The rate at which cats are getting overweight is a rising issue in the veterinary world and even though it may not seem like a condition which is serious, obesity can drastically degrade the quality of life of your pet.
It is also crucial to understand that obesity is not caused by overfeeding alone. In this article, we shall be taking a look at the things to do if your cat keeps gaining weight as well as some of the reasons this may be occurring. But first, just when is a cat overweight? Let us read on to learn more about that.
What is Obesity in Cats?
So as to properly tell when a cat is gaining too much weight, you have to look at what obesity is.
Basically, you determine obesity in a cat when the weight of his body is over 20 percent its average weight. It’s a metabolic disease that develops issues like energy usage and appetite control
How do I know if my cat is overweight?
If you want to find out if your cat is gaining too much weight, the following areas should be examined:
- Check out the tummy of the cat in between the hind legs. Is there a roll of fat or apron there?
- Observe the part along his ribs. If you are able to feel the ribs as you press down gently when stroking her, then your cat is fine. But if you can’t feel the ribs, then your cat is probably gaining excess weight.
What causes your Cat to gain weight?
There are numerous reasons your cat may keep gaining weight which we shall be discussing below. Anyone of these conditions or a combination of them all will lead to your cat gaining an excessive amount of weight.
It will be hard to decide why your cat is gaining weight just by looking at it alone, so it is ideal to get your cat to a vet regularly for checkups so as to sort this problem. Nonetheless, below are a few reasons why your cat may be gaining weight.
· Intake of Calories
Availability of food is a core reason for cat gaining too much weight. Most times, owners leave of bowl of dry food where the cats can reach so that can consume it any time they like. This is called free feeding and it leads to obesity or your cats gaining weight.
Similar to humans, if there is nice food placed outside, it is hard to resist the temptation to eat as much as we want. Boredom may lead to the cat consuming placed food even if it is not hungry.
As stated by PetPlace, more than 20 percent of indoor cats are obese. This is basically as a result of consuming excess calories. Avoid feeding your cat with a bowl of food which is filled to the top. Instead, go along with the guidelines of the manufacturer to find out the suggested calories allowed.
The National Academics asserts that an average cat of 10 pounds requires around 280 calories each day or 240 calories if overweight.
· Absence of Exercise
A cat that burns lower calories than it consumes via exercise will gain too much weight. A cat that free-feeds with a sedentary lifestyle will gain weight with ease if it does not engage in some type of physical activity. As stated by the International Veterinary Information Service, Cats that were made to play for not lower than 10mins daily lost the same amount of weight as of cats fed on a calorie limited diet.
Toys which are interactive like cat toys and laser lights can encourage your cat to play with you. Enriching the environment can also offer your cat with fun methods of exercising such as cat scratching posts to claw and cats toys to play with.
If you have a female cat which is more than 6 months of age that has not been spayed yet, a probable cause of her gaining too much weight in pregnancy.
A brief interaction outdoors can easily lead to your cat getting pregnant. A reduction in physical activity, a distended tummy and an enhancement in appetite could mean your cat is going to have kittens soon.
In some situations, weight gain may not be as a result of additional body fat but from inflammation or swelling caused by an internal parasite. Retention of fluid in the stomach as a result of the heart condition can imitate weight gain in cats. The growth of a tumor internally can also lead to stomach distention.
Cats that battle with hypothyroidism attains weight, get dull coats and become lethargic. The thyroid gland of your cat aids in controlling its metabolism through the creation of hormones. A thyroid gland impairment minimizes these hormones which lead to the metabolism slowing down and resulting in weight gain.
Cushing’s disease is also another condition that can result in weight gain. This is as a result of the adrenal glands producing cortisol. This condition is caused by a tumor. Additionally, other health issues like
- Intestinal disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Urinary tract disease
If you observe that your cat is gaining weight, there could be a possibility that it is either dealing with one of the symptoms above or is getting access to food all day which is far too consistent. Regardless of what your assumption is as to the cause of your cat gaining weight, it would be ideal to get your cat to a vet as soon as you can to be certain it is not a life threating condition. Finding the reason your cat is gaining weight is the best method to start solving this issue.
While a starvation diet where you drastically limit all your cat food may be the ideal solution, cutting off the food supply of your cat may not sort the issue. This may actually result in lots of serious health issues which could be to the detriment of the life of your cat. The best method of dealing with too much weight is steady weight loss.
Measures to take if your Cat is Gaining Weight
- The most crucial thing to do and your first step when dealing with obesity in your cat is to pay a visit to your veterinary doctor. There, the doctor will have the capacity to figure out the underlying reason for the weight gain.
This could be if it is just overfeeding or some form of internal problem. The instant you have determined this, it will then be left to you to keep your car’s feeding habit under control.
- As stated before, placing your cat on a starvation diet is not the best step. This will only result in more drastic health problems as time goes on. The most appropriate step to take is to target 1 or 2 percent body weight loss weekly. This slow method will aid in ensuring your cat’s safety while you minimize its overall body weight. Buying a little scale will be a great tool for helping in keeping track of this process.
- For health issues like liver disease or diabetes, your cat may require blood tests so the veterinarian can come across markers that direct them to the issue. CT scan and X-rays or MRI can help your vet in diagnosing a mobility issue like spondylosis.
How to avert weight gain in your cat
Majority of the cases of weight gain in cats can simply be averted with the appropriate amount of exercise and diet. When deciding if your cat is on the appropriate weight track, you can utilize a Body Condition Score chart which can be found on numerous food manufacturer websites.
It’s an easy process that consists of three stages of assessment which include:
- Carry out a rib check by gliding your palms on the fur of your cat, across its rib cage on both sides
- Check out your pet from both sides and determine its profile. Is the stomach hanging low towards the floor?
- Check out the cat from the top. If your cat is drastically overweight, you will be unable to view the ribs and there will be heavy deposits over the limbs, spine, and face. Also, the tummy will be distended with no waistline in sight.
If any of these steps show obesity, it is advisable you head to your vet for more diagnoses. Through appropriate care and planning, your cat will have the capacity to live a happy and full life free from excess weight.
As for any underlying internal problems your cat might possess, the vet will have the capacity to prescribe the needed medication to aid in averting the problem and further treating any disease.
Cost of treating your Cat Gaining Weight
Cost of treatment differs depending on the root cause of your cat gaining weight. For example, treatment of diabetes in your cat could be as much as $4000 or more depending on how severe it is. If your cat has congestive heart failure, the average price range is from $1000 and above.
To prevent the development of issues and illness to problems related to obesity like diabetes. Your cat will need to lose weight safely. If your cat loses weight too quickly, it can result in other fatal issues. It is recommended that your cat does not lose more than one percent of its body weight weekly, as recommended by the IVIS. Minimize the present food intake of your cat by around 20 percent or place your cat on a diet cat food.
Diet foods consist of either amount of carbohydrates or protein or they simply have an increased amount of fiber. Get rid of treats and snacks that may possess a huge calorie amount and can sabotage your cat’s diet with ease. Instead, make use of healthy snack options like popcorn and carrots.
Tips to help your cat lose weight
The Vet is the best individual to aid you in setting a healthy eating programme for a cat that is overweight. But these tips should also help in offering great results. They include:
- Your cat should be provided with numerous little meals daily. If you stay away from the home frequently, try using a medical food dispenser or food ball
- Offer him extra attention or cuddles instead if he begs for food
- Purchase a tall scratching post to push your cat to climb
- Observe cat treats as they tend to be filled with huge amounts of calories
- Ensure you spend time playing with your cat daily as this will help her get the much-needed exercise
- Consider purchasing an extra kitten to provide company for your cat.
- Ask your vet to suggest a food for weight management for you. Your vet can also assist you in confirming if your cat is overweight and recommending the steps to make certain she stays healthy and happy.
When a cat gains weight in the appropriate manner, it is not a bad thing. It just shows a cat that is healthy and happy. But excessive weight gain could be caused by a host of factors and can lead to lots of issues in your cat if not put in check quickly and properly. The steps above are certain to help you pinpoint the issue with your cat and the steps to take in eradicating excess weight gain.