Obesity

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Do you have an overweight cat? Are you unsure of what a healthy body weight is for your cat?

The iconic image of the fat cat made popular in comic strips and internet memes has made it so most people don’t know what a cat with an ideal body weight looks like anymore. It’s quite possible that your feline friend has a little (or a lot) of extra weight that they are carrying around.

Your veterinarian can help you figure out what is a healthy weight for your cat.

Obesity Related Health ConcernsObesity Related Health Concerns

  • Did you know that when cats are at an ideal body weight, on average, they live longer lives? Not only that, but they tend to feel better too!
  • Obesity in cats has been linked to many health concerns such as diabetes, liver, and heart disease, just to name a few.
  • Fat cells have been shown to release pro-inflammatory mediators into the bloodstream predisposing cats to inflammation, which can intensify many conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and asthma – two very common cat diseases.
  • As cats age, arthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD), commonly becomes an issue in the joints of their limbs and spine, which is made worse by the extra weight on these joints.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Obesity

  • If you are concerned about your cat’s weight, now is the time to take action and start them on their way to a healthier and happier life.
  • You need to involve your veterinarian in the process to make sure your cat loses weight in a safe and healthy manner. Your veterinarian will design a program with weight loss goals, make sure the weight is coming off at an appropriate rate, and make sure that all of your kitty’s nutritional requirements are being met.

Diet

  • During your veterinary visit, you will discuss the type and amount of food your cat is eating.
  • Be sure to tell your veterinarian about treats your cat receives (and don’t forget those little crumbs from your dinner plate counts, too).
  • There are many different types of foods that can be used to create a healthier diet for your cat, including special prescription diets that you and your veterinarian can discuss to figure out which works best for you both.
  • A common problem in multiple cat households is that one cat will steal food from the other cats, making it difficult for you to regulate. Different strategies can be used such as controlled meal feeding in separate areas, or putting food where only one cat can access it. There are even devices you can buy that will only allow a specified cat to access the food based on an I.D. collar or microchip! Discuss the specifics of your situation during your veterinary visit to come up with creative solutions that will work in your home.

Treats & Rewards

  • It can be hard not to treat your feline friend with lots of food and treats. However, food is only one of the ways that you can spoil them.
  • You can reward your cat with catnip, play, or just plain-old loving attention.
  • Puzzle feeders can also be a great way to slow down eating and provide activity and stimulation.

Exercise

  • Just as with people, daily activity is an important part of your cats’ weight loss plan.
  • Indoor cats are particularly prone to inactivity, but with a small amount of effort on your part, your cat can start to get more exercise, which comes with the added bonus of being more mentally stimulated as well!
  • You can read the AAFP’s “Your Cat’s Environmental Needs” brochure for cat caregivers, which will show you how to set up an engaging environment for your cat to meet their physical and emotional needs.