Obesity is a growing problem for cats too. A study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention discovered that 59% of cats today are obese. Sad thing is, most pet owners often disagree that the issue of obesity with their cats rely on the food they’re giving to them.
Every cat owner wants to give the best for their feline friends, but some owners tend to go a little overboard. While your cat appreciates all the treats and the royal treatment, her health suffers in turn. No signs or symptoms might not be obvious at this time, but as she grows older, expect some health struggles along the way.
No cat parent wants to put their cats in danger! If you want your cat to live healthy and happy for a long time, read on to find out the signs and causes of cat obesity, the health risks your cat could get if she’s obese, and how to treat cat obesity and help your feline friend enjoy her nine lives in good health!
Signs of cat obesity
Diagnosis is important to identify if your cat is obese or she just looks fluffy. Take note, just because a cat weighs heavily doesn’t automatically mean she’s already obese. Cats come in different sizes and shapes, so weight isn’t really an ideal factor for measuring obesity.
To be sure, bring your cat to the nearest vet to help you determine if your cat is obese. Your vet will check your cat for these signs:
- A bulge on the side of the tail
- Unnoticeable waist when looking at the cat from an overhead view
- Ribs and/or spine can be hardly felt when checking the body
Chart courtesy of International Cat Care
Obesity in cats is commonly caused by the imbalance between calorie consumption and burning of calories. If your feline friend exceeds the recommended calorie intake and doesn’t engage in activities to burn them, her body will then store the excess calories as fats.
Unhealthy eating habit is also a suspect here. If your cat is always on her food bowl chowing some high-calorie foods, or if you love to spoil her with treats every time, she’s surely a candidate for obesity.
Age is a factor for cat obesity too. Their energy decreases as they age, thereby losing their ability and enthusiasm to exercise or do any activities.
Other than these common causes, obesity can also be caused by:
- Insulinoma (pancreatic cancer in cats)
- Hyperadrenocorticism (a condition where your cat’s adrenal glands produce too much cortisol)
- Neutering (can cause decreased metabolism rate for some cats)
Health risks of obesity to your cat
Your cat’s nine lives are at risk when your cat is obese. She could be a candidate for plenty of serious health conditions, such as:
- Osteoarthritis and other joint-related problems
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty in breathing
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Urinary tract issues
- Higher surgery risk
How to reduce obesity of your cat
Treating cat obesity starts with introducing a proper diet and an active lifestyle to your pet cat. Here are 4 ways to help your cat overcome obesity and enjoy its nine lives for as long as she can:
#1: Reinvent your cat’s diet.
Reducing the volume of her food, like what humans do when they’re on a diet, isn’t advisable. That can lead to malnourishment.
Your cat’s diet should promote a balance of low calorie and nutrition. There are cat foods available in the market that are specially formulated for weight reduction. If you’re not sure how to change your cat’s diet, consult your vet for some suggestions.
And whatever happens, don’t do the crash diet stuff. That can cause hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver for cats.
#2: Set a consistent feeding routine.
Stop giving her treats whenever you think she’s cute and adorable. Only fill her food bowl when it’s really time for eating. Three – six times a day of feeding is recommended.
#3: Encourage calorie burning through activities.
You can use those cat tease toys or any other interactive toys to get her on her feet and practice her prey hunting skills too. She gets to burn calories while doing something she actually enjoys!
You can also buy a cat leash and walk your cat outside or just in the yard for a few minutes. If your cat is the introverted type, encourage her to use the stairs instead.
You can unleash your creativity and come up with some exercise trail for your cat that she’ll enjoy. You know those obstacle trails for dogs with all the hurdles and tunnels? You can make your own version for your cat with rolled up rugs, stacked up tissue rolls and wood planks! You can also include some toys and other interesting objects along the way to encourage her to keep moving through the trail.
#4: Consult with your vet about the medications you’re giving to your cat.
If your feline friend suffers any health condition and is taking any medications, you might want to check with your vet and see if any of these meds are causing obesity to your cats. Your vet can recommend an alternative prescription in case the meds are at fault here.
If, in turn, you suspect that a serious health condition is at fault for your cat’s obesity, your vet can check and give her the appropriate treatments. This might solve the obesity problem for your cat if she’s still not losing weight after changing her diet and lifestyle!
Discipline and consistency make for a healthy and happy cat.
Remember, maintenance is key. Once your cat reaches her weight goal, don’t stop her newly-reformed lifestyle. Encourage her to keep being active and enjoy a balanced diet. This could also prevent her from adopting any kind of sickness or severe health issues!