Cats eat when they are hungry. But, like humans, they eat for another good number of reasons, from boredom to anxiety. And, like humans, cats overeating leads to being overweight and potentially developing health issues. Here are some great tips to keep your cat healthy and in good shape.
PFMA interviewed 277 vets at the London Vet Show to create their Pet Obesity Report in 2019.
Their research, which is repeated on an annual basis, showed that 100% of the vets that took part in the survey were concerned about obesity becoming more prevalent in our pets, and they believed 44% of our cats are overweight. With PDSA studies showing that there is an estimated number of 10,9 million pet cats in the UK, that means that nearly 4,8 million cats are over the average healthy weight. Is your cat one of them?
How to tell if your cat is overweight
We love our cats. They’re soft, they’re elegant, and they love cuddling (well, most of them). That’s why it may be hard to really believe your cat has put on weight. For you, they just look as beautiful as always and it’s probably just their fluffy hair that makes them look a bit bigger. But don’t let their pretty face deceive you: if they really are overweight, their life could be threatened.
To help us learn how to tell if a cat is overweight, Cats Protection has created this infographic. But there are other things that could indicate a problem with their weight (and overall health), such as lethargy and a decrease in their activity.
The risks of an overweight cat
Putting on a couple of pounds is nothing for a human like you and me, but for cats, who are a lot smaller than us, those extra pounds can put a huge strain on their organs and joints, affecting their quality of life and even shortening their lifespan. But what are the real risks of a cat being overweight?
● Developing diabetes type 2,
● Joint injuries,
● Heart disease and high blood pressure,
● And even some types of cancer.
How to help your cat stay in shape
We don’t want to scare you, but it’s important that you understand the importance of keeping your cat in good shape. Unlike dogs, cats are very independent animals and if they are not up for it, you can’t really trick them into playing – let alone pushing them to go for a walk. So, how can your cat stay active and healthy? Here are some suggestions.
Healthier, lighter diet
As always, the best way to keep the weight away is to watch the calories, but also the components of the food you’re feeding your cat. Highly processed foods are not great both for humans and for cats, which is why we recommend you check the label before buying, and that you learn about the brand you are currently using. You may want to try a different kind of diet for your cat, such as raw cat food. We now have a range of Raw Cat Food available in our Online Store. However, it’s important to check in with your vet first, just in case. We know cats can be pretty fussy, though. If your cat doesn’t seem interested in what you’re offering them, take a look at our tips for giving your cat the perfect diet.
Catifying your home
Catifying your home means organising the space and adding pieces of “cat furniture” for them to climb, scratch and jump. The reason why some cats may become less active and therefore put on weight is precisely because they are bored. Cat trees, scratching boxes or food mazes can give your cat hours of entertainment and exercise. For example, try leaving their food bowl on top of the cat tree: they will have to climb to get it, and that’s already a little workout for them!
Another reason why cats (and also humans) eat is because they are thirsty. But we all know how special cats are – sometimes they don’t even look at the water, but they love a dripping tap. A cat fountain can be perfect to keep your cat hydrated.
Cutting down the treats
Cat treats are not just one of the favourite things in the world for our cats, but they are also of great help when it comes to getting them used to their new toys. You could use them in a treat maze or a treat ball, which are great ways of making them exercise. However, if you are feeding your cat many treats, that is just adding up calories to their daily intake. If your cat is really after something tasty and not even some play time can get their mind away from it, try healthier, more natural choices like these ones we have at For Petz Ni.