Do You Have a Fat Cat?

You might have heard the story of Meow, the obese cat who weighed in at 39 pounds when he was surrendered to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society by his 87-year-old owner who was no longer able to care for him. Meow had been placed in a foster home where it was hoped he would lose enough weight to be able to be placed up for adoption. Meow developed a large fan following rooting for him to lose weight, and had been doing well having lost 2 pounds when he began having difficulty breathing. Sadly, while he was only 2-5 years old, Meow passed away on May 5th due to complications from his obesity.

Meow’s tragic story underlines the dangers of obesity in cats. A study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimated that 54% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. The risks associated with excess weight in cats include: arthritis, diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, increased risk of cancer, and a decreased life expectancy.

If your cat is overweight, your first stop should be your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical cause for your cat’s obesity. One of the main reasons for the obesity epidemic in cats is simply overfeeding. Unfortunately, when your cat gains weight, he is less likely to want to play and the decreased activity only adds to the problem. While over-feeding your cat usually stems from an abundance of love, you can do more to show your cat you love him through careful portion control.

While it is easier said than done, the simple formula to help your cat slim down is through a decrease in calories and an increase in activity. Don’t allow your cat to “graze” on food all day long; instead, feed a measured amount of a high-quality cat food at specific feeding times such as morning and night. Limit the amount of treats you allow your cat. Try to spend time each day playing with your cat. Cats face the additional risk of hepatic lipidosis if they lose weight too quickly, so a slow, gradual weight loss is important.

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  • MARY says:

    Let’s get to the truth about what caused Meow’s death. The Santa Fe “Humane Society” used that poor cat to raise funds for their shelter. They took Meow from the owner, then took Meow from the foster home to drag him across country probably on an airplane without special provisions made for him. As if the cat isn’t stressed enough he probably didn’t have a seat. The pressurization of the plane would have been hard on him. I saw him on Anderson Cooper’s program and they just passed him along subject to all new germs. Then put him on the floor to watch him not be able to walk. Then I saw a piece which looked like the Today Show had the cat on their show also. Then Anderson Cooper put up on their website to donate to the Santa Fe Humane Society in Meow’s name. Any animal lover knows that you can not take an animal away from their routine esp a sick one, let everyone pet or hold him with a compromised immune system.

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