Obesity in cats, in most cases, comes from too many calories and not enough exercise. Fat people seem to have fat pets. I’m convinced that this is caused by an eating pattern(“a little more won’t hurt”) shared by the owner and pet. If fat people don’t exercise enough, why should their pets be different?
Weight gain can be very insidious until one day you say, “What happened?” As a pet matures or gets old, its metabolism and activity change, and its caloric intake should be reduced accordingly. People have the same problem keeping off that extra weight after the”middle years” arrive. What are the “middle years” for a cat?
If there is an increase in caloric intake, a slowdown in metabolism (due to body changes). or a decrease in exercise (due to action on your part or to a lazy or aging pet), weight gain will occur. Hypothyroidism (a lack of thyroid hormones) is rare in cats, and ovariohysterectomy (removal of the ovaries, tubes, and uterus in a female) does not seem to cause weight gain.
But sometimes owners misinterpret a weight gain or “large belly” as a fat problem when in reality a heart, liver, or kidney problem (with fluid accumulation in the abdomen)164
or a hormone imbalance is the cause. Overweight cats can have more pancreatic (diabetes and inflammation of the pancreas), heart, lung, and joint problems because these parts are continually being overstressed by excess fat and weight. Surgery and healing can also be extremely difficult in an overweight cat.
Your veterinarian is also overstressed by obese pets. It makes the physical examination more difficult because it’s harder to hear the heartbeat and lung sounds and to feel the internal organs. Trying to find a vein for blood tests or intravenous fluids in a fat pet can be a major undertaking.
Cat Weight Loss
Before starting a weight-reduction program, it is a good idea to have your veterinarian perform a physical examination and, if necessary, blood tests to rule out related health or hormone problems. The program itself involves finding the desired weight and the number of calories needed to maintain that weight. Feed your cat just 60 percent of that daily total until the cat reaches the desired weight.
For instance, if your cat weighs twelve pounds, and ten pounds is the desired weight, then 400 calories x 60% = 240 calories should be fed daily until your cat weighs ten pounds. Be patient: it may take three or four months. Once the goal is reached, you can slowly increase the calories to the calorie maintenance level (400 calories for ten pounds).
The cat’s normal food or special prescription diets can be used for the weight-reduction program, but all family members must cooperate. No table food or treats are allowed, because these add considerable calories. Keep a weekly record of your cat’s weight. If there is no steady weight loss, contact your veterinarian. If your pet roams free and is fed by neighbors, gets into the trash, or hunts for rodents, forget about weight reduction.
Take a “before” and an “after” picture of your cat. Your veterinarian will be proud of you and your pet’s accomplishment. A sincere owner who practices good preventive medicine for his or her pet is deeply respected by veterinarians. I want to share with you a post-card I received this summer from my patient money Meisner, on vacation in the Poconos:
See more: Cat Panleukopenia