Just like humans, cat can become obese. Your cat's extra weight can have very harmful consequences on their health. Let's explore!

Obesity happens all too often in cats and can lead to cardiac disease, respiratory difficulty, and a myriad of other health problems. Physical activity is also restricted, which can cause pain and discomfort, and lead to a downward cycle in health.

Due to the number of different breeds, physiques and sizes of cats, there is no one-size-fits-all weight that can be applied. However, as an average, cats should typically weigh between 3kg and 5kg. Again, this does not apply to all cats and professional advice should be sought to ensure your cat falls within a healthy weight range.

In order to maintain a healthy cat, it is recommended to weigh your cat regularly to ensure they are in line with your vet's recommendations.

Factors that lead to obesity

Low-quality food

Your cat's excessive weight is in large part attributed to the food that is being fed to them. Some brands are simply low in quality or too rich in fat for your cat. They could also be eating too much.

In the wild, a cat can eat up to 20 times a day. It might seem a lot but this often includes hunting and catching small bugs and insects that provide only a very small snack for the animal.

Consider the domestic environment and the way in which we feed our cats is vastly different; meals are usually provided to them once or twice each day. For fear of missing out, our cats will eat quickly, which in turn does not facilitate ideal digestion.

It is advised to place a bowl of food at your cat's disposition each day. This way, your cat can eat at their convenience and reclaim their hunting habits. If the bowl is always full, however, your cat will limit themselves naturally and won't rush to eat.

Lack of physical activity

If your cat doesn't exercise regularly, this can lead to obesity just like in humans. This is notably in the case of more sedentary house cats who can't expend their energy as easily as those who spend time outside.

An environment that is too calm can make a cat bored. Through your absence and solitude, they could develop anxiety which will translate into eating larger quantities of food.

So that your can can expend their energy, follow these steps to make sure that they stay fit and healthy.

Spaying or neutering

After a sterilisation, the behaviour of your cat changes due to the drop in hormone levels. The operation also diminishes the energy of your cat. You will need to adapt their diet after sterilisation because they will burn less calories and therefore need fewer.

A non-sterilised cat eats often and little throughout the day, but a sterilised cat loses this self-regulation. In this case, the quantity of food given to a cat needs to be closely watched to avoid over-feeding.

Change in environment

A change in environment can make a cat lose themselves a bit. Their habits change and they must learn to live in a new, unfamiliar space. Changes such as no longer having a garden, the loss of a family member or a move in house can confuse your cat and this can be seen in their weight.

How to know if your cat is overweight

First, you should look at your cat from above to get an idea. If you can't see any signs of bone, the hollow of the flank as well as a separation between the abdomen and the thorax, your cat is presenting signs of obesity.

There is a classification of 5 levels to see whether your cat is obese.

A very underweight cat   

You can see and feel fairly marked bone relief and a loss of muscle mass. You can not feel fat on the ribs.

An underweight cat 

You can see the ribs, spine and pelvic bones, visible pelvic bones.

A cat with an ideal weight

Your cat has non-visible bones but you can still feel their ribs, they have a visible hollow of the flank and a small amount of abdominal fat.

An overweight cat

You have difficulty feeling the ribs and there is no longer the hollow of the flank.

An obese cat 

The ribs of your cat are not palpable, you feel a layer of fat on its ribs, you can hold their abdominal fat.

 Is your cat obese?

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