Fat Cats

April 30th, 2014

Over half of all cats are clinically obese. The Association for Pet Obesity prevention (APOP) claims that most of the time, it is the pet owners who are to blame, as they generally do not realize when their pets are overweight. Any feline more than 20% above their usual body weight is considered obese.

When a Veterinarian recommends that a cat lose 2-3 pounds, it may seem insubstantial, but when you consider that most cats are a mere 8-10 lbs., a couple of pounds is 20-25% of the cats overall weight. That is the equivalent of a 200 person being asked to lose 40-50 lbs. Extra weight can lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, compromised immune function, and cancer.

The problem is that most pet owners fill up their cat’s bowl and leave them to, “self-regulate.” Even though most cats do not scarf down an entire bowl of food in one sitting as a dog might, they still eat more calories than they need over the course of an average day. Also, most dry cat foods are laden with fillers (carbohydrates), which are unnecessary and detrimental to the cat’s overall health.

It is best for cats to lose weight on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate canned food, which allows them to maintain lean body mass and gain strength. It is important to make sure cats continue to eat well even when dieting, or a serious liver condition called hepatic lipidosis may occur. Treats must also be given sparingly, as most are very high in calories, and a modest exercise routine of at least 20 minutes per day should be implemented to achieve optimum results.