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Obesity In Cats: Causes, Prevention, And Weight Loss

Is your cat obese? If so, check this article for concrete steps on weight loss and how to prevent obesity in cats.

Obesity in cats is a rising problem. Actually, according to the recent data by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), from 2018, 60% of pet cats in the States are obese or overweight.

Excess weight in cats, just like in humans and other animals, such as dogs, is linked with numerous health conditions and it can appear at any stage.

Overall, obesity is a serious condition that can affect the lifespan of your feline and seriously endanger her overall health and well-being. First, let’s learn how to know if your feline is overweight or not.

Is My Cat Overweight?

“Is my cat overweight?” If you ask this question more than once a week, the chances are that your feline is slightly overweight or she is simply growing. Make sure that you understand how long it takes for a cat to be fully grown.

It’s common for cats to, as they get older, for their metabolism to slow down. As a result, a feline can become overweight.

But, how to know if your cat is overweight? The fastest and the easiest method, to tell if your cat is overweight, is to feel along her rib cage.

If you have to press her ribs firmly, she may be overweight. On the other hand, if you can’t feel her ribs at all, your feline may actually be obese.

There is one more way to tell if your feline is overweight or not, by using the 1-5 body condition score. How? Stand over and look down at your cat while she’s standing.

If she’s a healthy weight, you should see only a soft indentation over the hips, that will resemble a waist. Bear in mind that this may be difficult if your feline has long hair.

On the other hand, if her sides bulge out instead, then your feline might be overweight. If you used these methods and you are still not sure if your cat is overweight or not then you should take her to the veterinarian’s office.

Your veterinarian will have a proper weight scale to measure her and examine her overall health. As long as you take your feline to regular check-ups your cat’s weight will be monitored easily. If your cat is overweight, the veterinarian will give advice and direct guideline on spot.

How Obesity Can Impact Your Cat

Being overweight may have severe physical and psychological effects on humans. The same applies to humans, and pets, including cats. The only difference is that cats don’t spend time in front of the mirror watching their body and instantly knowing that they should change their diet. With cats, it works differently.

They tend to suffer from normal cat activities, including jumping, walking and playing. Furthermore, extra weight can affect their ability to maintain personal hygiene. As you know already, cats are clean animals and they like to groom for hours.

So, if they can’t reach specific spots owners will have to maintain those areas clean. If not, it can lead to numeorus hygiene problems and even urinary tract infections. Moreover, in the long run, it can lead to anxiety or even depression.

Obesity In Cats: Causes

Just like in humans, the most common cause of cat weight gain is overfeeding and not enough exercise. Therefore, it’s important to know how much food cats need per day.

They would eat all day if it were up to them. Even if they become extremely vocal and start making some of their unusual cat sounds, you should stick to a feeding schedule.

It’s easy to miss that the cat gains weight, especially if they are older and have food on hand. An older cat has different nutritional needs than kittens do or even adult cats.

Simply said, if you continue to feed your older cat as is she is younger, you can expect overweight. Not meeting cat’s real nutritional needs is a recipe for disaster.

This is one more reason why you should provide regular check-ups. After all, your veterinarian will be the first one to adress any anomaly.

Obesity In Cats: Prevention

Since obesity can appear at any age it’s important to do as much as possible to prevent obesity in your cat. It’s important that you provide the right amount of food, good food and the right balance of dry and wet food. Moreover, it’s important to think about cats dies once the cat is spayed or neuters.

For example, male cats that are neutered are at high risk of becoming overweight. Also, the same applies to indoor cats, or for any cat group that is less active for any reason.

If you have implemented free-feeding, re-think the amount, because cats tend to eat whenever there is food in the bowl.

How To Help Your Cat Lose Weight

Recognizing that your feline is overweight is just half of the battle. Here are concrete action steps that you can take to return your feline to a healthy weight:

1. Feed Portion-Controlled Meals

The very first step, that veterinarian will suggest, is to gradually decrease her feeding portions. Cutting back drastically on food portions won’t do much. Actually, it can lead to numerous problems.

When cats don’t eat or eat significantly less than usual, it can lead to liver disease. If your cat is obese, your veterinarian will probably recommend a therapeutic weight-loss food that normally requires a prescription.

Anyhow, before you put your feline on any special diet regime, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian first.

2. Increase Activity Level

Next to proper diet, the activity level should be imperative. Just like in humans, diet without proper and often exercise is not as effective as it should be. However, it’s not always easy to inspire cats to be active.

Outdoor cats are active enough, but they also live significantly shorter than indoor cats.

Since cats are not like dogs to just take them out for a walk, you will have to be creative. The good news is that cats don’t need long hours to be active. They just have to move.

Luckily, they love to play, so with proper and many toys, your feline should be entertained for hours.

Minimum of fifteen-minute a day, the cat should spend playing, or being active. So provide her enough opportunities to climb and jump. That being said, a cat tree is always a good option. You can’t go wrong with a home-based kitty gym.

3. Feed Cats Separately

If you have multi-cat households you should always feed cats separately. Some cats are picky, while some are ravenous eaters, so you should adjust feeding to their needs.

Therefore, it’s best to keep cats separately, and on a strict schedule. This way you will be able to control the food intake and learn more about cats eating habits.

Also, if you have a backyard you walk your cat every day. Make sure that you all that you can to provide your cad a good diet and a good environment.

Best Types Of Cat Foods For Weight Loss

If you want to provide your feline with the best food possible, but you are not sure how to do so, check these guidelines.

  • Choose food high in protein: cats are real carnivores and as such, they need a huge amount of proteins. Moreover, its proven that protein converts to energy more efficiently. For these reasons, a weight management diet should have at least 35-45% protein content.
  • Choose high fiber and moisture content: When your feline needs to lose some weight, food with high fiber and moisture content is mandatory. These traits can help prevent a cat from becoming hungry quickly after a meal. So, if your veterinarian recommends wet food instead of dry food, don’t be surprised.
  • Choose food low in fats and carbohydrates: In general, cats don’t have demands for fats and carbohydrates. However, they prefer proteins. So, a weight loss diet will always be lower in carbohydrates, and/or fat.

What About Treats?

In general, treats should only be around 10% maximum or even less of daily calories. So, if you need to reach a treat, always choose a high-protein and natural option, such as fish or cooked chicken.

In general, treats should only be around 10% maximum or even less of daily calories. So, if you need to reach a treat, always choose a high-protein and natural option, such as fish or cooked chicken.

Last but not least, if your cat coem to your begging, she might not want food actually. She may just want attention from you. In that case try to change treats with other rewards that your cat will love, such as catnip, a rub under the chin, or a toy.

Obesity In Cats – Conclusion

If you have a hard time feeling the ribs of your feline, the chances are high that our cat is obese, or at least slightly overweight.

If you can’t seel your feline’s waistline while standing above her, then you need to contact your veterinarian and follow instructions. Your veterinarian will give straight guidelines on how to help your feline lose weight most safely.