Did you know that nearly 60% of all domestic cats in the United States are overweight?
It’s a statistics that’s hard to wrap your head around, especially when you consider that for all the news coverage Americans themselves get for being overweight, our cats are only in slightly better shape.
Experts say obesity is the number one most common nutritional disorder in cats, and the problem is getting worse. If you’re worried about your cat’s weight, read on to find out why feline obesity really is as dangerous as you think it is.
Problem #1: Obesity is self-perpetuating.
As your cat puts on more and more weight, she becomes less likely to pursue physical exercise without prodding. This is bad. Animals have a very strong natural instinct to move, often and hard, and pet laziness is often a symptom of a bigger issue. If you don’t address your cat’s weight gain early on, it will likely only get worse over time.
Problem #2: Your overweight cat might be in pain.
Serious pain. Feline osteoarthritis is one of the many (many) conditions exacerbated by extra weight. As your cat grows larger, her joints feel more pressure and inevitably become inflamed. This, in turn, causes her to become even more reluctant to exercise and the cycle continues.
Problem #3: Diabetes might be just over the horizon.
Since just 2011, the prevalence of diabetes in cats has risen over 16%. Today, most cats with diabetes suffer from diabetes mellitus which is essentially Type II diabetes. It’s a condition that’s almost totally preventable through diet and exercise. Diabetic cats are uncomfortable. Their sleep, their hunger levels, and even their fur is affected. Many cats also go on to develop an insulin dependence which can be both painful and incredibly expensive.
Problem #4: Owning an overweight pet is costly.
If the physical discomfort and perpetual health concerns over your cat’s weight aren’t enough to sway you, consider the bottom line. One recent study showed that overweight cat owners spent an incredibly 36% more on diagnostic tests each year. That’s over $1,100! The cost of caring for an overweight cat only grows with time.
So, what can you do?
It’s important to know that losing too much weight too quickly can actually be dangerous for your cat. It can actually lead to a deadly condition in which your cat’s liver becomes ensconced in fat. Ditch the Biggest Loser feline weight loss plan and come up with something more gradual instead.
Proper diet and regular exercise are the key to a happier, healthier cat. If you’re not sure exactly how much your cat should be eating (and most cat owners aren’t!), contact a reputable feline veterinarian in your area to talk about your pet’s specific nutritional needs. You might be surprised how little your pet should actually be eating each day.
Questions about your cat’s health?