Feline obesity trends continue their upward trek
June 11, 2012
Over the past several years, veterinarians and pet wellness experts have warned about the growing numbers of overweight and obese cats throughout the United States. Unfortunately, according to new information from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), a staggering 55 percent of American household cats are considered overweight or obese. Worse yet, CatChannel.com reports that at least 15 percent of cat parents believe that their pet is at the proper weight, when in reality the cat weighs above average.
Feline obesity carries with it the same risks that the condition does for humans, with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis showing up as direct results of being overweight. Simply put, a fat cat will result in many more costly visits to the vet's office and won't be around as long as he or she could be.
Thankfully, cat wellness experts are fighting the good fight and have a number of suggestions for pet parents that can help them get their felines up and moving to drop those excess pounds.
1. Mental stimulation. One of the primary factors that contributes to feline weight gain is a lack of mental stimulation in the cat's environment. The pet's habitat must be conducive to exercise and activity, so parents should consider incorporating cat trees, shelving and other interactive furnishings that will encourage a cat to explore his or her abode. Cats eat when they're bored, so if parents give them a true place to roam, they will be less inclined to hang out by their food bowls.
2. Portion control. A small decrease in a cat's food intake is an obvious way to take off a few pounds, but pet parents can still give out a few treats every known and then, making it more engaging by hiding a few treat balls throughout the house. This will nurture the cat's instinct to hunt, which will result in plenty of extra exercise during the day.
3. Toy-based games. There's no reason why a feline weight loss plan has to be boring! Pet parents can consider placing sound-producing balls inside of a bathtub or cardboard box and letting the cat chase it around, reports EverydayHealth.com. It will be fun to watch and the feline will get plenty of exercise in the process.
While these tips are a good step in the right direction, pet parents should formulate a plan with a veterinarian. Those in the Manhattan or Westhampton, New York, area should consider a Bideawee Animal Hospital for all of their feline's weight loss and wellness needs.