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Feline Health Conditions

Pet health problems are stressful for owner and pet alike. Understanding certain health conditions your cat might be facing can help bring you one step closer toward nutritionally managing the problem.

Feline Health Conditions

Pet health problems are stressful for owner and pet alike. Understanding certain health conditions your cat might be facing can help bring you one step closer toward nutritionally managing the problem.

Is Your Cat Overweight?

The following article is taken from the "Purina® Animal Instincts" Podcast Series. Learn more at www.purina.com.

Humans aren’t the only ones living large. The obesity epidemic is affecting our cats, too. In fact, between twenty-five and forty percent of pet cats are obese or likely to become obese.

Unfortunately, cat owners don’t always realize that their once-trim tabby has become a fat feline. Without proper weight management, their cats continue to grow—and become at higher risk for diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions.

So keep an eye on your cat’s weight. When you pat her, gently press down. If you are unable to feel her ribs, consider taking her to the veterinarian for a proper exam. After ruling out any underlying medical causes, your veterinarian can help you develop an appropriate nutrition and exercise plan.

-Dr. Andrea Looney, DVM

Cat Obesity Dangers

Why is Obesity so Dangerous for Pets?

The following article is taken from the "Purina® Animal Instincts" Podcast Series. Learn more at www.purina.com.

Obesity is just as dangerous for pets as it is for humans. The extra pounds weigh on an animal’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems, exacerbating existing problems and causing new ones. Fat cats and dogs are also prone to injury, more at risk in surgery, and predisposed to conditions such as diabetes. And the laundry list of problems doesn’t end there. Decreased stamina, diminished immune function, and digestive disorders are all potential consequences of obesity.

Being severely overweight can significantly diminish your cat or dog’s quality of life. So when your porky pet pleads with you for an extra treat, remember that saying no may be the kindest response.

– Dr. Andrea Looney, DVM

Overweight Cat

Cat Obesity: a prevalent condition that can adversely affect your overweight cat's health

It has been estimated that over half of U.S. cats are overweight cats. The risk of feline obesity can be increased by genetics, high-fat diets, overeating, lack of exercise and health problems such as hypothyroidism. While gaining a few pounds may not make a lot of difference to your body, for a cat with a comparatively smaller body, a few pounds can add a lot of stress to bones and organs. 

Common health problems associated with cat obesity include:

  • lameness and arthritis
  • diabetes mellitus
  • exercise intolerance and overheating
  • increased anesthetic and surgical risks

How do you know if you have an overweight cat?

Feline obesity is defined as 20 to 25% above ideal weight, or enough excess body fat to impair health or body function.

Purina Body Condition System™ for feline obesity

IDEAL

Cannot see ribs, but you can easily feel them. Pet has a waist behind rib cage when viewed from above. Viewed from side, the stomach tucks in behind the rib cage. Maintain current feeding regimen.

TOO HEAVY

Cannot feel ribs, or can feel them only with significant pressure. Fat deposits at base of tail. Belly is rounded when viewed from the side. For weight loss, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for feeding. Compare again at scheduled check-up. Make feeding adjustments as directed.

Why many weight-loss programs fail

  • Metabolic disorder

If a metabolic disorder such as hypothyroidism is causing your cat's weight gain, diet foods may not always help. Before initiating any diet, your cat should be examined by a veterinarian to rule out metabolic dysfunction and disease.

  • “Reduced-calorie foods” may not be low in calories

Maybe you’ve tried giving your overweight cat “reduced-calorie” food. The trouble is, while this food may have fewer calories than other maintenance foods in the same line, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s low enough in calories to help your cat lose the excess weight.

  • Lack of exercise

Without adequate, consistent exercise as part of a weight-loss program, some overweight cats may fail to lose weight, even if they’re on a low-calorie diet.

  • Feed your cat for good health
  • Don’t feed table scraps and high-calorie treats.
  • Place only a measured amount of food in your pet’s bowl each day.