Thriving Cat

What is the Best Dry Cat Food for Weight Loss and Maintenance?

What Is the Best Dry Cat Food for Weight Loss and Maintenance?

 

If you have an overweight cat or cat that you want to keep at a healthy weight there are many brands competing valiantly for your purchase. So many colorful, interesting bags of cat food promising low calorie, low fat, and many other perks.  You may consider grain free or gluten free. You may consider natural, or organic food. You may agonize over wet vs. dry cat food. Each is supposedly better than the other. Some people and vets claim dry food helps keep cats teeth clean. Some claim the opposite and that wet food is better. So how do you choose the best cat food for weight loss or maintenance?


There is no single food that is best in all cases since individual cats have different needs, sensitivities and preferences. However,…after trying many of them, researching many of them and seeing the results, I can share some that are exceptional. In my case, I wanted a grain free food ideally though that was not a deal breaker. I also wanted a food with good, natural ingredients. I had to find a food that would work for all three cats as it was too much of a hassle to feed them different foods. Pie was very overweight, Tigger has a sensitive stomach and possible food allergies so getting the wrong food resulted in many a stinky mess!  Mouse is the normal cat when it comes to food. Slightly pudgy but not by much, no food sensitives that we know of and as a Norwegian Forest Cat who is still growing, has a voracious appetite. Large breeds like Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats don’t stop growing until they are 3-5 years old! Most cats are long since grown at that point! He really does need more food than the others. So, what food can meet ALL these requirements?

We tried many medium to higher quality brands. The bottom of the barrel like Friskies, Meow Mix and regular Purina were not even options as they are very poor nutritionally. Eating that every day would not be nutritionally complete and the fillers and grains would contribute to health problems and weight gain. We also couldn’t afford the most expensive, high end foods. We give the cats wet food as well, since they love it and it serves as a vehicle for their supplements which help with health issues like Tigger’s propensity toward bad teeth and gums. You can see my review of this awesome product for tooth and gum health here and the supplement for additional weight control here.

Purina makes a higher quality line of food called ‘Beyond’, some of which are grain free. It comes in several different grain free varieties such as ‘Ocean Whitefish and Egg’ and ‘White Meat Chicken and Whole Oat Meal’. If you don’t need a grain free food, Beyond comes in ‘Salmon and Whole Brown Rice’, ‘Superfood Blend Barley, Egg and Cranberry’ and other interesting flavors. These foods are a great mid level food. In the search for a food that met our extensive list of requirements we kept looking. We still had problems with Tigger’s digestion on these foods. At the time I did not know what was causing his digestive problems. With this additional knowledge, perhaps the Purina Beyond line would work for us now but we had already moved on to try others and ultimately find our favorite brand.

In the interim we tried Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. This food has great ingredients but it must have had something that Tigger was sensitive to as his digestive issues got much worse and we ended up with a VERY stinky litter box on this food. Other reviewers comment on this as well so beware if you try this food. Many cats are sensitive to it. Some varieties were worse than others. The Rabbit one was the worst for us.

We finally ended up finding the food we have stuck with that meets all our many requirements. This is Solid Gold brand cat food. For a long time we fed the cats the ‘Indigo Moon with Peas, Chicken and Egg, Grain and Gluten Free’. This food worked for all three cats, however they still tended to gain weight if we let them eat as much as they want. Eventually we decided to try a weight control variety also by Solid Gold brand. This is ‘Fit as a Fiddle: Low Fat/Low Calorie With Fresh Caught Alaskan Pollock, Grain and Gluten Free’. All three cats love the flavor, it is full of healthy ingredients and best of all they started to lose weight when we switched to this variety in conjunction with the PetAlive Slender Pet supplement. Pie still needs some quantity restriction, but at least she can eat it. We had to try to keep her from having any dry food at all with the other varieties.

The Indigo Moon with Peas, Chicken and Eggs food has some questionable ingredients such as Chicken Meal, which I am not crazy about, but overall the ingredients are good. There are some wild things in the ingredient list that you would not see on a low quality cat food. This variety has ingredients including: Cranberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Almond Oil and Apples. Other ingredients you would expect to see such as Ocean Fish Meal. This variety like the others by Indigo Moon also contains probiotics!

The Fit as a Fiddle food which we use now, has even higher quality foods including Pollock as the first ingredient! It also contains Salmon Oil and Olive Oil which is great for their coat, berries, broccoli, watercress, beets, pumpkin, spearmint and many, many more great foods. Like the others it has probiotics. Somehow even with so many ingredients, this does not cause digestive issues for Tigger. All three cats love it!

This food is expensive, but not as bad as many, since it comes in fairly large bags. Especially if you buy it on sale it is not too bad. In any case the food is well worth the price, as it is so completely superior in terms of quality and the resulting health of your cat. In my opinion, Solid Gold cat food is the best cat food for weight loss and general health. I would find the Purina Beyond line to be the next best for an overall good cat food. I am sure there are other great dry cat foods available and it is hard to generalize what is best for different cats so these two brands are not the only foods to try. In my experience Solid Gold and Purina Beyond brands are exceptional. Our three cats eat Solid Gold every day, and love every bite.

Even with high quality dry food cats can gain weight. They should ideally have wet food too to increase water intake and get exercise. Here is a great, tall, affordable cat tree to get them some exercise, fun and sense of security being up high.

A cat food puzzle feeder is another great way to help your cats lose weight. I have reviewed two unique puzzle feeders here, Cat Food Puzzle Feeders.

Do you have thoughts about this or a favorite dry cat food for weight loss or maintenance? Please let me know in a comment and share your experience to help other pet parents!

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24 Comments

  1. Di

    A friend, who has owned lots of cats in her lifetime had suggested to me that I should look at a grain free food for my Birman, who is a voracious eater. I didn’t want to put him on a strict diet, as whilst he is a little chubby, he is still young and very active. Based on what you have described in your article I think I’ll give the Solid Gold brand a go, it looks like he might naturally shed a couple of pounds without me having to restrict quantities.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Di,

      Thank you for your comment. I hope Solid Gold ‘Fit as a Fiddle’ works for your Birman. All the Solid Gold brand foods are great, but the Fit as a Fiddle is definitely the one I would recommend for weight control. One of our cats is still overweight so restriction is necessary for some cats but her problem is mostly inactivity. The other two cats are more active and have both dropped down to a good weight without any restriction of the food. You could also try the Slender Pet supplement I review as well.

      I hope your cat enjoys Solid Gold as much as our’s do!

      Jessica

      Reply
  2. Margaret

    Aha so you mean actual cats who are fat? At first I thought you meant a different fat cat. I have seen some really overweight cats but never thought about putting them on a diet. Tom cats who have been neutered seem to get very fat don’t they? Is it easy to keep a cat on a diet? I had an overweight dog and the vet said put her on a mainly vegetable diet. As this is not a natural food for dogs she didn’t take to it very well at all. Do cats actually like these foods?

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Margaret, yes all three of our cats love this food. All of these foods have meat so this is in no way a vegetarian diet! They love it, so for them it isn’t a diet at all.

      Yes, the spayed and neutered cats (and dogs) gain weight much easier. This is because of the disruption in the hormones that spaying and neutering causes. That is why I use the PetAlive Slender Pet supplement as well.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Jessica

      Reply
  3. Michael Baker

    Hi There,

    I must say I was really in impressed with your article what is the best cat food for weight loss and maintenance, I have a couple of adorable felines but they tend to get their own way with me because I adore them so much, so don’t normally keep an eye on their diet, after reading your article I am definitely going for the Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free cat food, it sounds just right for my cats and I am sure they will love it – coming into the warmer months I am sure they will appreciate it too!

    Great article and regards, Michael

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Michael,

      Thanks for your comment. We have the same problem with our three cats. They are either so cute or so pathetic when they beg for more and more food it is hard to say no! That is why I am so happy to find foods that work. I must admit, I did not try the Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free food for long enough to determine if they lost weight. We moved on to other foods trying to find the perfect one for all our cat’s needs and settled on the Solid Gold. Therefore, I cannot vouch for the Purina food in terms of weight loss specifically, just the Solid Gold. I am sure the Purina Beyond is a good food however, with good nutrition and vastly superior ingredients compared to regular food.

      Please let me know how it works out for you. I would love to get a recommendation from you regarding weight loss!

      Reply
  4. Armand707

    After reading your post, I feel that there is no universal food for weight loss that would satisfy all cats of any size. It does take some research to find the best cat food for weight loss as all cats are created differently where they can have different metabolisms.

    Overall, I thought your site was informative, and I’ll refer people to come here to look for ways to lower the weights of their cats.

    Cheers!
    Armand

    Reply
    1. admin

      Yes Armand. I agree with you. There is not a one size fits all food for cats. That is why it took so long for us to find a food that worked for all three cats! Thank you for your comment and future referals!

      Jessica

      Reply
  5. LSeulu24

    Hi Jessica,

    This was a really informative article. We lost our cat 2 years ago but never really had issues with weight or sensitivities so I guess we were lucky. But our lab is constantly dealing with weight problems. We use to feed our dogs (and our cat cubby) on high quality expensive dry food but then found that a few would have allergy reactions to it.

    When you have to deal with trying to find the right food for more than one pet it can become quite a mission. Its great to know that through your research you were able to identify a product that has worked for all three.

    We eventually moved our dogs to a raw diet and it has helped with weight and previous allergy reactions. If we still had our cat cubby we probably would of tried the same. Or the solid gold that you have recommended.

    Great information will let a couple of my cat lover friends know.
    thanks
    Layne

    Reply
    1. admin

      Thank you Layne! Yes, it took years to find this food so we are so relieved to be able to end the search finally! I would like to try the raw food diet for the cats but have not made it to that yet!

      Thank you for your comment.

      Jessica

      Reply
  6. Bimmerguy

    I have a cat that has gotten to be grossly overweight and is borderline for feline diabetes. I found your site in search of finding a diet for him that will allow him to stay healthy and lose weight. Solid Gold looks like a product that might help me achieve just this. The Fit and Fiddle food will hopefully help me get my cat’s weight back on track. Thanks so much for the great tip!

    Reply
    1. admin

      You are very welcome! If your cat is seriously overweight you may have to restrict his intake if he is a big eater. For two of our cats, they lost weight without restriction on this food. For the third, she lost weight but still needs a bit of restriction as well.

      Also, you may want to try the PetAlive Slender Pet supplements I review on the site as well. The combination of the food and supplement is what finally worked best for our cats.

      Good luck, I know it is hard to diet a cat and worrisome when they are so overweight! I sympathize!

      Jessica

      Reply
  7. Megan

    Hi there! I was reading your article and thought it was really informative and interesting! I used to have a cat that was heavily overweight a couple of years ago and would constantly eat. He unfortunately passed away this past January, but I think in the future if I ever have this problem again I am going to try that Solid Gold. I didn’t even know they had a cat food brand named that to be honest! I will definitely have to try this, and as for being expensive, sometimes you have to pay for quality products, unfortunately if everything was cheap then it probably wouldn’t be worth as much.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Megan,

      Thank you for taking a look. Nobody I have talked to (including our vet) has heard of the Solid Gold brand either! I am not sure why that is since it is such good food! Maybe they don’t spend as much on advertising as other brands.

      I am sorry your cat passed away.

      Yes, you usually get what you pay for!

      Thanks!

      Jessica

      Reply
  8. Franni21

    Perfect timing, I have a friend who has a really fat cat and I didn’t know how to help her but now I will totally show her this post for her to read and take action with her cat because she loves it so much and I know is dangerous for them to be too fat.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Franni,

      I am glad this information is useful for you to pass along to your friend! That is my goal here, to pass along information that will help cats and their owners find effective treatment of common conditions.

      Here is the link for my other post on a weight loss supplement we use also: http://thrivingcat.com/how-do-i-help-my-cat-lose-weight

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Jessica

      Reply
  9. Krissy

    Hi Swangirl,
    First of all I think your cats are adorable and second I am a animal lover. I had never had cats before but a lot of my friends. Sorry for this silly question I’m about to ask ( I don’t know much about cats ) I heard that they can have endrocrine issues too? Like hypothyroid ( slow Metabolism) Or HYPER thyroidism ( metabolism is very fast) Is there away to check at the vet?
    Kind Regards,
    Krissy

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Krissy,

      Yes, cats can have thyroid problems just like people (and dogs). This is very common after female cats or dogs are spayed. Not surprisingly this messes with their hormone levels.

      I have not had my cats tested but testing is possible. The most common, affordable and easy method is blood testing. This does not require anesthesia. The downside is that the results can be hard to interpret and other illnesses often make the results confusing.

      A scan of the thyroid can also be performed but this is expensive, requires anesthesia and can be done in limited facilities.

      Thanks for the question!

      Jessica

      Reply
  10. Rock

    Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for sharing this very helpful article for all feline owners. I think it’s really important to keep an eye on the food we are giving them. Although it’s cute and adorable to see a chubby cat, in time, it can backfire to us and them in terms of medical expenses and health. And it’s always best to invest/put health first, regardless if human or pet, before anything else.

    Regards,

    Rocky

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Rocky,

      Yes, I agree. Health needs to be a priority with pets, not just people. Many conditions are preventable or treatable with high quality nutrition and supplementation/natural remedies.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessic

      Reply
  11. Cohen

    Ha! I was looking for something for my chubby fat black cat (Felix) to help him drop some weight, but for some reason I read the post title in regards to humans eating cat food for weight loss.

    By the way, very jealous that you have a norwegian forest cat, I’ve always loved them. They’re beautiful.

    Okay, so my inability to read aside, I’m interested in the Purina Beyond cat food in particular. None of my cats have any food sensitivities that I know of, my main focus is just on helping my kitties lose some weight.

    Is it actually effective for this purpose? I was still a little confused after reading your description.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Cohen,

      At the time we fed our cats the Purina Beyond food, one of them was throwing up and we did not know why. Because of this we stopped feeding him the food. He throws up most any food though and now we give him medication to control his stomach acid. I don’t think it had anything to do with the particular food. I would try that food again but we are very happy with the Solid Gold brand so we have stuck with that.

      I recommend the Purina Beyond if you want a healthy, grain-free food but we did not use it long enough to verify if it helped with weight loss. The only food I can recommend for weight loss is the Solid Gold “Fit as a Fiddle” which is grain-free and also lower in fat. I will clarify this in the post.

      The price per pound is similar for both foods on Amazon, however the Solid Gold is only available in a larger size bag on Amazon. It wouldn’t hurt to try the Purina first and if it doesn’t help your cat lose weight you could try the Solid Gold.

      Thanks!

      Jessica

      Reply
  12. ches

    I find it very upsetting when I see an overweight cat or dog. They are invariably showing signs of distress through either breathing or moving or both.
    It is very tempting to treat your cat or dog with an extra tidbit or something off your plate but we must be cruel to be kind and kick the habit of over feeding our precious animals.
    This article will aid those that don’t really know which is the best food to keep your pet at an ideal weight with good health. This grain free cat food with pollock and whitefish would seem to be an ideal food for cats. What’s more, you’ve done all the hard work for us animal lovers. Great job. Ches

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Ches,

      Thank you for your comment. I hope my site can help other pet owners find solutions for common health issues like this. The inspiration for my site was my cat’s bad breath and tooth and gum disease. He needed to have teeth extracted by the vet every year until I found a natural supplement that works wonders!

      It is nice to know others appreciate this information!

      Jessica

      Reply

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