Is it your impression, or is Miss Kitty heavier to lift in your arms? And is that…a paunch under its belly? You take the furbaby to the vet and the scales don’t lie: Miss Kitty has a case of cat obesity.
That must not come as a surprise for you. Remember all the treats and snacks you gave her? What about the extra meals on special occasions? Unless Miss Kitty also had an increased exercise routine, all those extras will go under her fur as fat deposits. Just like it happens with humans, actually….
When Is a Cat too Fat?
We love cats to be cuddly and fluffy and soft, but when does it stop being cuddly and it becomes an unhealthy fat? Before the vet diagnoses Miss Kitty with cat obesity, you can also tell the signs.
Just look at this chart. You must be honest and really assess the aspect of your cat accurately. Also, note the fact that older cats may be on the chubby size without it being a serious issue. Generally speaking, a domestic cat should not weigh above 10 pounds (with the exception of large breeds, such as Maine Coon, and the delicate breeds, such as Abyssinian, for instance).
How Dangerous Is Obesity in Cats?
Being overweight is not healthy for any animal species. In cats, obesity can trigger the onset of various health problems, such as:
- Type II diabetes
- Urinary disease
- High blood pressure
- Joint injuries.
Thus, as a loving and responsible cat parent, you must make sure that Miss Kitty goes back to a normal weight.
You Have an Obese Cat! What Next?
The only logical solution for cat obesity is a special diet that will help Miss Kitty shed the unhealthy amount of fat. But please don’t do that on your own! Cats have a delicate balance of their metabolism and you must not disturb it.
The vet will determine the precise diet your cat must follow. However, these are general recommendations, to prepare you for the upcoming weeks and months:
1. Feed Your Cat Weight Loss Food
According to PetMD, cat diet food formulas contain:
- High fiber
- High protein
- Low fat
- Low carbohydrates.
At the same time, you should favor wet food over dry food. The water content not only keeps Miss Kitty hydrated, but makes her feel sated after a lower quantity of food.
2. Prepare for Feeding Tantrums
The vet will probably instruct you to give up snacks and treats. Miss Kitty will not like that. But you can’t give in. Cat obesity is a serious matter, and you must handle it. So, prepare yourself for a few behavioral problems, until the cat adapts to the new diet.
As a solution, you may divide the daily food intake into smaller portions and feed your cat at shorter time intervals.
3. Increase the Exercise Routine
Most cats are lazy, with bouts of energy. An obese cat will be less energetic than usual and not at all inclined to play. However, you can get it to do some legwork and lose some weight.
Here are some ideas:
- Use a laser to play with the cat – even the laziest cat loves chasing a laser pinpoint
- Move the food bowl to a different place (even atop a cat tree), away from its favorite lounging spot
- Invest in a few toys that stimulate the play fighting instinct in your cat.
4. Instruct Your Family to Stop Giving Treats to the Cat
Cats are smart and cunning. They will appeal to everyone’s emotions and beg for food. Some people may not understand the risks of cat obesity, and even accuse you of keeping Miss Kitty hungry.
A cat’s diet is teamwork for the entire family. You must take the time to explain to everyone that the cat must really lose weight. Finally, check for hidden treats and remove them to a secure place.
5. Do Not Expect Results Overnight
Just like you should not suddenly lose a lot of weight, neither should Miss Kitty. A cat can safely lose 1.5% of its body weight per week. Thus, you should be able to see the first results of the diet in about 5-6 weeks, no sooner.
Finally, remember that cat obesity can be a recurring issue. So, once Miss Kitty is back to her normal weight, make sure that she stays fit with proper diet and exercising.