It is common for owners to overfeed their pets, especially when cats find humans very trainable. Cats are blessed with perfect timing, perseverance, and consistency, always drawing our attention to the food or where the food is located. This achieved by getting under our feet whilst you’re in the kitchen, vocalizing their ‘meows’ to certain unbearable tone or just sitting in front on the pantry door, all this is fixed by just feeding the damn cat!.
According to research from 2014 by the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, nearly 58% of cats are either overweight or obese. Making obesity a common nutritional disease seen in cats. Overweight means to be 10%-19% over the ideal body weight, whereas ‘obesity’ means to be 20% or more. As owners, we need to get into the mindset that a cat’s stomach is 40mm in size (the size of a ping-pong ball) and anything more can result in a pet over-eating.
Just a little bit of extra weight can result in health problems such as;
- Heart Disease
- High- blood pressure
- Joint Disease
- Grooming problems and,
- Feline lower urinary tract infection (FLUTD)
How do I know if my cat is overweight?
To determine if your cat is overweight simply weigh your cat and compare it to the breed’s average weight then touch over the ribs- you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them. A clear example of a cat being overweight is the presence of fat pads over the hips and tail as well as a swinging abdomen.
Visit your vet
If your cat matches the criteria the next step is to make a vet appointment which will determine if your pet has any health problems or even a reason to why your cat may be susceptible to gaining weight and help you to create a dietary management plan.
Helpful tips to encourage weight loss
- Weigh your cat’s regular, ideally every month
- Encourage exercise and play time
Cats are highly interactive animals that need to be regularly stimulated to provide correct mental health development which can be achieved by taking advantage of on your cat’s natural instincts to hunt and kill prey.
- Assign one member of the household to take responsibility for feeding
I don’t know how many times my cat has had dinner twice, in a busy household miscommunication can happen and another family member ends up feeding the cat after you have given food.
- Compare your cat’s condition score, using the WALTHAN S.H.A.P.E guide.
- Understand how many calories you are feeding your cat
Feeding a proper diet, the appropriate amount and understand that every piece of food has different calories is the key to avoiding obesity.
(Royal Canin, 2018)
Understanding your cat’s health is the key for a healthy, long-lasting life with us by their side.