It is not a crime to overfeed your cat to the point where they become obese. If it was there would be tens of millions of Americans in court charged with animal cruelty because there are tens of millions of overfed obese cats in America. The problem is not unique to America.
Being less flippant and more precise, I think that you will find that nearly all animal welfare legislation in every state of America includes a clause which states that a person who commits animal cruelty does so knowing that what he is doing will cause unnecessary suffering.
To reiterate, in order for a person to be guilty of the crime of animal cruelty the person has to intend to do it. It has to be a deliberate act in the knowledge that the act will cause suffering.
In nearly every case, a person overfeeding their domestic companion does so carelessness, yes, but not with the deliberate intention of causing their cat to become obese and thereby to suffer. Quite the contrary, in fact, such cat owners overfeed their cat out of an act of misguided kindness. It’s simply a mistake. Some may recognise obesity in their cat but be unaware of the health issues.
Some will make the cat obese knowingly and also knowing the consequences but these cases will be rare and it’ll be almost impossible to prove.
Also, a lot of these people are unable to recognise when there cat becomes obese because they normalise obesity. They see obese cats as cats of normal weight or thereabouts. This prevents them recognising the fact that they are being gently, slightly cruel to their cat.
Obesity will probably cause suffering in the long-term because it is likely cause illness just as it does in humans. But this is another reason why it is not a crime. If the obese cat is ill and suffering you’ll have to prove that overfeeding caused it. And that he is suffering.
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