It’s Pet Obesity Awareness Month! Is your furball turning into a butterball? Many of our feline patients have things pretty easy. Fluffy gets to spend the majority of her time sleeping and sunbathing, with breaks for grooming, meals, and meditation. While kittens are very active, older cats get, well, rather lazy. That makes it easy for them to pack on extra pounds. In this article, a local Brampton, ON vet discusses obesity in cats.
There’s no denying that chubby cats are adorable. However, those extra pounds can really take a toll on Fluffy’s health. Obese cats face elevated risks of several dangerous health conditions, including heart disease, respiratory issues, bone and joint problems, liver and kidney issues, reproductive problems, and even certain cancers. That additional weight can increase Fluffy’s risk of complications from anesthesia, and can even shorten her lifespan.
Some breeds are more prone to packing on weight than others are. The Maine Coon and their close cousin the Norwegian Forest Cat are sitting pretty at the top of that list. Other fat cats include the Turkish Van, Domestic Shorthair, and Savannah. Of course, some kitties tend to have large frames. Cats can also be quite fluffy, so it isn’t always to tell if they’re overweight at a glance. Your vet should be ultimate authority on that, though you can do a quick home test by trying to feel Fluffy’s ribs. If you can’t feel them at all, there’s a good chance your furball is overweight.
As with people, cats’ weight is largely determined by their diets. Portion control is very important here. Even overfeeding your little buddy by a few calories can cause her to become obese. Fluffy’s meowpulation tactics also come into play here. Many kitties have their humans trained to feed them on demand. If your furry pal already had her meal, that meow may be a lie!
Diet isn’t the only factor. Fluffy’s fitness regimen—or lack thereof—also affects her weight. Take time to play with your feline friend, and offer her things to climb and explore, such as a cat tower. Even tossing a toy down the hall will get most cats moving, as kitties will often instinctively chase small objects. Some medical problems, such as diabetes, can also contribute to weight gain. If you aren’t sure why your furry buddy is getting round, consult your vet.
Do you have questions about your cat’s diet? Contact us, your Brampton, ON pet hospital, anytime!