Weight Problems and obesity are some of the common concerns among cats nowadays because over the years, it has been noticeable that more and more cats are becoming overweight and are even considered obese. Some may think that these are not problems because big and chubby cats look adorably cuter than normal but these are actually considered problematic because obesity is one form of malnutrition. In this case, bigger does not mean healthier and heavier does not mean better. A cat can be considered overweight if it is 1 to 19 percent heavier than the optimal weight. If a cat is 20 percent heavier or even more, then it is already obese. It should be noted though that the optimal or ideal weight differs among cats, depending on the age and the breed as some breeds are naturally bigger and heavier than others. As mentioned earlier, being overweight and obese are also forms of malnutrition because the cats over-consume unhealthy food with empty calories which leads to the accumulation of excessive body fats. It is malnutrition in the sense that the cats are not eating the right kind of food, hence, they are not taking in the right nutrients that their bodies need.
Many say that the leading cause for obesity in cats is the choice of food that their owners give them and the manner that the food is given. Some practice ‘free feeding’ because it requires less effort to the owners as a bowl of food is always readily available for cats to consume throughout the day. However, this promotes unhealthy eating because the cats can eat anytime they want, even when they are not really hungry at all. Just like how we have certain schedules in eating, we should practice the same among our cats. Give them healthy and nutritious meals and not just dry food and treats that they can eat whenever they want to.
Same with obesity among humans, there are also health risks that come with obesity in cats. Because of obesity, a cat may not be able to have some physical activities anymore because of the decrease in its stamina and exercise tolerance and so as a result, they may suffer several health disorders. Some of the disorders may include diabetes mellitus, lower urinary tract diseases, cardiovascular health, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, non-allergic skin diseases, and hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease which can be fatal in the long run. Additionally, obese cats may have an increased anaesthetic risks, decreased immune function, problems with giving birth, and have breathing problems.
Overweight and obese cats need help and responsible pet owners should be able to treat their cats from weight problems and obesity. Bringing the cat to the veterinarian is always a good step to take because we all need professional advice but treatment can also be done by making sure that we give them quality canned or prepared food which are high in protein but low in fat and carbohydrates. It is also important to take note that cats are carnivorous and they need to have meat in their meals so they can survive. Aside from healthy eating, cats should also have physical activities to help keep themselves healthy and fit. With the proper diet and exercise, the target weight should be achieved in time. Once that happens, regular weight checks should be done to ensure that the ideal and optimal weight will always be maintained for the health and well-being of our cats.