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Obesity in cats is on the rise!!! We need to keep a closer eye on our feline friends.

More and more, we are seeing cats come into the veterinary clinic with excess body fat. A lot of the time, the cat’s owners believe that the extra weight is a sign of a healthy cat or that Fluffy is just very “muscular”. Unfortunately, that extra weight on Fluffy means she is actually unhealthy and is at increased risk of diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and even cancer. The misconception that your kitty is muscular is a very common one. Muscular, healthy cats are actually slim and have a nice waist and their ribs are easily felt under their coat (but not seen).

It can be a long and difficult process for a cat owner to help their feline lose weight. It is important to keep tabs on your cat’s weight because excess body fat can greatly increase your cat’s chance of developing many different diseases.

The best thing is to prevent obesity before it happens. Each year at Kitty’s annual exam, your veterinarian will assess her body condition. If Kitty is starting to creep from the “ideal” to the “overweight” range, your veterinary team will work with you to assess her eating habits at home. They can help you adjust Kitty’s feeding schedule to prevent any more weight gain and give suggestions to promote exercise.

Eating habits, feeding habits, exercise, age and hormone changes can affect weight gain. Keep in mind that all cats are different. You may have two cats which you free feed but Felix may eat only the calories he needs while Oscar may eat more calories than he should. Felix could be an ideal weight and Oscar could be overweight. Though nourishing two cats with conflicting health problems or weight is challenging, your veterinarian can provide tips to help you succeed.

An owner’s feeding habits such as offering Mittens table scraps like milk and cheese (both of which have high calorie content) can contribute to weight gain. A small piece of cheese for a cat would be the same as us eating two cheeseburgers…

For more information, check out these sites:

Feeding Cats and Feline Obesity: http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/avhc/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=680746

Body Condition Scoring: http://www.royalcanin.ca/index.php/Your-Cat/Adult/blogindex_catadult/Body-Condition-Scoring-in-Cats

Weight Management: http://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/cat-disease-weight-management.html