Humans, If I wanted to be round and lazy, I'd be a pillow. But I'm a cat, and I need some nutritional value in my life, so put down the pizza and bring on the tuna. A well-balanced diet is key to a long and healthy life, and I want to spend many more years plotting your downfall.

Obesity in cats is becoming an increasingly common problem in the UK. According to recent studies, approximately 40-50% of cats are overweight or obese. This is a concerning trend, as obesity in cats can lead to or worsen a range of life shortening health problems, including diabetes and joint problems.

Lack of exercise

One of the main causes of obesity in cats is a lack of exercise and overfeeding. Many cat owners mistakenly believe that their cats can eat as much as they want, or that they can leave food out for their cats all day. However, overfeeding can lead to excessive weight gain, and it can be difficult to get cats to lose weight once they become overweight. It’s worthwhile to note that some cats may be fine and not overeat even when dry food is left out for them to eat as they please, but it’s important to keep in mind that this won’t work for all Fuzzballers.

Besides feeding habits, cats who are less active are predisposed to gaining weight, this can occur after neutering which leads to a decrease in roaming and also lowers their metabolism by 20% (neutering is still recommended for health and behaviour benefits).

A quality diet, like Fuzzball!

In addition to overfeeding, the quality of food that cats eat is also important. Many commercial cat foods contain high levels of carbohydrates and fillers, which can contribute to weight gain. It is important to choose a high-quality, protein-rich cat food like Fuzzball that is designed to meet the nutritional needs of cats whilst avoiding large amounts of added sugars, grains and salt.

Another important factor in managing a cat’s weight is portion control. Cats should be fed a consistent amount of food each day, based on their age, weight, activity level amongst other factors. Fuzzball’s unique onboarding calculator calculates a tailored feeding plan from a number of key metrics. In addition, cats should be encouraged to exercise and play, which can help them to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. Even just 10 minutes of activity a day can make a difference! When dealing with an overweight cat it is very important to try and reduce their weight gradually and this should be done in consultation with a veterinary surgeon as rapid weight loss can cause serious health problems.

gray cat looking at camera through half-closed eyelids

Check their BCS

One tool that can be helpful in monitoring a cat’s weight is the body condition score (BCS). This is guide that doesn’t just consider weight on the scales and can be measured at home. The BCS is out of 5 or out of 9 depending on the system and ideally cats are a 3/5 or 4/9.

If your cat is overweight, it is important to work with your veterinarian to develop a weight loss plan. This may involve reducing the amount of food that your cat eats, cutting out the treats, switching to a lower calorie cat food, or incorporating more exercise into your cat’s routine. For older cats, pain from arthritis might limit movement and pain relief medication can help – discuss with your vet. It is important to make these changes gradually, to avoid upsetting your cat’s digestive system and cats must never be starved or have food volume severely reduced. Fuzzball has partnered with Buddy Care who offer free video consultations with their veterinary team to advise on your feline’s health and talk through any issues you may be concerned with.

Speak to your vet

In addition to managing your cat’s weight, there are other steps you can take to promote your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. This includes regular check-ups with your veterinarian, providing your cat with fresh water at all times, and keeping their litter tray clean.

In conclusion, obesity in cats is a growing problem in the UK, and it is important for cat owners to take steps to manage their cat’s weight and promote their overall health. This includes feeding them a high-quality, protein-rich cat food, controlling their portion sizes, and encouraging exercise and play. By working with your veterinarian and using tools like the body condition score, you can help your cat to maintain an optimal weight and live a healthy, happy life.