Tubby Feline Friends: Dealing with Cat Obesity

overweight cat

If a pet is obese, it is actually a sign of an irresponsible owner. Don’t get this statement wrong: although fat cats and dogs are a source of comic relief, they are actually suffering a lot. No self-respecting pet owner will ever want their pets to have circulatory and digestive problems, along with having to deal with several pounds of fat on the body. Like in humans, obesity in pets is an epidemic: 57% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. So, in order for Tubby to be no longer part of this statistic, what are some observances and facts you should know in order to deal with this problem?

Talk to your veterinarian

Generally, the best way to tell if your cat is overweight is to put them on a weighing scale. The ideal weight for an indoor cat is 8-10 lbs, 7-12 if a Persian cat while 10-25 if a Maine Coon. Anything higher than these mentioned weights and your cat is obviously overweight. Aside from which, if your cat is shaped like an hourglass and if you can’t feel their ribs or backbone, then they’re obviously obese.

overweight cat

Photo Credit: pet-health-care-gazette.com

Once you’ve realized your mistake, immediately set up an appointment with your local veterinarian. Talk to him about Tubby’s problems and have them addressed. Your vet will probably recommend a prescription diet and exercises that can help your feline friend get in shape. Remember though, accept your veterinarian’s advice as it is and be sure to keep Tubby secure in a cat carrier.

Stop overfeeding

This is a case-to-case basis: ask your vet about how much food you should place on Tubby’s bowl during dinner time. Overfeeding is the primary cause of feline obesity, given that most owners give in to the whims of the mind-controlling, whiskered companion. This statement is actually a half-truth: just how many times did you wake up to Tubby’s incessant meowing and demands to feed him in the past month?

Regardless if your cat is hungry or not, be sure to feed him on time and on schedule, depending on the routine your veterinarian mapped out for you. Never spoil your feline friend, since it’ll be the one suffering because of your actions.

Give it a hobby

cat obesity

Photo Credit: thetimes.co.uk

Even if Tubby has evolved into a lazy couch potato whose goal in life is to sit on your laptop and wake you up at four in the morning to have you feed him, they are still wild animals at heart. This means that they still retain their feral instincts, like chasing anything that moves around. That being said, give your cat a hobby and make it a routine. Here are sample activities:

Get a laser pointer. You have probably seen funny videos of cats pawing, chasing and running after a red dot. The bouncing dot of light will make any feline, even old and obese ones, chase and fruitlessly trying to grab hold of it. This in turn makes it great exercise, and a way to shed off extra calories. Remember though, be sure to give your cat a stuffed toy it can vent its frustrations on!

Install a cat tower. Pet stores and even some veterinary hospitals are packed with these seemingly useless items. Cat towers are better alternatives to cabinets, tables and wall shelves: they are safer and if installed in a safe location, are less likely to produce accidents. A cat sleeping on the windowsill can break the glass and destroy the curtains.

Give it toys. Treats are not only limited to food, since this term also encompasses toys. Give your cat a mouse stuffed toy to bite and perhaps chew on. Tie it with a string and play a fishing pole-type of game with Tubby at least once or twice a day.

Make it work for its food

One of the best ways to relieve obesity and the state of being overweight is to make your cat work for its food. This can be done by placing multiple bowls of food around the house: one upstairs, another in the kitchen and lastly, on the living room. Although it sounds cruel, it isn’t: anything that makes it move and shed extra pounds in its obese state is doing it a favor.

Ridding feline obesity is highly important this fall (if your region experiences this), especially since winter is a time where exercise is either nonexistent or minimized. Remember, being overweight can pave the way not only for circulatory complications, but also ones diseases affecting the liver (fatty liver) and bones (arthritis). As a parting note, keep this in mind: “A physically fit and active cat is a happy feline friend!”

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