Cat obesity is relatively common, withsome studies suggesting that up to 50% of cats are overweight. So what you should you do if you’re one of the many owners with a cat that is carrying a few extra kilograms? Here’s a quick guide.
Is my cat fat?
You should be able to feel your cat’s spine and palpate ribs. If you can’t without pressing in, this is a sing your cat may be carrying some extra fat. From above, your cat should have a waist between the rib cage and the hips, instead of bulging out. Finally, when viewed from the side, your cat should have a tummy tuck from the abdomen to the thighs instead of having it all hang down.
Why is my cat fat?
Weight gain occurs when energy intake exceeds energy output. This means your cat could be overweight either because they eat too much, they don’t get enough exercise – or both!
What do I do now?
The first step is to talk to your vet about putting your cat on a weight loss program. They may suggest different types of foods and smaller portion sizes. Your cat will also need to be more active. Start by playing with your cat more, or hiding their favourite toys around so they have to work to find them. However, one of the most common reason’s cats become overweight is because owners overfeed them and give too many treats. You’ll need to modify your own behaviour to help your cat reach a healthy weight.
How can I change my own behaviour?
Start my monitoring how often you feed your cat – including treats and cuts of meat from your own meals. Remove your cat from family eating areas during meals to prevent people handing down treats, and make a rule to only feed your cat from their food bowl.
You may feel mean when you deny your cat extra food, but remember that you can give them lots of love and attention without food. It is also important to remember that helping your cat lose weight will make them healthier and happier in the long run. Overweight and obese cats (like humans) are more prone to conditions like diabetes, heart and lung disease, high blood pressure and even cancer.