The classic cartoon character Garfield may be funny, but he is not a good role model for your cat. Obesity is a growing problem for many cats in the western world. Here you can read about the cause and solution to obesity in cats.
The reason cats are overweight is that they eat too many calories in relation to what they burn. A constantly filled bowl of food is difficult for many cats to resist. This constant eating in combination with a sedentary life on the favorite blanket can cause a rapid weight gain.
Does It Matter If My Cat Is Overweight?
Yes, it does. Obesity and obesity lead to an increased risk of serious diseases such as diabetes. Diseases that in the long run can shorten the life of your four-legged friend.
Being overweight also makes it harder for your cat to move normally or clean itself properly. We can all guess how boring this must feel for an animal that is also known for its agility and cleanliness.
How Do I Know If My Cat Has Gained Weight?
On a normal-weight cat, you can see the waist if you look at it from above and can easily feel the ribs when you pat it. If you need to push to feel them, the cat is overweight and if you do not feel them at all, the cat probably suffers from obesity. The latter means that the cat weighs at least 15% more than its ideal weight.
If you are unsure, always ask your veterinarian to look at the cat or weigh it periodically to keep track of the weight on its own. The best thing you can do for your cat is to try to keep it in shape, as slimming down a cat can be a challenging task.
What Do I Do If My Cat Is Overweight?
First and foremost, you will be doing your cat a huge favor by making it lose weight. A healthy cat with normal weight is a happier cat. However, it is important not to starve the cat as it can cause severe liver damage. A weight loss of about 2 percent per week is usually a good goal.
If the cat is only slightly overweight, it often helps to stop giving it candy and reduce the dose of its usual food. If a greater weight loss is required, it is good to switch to a lighter diet food.
Also, make sure to activate your cat through lots of play, especially if you have an indoor cat. The biggest problem for them is an inactive life in combination with feed with too many carbohydrates. In the case of cats, it is better to serve wet food, as it contains less carbohydrates than dry food. And remember that daily activity is extremely important for your cat to stay in shape. It’s fun for both you and your cat!
Your veterinarian can help you determine if obesity is disease related and set up a special weight loss program. Contact your veterinarian if you feel unsure!