While scrolling the internet for funny cat photos, it isn’t uncommon to come across an adorable fat cat. Lovingly referred to as “Chonks” on the internet, a lot of people just think fat cats have more to love. Unfortunately, just as with humans, if your loving feline family member is overweight, they face future complications such as a shortened lifespan, medical complications, and an uphill battle against the bulge should their owners choose to correct their bad habits. Most of the time extra weight is packed on by well-meaning owners.
Over half of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. A cat that is considered overweight is 10-20% over their ideal body weight and a cat that is considered obese is more than 20% over their ideal body weight. Since cats come in all sorts of sizes, it is impossible to set a healthy weight range that covers all cats. A Maine Coon can be healthy, or even underweight at 15 pounds, where a much smaller and sleek Siamese would likely be obese at 15 pounds. The best way to judge of your cat is too thin, just right, or too chunky is to evaluate them using the body condition scoring scale.
Some common causes of extra pounds in our feline friends are:
What are the risks of allowing your cat to be overweight or obese? Most importantly, overweight or obese cats are at risk for having a shorter lifespan, and it can be by as much as 3 years. Other medical conditions that can develop from excessive weight are:
Not only can these conditions be painful, but they are can be expensive to treat and lead to a shortening of your feline’s lifespan.
What can you do if you feel your cat is overweight or obese? The first step is to schedule an appointment to talk to our team and have them assess your pet’s condition to make sure they are not sick. From there, we can determine how much food your kitty should be eating of their current over-the-counter diet or look into prescription of a low-calorie diet designed for weight loss. Setting up a feeding and energetic play schedule will also be beneficial for weight loss. In some situations, indoor running wheels (aka “Cat Treadmill”) or even hydrotherapy (under water treadmill) have been proven to be very successful!
At TLC Cat Clinic, we are here to support you and your feline friend to achieve their ideal body weight. If you are worried about your cat’s weight give us a call today!