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Feline obesity: Guidelines and tips on how to control it

Did you know that one of the most commonly overlooked health problems in domestic cats is obesity? We could almost say this is just the tip of the iceberg, since it’s not given enough attention and can lead to significant, easily preventable health issues. Simple changes to diet and exercise, as well as occasional weight checks during your regular visits to the vet, can make all the difference. 

Measuring your pet's weight on a scale is an objective way to find out whether or not they are at their ideal weight, and is very easy to do at home. We simply weigh ourselves first, and then weigh ourselves again while holding our cat: the difference will be the cat’s weight. This way, you won’t have to leave the house or expose your cat to unnecessary stress.  

Another tool that can be useful for owners looking to watch their cat’s weight is to measure their body condition score.  This is done by following an index table where we compare, using both sight and touch, if the cat has a silhouette similar to that of a thin or an obese cat, and if their body fat is appropriate or too much for their body. These methods are scientifically proven and require little training, so anyone can learn how to do this at home.  The vet can teach all cat owners how to measure their pet’s body condition score, so you can monitor your cat at home, and make sure they don’t become obese.

These days, our animals have a more sedentary lifestyle, spending most, if not all, of their time at home. They often lack stimuli, and as a result do little exercise. This, on top of the little importance given to providing a quality diet by taking into account the calories needed for each animal, has made obesity a real epidemic among domestic animals—similar to what is currently happening with people.  A balanced, vet-prescribed diet, and an active lifestyle that includes daily exercise, will help to prevent obesity in cats. This will also prevent the risk of serious illnesses like diabetes mellitus, some types of cancer, osteoarthritis, metabolic alterations, urolithiasis, hypertension, and risk of kidney diseases, as well as a general lower life expectancy.

What do you do to monitor your pet's weight?

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