Time to stop chonky cat memes?

This is an interesting picture of a startled, gray, obese and large cat being held by a smiling young woman. For me, quite a few questions arise from this picture. The first question is where the picture was taken. The first impression is that this is a woman in her kitchen with her obese cat and there might be a tendency to criticise the woman. That would be an error, I believe. This looks more like a veterinary clinic or animal shelter judging by the layout and the functionality. There also appears to be medical equipment on the counter. And I can see a liquid soap next to the sink at the end of the counter.

Overweight grey cat looks startled
Overweight grey cat looks startled. Photo: Reddit.
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Animal shelter or vet clinic?

I have decided that this is likely to be a cat or animal shelter. My guess is that this chonky grey cat has been either abandoned by the owner to the shelter or the owner has sadly passed leaving behind his or her overfed cat. Or the cat is at a vet clinic for health tests. Perhaps he has feline diabetes? Having got that out of the way it may be worthwhile briefly discussing why domestic cats become obese.

Self-regulate diet

Domestic cats become obese because they are overfed and under-exercised but you would have thought that domestic cats would self-regulate their diet. In the wild, wild cat species don’t become overweight even if there is an abundance of prey animals to kill and eat. So what’s going on with domestic cats?

My assessment is that they become bored and they pleasure-eat just like people. They might be encouraged by overweight owners who want to please their cat. The cat becomes slightly addicted to these treats and always accept them because they’re bored. That’s the likely scenario as to why they become obese. You must have heard about the pet obesity epidemic. It’s probably a consequence, or at least partly a consequence, of the human obesity epidemic because people normalise the overweight body conformation. They can no longer recognise normal and healthy weight in either themselves or their cat.

Chonky cat meme

This leads me to the chonky cat. The word “chonky” is an attractive one. It’s interesting and funny and it’s resulted in what the Internet mob call a “meme”. This is when people who like to be on the Internet for hours on end create copies of an image they like. They add some funny, funky words which generate a trend and the thing goes viral. It’s a bit of fun which is great but I just don’t think it is suitable to create a meme about obese cats.

Perhaps I’m being too serious but if you think that obese domestic cats are funny and you enjoy looking at pictures of them there is a very real danger that society is encouraging feline obesity. It is certainly not discouraging it which should be the objective. People don’t seem to realise the amount of ill health that feline obesity causes to cats.

Negative health consequences of feline obesity

Obesity in humans is probably the biggest single negative health influence on humankind in developed countries. There are all kinds of health ramifications, the most commonly quoted being Type II diabetes. Type II diabetes causes, in turn, many other health problems such as nerve damage and kidney disease. Type II diabetics are vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus. Nerve damage leads to ulcers in the legs and the legs are sometimes amputated. They become dead. That’s why you have thousands upon thousands of leg amputations in the UK annually. You don’t see amputations of feline legs but we do see domestic cats becoming very ill and arthritic (due to weight) with feline diabetes and I’m sure that it causes deaths on many occasions. Not something to make fun of.

The picture

To return to the picture. I’m sure that the young woman in the picture is either a smiling veterinarian or vet tech or an animal shelter worker. She is wearing a blue uniform which indicates that she is a vet tech or veterinarian. The cat is startled probably because he’s been picked up and photographed in a strange place. He must weigh about 25 pounds which is about three times the normal weight of a domestic cat.

Hepatic lipidosis

No doubt she will start a diet for him but it will be a gradual one to avoid hepatic lipidosis which is fatty liver disease. If you diet a cat too quickly it can cause this disease which is quite serious. There is a suspicion that this is a purebred cat. You can’t tell by the picture but he could be one of two purebred cats which are always grey namely the Chartreux (unlikely in this instance) or a Russian Blue.

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