Countering Obesity in Cats: Strategies and Practical Solutions
Today, more and more domestic cats are becoming obese , it is important to adopt good practices to ensure their well-being and health. To counter this increasingly widespread problem, let's discover together the strategies and practical solutions that we can put in place to maintain a healthy weight in our pets.
Cat: pet that may be prone to obesity
There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain in cats, including improper diet , lack of exercise , excessive stress or boredom , particular illnesses and/or medications .
Physical and behavioral characteristics of cats
The most common physical characteristics in cats include dense, soft fur, a triangular head, pointy, wiggly ears, large, expressive eyes, and relatively small stature. Cats are known to be calm and independent and tend to be very active during the day.
Risk Factors for Obesity in Cats
Some physical characteristics common to cats can increase their risk of obesity: a less efficient immune system that makes them more susceptible to disease; vestigial morphology (for example, too short a tail) due to human selection; high sensitivity to food stimuli; reduced physical activity due to confinement or a lack of appropriate space; or easy access to high calorie foods.
Other behavioral factors also increase the risk of an obese cat. For example, some cats are more likely than others to overeat or not control their food intake well.
Similarly, overeating kibble can lead to excessive weight gain.
Obesity: weight problem that can have serious consequences on the cat's health and quality of life
When a cat becomes obese , they may be more susceptible to heart, respiratory, and joint disease . Obesity can also lead to digestive issues such as constipation and acid reflux, contribute to behavioral issues such as aggression , and compromise one's overall quality of life.
Definition and Symptoms of Obesity in Cats
According to the "Veterinary Handbook for Companion Animals" , a cat is considered obese if it is overweight by one third or more of its normal weight. Many veterinarians use a method called the "Body Condition Score" to measure a cat's obesity.
This method involves estimating body fat percentage from a physical examination by a veterinarian.
Common symptoms of an obese cat are rapid, shallow breathing, difficulty breathing, excessive fatigue, low stamina, and a strong desire to sleep. An obese cat will also tend to have dull, unhealthy fur as their blood circulation may be affected.
Consequences of obesity in cats
When a cat becomes obese, it can lead to serious health consequences. Risks include cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and heart rhythm disorders.
An obese cat is also more vulnerable to bacterial and parasitic infections because its immune system is not efficient enough to fight pathogens properly. Finally, obesity can significantly affect a cat's length and quality of life.
Solutions to counter obesity in cats
The best way to prevent or treat obesity in cats is to adopt a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving their quality of life.
It is important that your cat receives the appropriate amount of nutritious food appropriate for its age, lifestyle and genetic type. It is recommended to use foods rich in protein and low in calories.
You may need to increase the portion of cat food at first to compensate for the fact that they like to eat small amounts several times a day.
Cats are known to be very active and love to play and run. Although not all cats are great exercise enthusiasts, it's important to provide your cat with a stimulating environment that allows them to explore and have fun.
Interactive toys can be a great source of exercise for your cat
It is recommended that owners have their obese cat examined by a trained veterinarian before beginning a weight loss program.
Medical treatment if necessary:
Some cats may also benefit from medical treatment in the form of medications or suppositories to aid weight loss and/or control their symptoms.
Countering obesity in cats requires careful planning, thinking about their quality of life, and constant attention to what they ingest and their daily physical activity. The key is to strike a balance between proper nutrition, proper exercise and ongoing medical supervision to ensure the cat's optimal well-being.
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