If your feline has been over-indulging on the cat food and is looking a little heavy around the middle, it might be time to take some steps to battle the bulge.

And while diet is often the first consideration when forming a weight loss plan, once you've started your moggy on some suitable dry cat food that should help shift the pounds, the next consideration will be exercise.

Many cat owners will bemoan how hard it is to encourage an overweight feline to exercise, since cats are by nature such independent animals and you can't just pop them on a lead for a quick run round the park as you would a dog.

However, while it may take a little time and dedication, there are a few things you can do to encourage your four-legged friend to be more active and get into shape.

Most cat owners will buy their pets an array of toys and play plenty of games when they're a kitten, but playtime often takes a backseat when your pet gets a little older.

But almost all cats enjoy playing no matter what their age and games are a great way to encourage your feline friend to exercise - so if your moggy has a couple of pounds to shed, it's a good idea to invest in a few toys or to make some yourself.

Cats have a natural instinct to hunt and with a little imagination you can turn objects such a rolled up newspaper, pieces of string and feathers into great toys that will have you pet pouncing, chasing and scampering.

Other simple steps such as feeding your cat upstairs and investing in scratching posts and perches should encourage your four-legged friend to get active and, combined with a healthy diet, should see them back in good condition in no time.

Written by: Hannah