Fat cats are most certainly not healthy cats. In fact, according to some estimates, more than half of cats are overweight and 25% of cats are obese.
Sarah Hartwell, of MessyBeast.com states: “In my opinion, over-feeding a cat to this extent (despite veterinary advice) constitutes cruelty.”
Obesity in cats stems from eating too much and exercising too little. Cats that are fed bottomless bowls of food are more likely to be obese than cats that are fed 3-4 smaller meals a day.
Low-quality commercial cat foods, besides being low in nutritional value and short on named protein, are usually extremely high in carbohydrates due to their high corn content.
Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, writes in her book, “Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger, Life: Felines are the quintessential “Atkins” species, for which high-carbohydrate foods are not simply irrational, they are deadly.
If you’ve got a fat cat, it’s important that you consult your veterinarian about putting him on a weight controlled diet and exercise program.
How do I know if my cat is overweight?
The easiest way to check is by placing your hands on either side of your cat and stroking him. You should be able to feel his ribs when you do this, but if not, your cat is definitely overweight. If you can see your cat’s ribs, then your cat is underweight.
If your cat has a swinging pouch between his hind legs, he is probably overweight.
Because overweight cats have trouble cleaning their anal area, you will generally find that an overweight or obese cat’s anal area is poorly groomed.
If your cat has a greasy patch of fur, or even matted fur, running down the middle of his back, this is also an indicator, as an obese cat would be unable to groom this area.
A snoring or wheezing cat is often also a sign of obesity.
Common Diseases in Obese Cats (source: http://cats.about.com/od/healthconcerns/a/Fat-Cats.htm)
Although these serious diseases are not exclusive to overly-fat cats, feline tubbies are more predisposed to develop them.
Obesity and arthritis in cats become a double-edged sword. The extra weight on load-bearing joints becomes painful arthritis; because of the pain when walking or jumping, the cat becomes more sedentary, burns fewer calories, and gains more weight unless his eating pattern changes. Arthritis in cats can become a crippling disease, one which our cats simply don’t deserve.
Feline Diabetes Mellitis is the single most common disease that targets overweight cats, and is almost always directly related to diet. Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, of CatInfo.org, wrote about Feline Diabetes:
Feeding a diabetic cat a high carbohydrate diet is analogous to pouring gasoline on a fire and wondering why you can’t put the fire out.
This rationale also applies to any of the prescription dry diabetes diets such as Purina DM, Hill’s Prescription w/d and m/d, and Royal Canin DS. These diets are not only poor quality diets, they are still too high in carbohydrates and contain several species-inappropriate, hyperallergenic ingredients such as corn, wheat, and soy.
A decrease in calories is helpful, alternatively you can switch to a low-calorie brand of cat food. This should always be done in conjunction with advice from your vet. Just remember that any change to your cat’s diet should be gradual so as not to upset his stomach.
Avoid feeding your cat scraps from the table.
Avoid using free-fall cat feeding containers where the dry chunks are continuously flowing out as kitty eats. Rather try to find a timed or portion-controlled feeder such as the SmartCat Tiger Diner Portion Control Cat Bowlespecially if you are not at home during the day.
Getting your kitty more active is important and this can be done by buying a cat tree for climbing, buying scratching posts for kitty to play on and scratch against, and increasing play time. If you have stairs in your house, move the location of kitty’s bowl so that he needs to walk to find it. Our range of organic catnip toys will also provide hours and hours of endless fun.
Either way, a combination of a change in diet and increased exercise will definitely aid in slimming kitty down and giving him a greater quality of life and less unnecessary visits to the vet caused by the health risks associated with obesity.
A fat cat is NOT a cute cat!