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Besides taking away your cats “manhood” or “womanhood,” you may have other concerns about spaying and neutering. One prominent concern is whether a cat will gain weight afterward. This would not only lead to your cat being “out of shape,” but also increase his risk of many health conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and urinary tract disease.

Research seems to support the trend of cats gaining weight after getting fixed, according to the Feline Advisory Bureau. This is because the surgery slows down a cat’s metabolism by roughly 20 percent. Because of this slowdown, less sustenance is necessary for maintaining a cat’s body mass. This means that a cat post-neutering can eat the exact same amount of food as before, but still gain a noticeable amount of weight. It has also been noted that the cats appetite may simultaneously increase because of the extra nutritional support needed causing a perfect storm for weight gain.  

It becomes necessary then, to reduce your cats daily caloric intake after surgery. Your vet can help you with determining this amount. Adjusting your cats food intake may be one way to curb the weight gain while another less sought after route would be to switch from dry food to wet food. Kibble is made up mainly of carbohydrates. As a carnivore, protein from meat is your cats preferred fuel for its tank. This may be a way to satisfy your pets appetite and avoid excess weight gain at the same time. This theory would only be successful when kibble is avoided completely. When using dry food either solely or along with wet food, portion control should adamantly be executed.

Always eek out food that is made from natural, high-quality ingredients during this important time since most cats are spayed or neutered when they are still young and growing. Also, make changes in the type and amount of food given gradual to avoid upsetting your cat’s digestion.

 If you are away form home most of the day, an automatic feeder where your cat can come and graze at anytime may make sense, so long as you are sure not to fill it with more food than your cat is allotted for in that time frame. When possible though, offer up the food only at meal times to help your cat  with portion control. And who doesn’t love to see their cat come running and meowing when they hear the sound of the cat food bag or the pop of the canned wet food signaling its feeding time?

Exercise is also a key component to regulate your cats weight, avoid disease, as well as provide an outlet and stimulation for his emotional and cognitive needs. Cats are made to move. They may no longer need to hunt for their food in their new domesticated dwellings but they still have the instincts to pounce, chase, and play. Be sure to provide stimulating play time for your feline regularly with toys he can play on his own as well as ones you play together. A toy on a string that you cast out and then temptingly lure back in will get his attention. Occasionally treating your furry friend to some catnip is a fun way to put him in a playful mood.


Helping your pet achieve an ideal weight can sometimes seem as tricky as managing your own. Dog and cat food bags may come with an estimated recommendation of the daily requirements for your pet but factors such as age, activity level, as well as health needs can alter this recommended amount, not to mention any snacks or scraps that may slip in between meals. As the owner, and the only one with access to the goods, you get to decide how much food Fluffy and Fido will get each day. Your diligence is key in helping them to achieve optimal health as well as avoid malnutrition and the obesity epidemic responsible for an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and more.

So where does your pet fit in? Is he currently over weight or a little too thin? One way of determining if your pet is overweight is to look at their rib cage. Ribs should be felt but not seen. If you can see your pet’s ribs then he is underweight. Another way is to stand over your pet and look down at their abdomen. Does it stick out in a rounded manner on the sides? This is a sign that he needs to shed more than his winter coat.

One thing is for sure, you can’t rely on your pet to tell you when he’s had enough to eat. Dogs and cats alike will eat as long as their is food in front of them. Most diets and Dr.’s recommend feeding your pet twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. In order to find out how much your pet should eat each day, find out their currant weight. An easy way to do this is to weigh yourself first, next weigh yourself holding your pet, then subtract the lesser number from the greater to get your pet’s weight. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs and while holding your pet you weigh 190 lbs then your pet weighs 40 lbs (190-150=40).

Once you know your pet’s weight, you can use the table below to feed your pet the correct amount of food by a percentage of their body weight in pounds. A pet at a normal and healthy weight can be fed 2.5% of his body weight. For example to maintain a healthy weight for our 40 lb dog, just multiply 40 x 2.5% = 1 pound. Our 40 lb dog needs to eat one pound of food each day which would be a half a pound in the morning and a half a pound in the evening. This does not include treats, so be sure to cut back on portions when treats, meaty bones, or other foods have been given.

If your pet needs to lose a little weight  or needs to eat more to support their active life style then feed them less or more based on the table below. Notice that puppies and pregnant pets need the most amount per day. Talk with your vet about more specific instructions if your pet is a puppy/kitten or is pregnant/lactating, or if you have other concerns. One thing to consider is that some dog food formulas may have more or less calories per pound and the amounts may need to be adjusted accordingly. You can find more information on the companies’ webpage. A raw food or home made diet may be more easily converted from pounds and can be easier to calculate.

1.5% Weight Loss
2.0% Non-Active
2.5% Maintain Weight
3.0% Slight Weight Gain
3.5% Significant Weight Gain
4.0% Kittens/Puppies (8 weeks-1 year)
4.5-8.0% Kittens/Puppies (4-8 weeks)
4.0-8.0% Pregnant/Lactating