Why big cats equal big problems

Big cats equal big problems. In the first of our blogs on obesity in cats, veterinary nurse Maddi explains why cats become overweight, how to tell if your cat is overweight and the health problems it can cause.

Obesity in cats is a very big problem. It is estimated that 25 to 30 per cent of cats in the UK are obese. In the short-term and in severe cases it results in mobility and joint problems such as arthritis. If left untreated obesity may also lead to more severe health concerns such as diabetes or cystitis.


Determining your cat’s level of obesity is something you can do easily at home by using the body condition scoring system. In a healthy cat, it should be possible to feel the ribs and spine under the skin with the flat of your hand. A well-defined waistline should also be evident, without any sagging or drooping. If you are concerned your cat may be overweight, or you are unsure, discuss this with your vet or vet nurse- understanding your cat’s body condition will us to advise you on the best course of action.


The reason for obesity is usually due to an excess of calories, which most commonly come from unnecessary treats and fatty human food. It is worth mentioning that neutered cats require 20% less calories than entire cat which is a common oversight and source of weight gain. There are a wide range of foods available which are developed with different life stages in mind, so be sure to check and adjust your cat’s diet accordingly. Of course, as well as too many calories,  a lack of appropriate exercise will also contribute to obesity in particularly lazy cats!


Just like humans, some cats are naturally more prone to obesity than others, but the need to control your cats weight is still very important to ensure a happy and healthy life. If you notice that your cat is larger than average, or excessively lazy, then there are several steps that you can take to help reduce his risk of problematic weight gain, including strict control of calorie intake, and encouraging regular exercise to help trim and tone those baggy waistlines.


In the next blog we will look in more detail at ways to help your cat lose weight.

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