Facts about Feline Obesity

Our cats are getting fatter, and this extra weight comes with health problems.

“My cat’s not obese,” you tell yourself. “He’s just really fluffy.” Stop fooling yourself, because your cat isn’t going to take it personally. He’s overweight, and it turns out that feline obesity is on the rise.

All that extra weight can make your cat more susceptible to a variety of diseases, and it could even affect his quality of life. It’s time to tone up your knowledge of feline obesity so you can help your cat maintain a healthy weight.

Risk of Disease

Obesity is one of the biggest health risks for pets. Your cat is at an increased risk for kidney disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis pain, breathing problems, diabetes and heart disease, among other conditions.

Why Your Cat is Gaining Weight

Here are some of the main reasons why your cat is gaining weight:

  • Feeding your cat a low quality food: These foods contain more filler qualities, which leads to weight gain. Choose a higher quality cat food that contains choice ingredients and the right balance of nutrients to help your cat slim down.
  • Too much food in the bowl: Don’t leave a full bowl of food for your cat when you leave home for the day or go to bed at night. The large portion sizes or frequent feeding could be the culprit.
  • Not enough exercise: Weight gain could be because you’re not playing with your cat enough, and his inactivity might be making him sedentary. Just 15 minutes a day of interactive playtime makes a difference, and be sure to leave out plenty of toys around the house for him to find.
  • Too many treats: Little treats add up to big weight gain. You may even be tempted to give him some of your food, but don’t give in to those cute kitty eyes. If your cat is overweight, ask your vet which foods need to be cut from his diet.

How to Tip the Scales

Your vet can do a proper weigh-in of your cat, but you should also check it at home in between visits. If your cat doesn’t want to sit still on the scale long enough to get an accurate number, you’ll have to step in. Stand on your scale holding your cat. Subtract your own weight from that total to get the amount your cat weighs.

What’s a Healthy Weight for Your Cat?

In addition to weighing your cat, you can tell by his appearance if your cat is at a healthy weight:

  • His face should be slim and you should be able to see some bone structure.
  • There should be a clear definition between your cat’s neck and head.
  • You should be able to slightly feel ribs when you pet his side.
  • Looking down at your cat, you should be able to see that his abdomen is slightly slimmer than his hips and chest.

Think of it this way: every pound your cat gains is like a 20 pound gain in a human. When you think about it that way, even an extra ounce on your cat will make a big difference with his health.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

5 Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Safe at the Dog Park
6 Myths About Dog Grooming