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Keeping Kitty Trim
November 15, 2023

Did you know that obesity is extremely common among our feline pals? Over half of pet cats are overweight. Fluffy may look adorable if she’s a bit round, but those extra pounds are very bad for her, increasing her risk of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues, and many other health issues. A Las Vegas, NV vet offers some insight on how to keep your furry buddy at or near her ideal weight in this article.

Monitor Fluffy’s Weight 

If Fluffy has short fur, you can probably get a rough idea of whether she’s ‘chonky’ or not just by looking at her. This gets trickier with longhaired kitties, though. Some cats, such as Maine Coons, also tend to naturally grow quite large. Your vet should be the ultimate judge here, but for a quick home evaluation, try the rib test. Feel (or try to feel) your cat’s ribs. Ideally, you should be able feel them under a thin layer of muscle and fat. If they’re sticking out, your kitty may need to gain weight. If you can’t feel them at all, well, you may have a furry little butterball on your hands.

Watch Portion Sizes

Portion sizes are a crucial part of ensuring that your kitty is getting the right amount of food. Even overfeeding Fluffy by just ten calories a day translates into an extra pound a year. That’s a lot for a cat! Ask your vet for specific advice.

Don’t Be Meowpulated

Many of our feline patients have their humans wrapped around their paws. If your kitty goes into meltdown mode every time she spots the bottom of her food bowl, you may need to steel yourself. That meow could be a lie!

Take Time To Play

Just like people, cats sometimes snack out of boredom. (We know, boredom may seem like more of a life goal than a problem for some kitties, but that’s another topic.) Fluffy needs entertainment and stimulation when she’s awake. You don’t necessarily have to go all-out and install catwalks in every room, but you can—and should—provide your feline buddy with a safe, comfy window view, lots of toys, and a few pieces of pet furniture to climb and explore. It’s also important to take time to play with your furry friend every day. Cats can burn a lot of calories in just a few minutes of running, jumping, and pouncing!

Our Advice on Keeping Kitty Trim in 2024

How common is obesity among pet cats?

Obesity in pet cats is widespread, affecting over half of the domestic feline population. This prevalence has been identified through various studies and veterinary observations, highlighting a significant health concern within the pet community. The condition not only diminishes a cat’s quality of life but also predisposes them to serious health complications such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. Contributing factors include overfeeding, lack of physical activity, and improper diet choices. Addressing cat obesity requires a proactive approach involving diet management, regular exercise, and close weight monitoring by pet owners and veterinarians alike.

What health risks are associated with obesity in cats?

Obesity in cats significantly increases their risk for a variety of health issues, including diabetes mellitus, which is one of the most concerning conditions linked to excess weight. Additionally, obese cats are at a higher risk for developing heart disease, which compromises their cardiovascular health. Joint problems, such as arthritis, also become more prevalent as the excess weight puts undue strain on a cat’s skeletal system. Furthermore, obesity can lead to respiratory difficulties, making it harder for cats to breathe comfortably, especially during physical activity or stress. Managing a cat’s weight is crucial to prevent these health complications and ensure a long, healthy life.

Why is it important to monitor portion sizes for your cat’s food?

Monitoring portion sizes for your cat’s food is crucial to prevent obesity. This condition affects over half of the domestic cat population and leads to serious health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. Even a slight excess in daily calories can result in significant weight gain over time. Proper portion control ensures your cat receives the necessary nutrients without the excess calories contributing to weight gain. Tailoring portions to your cat’s specific age, size, and activity level supports optimal health, energy levels, and longevity. Regular consultations with a veterinarian can help determine the appropriate portion sizes for maintaining a healthy weight.

What are some ways to provide entertainment and exercise for indoor cats?

Engaging their instincts through various means is essential to keep indoor cats entertained and physically active. Offering a variety of toys that mimic prey, such as feather wands or laser pointers, encourages hunting behaviors. Installing cat trees or shelves promotes climbing and provides a safe vantage point for observation. Puzzle feeders stimulate their problem-solving skills and slow down eating. Interactive play sessions should be part of daily routines, incorporating running, jumping, and pouncing. Additionally, providing access to windows can entertain cats for hours as they watch outdoor activities and wildlife, keeping their minds engaged and bodies ready to pounce.

What should you do if you’re concerned about your cat’s weight or health?

If you’re concerned about your cat’s weight or health, the first step is to schedule a consultation with a veterinarian. A professional assessment can determine if an underlying health issue contributes to weight changes or if dietary and lifestyle adjustments are needed. Your vet can provide a tailored plan that may include nutritional guidance, portion control, and a recommended exercise regimen. Regular follow-up visits can track your cat’s progress and adjust the plan. Additionally, ensure your cat has a balanced diet and ample opportunities for physical activity to support overall health.

As your Las Vegas, NV pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care. Please reach out to us anytime!