Obesity is one of the most common issues affecting domestic cats, and in 2018 alone, 33.8% of cats were obese and 27.7% were considered overweight. This is an alarming statistic, especially when you consider that a cat’s health is almost entirely dependent on their owner, and obesity can lead to a host of other health issues, including diabetes and heart disease.
The main reason that your cat is overweight is their diet, and the food you choose to feed your feline has a massive impact on their health. That said, having an overweight or obese cat is an easy problem to resolve, and all it takes is a bit of exercise and a change in diet with a concerted effort to reduce unnecessary calories.
If your cat is overweight and you are looking to get them to lose a few extra pounds, fear not! We found the eight best cat foods for weight loss available today and created in-depth reviews for each one, to help you assist your cat in losing that extra weight. Let’s get started!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Weight Control Adult Dry Cat Food||
|Best Value||Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Dry Cat Food||
|Premium Choice||Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Cat Food||
|Evanger's Low Fat Vegetarian Dinner Canned Cat Food||
|Solid Gold Weight Control Grain-Free Adult Dry Cat Food||
The 8 Best Cat Food for Weight Loss — Reviews 2021
1. Blue Buffalo Weight Control Adult Dry Cat Food — Best Overall
With its quality ingredients and specially formulated recipe, the Weight Control cat food from Blue Buffalo is our favorite choice overall. The food contains real, deboned chicken for a high-quality source of natural protein (30% overall) and is enhanced with essential vitamins and minerals. The recipe is specially crafted with the ideal ratio of calories and protein to help maintain your cat’s optimum weight. The food also contains natural fiber derived from cellulose and psyllium seeds husks to control hairballs. The included LifeSource Bits are a unique combination of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for optimum immune health. The food is free from by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial flavors and preservatives.
Our only criticism of this food is the fairly high price tag and the fact that more than a few customers reported that their cats didn’t like it.
2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Dry Cat Food — Best Value
The best cat food for weight loss for the money is the Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Dry Food. The food contains 20% less fat than Purina’s standard food, with a protein content of 43% overall, the majority of which is provided by chicken, the first listed ingredient. This high protein content supports your cats’ muscles during the weight loss process and gives them the energy that they need for exercise. The food is also fortified with live probiotics to aid your cat’s immune health and digestive system, and it is made with natural prebiotic fiber for additional gut health. There are also vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the recipe, including vitamin A and essential omega fatty acids.
One issue that we have with this food is the calories, which Purina indicates is 437 per cup. For a true weight-loss food, you want a caloric intake of 300-400 per cup. We also would have loved to see a bit more fiber than the 5% crude fiber content in here, to further assist in weight loss. These small issues keep this food from the top spot on this list.
3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Cat Food — Premium Choice
Hill’s has long been the go-to food for cats with special dietary needs. For weight management, there is arguably no better option, even at the high price. The food was specially developed by Hills’ in-house nutritionists and veterinarians to work naturally with your cat’s unique metabolism to help them lose weight. According to Hills, 88% of cats lost weight within two months of switching to this food. The food has a 33% protein content overall, which comes largely from chicken, and a 10% crude fiber content. The food is also low in calories at 297 kcal per cup, ideal for helping your feline lose weight at a safe rate.
This food is expensive, though, and you’ll need veterinary authorization to purchase it. Other than that, this may be the best weight loss food out there, and it is only the cost that keeps it from the top two spots on this list.
4. Evanger’s Low Fat Vegetarian Dinner Canned Cat Food
This Low-Fat Vegetarian Dinner cat food from Evanger’s is made entirely from healthy vegetables and grains to help your cat lose weight. It contains beneficial fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, blueberries, peas, and carrots. Evanger’s has added taurine into the formula to help support your cat’s overall wellbeing, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. The food is also low in fat to reduce overall caloric intake and is made with no artificial preservatives, fillers, or salt.
Keep in mind that this food should only be used as a temporary measure or as a side dish to your cat’s other food, not as their main food source. Cats cannot remain healthy on a vegetarian diet, as they need certain amino acids, such as taurine and L-carnitine, provided from meat to thrive. Several customers also reported that the food is dry and chunky, making it difficult to eat.
5. Solid Gold Weight Control Grain-Free Adult Dry Cat Food
The Solid Gold Weight Control dry cat food is grain-free and made with fresh-caught Alaskan Pollock, which is the first listed ingredient. It contains a crude protein content of 31% and has a respectable 360 calories per cup, ideal for weight loss. The food also contains prebiotics for added gut health — 90 million probiotics per pound — which also aids your cat’s immune system overall. Packed with essential omega fatty acids from the included fish, you can be sure that your cat’s coat and skin will be smooth and healthy. The food is also free from fillers, by-products, and artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.
One major issue with this food is the high carbohydrate content of 37%, which is not ideal for weight loss. Plus, many customers reported that their cats wouldn’t eat it because it has a strong fish odor.
6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Canned Cat Food
This Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management canned food contains turkey as the first listed ingredient, with a protein content of 12% overall and 79 calories per can. This high-protein and low-calorie ratio is great for cats that need to shed a few pounds, and the high water content of the canned food will keep them hydrated too. The food is packed with essential omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat and is rich in powerful antioxidants for potent immune support. Also, this delicious food is free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
We notice that this food does contain rice, which is an unnecessary ingredient in most cat food and certainly in food made for weight management. Also, several customers reported that it has a fairly dry texture.
7. Royal Canin Ultra-Light Canned Cat Food
This Ultra-Light canned food from Royal Canin has been specially formulated to help cats lose weight, with only 54 calories per can. It has a crude protein content of 9%, which comes largely from chicken, chicken liver, and pork, and only 1.6% fat content. The food also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, vitamins E and B12, and essential omega fatty acids. The food comes in palatable chunks with tasty gravy and is made in the United States.
Unfortunately, this food contains pork and chicken by-products and has a fairly high carbohydrate content of 26.3%, which is unnecessary for cats, especially when they’re trying to lose weight.
8. Hill’s Prescription Diet Weight Reduction Dry Cat Food
This weight-reduction dry food from Hill’s is developed by Hills’ team of nutritional experts and veterinarians to help your feline lose weight naturally and safely. It has been clinically proven to aid in weight loss in just 8 weeks by aiding your cat’s metabolism and helping maintain lean muscle. It has a 31% crude protein content overall with just 7% fat, and it contains 265 calories per cup. There is an optimal blend of soluble and insoluble fibers to help aid in your cat’s digestion, and it is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins E and C for a healthy immune function.
Bear in mind that you’ll need veterinary authorization to purchase this food. Also, it contains rice as the first listed ingredient, along with other questionable ingredients, including chicken by-product meal, corn gluten, soy, and flavorings.
While many factors may cause weight gain in cats, such as simply overeating or not getting enough exercise, giving your cat the appropriate food designed to help them lose weight is the best first step in helping them lose the extra pounds. Simply feeding your cat less food may cause more problems, as their food is just one of many aspects that could be causing them to gain excess weight. The best and safest approach is switching to a high-protein, low-fat, and low-calorie weight-loss food.
When choosing a weight loss formula for your cat, there are a few important things to consider.
Fewer calories should not mean less nutrition, and the food that you purchase should still provide your feline with a healthy, balanced diet, complete with all the essential vitamins and minerals. The reduction in fat and calories should come from the exclusion of filler ingredients, like rice or wheat, and the inclusion of healthy, lean meats.
Cat food for weight loss should contain more protein than normal cat food and should have no less than 30% crude fat protein. It is also essential that this protein comes from healthy animal sources, such as chicken, turkey, or fish, and it should be the first listed ingredient. High-protein formulas are vital for retaining lean muscle mass during the weight loss process and giving your cat the energy boost that they need. A word of warning, though: Always stick to the amount instructed on the package. The high-protein formula often causes cats to want to eat more, and they can easily overeat and then gain even more weight.
The first step in reducing weight in your cat is in reducing calories. Weight loss formulas should have no more than 300-350 calories per cup and ideally, a very low carbohydrate content. High-protein foods typically have more calories, but your cats do not need to eat as much.
Fat is an important part of your cat’s energy resources, and most cat foods include high amounts of fat to give your cat an energy boost. It makes sense that if you are trying to reduce your cat’s weight, you want less fat, but it should not be left out completely, as it’s an important part of their nutritional needs.
High-fiber formulas are popular for indoor cats because fiber can help reduce hairballs, which indoor cats are more susceptible to. Fiber is also a great addition to weight loss recipes because it aids in digestion and digestive health. Most weight loss recipes have around 10% crude fiber content, compared to 5-8% in normal cat foods.
Is your cat overweight?
Now that you know what to look for in weight loss cat food, it’s important that you follow the feeding guidelines closely in order for the food to have the desired effect. You may be tempted to give your cat an extra cup when they give you those pleading eyes, but it’s in their best interests to stick strictly to the plan.
Other than their diet, there are many ways to help your feline lose weight. First, it’s important to know what a healthy weight is for your particular breed of cat so you can monitor it. For most domestic cat breeds, no more than 10 pounds is a good rule of thumb, but of course, this can vary widely depending on the breed.
No matter the breed of cat you own, though, they are considered obese if they are 20% above their ideal body weight. So, if you have a cat that should be around 10 pounds, if they are weighing in at 12-13 pounds, they are certainly overweight and likely obese.
You should immediately begin giving your cat regular exercise in addition to weight-loss food. This will help them stay healthy and maintain muscle mass while they are slimming down from their diet.
Health risks for overweight cats
Not only will an overweight cat have reduced mobility and thus, a less-satisfying life, but there is also a host of other health issues that can be potentially brought on by obesity.
Obesity can also cause pain for your cat while performing their natural movements, such as jumping and climbing, and if they are overweight, it can put a strain on their joints. This has the snowball effect of stopping them from activity and thus, perpetuating the weight gain.
Shifting your cat to a weight-loss food
Even when changing food brands, the transition should be done slowly and carefully, and you need to keep a close eye on your cat to make sure there are no adverse reactions. When transitioning them to weight loss formulas, the same rule applies, although we highly recommend visiting your vet beforehand. They will be able to advise you as to what your cat’s ideal weight should be, identify any medical issues, and help advise you on the right food to choose from.
It’s a good idea to transition your cat to their new food as slowly as possible — as little as 20% of the new food mixed into their old food is ideal for the first day. You can then increase this percentage daily, reaching full transition to the new food after about 14 days. Keep a close eye on your feline, and make sure they are getting enough food and not reacting badly to their new diet. Making the transition slowly usually reduces the chances of both of these occurrences.
The Weight Control cat food from Blue Buffalo is our favorite choice of cat food for weight loss overall. The food contains real, deboned chicken, is enhanced with essential vitamins and minerals, and is specially crafted with the ideal ratio of calories and protein to help maintain your cat’s optimal weight. The food also contains natural fiber and LifeSource bits, a combination of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for optimal immune health.
The best cat food for weight loss for the money according to our reviews is the Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Dry Food. It has a protein content of 43% overall, with chicken as the first listed ingredient. The food is also fortified with live probiotics and is made with natural prebiotic fiber in addition to vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
It can be a challenge to find the right food for weight loss for your feline, and you’ll want to choose food that helps them slim down but still keeps them healthy and happy. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have helped make the process easier, so you can find the best food to help your cat lose those extra pounds safely.
Featured image credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 8 Best Cat Food for Weight Loss — Reviews 2021
- 1. Blue Buffalo Weight Control Adult Dry Cat Food — Best Overall
- 2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Dry Cat Food — Best Value
- 3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Cat Food — Premium Choice
- 4. Evanger’s Low Fat Vegetarian Dinner Canned Cat Food
- 5. Solid Gold Weight Control Grain-Free Adult Dry Cat Food
- 6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Weight Management Canned Cat Food
- 7. Royal Canin Ultra-Light Canned Cat Food
- 8. Hill’s Prescription Diet Weight Reduction Dry Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide