It has long been known that obesity causes or aggravates many problems in both animals and humans, however recent research has shown that, in cats, the effects of being overweight are more than previously thought.
Researchers at the University of Sydney have discovered that overweight cats are more prone to conditions as wide-ranging as:
- skin conditions including allergic skin disease
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- respiratory conditions including asthma
- urinary tract conditions
- mouth problems
- eye problems
If your cat is overweight, encouraging them to lose weight should be a priority for their health and well-being. It’s often not easy but is worth the effort of persevering. A full health check is important prior to any weight loss program to ensure that there are no underlying problems that may cause issues during weight loss and to determine a target weight and desired rate of loss (normally 0.5%-1% per week).
A special diet designed for weight loss provides the best chance of a safe and successful diet regime. Using activity toys and puzzle feeders helps to reduce hunger and increase activity. In a multi-cat household, microchip-controlled cat feeders can help to stop cats eating the wrong food.
Regular weight checks have been shown to be really important in a successful weight loss program. I recommend checks every 1-2 weeks initially, reducing to monthly as good progress is made. Sometimes your cat’s weight will plateau before reaching the target weight and this may require a rethink of the diet.
Below are some suggestions of things which may help you and your cat through this process. Please note that I may receive a commission on some outside links.