All of us have known at least one overweight cat in our lives. While many of us think it is cute or normal for an indoor cat to be a little pudgy; unfortunately, it presents many serious risks to their health. More than 50% of all American cats are overweight or obese. Sadly, overweight cats have a decreased life span of two and a half years. Cats were designed to hunt and forage for every meal and calorie they consume. Our fortunate and well-loved cats don’t have to work quite as hard for their survival as their predecessors did. They consume their meals happily and enjoy a life of leisure.
The risks of obesity in cats are very real. Overweight cats have a higher incidence of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, liver disease, urinary tract complications, arthritis, and orthopedic issues. Further complications occur when these conditions are combined in an overweight cat.
You can check your cat’s weight by petting them. When you pet your cat—you should be able to feel their ribs but you not be able to see them. When you stand above your cat you should see a tuck at the waistline. If you are uncertain, ask your veterinary staff to help you evaluate their weight.
You can help your cat live a long and healthy life by cutting calories and switching to a weight-loss diet. Make your cat work for their food a bit by hiding small amounts around the house, using puzzle cube feeders, or tossing kibble for them to chase. It is not always easy to get a cat to exercise but laser pointers are a fun way to try.
It is the goal of every pet parent to keep our furry kids happy and healthy. Early weight loss can keep them with you even longer.