According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), approximately 55 percent of domestic cats in the United States are overweight or obese. That means that roughly 47 million cats are at a higher risk of life-threatening illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer. On average, excess pounds can take two to three years off your cat’s life.
Unfortunately, when a veterinarian recommends that a cat lose a few pounds, pet owners often dismiss the recommendation. After all, who couldn’t stand to lose a little weight? However, here’s what just a two to eight extra pounds on a cat equates to on a human scale, per the Huffington Post:
- 2 pounds is similar to 28 pounds on a 140-pound woman
- 3 pounds is similar to 42 pounds on a 140-pound woman
- 5 pounds is similar to 70 pounds on a 140-pound woman
- 8 pounds is similar to 112 pounds on a 140-pound woman
Thankfully, the culprit is usually easy to identify. Although some cats are predisposed to obesity due to existing medical conditions, weight gain is typically the result of overfeeding.
According to the APOP, 93 percent of pet owners say they give their cat a daily treat and a quarter of those pet owners have admitted to giving treats three or more times per day! The average cat only needs to consume about 180-200 calories each day, so even a few small, 10-calorie treats can have a significant impact on their weight.
Here are a few ways you can help your cat lose that excess weight and lead a longer, healthier life:
- Switch from high-calorie dry food to canned food, which is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This will help your cat lose weight and maintain muscle mass.
- Avoid high-calorie, high-carbohydrate treats.
- Make sure your cat gets at least 20 minutes of exercise per day. Use an interactive toy like a laser pointer to keep them moving during playtime.
- Be consistent and patient. With proper diet and exercise, most cats will reach their ideal weight in six to eight months.
- Take your cat for regular vet check-ups to make sure they are meeting their health goals.
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog about Dog Obesity and how a little weight can be a big problem.