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C2008-50

Dear Christopher Cat

Ali, my 10-year-old indoor cat, has put on a couple of pounds. Before she gets older, I’d like to help her lose the extra weight. I recently switched her to a new food, one with the calorie content written on the label. How many calories does she need?

Christopher Responds

I applaud you for helping Ali achieve a healthy weight, which will aid in preventing diabetes, arthritis and other weight-related problems.

Veterinary nutritionists have come up with many formulas to determine how many calories we cats should eat, but most are quite complicated.

Even the experts can’t agree on which formula is best, so I won’t cite any of them.

Instead, I suggest you feed Ali about 200 to 300 calories per day, depending on how active she is.

Weigh her weekly, and adjust her food intake up or down as needed. However, don’t decrease calorie consumption more than 25 percent at a time, or you may create metabolic problems.

My mom leaves the food out for the cats in my family to eat on demand, and we all maintain healthy weights. If Ali can do the same, she’ll probably be happiest nibbling small amounts whenever she pleases.

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