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Do you have an overweight cat?

Do you have an overweight cat?

So your cat is looking a little round these days. What's the big deal right? Actually, when your cat starts to carry some extra weight it can pose a serious risk to their overall health. Our Gillette vets talk about overweight cats, why this is a concern and what you can do to help your kitty lose weight. 

The Effects of Weight on a Cat's Health

Your cat's weight is an important part of their overall health, even if you don't think about it. When your cat is overweight, just like people, its risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening conditions rises dramatically. Even a few extra ounces can have a significant impact on your cat's overall health and vitality.

Health Risks For an Overweight Cat

When a cat carries extra weight they have an increased risk of developing a number of health conditions, many of which are quite serious. Some of these conditions include:

Cardiovascular Disease

When a cat becomes overweight it can put a strain on their heart, specifically the left ventricle, leading to the potential development of cardiovascular disease.

The severe stress on the heart can cause a number of conditions including:

  • Cardiac Hypertrophy
  • Vascular Hypertrophy
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial Hypoxia.
Overweight cats also run the risk of impaired pulmonary function due to a decrease in lung volume.

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

Osteoarthritis is another condition that can affect overweight cats and lead to an overall decreased quality of life as your cat would be living with discomfort or even pain on a daily basis. This condition occurs both with the fatty deposits that can occur around the joints as well as pressure on bones and joints, both caused by the excess weight.

Kidney Disease

Kidney issues are commonly diagnosed among cats carrying extra weight. These conditions can include:

  • Enlarged Glomerulus
  • Glomerulosclerosis (scarring of the filtering units in the kidneys)
  • Hypertrophy (enlarged kidneys)

Insulin Resistance / Diabetes

When a cat is overweight it can lead to insulin resistance which can cause impaired glucose metabolism. Diabetes mellitus has also been known to develop more commonly in cats that are obese.

Shorter Lifespan & Poor Quality of Life

When a cat is carrying extra weight it can cause extra stress on a number of parts of their bodies including organs leading to decreased function of vital processes and the occurrence of serious conditions. Along with that, the extra weight just generally makes it more difficult for your cat to move around. Overall, obesity in cats is detrimental to their health in all areas which can lead to discomfort in life and an early death.

Signs That You Have an Overweight Cat

You may be wondering how to tell if your cat is overweight. Here are some of the common signs:

Larger Waistline

  • Look down at your cat from directly above while he or she is standing. Look for a small indent 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 their sides are bulging, your cat is probably overweight.

Can't Feel Your Cat's Ribs

  • When your cat is at a healthy weight you should be able to slightly feel their ribs by gently running your hand along their chest. If you can't feel your cat's ribs, your cat may be overweight. 

Your Cat Can't Jump

  • Cats are born with the ability to run and jump quickly. If your cat takes several tries to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if they give up entirely, their weight could be the issue.

Compare Your Cat to Our Overweight Cat Chart

  • Look over the illustration 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, Thomasville Vet

How to Help Manage Your Cat's Weight

Luckily, with a little time and effort, you can help reduce your cat's weight and help them keep the extra weight off. Here are the simple ways you can do this:

Diet & Nutrition

The main method of healing a cat to lose weight is just by reducing their food intake. Many cats are fed more than what they need so it's important to speak with your vet during your cat's wellness exam to learn more about their specific nutritional needs.

Many pet owners opt to place their cats on a high-fiber diet. This is because it can create feelings of fullness which can allow for smaller amounts of food while providing your cat with the same satisfaction.

Canned wet food is also a popular choice as there is a high water content that allows the cat to eat until they are full but the water content will contribute to that fullness as opposed to food only. This can also be beneficial as many cats don't drink enough water throughout the day and this can help them to stay hydrated.

Exercise & Stimulation

Exercise is the perfect way to help your cat stay lean. Providing them with cat trees and other structures to climb on as well as toys to chase can help to keep them moving. There are also many interactive toys on the market that allow you to help them move all around.

What happens when there's seemingly no cause?

If your cat has suddenly begun to put on weight without cause, it's time to see your vet. Unexplained weight gain can be a symptom of an underlying health issue.

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.

Are you concerned that your cat is carrying a little extra weight these days? Feel free to contact our vets in Gillette to schedule a routine checkup for your feline friend.

New Patients Welcome

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

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