On a cat food label, what is the definition of lite?

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Lite pet foods are lower in calories and meant for weight reduction. Veterinarians now consider an estimated 54 percent of cats overweight or obese. Some cats tend to become more sedentary in middle age, between six and eight years, and they can gain weight if continued on their normal diet. Excess weight can be contributory to a number of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.

Lite pet foods are most appropriate for adult cats (not kittens!) over a year old. There’s no guideline by AAFCO (American Association for Feed Control Officials), so it’s important to read ingredient lists, guaranteed analysis statements, look for quality ingredients, and educate yourself as much as possible.

Some brands will go above and beyond, featuring a perfect calorie-controlled, yet well-balanced, blend of healthy chicken protein, fat, and fiber to help your adult cat lose and maintain a healthy weight. Increased levels of fiber allow your cat to feel “full” and gradually lose weight after consistently eating smaller amounts of food.

Cats on a primary diet of dry food should always be given a ready supply of fresh, cool water.

If your cat is overweight or obese, however, you need to create a treatment plan that is holistic; that means starting with a change in habits, as well as a focus on appropriate nutrition and increased exercise, including:

• Accurately measuring the food, and if you are giving any treats or biscuits, considering the calories they may be adding to your pet’s daily intake.
• Feeding the daily food allotment in multiple small meals throughout the day.
• Increasing daily exercise.
• Increasing human interaction and attention: These tend to increase activity so if you show interest in your cat and what it is doing, chances are, your cat will be more energetic and engaged.

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