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Nurture Heal Educate
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Obsesity in Cats is Rampant

Is your cat at risk?

A 2011 survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention showed that 55% of cats are overweight. With those overweight cats,15% of the owners believed their pet to be of normal weight. The cause final fat catof obesity is fairly straight forward- we are feeding our cats more calories than they expend! Feeding high calorie foods, overfeeding treats, and not practicing portion control are major factors that cause weight gain. Lack of exercise also plays a role as mostly indoor cats are much more sedentary than those that spend time outdoors hunting and exploring.

Why should we be so concerned about obesity in cats? Obese cats are at a higher risk for serious illnesses: Insulin resistant (Type II) diabetes mellitus commonly occurs in cats with excess body fat. Extra weight stresses tendons, ligaments, and joints, increasing the likelihood of injury or lameness, which may eventually develop into arthritis. Cats store excess fat in their liver which predisposes them to a liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. Obese cats often also have shorter life spans than healthy weight cats.

How do I get my cat to lose weight?

We recommend diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates, like canned foods, as they are closest to the natural diet of the cat. When fed a diet high in carbohydrates, the excess carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat. We can help you learn how to transition from a dry to canned diet. Although much less ideal, dry diets can be used AS LONG AS calories are restricted. Portion control is critical. We will help determine your cat's goal weight and the appropriate number of calories and portions of food to feed daily to achieve weight loss.

Increasing your cat's activity will also help with weight loss. Adding a few 10 minute play sessions a day will increase your cat's metabolism so that fat is converted back into usable energy. Hiding food or using puzzles that contain low calorie treats may increase your cat's exploration of its environment. The addition of climbing trees or exercise gyms will also increase activity.

This article is from Cats Exclusive's Spring 2012 Mewsletter.

AAHA Cat Friendly Enviro Star Certified Care Credit