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An extremely fat cat tends to hit the headlines several times a year, becoming the (large) butt of fat-cat jokes. While the stories bring the extreme examples of cat obesity to public attention, recent studies have shown that obese cats are actually much more commonplace. In fact, almost 40 percent of all pet cats are overweight!
Fat Cat Health Risks
Overweight cats are at higher risk for feline diabetes and heart disease, plus the excess weight puts added strain on their joints and organs. The additional fat can also pose problems if the cat needs treatment (either medical or surgical) for other health issues. An obese cat has a much shorter life expectancy than a cat of normal weight.
How Much Should I Feed My Cat?
In general, domestic cats do not require as much food as their owners believe.
If you own a fat cat that gets little exercise, then you should restrict its diet to smaller portions of high-quality food to ensure that your pet gets all of the nutrition it needs -- without consuming excess calories, fats and sugars. Your vet will be able to guide you on how much to feed your cat.
Avoid Common Mistakes Made by Owners of Obese Cats
There are three main culprits that contribute to cat obesity. The first is a lack of exercise. If your cat is restricted to living indoors, make sure you offer it toys that will encourage active playtime each day.
Another cause of an increase in cat weight is the overfeeding of tidbits. Limit the number of treats that you give your cat, and don’t use your cat as a living dustbin by feeding it leftovers from your own meals.
Lastly, be sure to monitor the amount that you feed your cat each day. Read the recommended portion on any cat food that you buy, and don’t continue to fill up the food bowl over the advised daily amount just because your cat wolfs it down.
Follow these tips and pay attention to how much your cat eats, and stop it from becoming the next fat cat in the tabloids!
Angela Neal is a writer, editor and online consultant based in Scotland. She previously was a contributor to Petside.co.uk.