Obesity and weight loss

Obesity in cats is becoming an increasing problem and can lead to a number of health risks including:

Diabetes

Osteoarthritis

Urinary tract disorders

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Depression

Most cats become overweight due to lack of exercise and over-feeding, but there are a few conditions that can lead to weight loss or weight gain so it’s always important to seek veterinary advice first. A consultation with your vet can help to identify an underlying problems or whether your cat is already suffering with side effects of obesity.

If no medical problems are found then one of nursing team can help you make adjustment to your cat’s regime in order to encourage weight loss. The nurses run weight clinics to give you step by step advice and to monitor your cats progress. Please call the practice if you are interested in enrolling on one of these FREE clinics.

Tips on feline weight loss

Feeding

Feed little and often. Cats are grazing animals and don’t necessarily require two meals a day.

Weigh food out in the morning and only take out what is required for “treats” and mealtimes.

Playing

Save toilet/kitchen rool tubes! They make great activity centres for cats. Stick them on top of each other and put a few pieces of food in the holes. It keeps their minds and paws busy!

Pen torches make good toys, they like to chase the light. PLEASE DON’T  POINT THEM DIRECTLY AT THE CAT’S EYES!

If you cat responds well to catnip, allow small periods of frantic play throughout the day. If you leave catnip toys out all the time they become used to it and effects tend to be reduced.

Brightly coloured, textured toys grab the cat’s attention. Homemade toys work just as effectively if not better. Please avoid using string or twine as some cats will try to swallow it and can cause severe internal damage.

Cats are predatory animals. They like a reward at the end of a play session. This should be enforced by, ideally, a ration from their daily allowance of food and the toy removed until later.

Stress

Cats weight loss, or lack of, can be related to stress. Multicat household, new cats in the neighbourhood, new friends/family members, change in routines and even moving furniture and putting up Christmas decorations can cause stress to cats. Cortisol is a “stress hormone”, it is directly effects fat storage and increasses blood pressure. Chronic stress can be a cause of obesity in some instances. So it’s important not only to tell the nurse what and hen your cats eats, but if they are stressed. It may be advisable to monitor your cat’s blood pressure as well as their weight as hypertension can lead to other health problems.

Weight Loss

Cats lose weight at a slower rate than dogs. So it’s important to attend regular weight clinics every 3-4 weeks. Measurements around the waist, chest and sometimes neck will be taken and a percentage weight change recorded.

Once target weight is achieved a maintenance diet will be discussed with you.

Prescription weight reducing food is the best way for your cat to lose weight quickly and safely. NEVER starve your cat! If your cat doesn’t eat for more than 24 hours, they should see a vet. These diets are prepared in both wet and dry forms. We recommend to feed exclusively one form of food as it’s easier to calculate the daily required amount your cat needs.

On average it takes 4 months for a cat to lose 15% of its starting weight.

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