Obesity is a very common issue in cats; 25 to 30 percent of cats are obese. This is not just an issue of looks. Obesity causes several diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, respiratory disease, musculoskeletal disease, liver disease, and urinary disease.
All cats are prone to obesity, but some are more at risk, including:
- Mixed breeds
- Spayed or neutered cats (because they are fed the same amount, but don’t have enough energy for exercise)
- 2 to 8 year olds
- Too much calorie intake
- Not enough exercise
- Decreased activity
- Difficulty breathing
- Extra body fat (on the abdomen, back, limbs, and face)
- No visible waist
- Ribs cannot be felt
- Greasy or flaky hair
- Heat intolerance
Your vet will feel your cat’s body, and easily make a diagnosis. He may also perform blood and urine tests to rule out other diseases.
To lose weight, your cat must burn more calories than it eats. This consists of:
- Eating less: Feed your cat strictly measured meals as per your vet
- Increase in exercise: Provide toys, cat trees, window perches, etc. for your cat to play with. If you get involved, your cat will play and move more. Another idea is to put food in an unusual place, so your cat will have to go look for it. This is especially helpful with very overweight cats that don’t have energy for exercise or games
Healthy weight loss takes time. Make sure you visit your vet often to follow-up on your cat’s weight and overall health.
Feline obesity can be treated successfully with a proper diet and weight maintenance. Most problems caused by feline obesity will be reversed with weight loss.