Just like us humans, more and more of our pets are becoming overweight. Just like us, our pets develop more diseases like diabetes and heart disease when they are overweight. Just like we do for ourselves, their food intake and weight need to be monitored during the holidays to maintain healthy cats in healthy homes.
Many cats will self-feed and maintain an appropriate weight, but that number is declining. Just filling the bowl every day is becoming less of an option for many cats. And those bits of the holiday turkey, prime rib, or ham? Every one of those treats adds calories to the total for the day. A weight gain of a quarter of a pound is much more to a cat than it is to a human because one pound to a cat is equal to about 15 pounds on a human.
What is the best thing to do? Have your cat’s (pet’s) weight evaluated by a veterinarian and set up a diet plan. It could be something as simple as measuring out the food in a day or only feeding meals instead of just leaving out food all the time. A specific diet may be prescribed, a different treat recommended, increased play time, or a different feeding method discussed. No matter what changes are recommended by the veterinarian, follow-up with weights checks are always a good idea. This way you can discuss what you are doing and get further ideas on how to reduce to or maintain a healthy weight. Weight checks should be done every 2-4 weeks. We all like those pats on the back (Yeah! Fluffy lost 2 ounces!) even when they seem small.
Purina runs Project Slim-Down every year and has many resources to help pets and their owners achieve a healthy weight and maintain that weight. Call your veterinarian (or us if you own a cat) and set up a weight evaluation. Many veterinarians have a weight program set up for the good of their patients heath. It is good prevention for diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. The healthier the cat stays now, the longer you will have the cat and the healthier all aspects of the home will be.
Dr. Pam Cuevas
La Grange Park Cat Clinic
3075 S. Wolf Road
Westchester, IL 60154