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Tell clients to bite into 'Catkins' diet to battle obesity, expert advises
Veterinarians should chart the progression a cat may experience while on the diet.
NEW YORK, N.Y.—Twenty five to 45 percent of felines are too fat. New research shows that feeding an overweight cat a diet of moist cat food one time a day will replicate a more natural diet that is high protein and low in carbohydrates.
Obesity in cats is well documented, however, experts are espousing a high-protein, low carbohydrate plan to battle this epidemic. Less active indoor cats that have been altered are the most likely candidates for diabetes, says Dr. Deborah Greco.
Deborah Greco, DVM, Ph.D., a leading researcher in the field of feline diabetes and an internist, endocrinologist at The Animal Medical Center in New York, showcased the so-called Catkin's diet at the recently concluded American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine meeting in Minneapolis. Greco notes that in a cat's natural environment, mice would be a main staple and are composed of roughly 40-45 percent protein, 3-5 percent carbohydrate and 40-45 percent fat.
"Cats should have a diet that is high protein, high fat and low carbohydrate," Greco says.
Feeding cats any brand of canned food is better than dry, Greco says.
"High levels of carbohydrates in dry food, causes overproduction of insulin, increased hunger and weight gain," Greco adds.
Veterinarians may be seeing more overweight cats because busy owners tend to put dry food in a bowl and replenish the supply daily.
"Feeding a cat dry food and refilling the bowl is the worst way to feed a cat, it promotes obesity," Greco says. "Feeding a cat one can of food, one time a day works well, allowing less opportunity for overfeeding."
Ways to prevent feline obesity/at risk categories
"A common misconception is that dry food is better for cat's teeth, but dry food has been researched to be better for dogs," Greco says. "Feeding a cat canned food shouldn't effect its teeth anymore than dry food."
There are a variety of diet plans available. Veterinarians can chart the progression a cat may experience while on the diet.
Greco says it may take several months for a cat to show a difference in body fat, but just like the famed human Atkin's diet, fat will be replaced with muscle.
"A good time to begin this diet is when the cat is spayed or neutered or at the first sign of weight gain," Greco says. Remember, an ounce of prevention is well worth a pound or two of cure.