Ever wondered whether your cat is overweight or merely fat? Are you wondering what to do with your obese feline friend? It is unfortunate that the most common nutritional disorder among cats is obesity. About 40% of felines in the country are obese. This is a cause for concern among cat owners since obesity can lead to more serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and hepatic lipidosis.
Understanding Cat Obesity And Its Causes
Obesity is a health condition wherein the amount of excess fat in the body of the cat is great enough to cause harm to her health and well-being. This condition is very devastating and is linked to various health consequences for felines.
There are various factors that play a role in the development of this condition among cats; however, the main cause of obesity is the consumption of more calories than what the cat’s body needs. This happens when owners feed their feline friend excessively. If the calories consumed by the cat surpass the calories burned, the cat will eventually put on weight. As an owner, you must have realized that you cannot force your cat to exercise; thus, overweight and obesity can be hard to fight.
Another cause for this condition is giving the cat a dry food diet. Cats need a high protein diet, but most dry foods are high in carbohydrates instead. The cats synthesize protein and fat and use them as energy. If they ingest too much carbohydrate, the cat will convert it into fat.
Lastly, aging can also affect your cat’s weight. You have to understand that older cats will have a slower metabolic rate, and they are less active due to painful joints. Slow metabolism and reduced physical activities can all lead to obesity.
Is My Cat Obese?
There are some cat owners who cannot identify whether their cat is overweight, obese, or simply fat. Here are some signs you need to watch out for to determine whether your cat is obese or not:
- For the cat to be called “obese”, she must carry excess body fat that will compromise her health and well-being.
- Your cat is noticeably sedentary
- Have difficulty walking, running, jumping, climbing, and grooming them
- Most obese cats appear to have excessive appetite
- When you touch your cat, you cannot feel the individual ribs
- When you stand over your pet, her waist must be seen and she must have an hourglass figure
It is advisable to bring your feline friend to the veterinarian and ask if he/she believes that your cat is obese or overweight. During the veterinarian visit, your vet will perform a thorough physical examination of your cat. Your vet will also run blood tests, and determine if the obesity is due to certain medical problems. Cats come in various sizes and shapes; thus, it can be quite challenging to determine the normal weight for your cat.
Health Complications Due To Obesity In Cats
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Arthritis: Joint and movement problems
- Skin infection and matted hair due to their inability to groom themselves
- Shortness of breath which may lead to breathing and respiratory problems
- Hepatic Lipidosis or fatty liver
- Bladder infection
- Kidney and heart disease
To avoid such fatal consequences, you must treat this condition in your cat by reducing her calorie intake and increase her physical activities. Although it can be very challenging to compel your feline friend to exercise, you must still encourage it by offering toys since it can stimulate their hunting instincts. You can use laser pointers, yarn, or feathers.
Another tip is to offer her food in remote places in the house. It can reduce her food intake because it takes more effort to get the food she want. It also stimulates physical activity during the trip to and from the bowl of food. Additionally, you can also seek the professional advice of a veterinarian with regards to special food diets that are designed to help your cat lose her excess weight.
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Kris Lim, is an animal advocate who writes about the dangers and health complications that might arise due to obesity in cats. In addition, she offers information on how to determine if the cat is overweight. She also writes for a Ft Lauderdale veterinary clinic that offers reliable and high-quality veterinary services.