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Q. We constantly struggle with our cat’s weight despite trying every diet on the market. Kate is 16l pound of love, but we think her affection for food outweighs everything else in her life. She gets bored with the fishing pole and butterfly and will only chase a laser pointer for like 30 seconds. Help!

A. The good news is that you recognize the health risks of her obesity. Taking off two or three pounds off will pay dramatic rewards both to her quality of life and longevity.

Increasing her hunting or play activity can be accomplished in several ways and chances are that she will be a willing participant.

Start by making mealtime an adventure that requires her to burn a few calories. Divide up her meals and hide portions in multiple locations. This will turn up her predatory drive and help her lose weight at the same time. Even better, dole out any treats in toys designed to distribute food when rolled or pushed around.

To increase her activity, you may need to get more toys and a bigger variety to find the ones she truly enjoys. Some experts believe smaller toys and those with different, or complicated, shapes are preferred. Rotate them in and out on a daily basis and don’t worry about getting the toy she enjoys in multiple colors. Cats may have a renewed interest just with this small change in appearance.

Combining these activities with a diet or low-calorie food that your veterinarian has approved should help you and Kate reach your goals!

Questions? Send them to Dr. Sandeman, Home & Garden, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801. Or, email to papertrained@ mchsi.com. Dr. Sandeman cannot answer letters or email personally, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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