I remember being a kid and seeing my friend’s enormous cats and thinking to myself, “I wish my cat was that big!” Now that I have gotten a bit older and work in the veterinary care field, I have learned how dangerous it is to have an over-weight cat. Over-weight cats may become diabetic, develop arthritis, lameness, skin infections due to poor grooming, heart issues, and have a shorter life span.
Diabetes in cats can be hard to manage. Not only will their diet have to change, but they will also require insulin injections. This can be costly. Diabetic food is expensive, as is the insulin. Your cat will also require weekly trips to the vet while a maintenance dose of insulin is being established.
Larger cats have a hard time grooming themselves properly and oftentimes can collect fecal matter in their fur around the rectum. Not only can this cause skin irritations and infections, but it can also collect enough to block them from being able to have a bowel movement. This is extremely painful for the cat and if left untreated, may require surgical correction.
Extra weight can also cause strain on the heart since it is being forced to work harder.
Most over-weight cats are often free-fed. This means that food is left out at all times for the cat to eat whenever it wants. The key to weight loss is to offer your cat food twice daily. Measure the amount of food that is appropriate for your cat and give him/her 10 minutes to finish. Whatever is not eaten in 10 minutes is picked up and offered at the next feeding. Eventually, your cat will get the hint and eat what he/she is given when it is given. More than one cat? Just get more than 1 bowl. Offer them each a measured amount and pick up what is left over. This also helps you to know how much food your cat is getting each day. Oftentimes when we ask clients how much their cat is eating per day, they are unsure. “He just kinda eats when he wants to.” This makes it very difficult for us to help clients get their cat’s weight under control.
Just managing your cat’s intake of food is not always enough. Stimulate your cat with interactive toys and activities. You’ll be amazed at the amount of energy your cat has stored up under all that weight! There are so many toys out there for cats that will help get them up and moving and on their way to being slimmer and healthier!
For help on managing your cat’s weight, please call us today to schedule an appointment! It’s best to get started before there is a health issue!
By: Nanci Breegle