“He’s not fat, he’s just fluffy.” We’ve all heard that one before!
All joking aside, cat obesity is a serious problem that can come with health risks. Nearly 60%* of the cats in America are considered obese, which can contribute to health risks like arthritis, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, a number of cancers, and more. Being obese can actually reduce your cat’s life expectancy by 2.5 years.
Of course you do your best for your cat, and you would do something to help... if he were overweight. You might look at your cat and think he’s the normal weight. But the problem is that you might not even realize there’s a problem! Only about 10% of pet owners realize that their pets are overweight. The rest believe their cat is perfectly normal.
You can help your cat achieve a healthy weight by becoming educated on what that looks like. So how can you tell if your cat has put on a few too many pounds?
1. Visual cues
Cats are lithe creatures, built to hunt and move smoothly. They should be lean and almost muscular in appearance, and have a waist if viewed from above.
If your cat is overweight you might be able to see some “rolls” on his chest, back, and behind. Looking at him from above you see no waist, or you might even see his tummy extending to the sides. These are all signs your cat is overweight.
2. Physical cues
Touch your cat’s stomach and back. If your cat is normal weight, you should be able to feel the ribs and spine easily (but not too easily!). A few extra pounds make it difficult to feel the bones - all you get is squish.
According to Pet Obesity Prevention, the ideal weight for a typical domestic cat is between 8 and 10 pounds. Some cats, like Tabby James’ fluffy Maine Coons, can weigh in at 25 pounds and still be in the clear. Others, like Siamese, are generally smaller and lighter, and their normal weight is 5 - 10 pounds. As a general rule, if your cat is over 10 or 12 pounds, he might be overweight.
Losing those extra pounds
Whether your cat is just over the recommended weight maximum, or is “lovingly rotund,” there are plenty of things you can do to help your cat keep off those excess pounds.
• If you haven’t already, consult your cat’s vet to determine a feeding schedule that will meet your cat’s nutritional needs.
• Limit treats and eliminate table scraps altogether. Not only does this disrupt his nutritional needs, it can be dangerous since many human foods should not be fed to cats.
• Help your cat stay fit by encouraging exercise through playing. It’s also a great way to have some fun together! If your cat is naturally lethargic, try herbs like catnip or valerian root to get your cat up and moving around.
• Keep track of your cat’s cat’s weight by weighing him at home, or by keeping informed about the weigh-ins at your vet’s.
Our cats are a part of the family, and we want them to be healthy and happy. Part of that means maintaining a balanced diet and staying active. And if your cat is a bit over his target weight because of his love of sunbathing and fish treats, well then maybe it’s time for a little kitty intervention.
- by Yuliya
* Source: http://www.petobesityprevention.org/u-s-pet-population-gets-fatter-owners-fail-to-recognize-obesity/