Is Your Cat Obese?
Did you know that 30% of the 2.7 million domestic cats in Australia are considered clinically overweight or obese?
Though an issue impacting cats nationwide, many owners are unaware their cat has a weight problem and are unaware of the signs, causes and health risks associated.
Despite the commonality, overweight cats are no laughing matter - it's not just about how they look - carrying around extra weight can lead to serious health issues for your cat and even shorter lifespans.
Signs of obesity in cats:
A cat is considered overweight if they're 10 to 19 per cent heavier than optimal weight and considered obese when they're 20 per cent or more over their optimal weight.
- Difficult to feel their ribs or spine - if you have to press firmly in order to feel, this may be a sign of being overweight.
- Difficult to see a defined waist
- Abdomen appears to be sagging
What health risks does obesity cause in cats?
Being overweight or obese is assosciated with a variety of health issues - many of which can decrease the lifespan of your cat:
- Heart disease
- Neurological disorders
- Respiratory problems
- Skin problems
- Earlier onset of joint problems such as arthritis
- Greater risk in surgeries and under anaesthetic
- Susceptibility to infections
What causes obesity in cats?
Excess calories: Obesity occurs in cats much like how it can occur in humans. When a cat is taking in more calories than they are using, this results in the excess energy being stored as fat; overfeeding is regarded as the most common cause of weight issues in cats.
Decreased activity: Particularly an issue if the cat is also taking in additional calories.
Breed: There are some factors that can increase the chances of your cat becoming overweight. For instance, a moggy cat is more susceptible to obesity than a purebred cat. Additionally, certain breeds are reported to have a higher prevalence of obesity including the Manx, Maine Coon and Russian Blue.
Age: Cats under the age of 2 tend to have less issues with their weight, whereas, cats between 2 and 10 require less energy and therefore are more susceptible to being overweight.
Additionally, once a cat is neutered, their metabolic rate decreases by quite a substantial amount, meaning they require less food to maintain their body condition.
How to maintain a healthy weight in your cat:
- Consult our team for advice and to discuss proper nutrition and diet for your cat.
- Ensure regular weight checks to keep an eye on excess fat creeping back in.
- Don't over treat - cats can sometimes substitute food for affection, so next time your furry friend comes begging for a treat, try a belly rub instead.
- Keep your cat active - setting aside some quality time to play with your cat, even 10 minutes a day of playtime will help.
If you're concerned your cat is overweight, do not hesitate to call us for guidance. Our weight loss programs and nutritional advice are key to your pet's wellness. Book an appointment or call us on (03) 9596 4804 - we're here to keep your pet as happy and healthy as possible.