Couch Potato Cats and Diabetes
I read in the newspaper today that obesity in cats is reaching
near epidemic proportions !
This is mainly due to cats not getting enough exercise. It seems
that they are copying their owners 'couch potato' lifestyles.
Many cat owners now think that the outside world is just too
dangerous for their cats to be out in. Faced with a life between
walls (I nearly said 'benind bars' but perhaps that's a bit extreme)
the cats get bored and just eat and sleep.
Also, owners want cats to be companions. If they're outside then
they're not around to be a companion. So they're kept in.
Cats need exercise and stimulation just like we do. I know that if
I'm indoors for a few days without going out I start to get stir
crazy - even though I'm working. Imagine how the poor cat feels.
But it's not just being overweight that's the problem. Obesity
can and does lead to diabetes. Cases of feline diabetes have risen
five fold in 30 years. A study at Edinburgh University estimates
that one in 230 cats - or up to 400,000 pet cats - in the UK
is overweight. The study, published by the Journal of Feline
Medicine and Surgery, looked at the veterinary records of 14,000
cats, coupled with a questionnaire filled in by their owners.
It found that people were feeding odd things to their cats such as
sausages, which are salty and fatty.
So, what can you do if this is your cat?
Firstly, make sure that they get exercise. A 'cat tree' would be
great if you've got room for it. They can climb and charge up
and down it to their hearts content.
Toys that you can hide dried food in is another got idea. The
calories they burn trying to get at the food far outweighs the
extra that they're eating. You could also hide a few bits of
dried food around the house or the room that they're in. It
will keep them amused and busy.
Of course, the old chestnut, but equally good advice - don't
give them too much to eat, but always make sure that they have
clean water to drink. All proprietary cat food has feeding
guidelines on the packaging.
If you want to give your cat a treat, give him a small piece of
boiled chicken. Don't give extra food or fatty treats.
Play with your cat. As well as you both getting some exercise it
will bring you closer together.
Cat nip toys are great for your cat. Providing fun and exercise.
Finally, if your cat is overweight and you are finding it difficult
to get his weight down, consult your Vet. They can weigh the cat
and give you a target weight and some very good advice.