Obesity in cats – our guide to dealing with it.

Obese cat
Obesity is on the rise both in people and in pets! Research suggests up to half of all vet visits are now linked to pets being overweight or obese.

If your cat is one of these, it can have a big impact on their health and well-being.

While weight gain can be caused by certain medical problems, lifestyle and diet are major culprits in many cases.

In this guide, we look at obesity in cats and how you can help them maintain a healthy weight.

Is your cat overweight?

It isn’t always possible to gauge your cat’s weight just by looking at his or her size.

Past research has shown that many owners are completely unaware that their pet is an unhealthy weight.

These simple tests will help you to assess whether your pet should be deemed overweight.

Appearance of the ribs: How visible are your cat’s ribs? A cat that is a healthy weight won’t necessarily have prominent ribs but you should be able to feel them by gently pressing gently along their sides. If you cannot feel them properly, this may be an indication that there is excessive fat covering them.

Waist definition: Looking at your cat from above, can you see an obvious “waist” that narrows between the chest and hips? This is not usually present in overweight cats and the “waist” area will probably be a similar proportion to the abdomen.

Tucked-in abdomen: Looking at your cat from the side, can you see evidence of a tucked-in abdomen? An overweight cat will often display a saggier abdomen.

If you suspect that your cat is overweight, contact your vet and arrange for him or her to be weighed and examined.

 

Why has my cat gained weight?

Some medical conditions can cause weight gain, including osteoarthritis, which can affect your cat’s ability to exercise.

This can lead to a vicious cycle in which weight gain makes the condition worse and further reduces the ability to exercise.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce pain and inflammation and improve mobility.

As with humans, weight gain occurs when excess calories are not burned off. This can be a problem affecting indoor cats, who may not be getting exercise.

What are the health implications for my cat?

Being overweight puts your cat at risk of developing health problems such as diabetes and complications such as additional strain on the heart and lungs, stress on the joints, and increased risks associated with general anaesthetic (if surgery is needed  in the future).

Many overweight cats will also experience a decline in their quality of life.

Controlling your cat’s weight

Regular monitoring and examination will be crucial for keeping your cat’s weight under control.

Making changes to your pet’s lifestyle can be crucial in regaining optimum body condition and improving health, happiness and quality of life.

Exercise: Obesity can be managed through increased exercise. This can be more challenging for cats (compared to dogs), especially if they are predominantly indoor cats. It can be useful to spend time with your cat  to encourage physical activity when he or she may otherwise be completely sedentary. Toys that encourage movement and exercise are also a good idea.

Diet: A healthy diet is also a key aspect of keeping your cat’s weight under control. Cutting back on treats and human food is a good starting point but you’ll need to go beyond this to encourage your cat to become a more healthy weight again. If you are going to share treats with your cat, ensure they remain a treat, and not a regular source of additional calories.

Prescription Diets: A low-fat, low-calorie diet is another option for ensuring that your cat will still receive a balanced diet while losing weight. Seek advice from your vet before embarking on this dietary change to ensure that it is the best option for your cat and to receive confirmation on which product may be the most suitable for your pet.

With regular checking of body appearance, careful and correct food management and increased play, you should be able to get your cat back to a healthier, happier leaner weight.

If your cat is obese, start by visiting your vet for a check up and advice and dietary recommendation, then take it from there.

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Don’t forget you can buy prescribed medication for your cat from Animed Direct for less, along with your food, flea and worm treatments – all delivered directly to your door.

 

  • Chemcat

    Having house cats, my two not surprisingly had a tendency to gain weight. I switched them to a raw diet (a proper balanced BARF diet not just human raw food which doesn’t contain all the essential nutrients). Initially it was mainly for health reasons. It took a while to work out the correct quantities to feed, but once I got that right, their weight regularised quite quickly plus it kept them fuller for longer.Not for everyone as there’s no denying it’s more expensive but it transformed their health.