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Cat Obesity: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

| December 30, 2014

 

Jordan Walker loves cats and confesses that he could look at their pictures all day long. He writes informational stuff about these furry friends at Coops And Cages and in websites like this one. In this article, he talks about cat obesity.

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Many would say they love their pets. But if there was a pet health meter that could prove this, how many do you think would be able to pass this test?

According to the statistics provided by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 57.6% of cats in the United States are obese. The same trend can also be seen in pet dogs. What does this mean for pet cats?

Cat obesity awareness is promulgated because this is tied to many health risks. Just like humans can suffer from health diseases such as diabetes, poor skin condition, fatty liver, reproductive problems, and lowered immune system due to obesity, cats could experience this too. You say you really love you pet cat? Is it obese? Then read the rest of this article.

Diagnosing Cat Obesity

There are several signs that your pet cat is already obese. Some of these are listed below:

  • Obvious weight gain
  • Body fat
  • Tiredness
  • Unwillingness to move or exercise

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As you can see, the symptoms are similar to that of humans who are considered obese. Take note that a huge cat is not always a sign of pet obesity. It may be that your cat’s breed belongs to the larger type. If you want to know how your pet scores on the weighing scale, all you have to do is visit your veterinarian. Diagnosing cat obesity requires body condition assessment that includes comparison with a standard sized cat that matches your cat’s breed.

Possible Causes

Cat obesity can be attributed to varying conditions. Some are medical in nature, while others are due to feeding and exercise inadequacies.

  1. Feeding on high-carb diet. Ideally, cats should eat a high-protein diet. Experts claim that if humans were to eat like cats do, they would easily suffer from heart problems. In reverse, when a cat is fed the ideal diet of humans, they suffer from a similar consequence. When cats eat a lot of protein, this is converted to energy. When carbohydrates are tossed into their plate, this on the other hand is synthesized as fat.
  2. Lack of exercise. As a cat owner, you may have been advised to keep your pet inside the premises of your house. Yes, it’s true. Cats outside can easily fall victim to road accidents, mischief with other pets, and even theft. But although you keep it from the dangers that could stem from being outside, being inside the house on the other hand poses a threat to its health in the form of obesity because of inactivity.
  3. Owner is considered an obese. Having a pet cat is like transferring your genes to your own son or daughter. But instead of your physical traits, they acquire your eating habits. If you eat more than five times a day, and eat plentiful at that too, your pet cat may have been eating with you this whole time.
  4. Hypothyroidism. This condition is characterized by the cat producing lesser amounts of thyroid hormone. When this happens, your pet’s metabolic function is compromised. Even if you feed your pet cat its ideal normal food portion, this will still suffer from weight problems due to its lowered metabolic rate.
  5. Its age. Just as hypothyroidism could affect your pet’s metabolic rate, age also plays an important role. Older cats no longer synthesize energy as effectively as before. Moreover, playfulness decreases as a pet cat gets older, which could mean lessened physical activity for pet cat.

How to Reverse Cat Obesity

Luckily for some of the obese cats out there, their condition could still be reversed or improved depending on what’s causing it. Here are some suggestions on how to get this done:

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  1. Pay attention to its diet. Ditch the carbohydrates for high-protein foods. If you can, buy fresh lean mean instead of feeding your pet cat with cat foods that are laden with preservatives and low quality ingredients.
  2. See to it that cat gets enough exercise. Provide recreational activities indoors. If you can’t play with your cat on a daily basis, then at least give it some toys such as a ball or fishing pole that it could play on its own.
  3. Take care of your own health. See to it that you are eating well yourself. Don’t let your pet cat see you munching on a bowl of fries when you are depressed. Remember, eating plus misery loves company. With your cat close by, this will likely take on that role anytime.
  4. Work with your vet. If cat obesity is caused by an underlying medical condition, you will need to get this treated properly in order to see your pet lose the excess weight.

Final Thoughts

If you really love your pet cat, then its health should be your number one priority. A fat cat is not a happy cat. It can’t breathe nor move freely with ease. If your pet cat shows any of the signs mentioned above, then it’s an indication that it needs your care the most- it needs you to implement actions that could help it lose the extra pounds.
Author: Jordan Walker

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Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages

 

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Category: Feline Articles, Feline Health, Feline Health and Care, Feline Resources

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