While your cat may seem cute and cuddly with a few extra pounds, feline obesity is a serious health issue that needs to be addressed rather than ignored. If you do not take steps to help your kitty shed those extra pounds, he or she can develop a number of potentially serious health issues that could lead to pain, costly medical procedures and even death. Therefore, it is important to help your cat suffering from obesity so that it may live a long and healthy life.
What is Feline Obesity?
Feline obesity is defined as simply having too much body fat. Sadly, it is the most common nutritional problem for cats in the United States. Some researchers suggest that as much as 25% of the US feline population suffers from obesity.
There are many possible causes of feline obesity, though the more obvious causes include getting too little exercise and eating too much. Put simply, if your kitty is eating more calories than it is burning through activity, those calories will be stored as fat. In addition, it is rather easy for a cat to put on extra pounds because just a 1% increase in caloric intake can cause a cat to experience a 25% increase in its weight over time.
Treating Feline Obesity
It is important to consult with your veterinarian if your cat is obese. Your veterinarian or pet health consultant will run tests in order to determine whether or not there are any underlying problems (other than diet and exercise) causing the weight issue. The methods for treating feline obesity will vary depending upon the cause of the problem.
If your cat is obese because it is eating too much the treatment will most likely be straight-forward. You may be able to treat the problem by restricting food or by feeding your cat a low-calorie cat food formula. You should also avoid feeding treats to your cat. You may need to make some adjustments to your feeding plan until you find the one that seems to work the best for your cat. Just keep in mind that most cats need to follow a special diet for eight to twelve months before they achieve their ideal weight. Once your cat takes off the pounds, you might want to consider continuing with the special diet in order to help your cat maintain its new weight.
If your cat has access to food 24 hours a day and eats constantly you will need to change to a more regimented and measured feeding program. Some kitties can have access to dry cat food 24 hours a day and merely snack when hungry throughout the day. But since your cat is obese this feeding regime just won't work.
If your veterinarian has determined that your cat suffers from diabetes mellitus, you will need to be more careful about dietary changes. In addition, you will need to monitor your cat's insulin dose as well as its effectiveness. If your cat continues to experience odd changes in weight, it likely needs to have its insulin dosages modified. The good news is that often times as your cat loses weight it will most likely require less insulin.
It is also possible that a thyroid issue has led to your cat's weight gain. Often, this can be treated by taking special medications that help regulate the thyroid. Still, you will need to work closely with your veterinarian in order to make certain your cat's weight is reduced in a healthy way while still monitoring the thyroid issue.
CS Swarens is the CEO of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065
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