Obesity in CatsMore and more cats are developing obesity. A cat is considered overweight if it weighs over 20% more than its ideal body weight. If it weighs more than 20% above its ideal weight, it is classified as obese. Obesity is a disease, which negatively affects a cat's health and quality of life.This article was written by a FirstVet vetDid you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced, UK registered vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.✓ Included free as part of many pet insurance policies✓ Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet✓ Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Rating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1300 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviews BOOK Causes of obesity in catsCats that are less active are at greater risk of developing obesity. Inactivity can in turn be caused by, for example, castration, pain from joints or lack of stimulation. Low levels of activity require much less energy (food). A cat will become overweight if it consumes more energy than it uses.Unless your cat is a grazer that self-regulates their food intake, cats that have free access to food will have a significantly increased risk of becoming overweight. Some medications can also increase the cat's appetite, therefore these cats need very careful dietary management.Consequences of obesity in catsObesity can increase the risk of a cat developing other diseases such as diabetes, urinary tract problems, osteoarthritis, skin diseases and fatty liver disease. Overweight cats are also more at risk of inactivity, having a weaker immune system and difficulty feeding their kittens normally.Body Condition Scoring (BCS) is used when assessing the cat's and ideal body weight. BCS 4-5/9 is ideal weight and is usually characterised by the following:Ribs should be felt with a light touch without being clearly visibleWaist should be clearly visible when looking at your cat from aboveFat pad under the abdomen should not be presentTreatment of obesity in catsKeeping a close eye on your cat’s waistline will help to prevent extra weight gain. Many vet practices have weight clinics, with nurses who are trained in nutrition. These clinics are a very helpful way to learn how to make a weight reduction plan and help your cat lose weight.Weight loss can be achieved by changing what you feed, how much you feed, how you feed and when you feed. If your cat has a body condition score greater than 5/9, they need to lose excess fat. If appropriate, exercise is a key part of any weight loss plan.What are you feeding your cat? There are lots of obesity and weight loss diets on the market. It is always best to change the food gradually, over a couple of weeks, to avoid any problems. Diets formulated to help weight loss and control include:Purina: Proplan OM Obesity ManagementHills: Metabolic, w/d and r/dRoyal Canin: Obesity Management, Satiety, Weight ControlHere are our top tips for achieving your cat’s weight loss goals; everyone in the household must be involved!Who: choose one person in the household to set the quantity of food and feeding routineWhat and when: look at what you feed, how much you feed, how you feed, how often you feed and when you feed. Considering all elements of feeding will give you more weight management optionsWeigh out the daily food allowance using scales. All training treats must come from this bowl, rather than being an addition to itRecord your cat’s weight weekly in a way the whole family can seeReminders placed around the house will tell the whole family that your cat is on a dietRemove temptation and hide away all the treatsDiscourage friends and neighbours from feeding your cat treatsScatter feed to slow down your cat’s eatingIndoor and outdoor exercise will encourage further weight loss as well as improve muscular strengthRemember that weight loss is more effective with dietary change than increased exerciseGet advice from an experienced vetIf you notice that your cat is overweightIf your cat is not losing weight despite the advice aboveBook a video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet vets. Every cat is different, so they will be able to discuss specifically how best to manage your cat’s weight, exercise and nutrition.