Pets can suffer from obesity issues just the same as humans, however, pets are unable to monitor their own weight issues or control them. It is up to the owner to keep tabs on what their pet is eating, how often they are eating, and the amount of exercise they get to help control their weight. If a cat has a body weight that exceeds 20 percent of their ideal weight, she is considered to be obese. This is an unhealthy way to live for a cat, so you want to be sure if your cat is truly obese, or if a good majority of its roundedness isn’t related to simply being a very fluffy cat.
Just in the United States, nearly 60% of cats are fat cats, or obese cats, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. You should be in-tune with your cat’s weight and health, so if you aren’t sure if your cat is obese or just a big cat, here is how to tell if you have an obese cat.
When in doubt
Of course, the very best way to determine a cat’s weight and the health of the cat’s weight, is by having your veterinarian check out the feline in an exam. Since the vet weighs your cat at every visit, if you have been having your cat regularly visit the vet, then he can determine if your cat is in a safe weight zone, or obese by performing a body conditioning score, which gives your feline’s doctor an accurate weight determination.
Is there a way to tell if your cat is obese without a doctor’s visit?
Actually, there are ways to get a good indication if your cat is obese at home. According to Stephanie Demarco, DVM, of the VCA Kirkwood Animal Hospital in Newark, Delaware, placing your hands on either side of your cat’s side is one way to feel for his ribs. You should be able to feel them without effort, so if you cannot, that is an indication he’s overweight. Demarco says to also look at your cat’s waist. You should see a waist and not a thickness from the chest on to the waist. If it is one same thickness from chest to waist, your cat is probably overweight.
Other signs of obesity are, your cat getting lazy, not wanting to play, slowing down when moving, trouble climbing stairs or jumping up in places he used to, having loosen or buy bigger collars. He may also become less clean due to the inability to clean himself well from being overweight. Your kitty may also be extra grumpy and just want to sleep all the time.
Risks of obesity
Cats who are overweight are at greater risk for getting diabetes, osteoarthritis, kidney and liver disease, among many other ailments, according to Dr. Demarco. These types of issues can shorten a cat’s lifespan if they aren’t brought back to their normal weight range.
What can you do about your obese cat?
It’s important to be proactive with your obese cat and help him slim down. There are several ways to help him shed those dangerous pounds. Diet is the first line of action, and you will need to put your cat on a “light” diet, which you can find these light diet plans at pet stores. Switching your cat’s diet sometimes is all some cats need, while others may need much more, such as a whole special diet planned, a food change, caloric intake adjusted, and an exercise plan. Your vet can help you set up the perfect obesity diet plan for your kitty so you can work together to bring your cat back to a healthy weight.
How should you feed an obese cat?
One recommendation is that if you feed your cat dry food, you will probably need to switch to canned food, as it offers more protein and less carbs than the dry kibbles. It can also keep them feeling fuller longer so they don’t want to snack between meals. Canned food has another benefit – more water in it than dry food. Cats need plenty of water, but don’t always drink as much as they should.
Feed your cat at regular intervals instead of an all-day snack fest by leaving the food out for them to get when they want. Some cats will eat out of hunger, others, out of boredom, and if the food is there, they will just eat, which leads to unwanted calories.
Exercise your cat
Like for humans, exercise is important for weight loss. Help your cat get exercise by spending time with her, playing games, let her jump, chase balls, chase you, and really stimulate her senses to play. Get play towers and encourage her to climb and jump around in her play ground. The recommended time of exercise each day, is 15-20 minutes of good exercise every day.
You will want to make sure you get your kitty in to the vet for regular weigh-ins so that your cat’s doctor can monitor her weight and make sure that she is not only losing weight, but losing it in a healthy way.