We are already one month into our New Year and most of us are still committed to, or are revising, our list of resolutions. Why not take a moment or two and see if your cat needs to be part of those resolutions too?
If a poll were taken, losing weight would probably be number one on anyone's new year resolution list, especially after all the indulgences available during the holiday season. And even if your kitty did not indulge with you, he or she may also be in danger of being overweight.
You invest a lot in your cat's health, from vaccinations and neutering to regular veterinary wellness visits. Yet one of the best ways to maintain your cat's good health is by simply providing the right type and amount of food. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight is a vital part of keeping him or her fit. Being overweight or obese is detrimental to the health of your cat. Neutering and keeping cats indoors has led to increased life span and better health. However, they have also led to decreased metabolism and activity levels. Add overfeeding of calories and carbohydrates, and we have a large percentage of overweight cats.
The best way to evaluate your cat's size is by a body condition score rather than actual weight. A body condition score is a scale from one to nine with five being the ideal condition. We check this score each time we see your cat, but here's a quick guide for doing this at home:
- The ribs are easy to feel
- There is a waist behind the ribs
- There should be minimal fat hanging from the belly
- The ribs are difficult to feel
- There is a rounding of the abdomen
- There is a growing abdominal fat pad
Just as with humans, obesity can be a definite health risk for your cat. Being overweight can put your cat at risk for many diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, etc.
Helping your cat get back to a healthy weight is not just a matter of cutting back food, although that may be part of what your veterinarian recommends. Because cats are at risk of liver disease and other complications if they stop eating, or aren't getting enough nutrition and calories, a diet is something that should be set in place and regularly monitored by your veterinarian. A few months ago, our Case of the Week profiled one of our patients - Nahmi - whose weight loss journey is still progressing well.
How we start a kitty's weight loss journey
- We conduct a complete physical exam and body score assessment to determine your cat's ideal weight
- We look for any medical problems that need to be addressed
- We calculate the daily calorie needs for your cat
- We may suggest a particular cat food or prescription diet
- We determine the exact amount of food that should be offered daily
To help your cat get off to a good start this year, Scottsdale Cat Clinic is holding a weight loss contest. We last held one in 2008 and the winner is still maintaining his slender form. For more information about weight loss for your cat, or our Weight Loss Contest, please contact Scottsdale Cat Clinic by phone at 480.970.1175 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is any way we can help get your cat off to a great start for 2011, please let us know.