As concerns grow about the rising pet obesity crisis in the UK, you may be wondering if your cat is overweight or if they’re simply carrying their winter coat, which can give the appearance of being overweight.
It’s important to know the difference, not just because spotting the signs of any changes – big or small – in your pet’s life could help you to spot any potential health problems as they develop, but because if your cat is overweight, by making small changes to their regime and diet you could help to extend their life by some years.
Many veterinary practices will give your pet a health check and let you know if they’re within the right weight range for their breed, size and age, but there are also simple steps you can take at home to check.
Here are just a few ways to tell if your cat is overweight.
Can you feel your cat’s ribs?
Stand or kneel in front of your cat and run your fingers gently along their side. Can you see or feel their ribs if you apply some very light pressure with your fingers? If you can, then they are likely to be a healthy weight, according to the PFMA.
Can you feel your cat’s waist?
Still kneeling in front of your cat, looking at them from above and moving from neck to tail, can you see your cat’s waistline? Gently run your fingers along their sides, can you feel their waistline? If you feel it easier than you can see it then your cat may be slightly overweight.
Can you feel your cat’s hips?
While running your hands gently over your cat’s waist, also run your hands down their spine and hips. Can you feel or see much excess padding? If so and your cat has a drooped belly, then it is likely your cat is very overweight.
What to do if your cat is overweight
Once you know if your cat has a little or a lot of weight to lose to get them back in tip top shape and have checked with your vet that there are no underlying health issues which could explain your cat’s weight gain, you can begin to look at finding the right diet cat food for them.
Weight loss foods for cats are often still high in protein but include less fat content so contain fewer calories. Their main goal is to keep the protein content high so your cat has all they need to feel full of energy while keeping the calorie content low.
Other small changes you can make at home are actually fun for you too!
Have you seen some of the new toys hitting the pet market these days? We recently put one to the test called a Pawbo Catch. It’s remote control operated and moves while your cat follows or tries to swipe, so encourages movement and interaction while you stand back and watch.
Combined with the right diet, a little playful exercise a day could really help your cat to shift those extra pounds, especially if the winter weather leaves them housebound a little more than normal.