Kit Steinkellner
February 17, 2016 3:00 pm
CBS Television

We know, it can be tough to put a pet on a diet. They look at you with such hungry, sad, why-have-you-forsaken-me eyes! The guilt, the guilt!

But, as it turns out, if you are a cat parent, you can stress a little less about having to place calorie restrictions on your sweet little Mittens. The Journal of Veterinary Behaviors recently published a study that explained when the owners of cats who needed to cut back put their beloved pets on diets, over three-quarters of the kitties lost weight. The surprising thing is, the cats in question didn’t put their people through hell for enforcing a diet. In fact, the opposite occurred, cats who were put on a diets were actually NICER to their owners. We know, crazy, but we’re getting our information from a good source: SCIENCE. According to the study, after feeding their cats, the little furballs were more likely to purr and sit on their owners’ laps than when the kittens were being overfed.

“Wait, so I can put my cat on a diet and I’m not going to get any pushback, like at all?” the hopeful cat people of the world ask.

Well, you might get a LITTLE bit of pushback. The study says that cats who were put on a diet did do more meowing/pacing/begging before meals, but the begging started around the same time that it always did. Which means that a cat on a diet may be asking for food more loudly, but it’s not, like, a neverending whine-fest.

And, as the study’s lead author, veterinary behaviorist Emily D. Levine, explained to the New York Times, there are a lot of cat owners who feed their cats as a way of showing affection or stopping bad behavior, and in both cases, owners need to find alternate methods that don’t involve food.

“A lot of cats are bored and that’s the bigger picture,” Levine explained. “If the only thing they have to do all day is eat, they will ask for more and more.”

Consider this the permission you need to stop overfeeding your cat. We promise Mittens won’t hate you forever. In fact, as science tells it, you’ll probably just end up getting more cuddles and purrs. Win win!

Advertisement