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Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in cats – affecting around one in three cats in the UK.
You may not realise that
your cat is overweight – even an extra two or three pounds can become a
serious health issue for your cat. In this blog we will tell you how
too find out if your cat is overweight and how to make the changes to
your cats diets for the better.
One of the most common
problems for overweight cats is diabetes, as well as lower urinary tract
problems, osteoarthritis and constipation. Skin problems and infections
can also become an issue as overweight cats have difficulty keeping
How to tell if your cat is overweight
First check your cat
against a body condition chart – the Association for Pet Obesity
Prevention (APOP) have an easy to use scoring chart that will help you
determine if your cat is overweight and to what degree.
To check yourself run
your hands over your cats body – you shouldn’t be able to see their ribs
or backbone but you should be able to feel them pretty easily.
It’s important to
remember before you make any diet changes to consult your vet – as any
weight gain could be due to an underlaying health issue.
If your vet recommends a
diet, be patient as your cat adjusts to new eating habits. More
structured meal times, less food or a different kind of food may result
in a temporary refusal to eat.
The best way to start a
diet is to reduce feeding amounts. Another strategy is to replace dry
food with wet food. Cats utilise protein calories better than
carbohydrate calories and wet food accomplishes this better.
Increasing the amount of
exercise your cat is getting will help with weight loss as well as your
cats overall health. Interactive toys are a great way to increase
indoor cats exercise.
Successful weight loss
should be slow and gradual – your cat should lose about one pound a
month. Your veterinarian should monitor your cat’s process and make
adjustments if the weight loss is happening to quickly. Rapid weight
loss can affect a cat’s liver function or be a sign of metabolic
condition like kidney disease, diabetes or hyperthyroidism.
- Measure out food by dividing the calorie intake into four to six meals – cats naturally eat several small meals per day
- Only leave the food out for a limited amount of time
- Don’t allow your cat access to dog food
- Avoid giving treats, but if you must use a few pieces of dry food as a substitute
- Set a weight loss goal with your veterinarian
- Don’t share human food with your cat – some human foods are poisonous to cats, e.g. onions