People love to see fluffy, fat felines on the internet. While overweight cats may be cute, their obesity puts them at risk of developing disorders including arthritis, diabetes, and hepatic lipidosis. If you think your cat's overweight, help your cat slim down to a healthier size. Here are three ways you can help your overweight cat lose weight.
1. Understand the Reasons for Feline Obesity
Overeating is a common cause of obesity in cats. Like humans, cats who take in a lot of calories but seldom exercise will add extra weight to their bodies.
However, cats can gain weight and become obese in many ways. Some medications prescribed by your cat's veterinarian will cause your cat to add pounds.
Obese and overweight cats can grow too heavy due to conditions including:
- Spaying or neutering
- Metabolic or endocrine disorders
- Mobility issues
- Injury or surgery
- Stress or isolation
- Old age
If your household is home to more than one pet, competition may cause one cat to try to eat all the food first. And, if you don't properly contain pet food, your cat may have 24/7 access to the kitty kibble and zero self-control.
2. Check Out Your Cat's Figure
Cats should have well-defined physical features. However, on long-haired cats, it's hard to visually see how svelte your cat actually is. Place your hands on either side of your cat's rib cage to determine if the cat is overweight. If you can't feel the ribs, your cat's probably carrying too many pounds.
You should see an indent or tuck on each side of your cat's waistline when you view the cat from above. The cat shouldn't have a droopy, sagging belly that swings from side to side.
Since experts say over 50 percent of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese, chances are good that your cat is one of those big boys or girls. The only way to know for sure about your cat's weight status is to visit the veterinarian.
3. Work With Your Veterinarian to Develop Kitty's Weight Loss Plan
If your cat's veterinarian has treated your cat before, the office has a record of your cat's previous weight. The veterinarian can compare the figures to see whether or not your cat has gained too much weight.
The veterinarian will measure the amount of body fat on your cat. According to animal experts, cats are overweight when more than 20 percent of their body weight consists of fat. The veterinarian also takes into account your cat's breed, health issues, and physical build when determining if your cat is overweight.
Your veterinarian can put your cat on a healthy diet. Get advice and support from your veterinarian when you alter your cat's normal diet, because cats should lose weight in a controlled way. Healthy weight loss in a feline is achieved when the cat loses no more than 0.5 to 2 percent of its body weight per week.
If your cat weighs 20 pounds, he or she will stay healthy by losing no more than one pound per month. If you try to force rapid weight loss on your cat, you could predispose your cat to developing liver problems.
A key to maintaining a cat's diet is communication with all household members. Every person who might feed the cat must understand the cat's feeding schedule and help you stick to it. Ask your veterinarian for handouts and literature about feline obesity to share with your household members.
If you have concerns about your cat's weight, contact Dr. Butchko in Riverside, California, today. We'll examine your cat and help you provide a high-quality diet for your beloved feline, no matter his or her size.