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Obesity in cats: causes, symptoms and prevention

Overweight is a very common problem in domestic cats. While wild cats in the wild cover huge distances and hunt every day, pets confined to an apartment move much less. Lack of physical activity combined with an unbalanced diet leads to obesity. And no matter how cute many owners think their chubby pets are, the damage of obesity cannot be underestimated.

Cat obesity doesn’t come out of nowhere. As a rule, a pet gains weight gradually. And if the problem is not tackled in time, its health is at risk.

What is obesity and how is it dangerous for your cat?

Obesity (from Latin adipositas – obesity and Latin obesitas – fullness, plumpness, bulkiness) is the accumulation of fat, an increase in body weight of more than 30-40% of the normal range due to the accumulation of fat.

It should be remembered that fat accumulates not only in the subcutaneous adipose tissue (which is most noticeable from the outside), but also inside the body (abdominal fat, capsule fat of the internal organs, liver, chest, chest, chest wall).and the pouch), which can lead to major changes in the functioning of these organs.

Here is a small list of diseases that can be caused by excessive body weight:

1. cardiovascular system – hypertension, venous insufficiency, ischaemia of the heart muscle, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction. Particularly relevant in breeds prone to cardiomyopathy.

2. Orthopaedic problems – arthritic lesions of joints. Cats suffering from obesity move less, lie down more and have difficulty getting up.

3. Gastroenterological problems – gastroesophageal reflux disease – passage of acidic stomach contents into the lower third of the oesophagus, cholecystitis, oesophageal calculi, pancreatitis, fatty liver dystrophy – fatty accumulation in the liver cells.

4. Endocrinopathies – type 2 diabetes mellitus – insulin resistance (when cells no longer respond to the hormone) and impaired insulin production; polycystic ovary syndrome and, as a consequence, dysfunction.

5. Predisposition to oncological diseases against a background of other diseases.

Animals with Overweight people have poorer tolerance to anaesthesia and surgery. Often fat cats are infertile and complications occur during birth.

Why do cats gain more weight?

Weight gain (i.e. fat accumulation) occurs when more energy (calories) is supplied to the body than it needs. This excess energy is stored as fat. The most common cause is banal overnutrition combined with lack of adequate or no physical activity.

An animal is considered to be underweight if its weight is 15-20% (about 5.5 kg.) above normal weight. As a rule, excess fat forms on the ribs and under the abdomen, which is particularly noticeable during the cat’s growing period, and fullness at an early age indicates a predisposition to obesity.

The following favourable factors are distinguished:

1. Age. 1. Age slows down the metabolic processes and makes the animals less active. The tendency to accumulate fat is related to the body’s adaptation to maintain energy metabolism and a constant body temperature. Nutrition, however, as The rule is that it slowly changes as its calorific value decreases, and the owner likes to treat his pet with treats.

2. Genetic predisposition of the breed. Cats do not have a clear genetic predisposition, although certain breeds do tend to gain weight (e.g. British cats).

3. Sterilisation. Estrogens (female sex hormones) present in the body of animals (both males and females) reduce appetite. After sterilisation, there is no production of oestrogens, and the remaining ones are eliminated in the blood within a month. And as a rule, estrogen deficiency (low levels) can lead to an increase in appetite and a reduced sense of satiety.

4. Lifestyle and conditions. The living conditions of cats in flats (lack of specialised yards, lack of time at the owner’s place, the desire to treat the pet to harmful treats such as cheese, ice-cream, etc.) do not allow them to use up the calories they receive through physical activity. This disturbs the balance between the food received and the energy consumed.

5. Internal organ dysfunction. Hormonal disturbancesdisorders of the pancreas, liver, small and large intestine (non-endocrine obesity), liver, small and large intestine (non-endocrine obesity).

Signs of obesity in cats

Obesity in cats is visually immediately apparent but not always exaggerated. However, intervention is needed before the disease progresses to a dangerous stage. That’s when you need to be alarmed:

  • if you pet the animal and can’t feel its ribs;
  • when you look down on the animal from above, you cannot see its torso;
  • If your cat gets tired quickly, if it has difficulty breathing;
  • if there is a sudden drop in your pet’s physical activity.

The first place where fat accumulates in a cat is on the lower abdomen and flanks. Gently feel your pet. If you can’t feel the ribs and there is a thick layer of fat on the lower abdomen, your pet is overweight.

Treatment of obesity in cats

Before treating obesity in cats, it is important to correctly diagnose its onset. If the overweight is due to overeating, the main solution to the problemI will be undergoing diet therapy. If the obesity is due to a disease, a complex solution is needed – treatment of the disease and special veterinary diet therapy.

What should you do if your pet is obese?

If your pet is overweight, contact your veterinarian. He or she will help you to find out the causes of this problem. The doctor will do blood and urine tests to rule out serious hormonal problems.

After the tests, the doctor will prescribe a diet for your cat. She must lose weight gradually. Feed your pet 2-3 times a day small portions of low-calorie, low-fat food. There is a special food for obese animals.

Make sure your pet is physically active. Play with it every day, gradually increasing the load and the duration of the games.

Monitor your pet’s weight change carefully and take him to the doctor for a regular check-up.

Obesity caused by disease is more difficult to deal with. In every case

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