Cat obesity FAQs
Cat obesity is a growing problem, contributed to by genetics, high-fat diets, overeating, lack of exercise and health conditions like hypothyroidism. In fact, over half the cats in the U.S. are overweight. And while gaining just a few pounds might not make much difference on a human body, it can add much stress to the bones and organs of your cat’s body.
Common health problems of overweight cats:
1. lameness and lethargy
4. becoming easily overheated and overtired
5. increased anesthetic and surgical risks
When is a cat considered overweight?
When he or she is 20-25% above ideal weight or has enough excess body fat to impair health or body function.
What are some guidelines for a healthy cat shape?
Ribs can’t be seen, but are easily felt
A defined waist is present behind the ribcage when viewed from above
Viewed from the side, the stomach tucks in behind the ribcage
How can I determine if my cat is overweight?
Ribs can only be found and felt with significant pressure
Fat deposits are visible at base of tail
Belly is rounded when viewed from the side
Why overweight cats may struggle to slim down
If a metabolic disorder such as hypothyroidism is causing your cat's weight gain, a change in feeding may not be enough to help. Have your cat examined by your vet to help rule out metabolic dysfunction and disease and to help make a plan for your cat’s healthier lifestyle.
Lower-calorie foods may not be low enough
Maybe you’ve tried giving your cat “reduced-calorie” food. While this food may have fewer calories than others, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s low enough in calories to help your cat lose the excess weight.
Lack of exercise
Without adequate, consistent exercise, some overweight cats may fail to lose weight, even when on a reduced-calorie diet.
What you can do to help your cat maintain a healthy weight
Place only a measured amount of food in your pet’s bowl each day
Provide plenty of exercise opportunities
Monitor treats and snacks
Follow the exam and check-up schedule suggested by your vet