May 30th is National Hug Your Cat Day. And here we thought every day was hugging your cat day!
This month, when you give your cat that extra special squeeze, take the time to ask yourself, “Is my special squeeze getting a bit too squishy around the waistline?” If you answer “Yes” you’re not alone.
Obesity is one of the leading health problems affecting adult cats. Obesity predisposes our feline friends to a multitude of problems including diabetes, respiratory disease, cardiac disease, hepatic lipidosis, arthritis pain and decreased longevity. It is a serious problem.
How do you know if your cat is at risk? Begin by asking yourself a few easy questions. Can I feel his/her ribs? A healthy cat should have ribs that are easy to feel. Does he/she have a visible waistline? Take a birds’ eye view of your cat as he/she is standing and you should be able to detect a nice “tuck” at the waist. If you are unsure or if you think your cat is overweight, it is time to ask for help.
How do we get our overweight cats to shed the pounds? Unfortunately, there is not one simple solution. There are numerous strategies we might recommend depending on your cat’s energy requirement, lifestyle, medical condition, tactics for demanding food, etc.
Take home tip: For starters, try to get a handle on how much food your cat eats each day. Use a measuring cup so there is no room for guessing.
The road to weight loss is not always easy, but it sure is easier than treating the consequences of obesity.
PS. For those of you without cats, June just so happens to be National Adopt a Cat Month!
Colleen Flaherty, DVM