October 9th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Of course, the point here isn’t to tell Fluffy that she’s, well, not just fluffy. Kitties aren’t purrticularly concerned about their waistlines. Pet Obesity Awareness Day is really to help people understand the health risks that chubby pets face, and also to offer information about keeping their pets at healthy weights. A Webster, NY vet discusses kitty obesity below.
Did you know that obesity is the single greatest health risk cats face? Studies have shown that over half of our furry friends are obese. Those extra pounds can reduce Fluffy’s life expectancy by more than five years! That’s because obesity can contribute to some very serious medical issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and liver and kidney issues, to name just a few.
Fluffy’s diet plays a huge role in her weight. All cat foods are not equal: some, especially lower-quality options, have a lot of fillers that are high in carbs and/or sugar. Get into the habit of reading labels, and choose products that contain mostly meat, fish, and/or poultry.
Portion control is another factor in the kitty obesity epidemic. Many cats have their humans trained to feed them on demand! If Fluffy just had dinner, but is begging for more food, that adorable meow could be a lie. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Treats also affect Fluffy’s weight. There’s nothing wrong with giving Fluffy a snack now and then. In fact, this is a great way to brighten up her day and make her feel loved. However, if you’ve gotten into the habit of regularly sharing your pizza or other fatty foods with your cat, it’s probably time to scale back. Treats should only make up about 5 percent of your furball’s daily caloric intake. Also, be sure to choose healthy snacks, like plain, cooked, boneless, meat, fish, or chicken.
Keeping your cat active will also help prevent her from packing on pounds. Get Fluffy some pieces of furniture that encourage her to jump and climb. It’s also important to play with your pet regularly. Use a toy that you control, like a laser pointer, to make playtime fun and challenging for your furball.
Do you have questions about your cat’s diet? Do you know or suspect that Fluffy is overweight? Call us, your Webster, NY vet clinic, today!