Obese – Meaning cats that are 20% or more, heavier than their ideal weight.
Overweight – Meaning cats that are between 1-19% heavier than their ideal weight.
o It is estimated over 50% of the UK’s cats are overweight.
o 20-30% of these are Obese.
o Cats between 2 and 10 years old are more likely to be overweight.
o Cats prefer smaller, more frequent meals.
o In the wild they may eat up to 20 meals per day.
o Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they strictly feed on animals in the wild.
o Cats naturally eat raw meat; it is perfectly acceptable to feed raw meat in captivity.
o Cat’s teeth are designed to tear meat, not crunch on dry biscuits. Dry food should not be fed to benefit the cat’s teeth.
o Water is a very important part of the cats diet:
o A cat’s prey is generally 75% water.
o Dry food usually has no more than 10% water.
o Tinned food usually has approximately 75% water.
o Kidney disease is the number 1 killer of cats. Kidney disease is usually the result of lack of water.
o It is important for water to be a part of the food, as they have a very low thirst drive and will not drink as much as they should.
o Cats excrete the enzyme ‘amylase’ from the pancreas. Amylase is used to break down carbohydrates; it is lethal to feed too many carbohydrates, but a small 3-5% carbohydrate level is ideal.
o Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate.
o Starch is a digestible carbohydrate.
o Un-used carbohydrates are stored as fat.Causes of Obesity
o Humans are the number one underlying cause for overweight and obese cats.
o Overweight humans are more likely to have overweight pets.
o Cats that eat dry food are more likely to be overweight.
o Cats often eat when they are bored.
o Inactive cats are 16 times more likely to become obese.
o Indoor cats are twice as likely to become overweight.
o Disabled cats are more likely to be overweight.
o Neutered cats are 3 times more likely to become overweight.
o A neutered or spayed cat usually has approximately 20% lower metabolism due to being less active. This means they require approximately 20% less calorie intake.
o High energy cat food should only be fed to energetic cats. This will not make un-energetic cats more energetic.
o The temperature at which your cat is kept at will affect its metabolism. Cats that live predominantly outdoors will need more calories to maintain a higher body temperature. Cats kept in a centrally heated house will need a lower calorie intake.
Effects of Obesity
o Obesity shortens life expectancy.
o Obesity can cause the following conditions:
o Diabetes mellitus – Sugar diabetes
o Lower urinary tract disease – Several disorders involving the bladder and urethra.
o Lameness – Due to arthritis or muscle injuries
o Non-Allergic skin diseases – Due to being less able to groom.
o Hepatic lipidosis – Fat build up in the liver.
o Cardiovascular disease
o Lower stamina levels and exercise tolerance
o Higher risks when using anaesthetic
o Dystocia – Problems giving birth
o Pickwickian syndrome – Strain on the lungs due to excess fat, making it harder to breathe
o High blood pressure – Leading to heart failure
o Overweight cats are 4 times more likely to develop Diabetes mellitus
o Obese cats are 7 times more likely to be affected by lameness.
o Overweight cats are 3 times more likely to be affected by lameness.
o Obese cats are 3 times more likely to get non-allergic skin diseases due to being less able to groom.
o Obese cats are twice as likely to die at middle age, between 6 and 12 years old.