fatty catty concerns
Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia takes a look at why a pudgy puddy-cat can be a major concern for your friendly feline’s overall health and well-being.
It’s not uncommon to hear many loving cat owners refer to their felines as being ‘big boned’ or a ‘fatty catty’. We are all guilty of laughing at the social media meme of the overweight cat basking in the sun with captions referring to weight gain and summertime.
For many years; overweight cats have been seen as a healthy cat, an impressively enormous cat, or one that is well-looked after and well-fed.
On the flip side - looking at a severely underweight cat is not funny. These images evoke a much more emotive response from pet owners and non-pet owners around the world.
Interestingly, however, the actual medical conditions overweight cats will suffer throughout their lives due to the excessive weight is shocking and can even outweigh those of underweight cats – literally.
Overweight cats have a higher chance of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Disease affecting organs
- Shorter lifespan
- Limited quality of life
- Joint problems
- Extra stress on organs
but what can pet owners do about obesity?
Firstly – get your pet checked. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight seek help from your local veterinarian. They can look at your cat and give you a really good understanding of their healthy weight range and advise on how you can help your cat can reach this range and most importantly – how to stay in this range.
Diet and exercise are very important. Cats need exercise just like dogs. For indoor cats it’s about getting creative and encouraging your cat to move. Consider:
- Boxes – this is a great inexpensive way to get your cat moving. All cats love exploring boxes. Place a few around the home and change the location, the size and access points. Add some toys inside or cut little paw-sizes holes in the sides and play with your cat.
- Active play – dust off the interactive kitten toys and start playing with your cat. Make this a daily routine, it will help keep your cat active and also allow you to monitor any activity changes. For example; if your older cat suddenly seems reluctant to jump, they could be suffering in silence with arthritis. These subtle changes in behavior are easy to detect when you actively play with your cat.
- TOYS – change up your toys weekly. Take them away and replace with other toys. This keeps your feline far more interested in the ones at hand. You can check out our list of the best cat toys for more information. Toys containing cat-nip are also wonderful for getting your pet moving.
- Routine – make a time daily to play with your cat. Build play into your cat’s routine regardless of their age. Even 5 minutes a day of active play can help your cat beat the bulge.
you are what you eat!
This relates to our pets, too! If you are using treats for your pets, ensure they are nutritionally balanced, and vet approved. Avoid feeding your feline high in fat, over processed treats and human food-treats. There are plenty of wonderful healthy cat treats on the market that can provide your feisty feline a lovely treat without the worry of weight gain.
Always follow the manufacturers recommendations on feeding and adjust accordingly for your pets age. Ensure you also take the number of daily treats out of this recommended amount - so you are not accidentally over-feeding your pet.
If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, please seek professional advice from a veterinarian. There are many wonderful foods and diets on the market that can easily help your pet meet their recommended weight and regain their overall health and zest for life.
Jackie Johnston is the founder of Cat Word – a community of cat enthusiasts with a mission to spread as much knowledge as they can throughout the world on every aspect of raising and nurturing cats! In her spare time, Jackie loves reading and spending time with her two sons Logan and Christopher, and of course with their furry felines Simba and Max.