Is your cat overweight? Do you know how to react? We will help you to see more clearly! Having an overweight cat is a frequent phenomenon. However, it is necessary to be vigilant because, as for the humans, the overweight is a risk in the formation of pathologies, which can impact its well-being and its health. The reasons why your cat is overweight are varied: digestive disorders, lack of physical activity, treatment, your cat is sterilized … But the solutions are known, so no worries!
How do i know if my cat is overweight?
According to statistics, more than one cat out of three is subject to a weight problem, whether it is overweight or obese. It is therefore important to be able to diagnose this problem and to act accordingly. For that there are several techniques of determination, we tell you everything!
First of all, the weight of a cat is generally between 3 and 5 kg. If your cat exceeds these values, then it is likely to be overweight or even obese. But the weight remains specific to each cat, depending on their size, their breed, their sex etc. Another technique is to put your hands on your cat’s thoracic cage and try to count its ribs. If you can do this then your cat is not overweight. However, if you can feel them but can’t count them, then your cat is probably overweight. If you can’t even feel them, then your cat is most likely overweight. However, if you are unsure, we recommend that you consult your veterinarian to get a reliable result.
What are the risks for an overweight cat?
Overweight weighs (no pun intended) primarily on the well-being of your four-legged friend. He is no longer able to move around easily, to interact with you, or even to play. He gets out of breath quickly, so he sleeps more, but this promotes weight gain.
If nothing is done, your cat can become obese and this can lead to risks of diabetes or other more or less serious pathologies, such as urinary stones, osteoarthritis, heart failure… All these health problems contribute to reduce its life expectancy. It is therefore essential that your cat keeps a moderate weight, so that he can enjoy a beautiful life as a pasha!
Why is my cat overweight?
Several factors can explain your cat’s weight gain. There is obviously the diet which, if not properly regulated, can make your cat gain weight. But there are also all kinds of medical interventions (castrations, treatments, diseases) that can cause your cat to gain weight. Let’s take a closer look at these different factors.
Generally, overweight in cats is due to a positive energy balance. This means that your pet is taking in more calories than it is expending. He will store the excess as fat. It is therefore essential to have your cat’s energy needs evaluated by his veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you how much kibble to feed your cat based on the amount of calories he needs to consume. Your cat’s energy needs are defined according to its age, sex, environment, whether or not your cat is sterilized, its lifestyle, etc. However, it is also necessary to verify that your cat receives all the essential nutrients (proteins, minerals, fibers…) for an optimal functioning of his body!
When a cat is sterilized, it tends to have a bigger appetite (that greedy guy!), reduced physical activity and a change in body fat. If the cat’s energy needs are not re-evaluated then the energy balance becomes positive and your cat will be overweight or even obese if the situation is not taken care of.
- Diseases and medications:
Although a cat’s environment and diet can influence its weight, it is also possible that diseases can lead to the same result. It is best to discuss this with your veterinarian. For example, Cushing’s disease leads to an increased secretion of cortisol, which increases your cat’s appetite and makes him less active and more lazy. These symptoms lead to fat storage in your companion, and you know the rest… There is also acromegaly, a disease that causes an overproduction of growth hormones in cats.
In most cases, your pet is likely to develop insulin resistance, which causes type 2 diabetes. This leads to increased appetite and weight gain in your cat. Finally, the treatment of certain diseases can also cause an increase in appetite in the cat to be overweight.
How to make my overweight cat lose weight?
The first step is to know your cat’s ideal weight. To find out, you should consult your veterinarian. Then, there are several points to help your pet lose weight. Here are our tips.
- Choosing the right diet for an overweight cat:
You have two options available to you. Either you do not change the amount of kibble your pet receives. In which case you should opt for low-fat food, enriched with L-carnitine (an amino acid that helps burn fat), which will provide the 305 kcal/100g recommended to make your cat lose weight. Otherwise, you can just reduce the kibble ration, which will reduce its calorie intake. However, it is very important to opt for more complete kibbles, with quality food, which will provide all the essential nutrients to his body. Finally, we also advise you to choose kibbles rich in proteins, soluble and insoluble fibers in order to increase your cat’s feeling of satiety, which will help him to eat a smaller quantity of kibbles.
The final step is to get your pet to exercise. To do this, you can invest in a cat tree or place his litter box and food bowls in places that are more difficult to access than usual, so that he can jump, climb, scale… Finally, the best way to exercise him is to play with him, to make obstacle courses for him, leave room for your imagination! But don’t forget that he might get tired very quickly at the beginning, we advise you to go little by little.