Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in cats and can be detrimental to their health. Cats that are over nourished, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight are at risk for becoming obese.

The overweight cat has many added stresses upon their body and is at an increased risk of diabetes, liver problems and joint pain. Long-term studies have shown that obesity shortens life expectancy.

How to tell if your cat is overweight

It can be tricky to tell if your cat is overweight. Regular assessments by your vet are recommended, but to check yourself simply run your hands around your cat’s flanks and abdomen. At ideal weight you should be able to feel, but not see, their ribs quite easily, without a heavy covering of fat. Their waistline behind the ribs should be clearly visible when looking down from above, with no sign of swaying folds at the sides when they walk.

Treatment

Treatment for obesity is focused on weight loss and maintaining a decreased body weight for the long term. To maintain a healthy weight in your pet, offer him a food that is appropriate for his stage of life and for his particular health concerns. Reduce caloric intake and increase your cat’s exercise routine and time spent playing. Increasing your cat’s physical activity level is vital for treatment.

Your veterinarian will most likely have a prepared diet plan that you can use to refigure your cat’s eating schedule, or will help you to create a long-term diet plan for your cat. Diets that are rich in dietary protein and fiber, but low in fat, are typically recommended, since dietary protein stimulates metabolism and energy expenditure, along with giving the feeling of fullness.