Being overweight is not just a growing crisis for humans. There is now a crises in the number of overweight cats and dogs. According to The Association For Pet Obesity Prevention quoting a major study last year:
52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers.
52.5% of US Dogs Overweight or Obese or approximately 36.7 million
58.3% of US Cats Overweight or Obese or approximately 43.2 million
“Pet obesity remains the leading health threat to our nation’s pets.” states APOP’s founder and lead veterinarian for the survey Dr. Ernie Ward. “We continue to see an escalation in the number of overweight cats and an explosion in the number of type 2 diabetes cases.”
This is not only a problem in the US but all over the world. Look at these overweight cats and dogs in England:
What is most disturbing is so many people do not realise that their pet is overweight. According to the AFPOP:
Veterinary nutritionist and internal medicine specialist at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Joe Bartges cautions that many pet owners don’t recognize when their pet is overweight. “In this survey, approximately 45 percent of cat and dog owners assessed their pet as having a normal body weight when the veterinarian assessed the pet to be overweight.” Dr. Ward calls the phenomenon of incorrectly evaluating an overweight pet as normal “the fat gap.” “The disconnect between reality and what a pet parent thinks is obese makes having a conversation with their veterinarian more challenging. Many pet owners are shocked when their veterinarian informs them their pet needs to lose weight. They just don’t see it.”
Can you be absolutely sure that your cat is a healthy weight?
Your cat does not have to be massively obese for there to be a problem. Even a small amount of extra weight can be very unhealthy and reduce life expectancy. It is a good idea to check with your veterinarian when you next visit. One of the issues is that as cats are increasingly kept indoors they tend to eat more and exercise less. The problem is much like that with human beings.
Indoor cats should be played with regularly. Some can even be trained to be taken for walks on a lead.
Keeping your cat at a healthy weight is about the most important thing that you can do to ensure that your loved companion has a long and healthy life.