How much should your cat weighT?

 

Just an extra pound or two can make a major difference in your cat’s health, general wellbeing and overall quality of life. All cats have an ideal weight for their size and breed, and your veterinarian can tell you what this is.

Excess weight can lead to less play time and depression. It can even significantly shorten your cat’s life expectancy as compared to a healthy weight pet. Overweight cats can have a greatly increased risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, urinary stones, heart disease, breathing difficulty and even bladder cancer.

If your cat is overweight, you’re not alone. 1 in 3 pets in the UK are overweight.* It can be hard to tell if your pet is gaining weight because it happens gradually over time. The important thing is that you take steps to help your cat lose pounds and achieve a healthy weight.

What causes weight gain in cats?

 

Cat weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by eating too much, especially when combined with lack of exercise. But there can be other contributing factors too.

 

Age

Older cats are less active, have less energy, and require fewer calories. They are prone to weight gain.

Breed

Some cat breeds are more likely to gain weight. This is most typical in mixed breed cats.

Gender

Female cats are more likely to become overweight.

Medical Problems

Very occasionally weight gain is associated with a medical disorder that may require specific treatment.

Neutering/spaying

Clinical studies have shown that the basic metabolism of neutered cats is lower. Neutered cats actually require fewer calories. Spayed or neutered cats are twice as likely to become obese due to a more sedentary lifestyle. (There are many important health reasons to have your pet spayed or neutered — just remember to monitor your cat's weight.)

 

Overfeeding

Cats with unlimited access to food understandably eat more than they need.

Overeating

Many commercial foods are loaded with salt and fat. This improves taste, which means your cat will want to gorge.

Feeding habits

Feeding table scraps and "people food" can lead to obesity.

Lack of exercise

Too much food and too little exercise produces a typical result: obesity.

 

Remember, even if your cat does not show signs of being overweight, it is important to have regular weight checks at the veterinarian's office to make sure her ideal weight is maintained.

 

 

 

Signs that your cat is overweight

 

 

Between check-ups, you can perform a simple test to see if your cat is maintaining a healthy weight. Place your hands on your cat’s side — are her ribs hard to feel or even impossible to feel? If so, she is likely overweight. You may also notice some of these additional signs:

  • Loss of an obvious waist
  • Collar needs loosening
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Slow movement
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bad temper
  • Sleeping more than usual

 

Taking steps for cat weight loss

 

As well as feeding your cat the correct nutrition, promoting regular exercise will help with the process of healthy weight loss. Here are a few exercise and workout tips you and your cat can do together:

 

Playing with toys

 

Giving your cat some homemade or pet shop toys can encourage her to get moving.

Catch the light

 

Shine a white light torch on the walls and let your cat play. Be careful not to use a red light laser, though – it can damage your cat’s eyes.

Power walking

 

Try talking your cat out for a walk on a harness. Cat harnesses are available from your pet shop. While you’re out, encourage your cat to jump and play using natural “toys” like piles of leaves.

Ask your vet about your cat’s fooD

Your cat’s diet is perhaps the single-most important factor in helping her maintain an ideal weight. Ask your vet for a food recommendation for weight loss, including what food and how much, and do your best to stick to it. This is key because once your cat has been overweight, she may be prone to weight gain. Your cat should have an ongoing weight-management plan based on good nutrition, exercise and regular check-ups plus weigh-ins.

 

*Data on file. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

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Put your overweight cat on the road to recovery.

 

If your cat is already having trouble with weight problems, there are plenty of things you can do to improve her condition.

 

See Wellness Options