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Fat Cats... No More!!

This article dedicated to ensuring that your cat is in good condition and weight. I have looked at many websites and not one breeder addresses this issue that could be more deadly than other genetic diseases combined. I thought it was high time there is an article!

In today's society, not only are more people becoming obese, but so are our beloved pets. Estimates of obese cats range from 20-40% in the United States. Obesity is a very important issue to address because in most cases it is treatable.  Some think it is cute or funny to have a fat cat. Unfortunately, when you strip it down to the facts, there is nothing funny about feline obesity. It can shorten the cat's life, lead to painful medical issues and a lower quality of life.

Special Note about the Sphynx Breed: The Sphynx are supposed to look like they just ate a big meal, but that does not mean they should be overweight. In Sphynx, it seems being overweight is excused more so than other breeds.

 

How do I Tell If My Cat is Overweight?

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I would not necessarily go by what your vet says. Some are more lenient than they should be as it can hurt some people's feelings about their pets. I have seen overweight cats that vet's have said are in "Ok" weight. You want "GREAT"! Take the time to learn what the parameters are for a cat in healthy weight for yourself.

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There is no specific weight that can be used for all cats as they range greatly in size. Even in one cat breed, the weight ranges can vary. One cat can be 10 pounds and in fabulous weight. Another cat can be 10 pounds and really need to be 8 pounds and the 10 pounds would be considered obese.

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You should be able to feel the individual ribs.

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There should not be fat bulges by the tail base

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There should not be noticeable fat deposits on the body

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Your cat should have a waist

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Here is a link to view what the vet's use to determine obesity: http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/body-condition-scoring-chart

Oh my word! I just realized my cat is overweight! Do not beat yourself up... just yet.  You have realized the problem, that is the first step to solving the issue. We see our cats everyday and their weight gain can sneak up on us... just like our own can. Take action and you will see a more lively, happier cat in your future.

Causes of Obesity

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If your cat is overweight, please take your cat to your vet for examination and testing to ensure the cause is not medical.

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Overfeeding- This is the number one cause of obesity.  Cats should not be allowed to free feed. 

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Medical Issues - These can be resolved by giving appropriate medications.

Medical Issues Caused By Feline Obesity:

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Diabetes

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Arthritis

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Hepatic Lipidosis

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Heart Disease

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Higher risks during surgery

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Premature Death

Other Issues Caused By Feline Obesity

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Inappropriate litter box habits - your cat may be so heavy, it may be hard to get in and out of litter box.

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Poor grooming- inability to reach backside for proper cleaning

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Inactivity, less energy

Weight Loss Programs

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Weight loss should always be done under vet supervision. You will need to see your vet every 2-4 weeks during the diet to monitor the weight loss.

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Every cat and home environment is different so the diet plan will have to be tailored for each cat.

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Your cat cannot have too rapid of weight loss or be starved. Starvation or too little food can is very dangerous and can cause fatty liver disease.

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No free feeding, set up routine with 2-3 meals a a day. Pick up food in 10 minutes. You would be surprised how quickly they learn to eat during that time.

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Eliminate dry food, very high in calories and does not represent proper natural food. If your cat refuses to eat canned food, you must give cat 1 tablespoon of dry food with each meal to ensure it does not get fatty liver disease from not eating.

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Decrease caloric intake.

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Some eating may be emotional and feeding 4 tiny meals a day might be beneficial.

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Some vets and experts will recommend diet food. I would steer clear of diet foods. They are not as nutritionally sound.  Usually, decreasing the amount of food is the answer.

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Eliminate or minimize treats

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Exercise! Find a toy the cat likes and play with them for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times a day.

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Communication with everyone in your home or pet sitter is important. Make sure everyone in your home is aware of the diet and complies. In some homes with multiple people, the animals are given treats repeated over and over without the other being aware.

 

Here is an article that I think is very good to read about  nutrition and obesity

http://catinfo.org/?link=felineobesity