Cats who are obese have more risk of suffering from several medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammations, and in some cases, even cancer.
If you have an overweight cat, your vet can prescribe a weight loss plan that includes an ideal body weight diet regimen and exercise plan. This short article can not, in any way, substitute for veterinary treatments. However, it can help cat parents dissuade begging and provide some insight into promoting healthy weight loss in cats who stay in a multi-cat household.
What is feline obesity?
Obesity in cats is described as the accumulation of excess body fat. Additional body weight and fat often go hand in hand so that most overweight felines will have excess body fat. Overweight cats are prone to hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) and lower urinary tract problems.
What are the risks of weight gain in cats?
Weight problems make them more likely to develop illness, reducing their quality of life. Also, being moderately obese shortens a cat's life span. In cats, a 2.8-fold rise in mortality has been shown in obese felines (8-12 years old) compared to lean ones.
Research shows moderately obese dogs lived almost two years less than their leaner counterparts. This is an eye-opener because it was thought that leaner dogs outlive overweight dogs lived only by 6-12 months. While no studies like this have been done on cats, we can infer that the results would be similar.
A new approach is thinking about weight problems as a chronic, low-level inflammatory problem. Before, fat was considered relatively non-active cells, simply saving excess calories and contributing to body mass. Scientific evidence now reveals that fat cells are energetic. It produces inflammatory hormones and oxidative tension on the body's cells, contributing to many diseases.
Why should my cat shed some weight?
As little as two pounds over the ideal body weight can put your cat at risk of developing some severe clinical conditions. Unfortunately, when a pet cat is obese or overweight, there is no second-guessing whether your feline will develop an infection secondary to the excess weight, only exactly how soon and how severe. Here are some of the illnesses associated with excess weight:
- Type 2 diabetes - an obese feline is three times more likely to develop this illness than a cat in its ideal weight
- Heart diseases
- Osteoarthritis (joint inflammation)
- Increased likelihood of common injuries
- High blood pressure
- Cancer - specifically intra-abdominal cancers
Overweight and obese felines typically have shorter lives than their fitter counterparts. Hefty cats tend to communicate less with their owners and are less energetic and spirited. And because they tend to lie around more, it becomes very easy to miss early indicators of ailment, considering that owners may shrug off their lethargy as normal behavior. We are just now discovering how threatening a couple of extra pounds can be for both humans and our furry friends.
A Healthy Weight for Your Feline
Most indoor cats should weigh about ten pounds, though that can be relative by breed and frame. A Siamese can be healthy at 5 pounds, while a Maine Coon can be 25 pounds and be healthy.
Your veterinarian can tell you if a cat is overweight, usually through a body condition score. But there are some indications that you can look for by yourself. Cats need to have that hourglass figure when you're looking down at them; they shouldn't have saggy stomachs, and also, you must be able to feel their ribs.
The trouble for us is we like to spoil our cats, and the cats like to eat, so it's very easy to overfeed them.
It's something to take seriously. Even a couple of extra pounds can make your beloved pet likely to develop health issues. It can also keep cats from grooming themselves correctly. Deflecting excess weight makes for a healthier, happier pet cat.
How do I begin a weight loss program for my cat?
Theoretically, weight loss is easy: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals fat burning. But in truth, it is not as straightforward as that. DO NOT put an obese cat on a diet without veterinary supervision.
However, here are some changes you can make to stop or curb weight gain:
- Change dry foods with canned ones. Tinned food and wet food tend to have more protein and fewer carbs. Tinned food is also excellent for establishing specific feeding times for your pet. Lots of cats gain weight when pet owners exclude a bowl of completely dry food so they can eat all day long.
- Reduce treats. Cats can do as well with other incentives, like playing with toys like laser pointers, feather teasers, interactive cat toys.
- Make your cat benefit from its food intake. Vets have found cats are healthier and calmer when their owners use "food puzzles," which the cat needs to roll or move the feeder to get treats out. Puzzles reduce their consumption while stimulating their instincts to hunt and forage.
- For multiple cat households, you may need to feed the obese one in a separate area or put the healthy-weight cat's food intake up high where the fat cat can not go.
What about exercise?
We will jog with our cats in a perfect world, but we do not live in that world. Getting cats to participate in cardiovascular activity is not just challenging—it goes against their very nature. Cats are not built to be scavengers, and cooperative hunters in the way dogs have developed. Instead, cats evolved as stalkers who expend very little energy seeking their target. When felines come across a target, they rupture into an extremely anaerobic and short burst of energy. Most wild cats pursue prey at top speed for less than a min. When the chase is over, they need hours to recuperate for the energy they expend.
Our domestic cats are just not very different from wild cats. While dogs are accustomed to quick strolls or morning jogs, very few cats are interested in this type of activity. Cats favor the hundred-yard dash to the marathon. To make matters more complex, cats have developed to eat a diet based only on meat rather than the dietary requirements of humans and dogs, a combination of veggies and meats.
When my cat is hungry, it bothers me until I feed her. Do you have any tips?
It is often simpler to give in to the cat that wakes you at 4 in the morning to be fed, or the pet that meows continuously or head butts you until you give food. Cats have learned and know which buttons to press to get what they want. Here are some tips for handling these types of situations better:
- Do not use a self-feeder. While this may seem obvious, automatic feeders are nothing more than a ready dispenser to an obese cat. If you use an automatic feeder, opt for one that opens with a timer. This way, you can distribute the appropriate quantity and divide it into daily meals for your cat.
- Pet your cat or play with them when they beg for food. Most cats replace food for love, so turn the formula, and you might find that play displaces mealtime.
- Feed little meals regularly. Specifically, offer the last feeding for those cats that like to wake you up in the wee hours to beg for treats. Split the quantity of the total meals into 4 to 6 smaller dishes. Whatever happens, DO NOT feed your cat those extra treats.
- Offer fresh water instead of food. If your cat is looking at you then at the empty food dish, a drink of cold water might satisfy that desire.
I have more than one cat. However, only one is overweight. How can I feed them different foods?
While you might think of more innovative ways to resolve this, here are a few tips to start:
- Feed the cats independently. This is the ideal option for multi-cat families. Feed the obese cat her diet plan in one area while feeding the other cats their diet cat foods in different house parts. After letting the cats eat for fifteen to thirty minutes, remove any leftover pet food until the following feeding.
- Feed your normal-weight cats up high where the obese cat can not go. Depending on the size disparity between your cats, you can develop different methods to enable the smaller-sized cat accessibility to food where the fat cat cannot fit. You can use a security chain or hook and eye closure on a door, so the door opens just wide enough for the slim cat to enter. Conversely, you can utilize a box and cut two tiny doors to enable the smaller cat to eat.
- Automatic feeders are available that only open when it identifies your feline's microchip. It is an excellent way to ensure that the obese cat does not eat more than required if you can afford this gadget.
- Never leave any current food out while you are away. You can not manage what your cat consumes when you are not around.