The Catkins Diet
Is your cat fat? Is your furry feline sporting something extra on the midriff? Are you in denial and pretending it is just extra fur to keep her warm? Well you are not alone, according to my research there is an estimated 60 percent chance that your cat is too chubby. But this epidemic (up 5% in 5 years) is leading to shorter and less healthy lives for cats, so I am putting my paw down.
Why are cats getting fat? In a word, lifestyle. Our mice-eating days of old, domestic cats had to work really hard for our calories. Today’s modern house cat spends most of the day looking for something to do, and too often that becomes parking ourselves in front of an overly generous kibble bowl. Pet parents often compound the problem by interpreting their kitty’s requests for attention as demands for food and respond with treats rather than what he really needs, a good workout.
The consequences can be serious. Even a few extra pounds can burden the heart, raise blood pressure, and cause arthritis by increasing stress on the joints and ligaments. Obese cats, unable to clean themselves properly, frequently suffer from painful rashes and urinary tract infections. And overweight cats are four times more likely to develop diabetes.
Everyone knows someone who lost 10 pounds in 10 days on a juice fast or cabbage soup diet. But in feline shrinkage, there are no quick fixes. Cats who reduce too quickly can develop life-threatening hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), so weight loss must be carefully monitored. Done correctly, it can take more than a year for a real heavyweight to reach his goal, but can add years to your cat’s life.
Successful weight loss starts with calorie control. “When humans measure out dry food for a cat, their eyes are bigger than reality,” says veterinarian Lisa Pierson, who maintains the website catinfo.org. “They don’t understand that a half cup can be over 300 calories. Most sedentary cats only need 200-225 calories a day.”
In addition to calorie control you want to get your cat burning more calories by encouraging him to play and move. Making playtime a regular part of your cat’s day will not only decrease his midline but also enhance your bond and his sense of wellbeing.
Of course – if you have an overweight pet you should take him to your veterinarian to make sure there aren’t any medical factors contributing to the issue - and have your vet recommend the best weight loss program for your pet.
Veterinarians will often suggest switching to high-protein, low-carb food as well as making your cat work for its food through the use of “food puzzles,” which require manipulation to get food out of. The puzzles slow down eating while tapping into our natural instincts to hunt and forage.
My name is Whiskey and I am an adorable, playful young kitten here at Second Chance waiting for my forever home. I am very active and fit (so if you adopt me I expect you to help me stay that way). I love people and get along well with other cats, especially playful ones. Come meet me today!
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.