There are studies that estimate that 60 percent of pet cats in the United States are either obese or overweight. This is a huge problem because those conditions are no better for cats than they are for humans, meaning that they can increase the cats’ chances of getting a wide range of serious medical problems. Some examples include but are not limited to diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain kinds of cancers, which translate into a shorter expected lifespan as well as a much reduced quality of life.
How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight?
Helping out an overweight cat starts with figuring out that it is overweight. This might sound simple and straightforward, but it is not because even experienced cat owners might not be familiar enough with what a normal cat is supposed to look like to tell when it is becoming fatter than it should be. As such, cat owners need to ask their veterinarians to run body condition assessments on a regular basis to make sure that their cats are still in good shape. Some people might assume that this is a standard part of a cat’s checkup at the veterinarian, but as it turns out, the statistics suggest that veterinarians don’t always bring up such issues on their own, thus making the cat owners’ advocacy for their feline companions that much more important.
How Can You Help Your Overweight Cat?
There are various methods that can be used to help an overweight cat. However, cat owners shouldn’t stick to a single method while overlooking the rest. Instead, they should come up with a multi-pronged approach with the assistance of their veterinarians, which should produce the most effective and efficient results even if it means a much increased expenditure of time and effort.
First, cat health starts with nutritious food. Generally speaking, cat owners should be feeding their cats food that is high in meat protein but low in plant protein, which makes sense because cats are classified as obligate carnivores. Cat food can still contain fillers and byproducts, but under ideal circumstances, the proportions of those things should be low. Moreover, carbs shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of the mix of ingredients used to make cat food.
Moving on, there is no issue with feeding cats either dry food or wet food. For that matter, there is nothing wrong with feeding them a mix of dry food and wet food, seeing as how some cat owners like to use wet food to make the dry food more appealing for picky eaters. The one thing that is important to remember is that cats who eat dry food and nothing but dry food are going to need access to clean water because they won’t be able that through their diets.
With that said, the most challenging part might be figuring out the right proportions for cats. The instructions that come with cat food aren’t particularly useful because they are meant for average cats, meaning that someone with anything besides an average cat is going to need something different if they want to get things perfectly right. Generally speaking, the recommendation is for between 24 to 35 calories per pound on a daily basis, which is a rather wide range because there are other factors that need to be considered such as the cat’s breed and the cat’s behavioral patterns. As such, it tends to be a good idea for cat owners to consult with a veterinarian or some other kind of cat nutrition specialist to figure out the best proportions for their particular cat.
Besides this, cat owners might want to look into ways to make their cats more active. For example, they might want to spend more time playing with their cats, which should help keep their feline companions stimulated in both a physical sense and an intellectual sense. Likewise, cat owners might want to look into new cat toys as well as other cat accessories that can encourage their cats to move about more, with an excellent example being a cat tree that will entice them to climb up. Ultimately, there is no surefire way to get a cat moving, but if cat owners are stuck, this is something that their veterinarian can help them out with as well.