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Obesity in Cats

Obesity in Cats

Obesity has become a major issue among cats nationwide. In this article, our Oakwood vets will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this escalating problem.

What is Obesity in Cats?

Obesity adversely affects your pet's overall health, well-being, and quality of life due to excessive body fat. The detrimental impact of obesity on a pet's welfare is significant, as it can cause pain and greatly impair mobility. Moreover, it can hinder your pet's ability to participate in regular activities, including exercise.

Health Problems Linked to Obesity

There are many conditions that have been linked to obesity, such as:

  • Diabetes   
  • Respiratory distress
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancers  
  • Heart disease

Causes of Obesity in Cats

The primary causes of pet obesity are typically overeating, insufficient physical exercise, or a combination of both. Pet owners often use food as a means of rewarding and treating their pets, leading to excessive feeding. Additionally, pets that have limited opportunities for exercise due to confinement indoors or in small yards are more susceptible to obesity.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight

Here are some indicators to help you determine if your cat is overweight. If you suspect that your feline companion is carrying extra ounces or pounds, it's recommended to schedule a visit to the veterinarian. A vet check-up can help rule out any underlying health issues and provide you with effective strategies to help your cat achieve a healthy weight.

Struggling to Jump

  • A cat's body is beautifully built for running and jumping. If it takes your cat multiple tries to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your cat gives up altogether, there's a good chance that weight is the problem.

Check for Your Cat's Waistline

  • While your cat is standing, look down at them from directly above. Try to spot a slight indent just above your cat's hips where their waist should be (this can be a bit tricky with long-haired cats). If you can't see their waist or if their sides are bulging it means that your feline friend is probably carrying excess weight.

Feel for Your Cat's Ribs

  • If your cat is about the right weight you should be able to feel its ribs by running your hand along its chest. If you can't feel your kitty's ribs, your cat may be overweight. 

Use Our Overweight Cat Chart

  • Look over the overweight cat chart below to get a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your cat may be carrying an extra pound or two.

Overweight cat chart, Memphis Vet

Treating Obesity in Pets

If you suspect that your pet is overweight, it is crucial to schedule a visit to the veterinarian as weight gain can sometimes be a symptom of a serious underlying illness. Your vet will assess your pet's weight and overall health, and if no underlying conditions are found, they will provide recommendations for a safe and effective diet and exercise plan to help your pet reach a healthier weight.

Here are some potential suggestions your vet may provide to assist your furry companion in shedding those extra pounds.

Regular Exercise

  • Keep to a regular exercise schedule for your pet can work wonders. Especially for dogs, this includes going for walks twice a day and playtime outside once a day. Playing fetch or frisbee can help you and your pet to form a closer bond as well as provide your pup with a fun way to burn a few extra calories.

Diet & Feeding

  • Your vet will be able to calculate just the right number of calories to feed your pet at each meal and prescribe a low-calorie diet food to help your pet reach a healthier weight. Be sure your pet eats at the same time every day, and that you measure out the portions carefully based on the ideal weight for their breed (or size).

Yearly Checkups

  • Even when you're sure that there is nothing wrong with your pet, routine wellness exams are important. Annual or twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity to monitor your pet's weight and spot the early signs of illness so that conditions can be treated before they become more serious.

If your pet begins following a weight loss plan, visit your vet for follow-up appointments so that your pet's progress can be monitored and dietary adjustments made if necessary

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

If you are worried about your pet's obesity, contact Oakwood Animal Hospital today to book a consultation with one of our vets.

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Oakwood Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Oakwood companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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