Weight management

overweight cat

It is estimated that between 39 and 52% of the cats in the UK are overweight or obese. We don’t have figures for New Zealand but they are likely to be very similar.

Obesity is when an animal is 20% heavier than their ideal weight with overweight considered as 5-19% heavier than ideal. Long term studies show that this can decrease their life expectancy and predispose them to some serious conditions.

These conditions include:

  1. Diabetes – cats get the equivalent of type 2 diabetes like people do
  2. Urinary problems
  3. Arthritis
  4. Skin and coat problems – due to not being able to groom themselves properly
  5. Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver)
  6. Other complications include increased anaesthetic risk, decreased immune function and worsening of heart conditions.

So, what can be done about it?

The most effective way to get a cat to lose weight is by feeding a low calorie, high protein, high fibre food such as the Royal Canin Satiety food. This food is designed to cause safe weight loss in the cat. It can be combined with the Royal Canin obesity wet food whose high moisture content makes the cat feel full with lower calories.

It is always very important to measure out the food as feeding 10 extra biscuits a day can lead to a kilo of weight gain over a year! Also using puzzle bowls slows the eating down but also helps with the cat’s natural instinct to hunt for food.

Increasing exercise for cats is a little harder than with dogs but can be done through play with toys. Cats naturally only do short bursts of exercise, so these play sessions need to be for 5 minutes and multiple times a day to mimic their natural hunting behaviour.

If you think your beloved kitty may be getting more to love, bring them in for a free weight check with one of our nurses who can develop a weight loss programme individualized for your cat.

Watch this video and use the body condition score tool to assess your cat's weight