The Problem of Cat Obesity and What to Do About It
Your kitty may well be your most treasured companion, and he might spend his days following you from room to room and his nights sleeping at the foot of your bed. But make no mistake—he was born to be a lean, calculating predator. Just ask any mouse. Your cat is the suburban version of a wild lion; the neighbourhood gardens are his savannah, and he will defend his hunting ground ferociously. If this sounds like your tabby, a cat GPS tracker will help with activity monitoring as he patrols his territory far and wide, as nobly as any lion.
But what if your feline friend is more Garfield than Simba? If he would rather laze around at home all day, every day and can't be bothered to drag himself away from the log burner at night, it's time to consider what might be ailing him. Or he could be in generally good health but not as active as he should be. If he's not getting much exercise, perhaps he has a bit more padding around the ribs than he needs. Maybe he has a lot more. Be honest—do you have a fat cat?
The Rise Cat Obesity
A survey of vets conducted by the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association reported that cat obesity is a significant and growing problem. They found that a worrying 44% of pet cats in the UK are overweight or obese. Furthermore, one particular pet hospital analysed their own records and determined that the diagnosis of obesity in cats has risen by more than 100% in the past decade. That might be good news for the pet food manufacturers who make their profits from special diets, but it's bad news for your furry friends.
As with people, being overweight can impair pets' quality of life, reduce their life expectancy and cause a number of serious health problems, including:
- Kidney disease
- Respiratory dysfunction
Causes of Cat Obesity
There are several factors that can contribute to your cat's weight problem, some medical and some not.
Medical conditions. Some health conditions can cause your puss to be a bit pudgy, particularly disorders of the endocrine system, like hypothyroidism, insulinoma and hyperadrenocorticism. It's also possible that the medication your cat might be on for other medical conditions can cause unhealthy weight gain.
Neutering. It's important to have your pet cat neutered to guard against unwanted breeding, but it can have a detrimental effect on their metabolic rate, resulting in a long-term weight problem.
Restricted activity. Many people stop their cats from going outdoors in an attempt to keep them safe. However, this can seriously reduce the amount of exercise they get. A cat tracker could give owners peace of mind while their feline prowlers are on their health-boosting outdoor adventures.
Diet and feeding
It's common for cats to have constant access to food so that they can graze all day, and this can cause them to consume more calories than they burn. Over time, this will add up to a weight problem. Furthermore, too many treats or a poor-quality food will provide empty calories with little or no nutritional value.
What to Do if Your Cat is Obese
Cat obesity needs to be tackled from several different directions, but it also must be done slowly to avoid further health problems later. Take these steps to help your cat recover:
- See your vet who will rule out any medical problems or provide treatment for any they do find. They can also advise on diet and other healthy changes you can make for your fur-friend.
- Feed a quality food, and practice sensible portion management. There are plenty of foods on the market that will provide a nutritious, calorie-controlled meal. But take care not to restrict his food dramatically too suddenly, as it can cause serious malnutrition down the line.
- Encourage plenty of exercise by engaging with your cat and playing lots of games together. Toys like feathers, strings and catnip mice can be very popular and ensure lots of healthy activity and fun for you both.
- Allowing your cat to wander outdoors can also help with his exercise levels. If you worry that he will stray, Safer Pet's cat GPS tracker will ensure you can follow his movements to keep him safe. It will also provide activity monitoring so you can be sure he gets enough exercise to transform him back into the majestic lion he is in his heart.