The Fat Cat Crisis: Weight Gain In Cats

February 3, 2018

Fat cat lying in grassA fat cat crisis is taking over the United States! According to a Banfield Pet Hospital report in an article from Pet Food Industry, , at least “1/3 of all cats and dogs are overweight with the number of overweight cats spiking 169% since 2007.”  A 2011 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 50% of cats were overweight.

Clearly, our feline population is experiencing a health problem.

Why Our Cats are Gaining Weight

Several factors contribute to feline weight gain. Most point directly to pet owners.

How We Cause Fluffy’s Extra Pounds

We love our kitties too much! Fluffy’s meows drown out all other noise when she’s hungry, and we find it difficult to say no. Perhaps we feed her too much and too often.  Maybe we give her snacks of human food. It could even be the kind of commercial cat food she’s eating.

According to one source, even some prescription drugs can cause feline weight gain.

Other factors of weight gain in cats include lack of exercise and even neutering. Did you know that spaying or neutering makes cats twice as likely to become obese?

Fat cats are not healthy cats.

The Dangers of Feline Obesity

Fat cats suffer from breathing difficulties, arthritis, diabetes, fluid retention due to illness such as heart disease and more. Any of those can result in loss of life or at least, loss of quality of life.

Help Your Fat Cat Get In Shape

You know the problem. Now it’s time to fix it. Cats are difficult to place on a diet, because danger lurks with every bite they eat or don’t eat. Never place a cat on a restricted diet without veterinary advice!

One study intended to determined whether a cat would lose more weight on a high protein diet versus moderate protein diet.  The results showed that a high protein was preferable but only if the cat received enough exercise. So how do you exercise your cat?

Hit the Gym, Fluffy!

Ok, Fluffy won’t be riding the stationary bike at the local gym. But there are ways to get her moving. Begin with the fishing pole toy. These toys are low cost and available anywhere cat supplies are sold. Dangling that little “pole” in front of your cat will get her moving.

Get a laser light pen. That pen is my cats’ favorite toy, and they will chase that light around for a long time.

The tall cat towers are fun for kitties and force them to climb and jump, burning calories in the process. Yes, they can be pricey but watch for used ones online (; Craig’s List; local Ebay, etc.). Chico loves to climb to the top to survey his world, and he hides in the cubby holes further down so he can jump out at Murphy, our dog. I paid $60 for ours online and it was money well-spent.

Provide plenty of toys, especially ones filled with catnip, for your kitty. Cats are fairly imaginative at play with toys. Mine love catnip-filled “logs” and will carry them around the house, showing them off to each other. Cat toys in general are not expensive and you can even make your own.  I make an octopus filled with cat nip out of fleece that my fur kids enjoy.

Slow down with the treats. Remember that treats are not supposed to help make up the day’s caloric intake. One treat a couple times a day is sufficient.

Finally, look for a healthy, grain-free cat food to help her lose weight. But just because a food bills itself as diet food for your cat, doesn’t mean it really is. Read the ingredients. Be sure a healthy named meat is the first ingredient. Avoid grains and any other carbohydrates, such as potatoes. Vegetables are good but cats want meat. Include lots of vitamins and minerals and even fruits and get Fluffy moving several times a day, and she will lose weight.

Be sure to include your veterinarian in the diet plan and follow his or her advice to be sure your kitty stays healthy as she regains her girlish figure.

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