Since March of last year more than one in four cat owners in the UK admit overfeeding their cats. One in five cats have put on weight during the pandemic as owners have spoiled them with treats because they’ve been stuck at home. Yes, I am referring to the several lockdowns in the UK which the citizens have had to endure. We are going through one right now. It’s become incredibly tiresome. People are also overindulging, I believe.
The information comes from a Cats Protection survey. It is reported in news media that many domestic cats are 50% heavier than they were a year ago. It appears that they have gained 2-5 pounds over the previous year leaving them at risk of diabetes, urinary infections and joint problems. Another hazard is allowing domestic cats to visit neighbours for another portion of cat food. I have one these cats at my home. It is commonplace.
There were 2,000 participants in the Cats Protection survey. The director of veterinary services for the charity said that cat owners are being manipulated into indulging their animals. What she means is that the cats are manipulating their human caretakers into eliciting more food from them than they need. You know the old adage that cats are the masters and humans the slaves. The lockdown has exacerbated things. People become bored and perhaps a little apathetic, stuck at home, which makes them more vulnerable to manipulation by their cat companion!
We know how domestic cats can be quite smart in teasing more treats out of people. They do this with a particularly well-developed baby-like meow which pushes the right buttons, normally in women. The button that is pushed is the one which says I’ve got to feed my cat more because he looks and sounds like a needy baby!
It’s also reported that more than 3 million cats in the UK were obese even before the pandemic. There has been a lot written about the so-called epidemic of feline obesity in the UK and the USA. The information appears to come from veterinarians.
This information is backed up by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London. One named individual, Tom, is a 17.5 pounds tabby. Another is a cat named Murzik who weighs 21 pounds. I hope both of them have lost weight by now.
It is possible, with the usual high dose of commitment, to get your cat to lose weight. Of course it is down to people so the discipline and the commitment comes from them. Christine Hughes managed to diet her cat, Dixie, from 20.5 pounds to 17 pounds since the end of last October. There is no secret to it. You simply provide your cat with less food and you exercise your cat through play. It’s about portion control, obviously. The food should be high quality as well. And when the weight does fall off you can then start giving them a little treat from time to time as a reward.
There is one caveat to this which is that you have to make sure that you diet your cat gently because if you don’t it can lead to hepatic lipidosis which is fatty liver disease, a serious condition. You can read about it by clicking here.