list of products available on the market but also gave useful recommendations. So what if I stick to all these rules and feed my cat with diet products, play with it and correct its behaviour? How long does it take for a cat to lose weight in such a case?

  • Liza Joy

    Nice review, however, I never tried to purchase some of these products because my cat lost weight just exercising a lot. Maybe that’s because she didn’t gain so much weight, I don’t know. What I also know is that some cats hate to walk on all these treadmills and prefer just to sit on them.) Just remember that funny video with a cat on a treadmill in the water, Buddha the cat, if I am not mistaken.

  • Lucy Boyd

    Totally agree that weight control is crucially important when you want your cat to become healthy and slim. It is also important for your pet not to lose weight very fast, it’s just too dangerous for it. My fiance had an obese cat in his childhood, he told me that he could barely hold it. So his parents tried to make the cat move as much as possible and it lost 5 pounds in 1 week. Then their pet got sick and it took a lot of time for it to recover.

  • Catthemighty

    Can I calculate the perfect weight of my cat by myself or is it necessary to go to the vet?
    My cat is an introvert, she doesn’t like new people around, I try to calm her down every time we go out but it can be quite difficult. Anyway, thanks for the great recommendations, will keep it in mind!

  • ViolettetheCat

    Seems like Purina’s Pro and PetGuard weight management formulas are both all right; now I am choosing between these products. However, I don’t know if there are as much C and E vitamins in Purina like in PetGuard. Somehow I didn’t find the full list of ingredients; I’ll try to Google it better. I also tried AvoDerm last year, and it was all right for my cat, but sometimes she didn’t want to eat it.

  • HollyMolly

    Nice guide, I’ve learned a lot about correcting cat’s behaviour; thank you for that! The calculation of calories is a complicated process, so I should better go to the doctor and get a proper consultation. My cat’s mother is also obese, so I guess it is a genetic problem; he is quite energetic and always moves a lot. So right now I am thinking about all the items you’ve mentioned. Are you sure that the scheme will work if it’s all about genetics?

  • VivreLaVie

    Great article, love the part where you tell about the right amount of calories and how to calculate it. Of course, I can calculate this 75-80 % of the daily norm myself, but I guess I will go to the clinic and consult my doctor. My cat’s ideal weight is 8 pounds, so I guess we need to lose 6-7 pounds now; we have a lot of work to do.

  • CatsAreGreat

    I guess a lot of readers didn’t finish the article, because many of them complain their cat refuses to eat diet food. Well, there is a very cool part about changing the regular food for a diet. I’ve been changing the food for 15 days, and it really helped; my cat got used to Instinct Raw Boost in 2 weeks. So all you need is patience and attention; right now our result is -5 pounds, so we almost reached our goal!

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