Have you noticed how your feline friend cleans your floors with his stomach? If so, your flabby cat is probably overweight. You have to understand that an obese cat is not cute. This health condition can be dangerous for his health.
As a cat owner, you need to realize that around 50% of the cats in the country are overweight or obese. It is quite unfortunate that most owners don’t realize that their pet is already overweight. They don’t recognize the signs of obesity; thus, this health condition goes unnoticed and untreated, putting the cat at risk. If you believe that your cat is obese, you first have to understand what this condition is all about and how to treat it.
Understanding Feline Obesity
Obesity is a condition wherein the amount of excess fat in the body is great enough to cause harm. Feline obesity is a serious problem, one that puts the cat’s health at risk. As a pet owner, you need to understand that this condition is a debilitating syndrome, and it is linked to various health consequences.
There are different factors that can lead to obesity. While other cats have a medical condition that can put them at risk for obesity, most often it is the consequence of overfeeding. If your cat consumes more calories than what his body needs, he will become overweight and eventually become obese. Keep in mind that an average-sized cat usually only needs 180 to 200 calories every day.
The best way to know whether your cat is simply fat or if he is already overweight is to consult your veterinarian. Felines come in different breeds, shapes, and sizes; thus, it can be challenging for an untrained individual, such as yourself, to determine the standard weight which covers all felines and their differences. But as a start, you can look for any of these signs:
- When you feel along the side of your cat, you must be able to feel his individual ribs
- Put your cat down and stand over him. You must be able to see a waist and he must have an hourglass figure
- If you notice your cat is visibly sedentary, it is a cause for concern
- Your cat might have difficulty running, walking, and jumping. In severe cases, your cat might even find it hard to groom himself.
- Your cat appears to have excessive appetite for food
What Can You Do?
The first step is to admit that your cat is obese. Bring him to your veterinarian and get him a full medical check-up. You need to learn how overweight your feline friend is and compare it to his ideal body weight. You must also ask the veterinarian how much calories he should eat every day and the kind of diet recommended for him.
Control the amount of food you feed your cat
Feed him two to four small portions every day. As a tip, you can feed your cat around 0.6 ounces to an ounce of food every meal if your cat’s ideal weight is seven pounds. This is about the same size as a mouse.
Lower the carbohydrates in his food
Felines cannot handle large levels of carbohydrates. If he eats food that is rich in carbohydrates, his blood level of glucose will increase and stay that way for long periods of time. This increases his risk of developing diabetes.
Feed him a high protein diet
A meat based diet is ideal for your cat. He must have 35-45% range on a dry matter basis with a low percentage of carbohydrates.
Stop feeding treats to your cat
If you really need to give your cat a treat, you can cut up tiny bits of cooked chicken or fish instead since these treats contain natural protein. Do not feed him cat treats made from grains and have flavor enhancers.
Exercise your feline friend
You can buy toys for cats or play laser tag. You can use anything that can get your cat moving for at least 15 minutes every day.