Approximately 1 in 4 cats are likely to be over-weight or obese. This is a growing problem among our feline companions.
While Garfield the cat may say he is happy being a fat cat, in reality his obesity is making him anything but happy. Due to his weight, he is six times more likely to develop diabetes, five times more likely to develop lameness and twice as likely to develop skin and gastrointestinal issues. Fat tissue produces pro-inflammatory signals that may lead to worsening of many other diseases and to decreased life span as well.
Prevention is the best way to avoid the problems of obesity. Today’s cat doesn’t have to work to find food but that decrease in activity means they also need less calories. So measuring daily intake of food and monitoring body condition is very important from the time a cat is spayed/neutered.
For decreasing weight there are several nutritional solutions available. It is important to use a therapeutic weight loss diet since they are supplemented to supply critical nutrients in appropriate levels while decreasing calories to the amount needed for weight loss.
Increases in protein and fiber have both been shown to help keep cats satiated, or feeling full, while decreasing calorie amounts. By adding certain fiber blends to a reduced calorie diet, cats tend to consume lower calories per meal and take longer before going back for a second meal. Another option for weight loss is a high protein, reduced calorie diet. Protein takes time and energy to digest and it supplies the necessary amino acids for maintaining lean muscle mass while losing fat mass.
Remember to incorporate exercise and play when possible. This could include incorporating kibble into toys or placing food in multiple areas around the house for the cat to “hunt”.