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What to do When Your Cat's Weight is out of Control

 by jaime on 01 Jul 2014 |
3 Comment(s)
The fat cat is a common image in pop culture. It tells the tale of a rich society that indulges its pets, and its people, a little too much. When your cat begins to tip the scales, it's time to get serious about diet and nutrition. Obesity is associated with a number of health conditions that can shorten your pet's life.

Why cats get fat
Cats live a different life to their ancestors. Most cats spend a lot of their lives indoors with limited opportunities for physical exercise. They no longer have to stalk prey for their dinner and many cats are fed on an "at will" basis, with food available to them throughout the day. In addition, some types of cat food may be high in carbohydrates, a food component that cats cannot easily metabolize. The carbohydrates get stored as fat and lead to increasing weight problems.

Problems with obesity
Unfortunately, obesity becomes a circular problem. Increased weight leads to bigger appetites, which leads to more eating. Increased weight also leads to less exercise, which serves to keep fat cats heavy. Obesity in cats is linked with increased risk of heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. The extra weight puts more pressure on tender joints as cats age, as well as making the heart and vascular system work harder. Diabetes in cats is a growing problem that can cause kidney disease and an early death for your pet. Maintaining a healthy weight will ensure that you will enjoy your cat's company for years to come.

Early intervention
Managing small weight problems is much easier than getting your cat to lose a large amount of weight. As soon as you notice a bit of chubbiness around your cat's middle, take a proactive approach to weight loss to ensure your pet's continued good health. Find out what's in your cat's regular food and consider changing to a different brand and type. Pay attention to how often the cat eats and how often you dole out treats. Notice your cat's exercise level during the day. Think about how you can make your cat more active. Sometimes, another cat can provide the mental and physical stimulation to keep a cat on the move. As always, talk to your vet about the best ways to control your cat's weight.

Your vet can help
Regular veterinary visits will allow your vet to monitor your cat's weight over time, which can help alert you to weight problems before they become more difficult to manage. Your vet can also advise you on the best ways to limit foods to ensure that your cat gets the best nutrition while controlling calorie intake. They can also recommend some foods that are low calorie or specific to your cat's particular health needs.

Ways to keep your cat slim and trim

· Feed your cat at specific times of the day in the amount recommended by your veterinarian. Avoid leaving dry food out for continuous eating.

· Choose high-quality cat food that offers 45% protein, 40% fat and only a small amount of carbohydrates to provide the best nutrition for the average cat's needs.

· Avoid giving cat treats, which are low in nutrition and high in calories.

· Ensure that your cat gets daily exercise with a cat tree, chasing toys and other equipment. Interact with your cat for play on a daily basis.

· See the vet regularly for vaccinations and an overall checkup of your cat's health.

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Karen - Comment
Karen02 Jul 2014Reply
I'm just curious why there is not a surgical intervention for cats who are obese. My 4 year old cat is otherwise healthy, but FAT. I have other cats who cannot eat on a feeding schedule because they are older and won't get enough and just really couldn't get with the program. With technology for everything else, I find it disheartening that there is not lap band surgery for cats. If obesity is such a problem, why is this not being researched? My vet just did surgery on a guinea pig and a bird in the same day, but there isn't an option for obesity surgery? Sad.
v davidson - Comment
v davidson02 Jul 2014Reply
I had always left a full bowl of food for my cats to eat at will. Unfortunately my cat Mathilda became 23 lbs. over the years while the other cats stayed at a healthy weight. My oldest two cats ("my boys") both passed a year apart in the last few years. So I'm left with my fattie and my Mom's cat (whom I inherited 3 years ago). I figured it was time to intervene on behalf of Mathilda's health. Though I had tried a few times, half heartedly I admit. This time the vet said to give her 1/4 cup twice a day. Whatever she doesn't eat in 20 minutes take away. I have to feed Bonnie on the kitchen table where Mathilda can't jump. Which works out perfectly. It's been 1 1/2 years and she's gone from 23 lbs to 18 lbs. I now feed her 1/8th cup, four times a day. She seems to feel she's getting more that way :') Oh and we use Blue Wilderness, Grain Free, Weight Control Formula (both the cats love it). Good luck. It's a commitment, but it's worth it.
Nicole Freeland - Comment
Nicole Freeland04 Jul 2014Reply
I have an almost 1 year old cat tortie that is tipping the scales at 12.8 lbs. Then my other cat who is almost 1 year as well at 8lbs. I took them in to the vet at 10 months where we got their weights, the vet said go ahead and put them on adult indoor formula, I have them on authority. 2 months later Krishna is still 12.8 lbs, however Chenoa went from 8.3lbs to 8lbs. How do I get one cat to lose weight while the other one to stay healthy and not lose weight while feeding them the same food?

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