Technology-enhanced weight-loss program in multiple-cat households: a randomized controlled trial

Barr N Hadar , Kenneth J Lambrecht, Zvonimir Poljak, Jason B Coe, Elizabeth A Stone, Adronie Verbrugghe, and Theresa M Bernardo



The objectives of this study were to determine whether a technology-enhanced weight-loss program, using a home pet health technology ecosystem, is an effective tool in feline weight-loss management in multiple-cat households and to evaluate its impact on cat behavior.


The study was a prospective parallel unmasked block-randomized controlled trial comparing two weight loss intervention groups: (1) traditional group with dietary restriction alone (n = 9); (2) technology group that used dietary restriction, digital scales, smart feeders, activity monitors and pet treat cameras (n = 6). A 12-week weight-loss program of client-owned indoor-only two- or three-cat households with at least one overweight cat was conducted in Canada and the USA. Owner impressions of the technology, weight loss rates, smart feeder data, activity monitor data and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were assessed.


The study was completed by 9/15 traditional group and 6/10 technology group cats. Dropouts were mainly due to owner issues unrelated to the study. The pet health technology ecosystem received favorable reviews (six responders). Smart feeders and home scales were perceived as valuable additions, while activity monitors and pet treat cameras were valued lower. The average weekly weight-loss rate (percent loss of initial body weight) was higher (P = 0.036) in the technology group (0.694%) than in the traditional group (0.175%). Although not associated with weight-loss rates, technology group cats trended toward grazing feeding patterns and decreased daily activity counts, while HRQoL increased, on average, for all cats.

Conclusions and relevance

This introductory investigation suggests that a technology-enhanced weight-loss program would be accepted by cat owners and may deliver advantageous outcomes in multiple-cat households, providing an effective and practical tool in feline weight-loss strategies that will continue to evolve as new technologies become available. It also illustrates the potential value of data gathered from home monitoring devices and digital diaries, providing deeper insights into pet behavior.

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