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October 13th is a pretty relevant day to many of our feline patients: It’s Pet Obesity Awareness Day! Of course, the point isn’t to make Fluffy aware of her expanding waistline. It’s to educate people who have cats about the dangers of letting their pets get overweight. A local Huntersville, NC vet discusses obesity in kitties below.
We know, chubby kitties are adorable. However, they’re also at risk of developing some very serious medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, bone/joint issues, skin trouble, reproductive issues, complications with surgery and/or anesthesia, and liver/kidney trouble. Fluffy will also be at higher risk of developing certain cancers. Plus, she’ll have a shorter life expectancy than she would if she stayed at or near her ideal weight.
With short-haired cats, you can get a pretty good idea of their body condition just by looking at them. This is trickier with longhaired kitties. One test is to try and feel Fluffy’s ribs. Ideally, you should feel them beneath a thin layer of muscle and fat. If they’re protruding, your feline friend could be underweight. If you can barely feel them at all … well, your furball may be a butterball.
Unsurprisingly, your cat’s diet plays a large role in her weight. This is where Fluffy’s expertise in manipulating her humans often comes into play. If your furry friend is starting to look a bit plump, but has a kitty meltdown whenever she spots the bottom of her food bowl, you may need to steel yourself. That cute meow could be a lie! Ask your vet’s advice on portion control and feeding times, and go by that, not your feline pal’s theatrics.
Cats are quite active and zoomy in kittenhood, but they slow down as they age. Most of our feline buddies have pretty much run out of gas by about age 8 or 9. Of course, Fluffy will still have occasional moments of friskiness, even when she is a senior. A fun play session is a great workout for your furry buddy! Get into the habit of playing with your kitty every day. (Tip: Keep a laser pointer or remote-controlled toy near your favorite chair or sofa spot.)
Do you have questions about your cat’s diet or weight? Contact us, your Huntersville, NC animal clinic!