For many keepers, a fat cat is a happy cat, but the reality is that behind being overweight there are hidden problems that will affect the feline’s quality of life and compromise its health.
That is why from SoyUnGato we will teach you how to distinguish a cat with a little overweight from a cat with worrisome obesity.
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Why is obesity in cats a concern?
Obesity or being overweight are a risk factor that will predispose the cat to suffer from different diseases. In addition, if the cat already presents some pathology, obesity will worsen the clinical signs.
Obesity predisposes our cat to suffer from diseases such as liver lipidosis, diabetes or dermatoses . In addition, obese cats are poorly tolerant of exercise, heat, and anesthesia.
How to know if my cat is fat?
A cat at its ideal weight will have an athletic body, with ribs that are not visible but are easily palpable . In an underweight cat, on the other hand, it will be easy to see the skeleton covered in little more than skin and bones.
On the other hand, in fat cats the body aspect will be more or less rounded. On palpation it will be impossible to detect the ribs under a considerable layer of fat. The abdomen will be distended or, in other words, the cat will not have a waist.
Our veterinarian will have some body condition tables based on all this information collected through observation and palpation. In this way it can tell us whether or not our cat is obese.
Factors that affect the weight of a pussycat
Among them, to maintain control over weight it is important to focus on those over whom we can exert influence. These are those directly related to the animal:
- The sterilization, because it affects metabolism, reducing energy consumption.
- Age, over the years increases the risk of gaining weight.
- Diseases, since some will influence weight, and there are also other factors related to the caregiver.
- The choice of diet, since not all are equally nutritious.
- The methodology of feeding, since it is not the same to leave food freely available than to ration it.
- The frequency with which treats, human food or any product outside the regular diet are administered. The extras will provide empty calories, with no nutritional value. If we go overboard with them, they will replace the foods that the cat should eat.
- The possibility of practicing exercise that is offered, a point at which it must be taken into account if he has access to the outside or does not leave the house and what possibilities of activity he has at home.
- Finally, it is very important not to lose sight of the cat’s own perception of the cat. Many are truly unable to see that their cat is fat.
Do we put our cat on a diet?
Once we assume that our cat is fat, it is easy to want to solve it in a drastic way and on our own, which translates into reducing the amount of food without any veterinary supervision.
Suddenly taking food away from the cat will make it hungry. It is difficult to put up with a cat meowing insistently for food, so it is unlikely that the caregiver will maintain this diet for long. In addition, the body ends up getting used to it and, in the end, it stops losing weight.
Feline slimming plan
Therefore, if our cat is fat, regardless of its age, sex or vital conditions, we must go to the vet. This professional will be in charge of preparing an adequate diet that makes us regain the weight that we establish as ideal . It is advisable to have a veterinarian specialized in nutrition.
Once the body condition of the cat has been determined, its current energy consumption is calculated and a reduction is applied, which must be progressive and, in no case, imply a decrease in the amount of protein, since it could affect its muscle mass.
The ideal diet to lose weight, therefore, should decrease fat and increase fiber and water . The food will be offered in small portions several times throughout the day to keep you hydrated . Wet food can be helpful in that it has a lower calorie content and a satiating effect.
In addition to the menu, we must not forget about environmental enrichment because we need the cat to remain active. The veterinarian will schedule follow-up visits every 2-4 weeks in order to verify the success or failure of the plan.
We are interested that the weight loss is slow because it supposes a more moderate restriction with respect to the food that the cat used to eat. This will make it easier for you to adapt to the diet and for the caregiver to stick to it, as the cat is less likely to demand more food from you.
How do I keep my cat in shape?
After a period of diet, it is likely that we will be able to reach the weight that we had set as a goal. At that time we must maintain some measures, following a maintenance diet that the veterinarian will also guide us according to the circumstances of the cat.
Even so, we must not lose sight of the fact that some cats will have a rebound effect. For this reason, maintenance should not be neglected, nor should periodic veterinary follow-up be dispensed with.