People often think fat cats are cute, but "giving in" to those mournful cries for more food may in fact be killing our kitties with kindness. Unfortunately, it has become all too common for us to view those extra kilo's as normal, and it has recently been estimated that 35% of cats suffer from obesity and up to 75% of cats are overweight.
The health risks associated with obesity in cats are serious and include, diabetes, liver disease, arthritis, increased anaesthetic risk and shortened lifespan.
Extra body fat leads to insulin resistance in cats. Obese cats have been found to have a 50% decrease in insulin sensitivity. Diabetes can lead to many other health complications in cats and will require special dietary requirements and daily insulin therapy.
If an overweight cat stops eating due to illness or stress, body fat is mobilised to provide calories. Unfortunately, the cats liver was not designed to process a large amount of body fat. The liver becomes infiltrated with fat, and liver failure can develop. A stress that might have been relatively minor becomes life threatening.
Any additional weight carried by your kitty places unwanted stress on joints and the spine. Overweight cats frequently suffer from increased joint degradation (osteoarthritis) and pain.
Weight management can even eliminate the need for arthritis medications.
The problem becomes compounded as joint pain leads to poorer mobility and less movement leads to even further weight gain.
In one study, obese cats were 2.5 times more likely to pass away between the ages of 8-12 years of age compared to lean cats. Cats with an optimal body condition had an 83% probability of survival in this age group compared to a 53% probability for obese cats.
What can we do?
There are many ways we can assist your cat to lose those extra kilos, including veterinary prescription diets and other recommendations for feeding, activity and play that can all make a big difference. We are also happy to help you monitor and track your pets weight, you can drop in anytime for a "weigh-in" and we will update your pets record for you and make any changes to their diet plan if necessary.
So please, if you are struggling to keep your cat's feline form trim, contact us and together we can help keep our cats happy and healthy for longer.