In just a few weeks, it will be summer! Ahhh, the picnics, the hiking, the swimming. Now is the time we ladies are thinking of hopefully fitting into that swimsuit! I know, I know. The younger ones have already been working on their diets and exercise, but it takes us older ladies a little more time. Not looking for a stud muffin anymore; just want to get into the bathing suit. Which brings me to the topic of this week’s blog. Being overweight. No, not you, silly! Your cat.
Cat obesity is very harmful to felines and has serious health consequences. As in humans, if the calories burned up are less than the calories consumed, the result is fat. You can’t force your cat to exercise, so overweight and obesity can be hard to fight. Both of my males are neutered. The vet told me that it makes it doubly hard to keep their weight under control. The metabolism of the cat has evolved to run off of the protein and fats of their prey- such as birds and mice. The domestic house-cat eats completely differently and experts argue that this has a negative effect on their metabolism and predisposes obesity. Dry food is higher in carbohydrates than wet food. Mine won’t eat wet food, so they have two strikes against them already! Then, of course, there’s the matter of aging. As with humans, cats tend to put on a little weight as they get older because they’re not as active.
For the cat to be called “obese”, it must carry excess body fat that will compromise its health and well-being. Here are some characteristics to look for to evaluate your cat’s weight.
- Your cat is noticeably sedentary
- Has difficulty walking, running, jumping, climbing, and grooming themselves.
- Most obese cats appear to have excessive appetite.
- When you touch your cat, you cannot feel the individual ribs.
- When you stand over your pet, its waist must be seen and it must have an hourglass figure.
Taking your cat to the vet for an exam and blood tests can help determine if your cat being overweight is due to a medical problem. Cats come in all different sizes, so it can be hard to determine the right weight for your cat. Kirby was 24 pounds when I first came back to Wyoming. Dr. Molly said that even though he was part Maine Coon that was still too much. I’ve managed to get a pound off a year in the last four years, so we’re getting there. Losing weight too fast is a sign of a medical condition, so you have to be very careful.
The following is a list of complications caused by obesity in cats:
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Arthritis: Joint and movement problems
- Skin infection and matted hair due to their inability to groom themselves
- Shortness of breath which may lead to breathing and respiratory problems
- Hepatic Lipidosis or fatty liver
- Bladder infection
- Kidney and heart disease
It can be very challenging to compel your feline friend to exercise. You must still encourage it by offering toys since it can stimulate their hunting instincts. Putting food in a more remote place will encourage exercise since they have to walk further to get to the food. Of course, consulting with your vet is always wise.
In the end, their attitude about their weight will probably be much different than mine!
Do you have problems keeping your kitty slim and trim? Let us know what you’re doing to fight the problem.
Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty. Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night. Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667