Overweight in cats is an increasingly frequent disease in our industrialized countries: sterilization, errors and dietary abuse, and sedentary lifestyles all predispose our companions to obesity. We speak of obesity in the animal as soon as the excess weight exceeds 15% of the ideal weight: that is to say that the limit is quickly reached and even exceeded.
What are the risks of obesity?
Just like us, obesity predisposes your cat to a number of diseases that are likely to significantly decrease its life expectancy.
In fact, osteoarthritis appears much more rapidly in joints that are over-stressed, cardiac and respiratory disorders can also be caused by excessive fat mass, severe endocrinological disorders such as diabetes can easily appear in obese animals , As well as inflammatory diseases sometimes rapidly fatal such as acute pancreatitis. What to remember is that an obese cat is not a healthy cat.
Prevention of obesity.
Preventing obesity rather than treating it is a much easier and less restrictive method for your cat as it is for you. Thus, it is from the first months of his life that one should attach oneself to it.
During growth, the kitten makes a stock of fat cells (called adipocytes) which will be all the more important as its food will be rich. This stock of adipocytes will remain stable all its life: Thus, the number of adipocytes is determined very early in the life of the animal. On the other hand, each adipocyte may be reversibly more or less saturated with fat. That's why it's easier to lose a cat that has grown late in life (and therefore has a reasonable fat cell stock) is easier than shedding a cat that is fat from an early age. To say that possesses very many adipocytes). So watch carefully and regularly the silhouette and the weight of your kitten. If necessary, do not hesitate to ask the help of your veterinarian or his assistant to adapt his diet and his lifestyle (exercise, games ...) to the best.
When the cat ages (from the age of 7), it tends to become a little less dynamic, less to move, less to play and therefore less exercise. Its caloric expenditure is therefore reduced. It will therefore be necessary to adapt his feeding early or you will see your companion grow bigger, which would only increase his lack of desire to move and burn calories ... Again, do not hesitate to ask for help from Your veterinarian.
Finally, after a sterilization, the metabolism of your cat or your cat is modified. Energy needs are thus reduced (up to 20%), and if you do not adapt your pet's diet to this new situation, the risk of getting fat is very important. Monitoring of the weight and shape is essential.
As a general rule, prevention requires a diet adapted to each particular physiological situation, a reasonable quantitative food intake, regular weight monitoring, regular exercise and, above all, attentive listening to the advice of your veterinarian.
In the overweight cat, getting slimming is difficult, but far from impossible. The goal is to bring him fewer calories than he spends so he draws energy from his fat reserves while preserving his muscle mass. For this, a diet low in fat (main source of calories) but rich in fiber and protein should be proposed.
Indeed, the fibers have the property of capturing the fats in the digestive tract and partially prevent them from crossing the barrier of the intestine, ie to be assimilated. On the other hand, they increase the speed of intestinal transit, which allows less time for fat to be digested. Finally, they have the advantage of "swelling" in the stomach, which gives a feeling of satiety to your companion and will make his diet more bearable.
As for the proteins, they allow the muscles to reconstitute, and thus avoid the cat to lose weight at their expense.
The disadvantage of this type of diet is that it induces more abundant and voluminous stools. It will therefore be necessary to change the litter more often.
On the other hand, the lipids are generally very appreciated for their palatability, and sometimes the cat sulks his tin because disappointed not to find there the flavor of which he is accustomed. Unlike the dog, a cat is able to refuse any food for several days if the taste does not suit him. This situation represents a serious danger, since an obese cat that does not feed is likely to develop a disease called hepatic lipidosis, the prognosis of which is reserved.
In any case, the best placed to advise you an adapted diet remains above all your veterinarian: do not hesitate to consult it.
Tip: it is possible to distribute the hidden food in small balls with which the cat must play (and therefore exercise) to make the croquettes go out.
The hardest part will be for you not to crack when your cat mews, to look at you with supplicating eyes or to rub on your legs while waiting for you to feed him. Be aware that this behavior, contrary to what most owners think, is actually and above all a request for attention from your cat. Make it play or give it a big hug: it will be just as satisfied as with a tidbit or a well filled bowl.
Finally, make sure that no one is feeding him without your consent or that he is not going to eat at your neighbor's house.
If despite all your efforts the problem persists, know that some diseases (exceptional in the cat, more frequent in the dog), of often hormonal origin, can be source of obesity. So, do not be surprised if your veterinarian offers you medical exams for your companion.