The image of the fat cat is even endearing to us. But in reality, being overweight is a severe problem for our beloved felines.
In 2016, the Association for the Prevention of Obesity in Pets published a study in which it stated that 57.9% of cats in the United States were obese or overweight. And only 37% were at their ideal weight.
That more than half of cats have problems of excess weight is something to pay attention and be careful, to prevent it in our cats.
What is an overweight cat?
A cat is overweight when it is above its ideal weight. That is a pussycat who is overweight means that his body mass is more significant than his share.
In numbers, that translates to that if your body mass exceeds your ideal weight by more than 10-15 %, it is an overweight cat.
And there is the talk of an obese cat when this overweight prevents regular activity or compromises any of its vital functions; That in numbers is estimated to happen when the body mass exceeds 15-20% of the cat’s ideal weight.
What is the ideal weight of a cat
While it is difficult to determine a perfect weight for all cats, some factors influence weight such as sex, breed, size, etc.
Taking these factors into account, tables have been drawn up in which to establish an approximate average weight according to the type of cat.
For example, taking into account race or type of competition, some indicative figures are:
- Ordinary European cat: between 3 – 5 kg.
- Siamese cat 2- 4,5 kg.
- Persian cat: 3 -5.5 kg.
- Maine Coon cat: 4.5-11 kg.
The lower number of these numbers is usually the range of the female and the upper of the male cat. For example, in European cats, females typically weigh between 3-4 kg and males between 4-5 kg.
What is an obese cat?
As we said, obesity is from 15-20% of body mass more significant than the ideal weight. Following the previous guidance figures, a typical male cat of more than 6 kg would be obese, as long as it is not a large cat.
Obesity can lead to many other health problems, so we must watch that our cats do not suffer.
An obese cat usually has locomotor and cardiovascular problems, and it can even happen that the accumulated fat presses its diaphragm, thus compromising its respiratory capacity.
An overweight cat and an obese cat should increase their physical activity, but just the condition they have makes the opposite happen. It is a fish that bites its tail, because the more fat it has accumulated, the less it can move.
Steps to check if your cat is overweight
Since the issue of weight is so indicative, there are other ways to check if the cat is overweight or not.
- Observe the shape and body of the cat. Depending on the degree of overweight, it is possible that a simple observation can be detected. A cat seen from above is usually shaped like an hourglass, but when it has more body mass than it deserves, it loses that shape, because it accumulates fat in the trunk, belly, and chest.
- Palpate the ribs. The pussy’s bones are easy to notice on palpation, in case it costs to find them the cat may have more weight than it should.
- Palpate the spine, shoulders, clavicle, and sternum. As in the previous point, these bones are covered by a thin layer of fat. If this layer is so thick that it does not feel good, it is a sign of overweight.
Why can a cat get fat?
Many factors can cause overweight, and obesity is a reasonably complex disease. It is usually simplified by saying that the pussy is eating more calories than it should, but there are more reasons.
Some cats are more predisposed to be overweight or obese, either because of the conditions of the cat ( breed, sex, etc.) or for other very different reasons.
The main ones are:
- The feeding. As always we say, the correct nutrition of the cat is critical in all the aspects of its life and, obviously, in the weight also. If the cat is overweight, he is eating too much, but above all, he is eating poorly. An unbalanced diet between feed and cans, a poor choice of feed, etc. These are some of the reasons that can contribute to this.
- The age. Small cats need more calories than an adult cat (and so their diet is usually unique and is too caloric for cats that are not puppies), physical activity is different at each stage, etc. These combinations make the appearance of overweight occur more frequently in cats between 2 and 12 years, and especially from 5 to 11 years. The elderly cats do not tend to be overweight because they tend to lose their appetite. Find out about your cat’s age in this article.
- The physical activity. A more passive cat will not consume so much energy, just as the level of activity also varies with the cat’s age. If the physical movement of the pussy does not correspond to caloric intake, overweight begins to appear, and that can lead to entering the vicious cycle of ” fat cat who does not move, becomes increasingly fat .”
- The temperature. In addition to other environmental factors, temperature influences calorie consumption. Cats that live in colder places need more calories than those that live in hot areas. And this situation may also vary depending on the season of the year.
- The home and the environment. Cats that are in enclosed spaces tend to have less physical activity and, therefore, to be more likely to be overweight. Domestic cats that have access to the outside are more active. Also, the home environment influences. For example, if the cat suffers from stress due to a bad situation, he usually has more eating problems. If the cat is timid and is in a house where there are frequent visitors, strangers, etc., you may spend a lot of time hiding, and that has an impact on your diet and physical activity.
- The spaying or neutering. Many times it is said that sterilized cats gain weight as if taking load directly corresponds to it. But the truth is that it is not a direct consequence. Cats that retain their reproductive capacity have a higher metabolic level and, therefore, need more energy. That is if a cat eats the same before and after being sterilized, but if the body does not need so much, that will result in getting fat. Also, some studies defend that sterilized cats tend to eat more than before the operation, so the problem is already served. But the solution should never be to stop sterilizing or neutering animals but monitor the feeding of the pussy after the operation.
- Some medications and some pathologies. Some diseases make the cat more likely to be overweight or obese, such as diabetes. And certain medications make the pussy fattening.
As humans who live with cats, we should provide our minions with what is necessary to take care of each of the above factors that we can influence. For example, we must offer a quality diet, play with them to encourage physical activity …
What to do if your cat is overweight
If after reading the above, you suspect that your pussy has problems with being overweight, you should take it to the veterinarian to check if this is the case, and make the necessary changes to fix the problem.
Undoubtedly one of the first will be the change of feeding of the pussycat, although the loss of excess weight mustn’t be very fast. Cats that lose weight very quickly may suffer from fatty liver or other pathologies, so it is good that you gradually lose weight and with veterinarian supervision.