Orange cat playing with a toy

Has your cat put on a little extra weight during these cold winter months? We’ve found some tips to help you get your kitty back on track.

Your Cat is Not Alone
Nearly 58% of cats are obese, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). When determining whether your pet is overweight, the best way to judge is on a scale at the veterinarian’s office, but you can use points 3 & 4 from our friends at the ASPCA® to assess your pet at home.

Visit Your Veterinarian
Any time your cat is dealing with obesity, consult with a veterinarian first to rule out any medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or other disorders. Your veterinarian can help you gauge your cat’s body condition and create an approved weight loss program for your cat.

Practice Patience 
A cat’s diet should not be changed drastically overnight, and you should be sure to follow your veterinarian’s nutrition recommendations. A staged food transition could take approximately two weeks. To help your furry family member adjust and accept his new meal plan, try to spice his chow up by adding ketchup or salmon juice.

Get Moving
Unlike our canine pals, cats aren’t the perfect companions to take along for a morning jog or swim. They’re more of the relaxing type. One great motivator to get your cat moving is to use their mealtime as exercise time. Try walking around the home with their bowl for a few minutes before giving them a portion of the meal. See if you can stretch mealtime out to 20 minutes with this tactic.

As with humans, cats also need some motivation to lose weight. These cat toy ideas from our friends at the ASPCA may be useful to help your cat get and stay active. 

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pet parents

dog on a leash in the grass


Do you and your pet love to go for ‘walkies’? Our friends at the ASPCA® have some superb tips to make your walks fun and stress-free.

If you’re a new pet parent, check out this advice for choosing the best walking equipment for you and your dog. Also, our friends at Perfect Puppy Care have some great tips for finding a perfect fitting harness.

Walking is not only fun for dogs, though. Cats can also be taught to walk on a leash!


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pet parents

dog in a tie sitting in a briefcase


A break from the daily work routine may sound heavenly to many people, but the opposite could be true for our pets.

As our friends at the ASPCA® explain, “Dogs and cats need to stay busy and engaged, but unfortunately most pets are unemployed—daily they sit at home, chronically bored and waiting for their humans to return from work.”

Regular exercise can be a great way to keep your furry friends ‘employed,’ and the animal trainers at the ASPCA has some great tips on “How to Keep Your Pet Happy and Active.” 

They also have some great ideas for fun and games with your cat or dog!


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pet parents

Lots of people resolve to get in shape in the New Year, but let’s not forget our furry companions! Not only do they need exercise, they can make fun workout buddies too. We’ve got some ideas to burn calories with your pet plus some indoor games to beat the winter blues.

Shape Up with Your Pet
Before you start, you may want to consult with your veterinarian or schedule a routine exam, especially if your pet hasn’t been very active. If you have our Level 3 or 4 plan, a yearly check-up is covered.

Get Fit with Fido
The snow may be falling outside, but there are still plenty of ways to exercise inside with your dog. Get your heart rates up by running around the house together using a toy or ball as motivation. For an upper body work out, try an energetic game of tug-of-war.

Aerobicize with Kitty
Interactive games can get you and your cat moving. Try attaching a string to your belt loop and encourage your cat to chase you from room to room. To work your arms, tie a cat toy securely to a ruler and move it up and down for your cat to jump at.

Be careful your pet doesn’t chew apart and swallow any toys or strings after you’re done. But remember, if an accident does happen, we can help you manage the veterinary bills.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Did you resolve to get more exercise in 2012? Don’t forget your pet! Regular physical activity can help you and your pet slim down, but that’s not all. It can build muscle and bone, increase circulation, aid digestion, improve sleep, and even boost your moods.

Before starting a new exercise routine for your pet, you may want to consult with your
veterinarian or schedule a check-up. If you have our Level 3 or 4 plan, a yearly exam is

Here are some suggestions to burn calories with your furry friend:

For dogs…
It may be chilly this month, but you can still bundle up and enjoy a brisk walk or run with your dog, or take a hike in the woods where trees can protect you from the wind. Be careful of slippery ice and snow, and brush your pup off when you get home to help avoid frostbite.

If you have trouble getting your dog to go outside when it’s cold, these tips from the ASPCA might help.

For cats…
The ASPCA doesn’t recommend letting your kitty outside in the winter, but there are plenty of ways to exercise together indoors. Pretty much any interactive toy will get your cat jumping around – just be sure to join in the fun and get your heart rating going as well.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

As you think about your own resolutions for 2011, add a few for your pets! Even small changes can have a big impact on their lives.

Here are some suggestions from our friends at the ASPCA.®

1. Schedule a check-up. An annual visit to the veterinarian can help prevent illness. Our wellness coverage on Levels 3 and 4 covers an annual exam.

2. Brush up on dental health. Check your pets’ teeth and gums at least once a week, and talk to your veterinarian about good dental care.

3. Exercise with them. Play chase or fetch and enjoy some time together. Dogs need 30 minutes of physical activity twice a day, while cats require at least 15 minutes of interactive playtime a day.

4. Watch their diets. Overweight pets can be at risk for health problems. Extra weight on a pet can be comparable to a human carrying an extra 30 to 50 pounds. Cut down on treats and use a well-balanced pet food.

5. Pamper them. Give your pets some extra love, like a good long scratch or a warm cuddle. It’ll make you both feel good!

From all of us at ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, we wish you and all the furry members of your family a healthy and joyous New Year!

This content is not intended to provide advice on individual pet health or behavioral matters or to substitute for consultation with a veterinary doctor.

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ASPCA Happenings


As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, an 8-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.