Feline Wellness

The Dangers of Overfeeding: Obesity and Cats

May 02, 2024

When your cat is meowing for treats, it’s hard to say no, but overfeeding is a significant concern for cats. Overfeeding your cat can contribute to obesity, which can lead to a variety of health issues. 

Here are some of the dangers associated with overfeeding and obesity in cats:

Diabetes: Overweight cats are at risk of developing diabetes. Obesity can lead to insulin resistance, making it difficult for the body to regulate blood sugar levels, and your cat would require daily insulin injections and a special diet.

Heart Disease: Obesity increases the risk of heart disease in cats.

Joint Issues: Excess weight strains a cat's joints, which leads to arthritis and reduced mobility as well as general discomfort. 

Respiratory Issues: Obese cats may experience difficulty breathing and are more prone to respiratory problems like asthma.

Reduced Lifespan: Obesity, along with its associated health problems, can shorten a cat’s lifespan and cats that maintain a healthy weight tend to live longer than those who are overweight. 

Difficulty Grooming: Obese cats might not be able to properly groom themselves since they can’t reach everywhere. This could cause poor coat condition, dandruff, skin infections, and overall discomfort, especially in the rear area.

Preventing obesity in cats involves proper nutrition, portion control, and plenty of playtime and exercise. It's important to feed cats a balanced diet that’s appropriate for their age, weight, and health in order to maintain cat's your ideal weight and long-term health and happiness.

Here are some tips for managing and preventing weight gain:

Annual Vet Exams: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your cat's weight and overall health. Your veterinarian can also provide guidance on a suitable diet for your cat.

Diet: Feed your cat high-quality cat food that’s suitable for your cat's age, weight, and health condition and be mindful of portion sizes.

Exercise and Enrichment: Engage your cat in regular playtime, enrichment, and exercise. Provide climbing structures, scratching posts, and interactive toys. This encourages natural behaviors and helps alleviate boredom. Consider using slow feeders, licky mats, or puzzle feeders if your cat is prone to eating too quickly. It’s important that your cat is both mentally and physically active as many cats overeat due to boredom. 

Treats: Be aware of how many treats you’re giving your cat as those calories can add up fast.

Aside from overeating and lack of exercise, here are some common reasons for weight gain in cats:

Age: Older cats are prone to weight gain due to a decrease in their energy levels and changes in their metabolism. Adjusting their portions, feeding them a diet suitable for senior cats, and encouraging more exercise and playtime can help stabilize their weight.

Health Issues: Some medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, can cause a cat to gain weight. If your cat is gaining weight unexpectedly, consult with your veterinarian to rule out underlying medical issues. 

Stress or Changes in Routine: Cats can gain weight in response to stress or changes in their environment Cats are creatures of habit and can easily turn to food when they’re anxious. Stressful events can include the family moving to a new home, adopting a new pet, or traveling.

To keep your cat at a healthy weight, it’s essential that they eat a balanced diet suitable for their health condition and life stage and get adequate exercise and enrichment. Consult your veterinarian to determine a plan for keeping your cat at a healthy weight so you can have many happy years together.

Love, Nala