People search on the Internet for an answer to the question: What is considered an obese cat? The answer is both simple and not quite so simple. Obesity with respect to cats is defined as greater than 15% above ideal weight. I would expect that that figure surprises most people. I’m sure that the vast majority of people think that the word “obesity” describes a person or an animal who is very much overweight.
Obviously, it is impossible to present a chart which applies to all domestic cats because they are of varying sizes and weights. I believe that most cat owners would be able to visually recognise whether or not their cat is obese based upon the 15% above ideal weight criteria.
A quick test to decide whether your cat is obese or not is to feel your cat’s ribs. There should be a layer of fat over the ribs which provides some padding but not so thick that you are unable to feel the ribs themselves.
Common sense dictates that in the vast majority of cases weight gain is associated with over nutrition which basically means eating more than the cat requires in terms of expenditure of energy.
There are multifarious cat health problems associated with obesity including: respiratory difficulties, decreased cardiac reserve, insulin resistance and the development of diabetes, poor response to infectious diseases, fatty infiltration of the liver, increased surgical risk due to increased risk of anaesthesia, fat necrosis, slower wound healing, technical difficulties in performing the surgery and feline lower urinary tract disease (a study by Hand et al 2000).
In the majority of cases, the failure of a cat to lose weight is due to a failure of the cat’s owner to comply with the veterinarian’s advice or diet or a failure to stick to their own common sense conclusions.