Obesity


Obesity in cats is very common in HK. In my experience about half the cats I see are overweight and about 20% of all cats are clinically obese. A cat is a natural hunter and in nature will be very active, especially at night catching small prey quite a few times in an evening. Natural food for a cat will include insects, small mammals like mice and small birds. Thus frequent small meals are eaten and considerable physical effort is used up in order to hunt down their prey. I have captured many wild cats and these are remarkably well muscled with zero excess fat. Furthermore, we are not feeding them their natural diet. Many cats are fed dry biscuits only. A cat's natural food is actually fresh body tissues from birds, rodents and insects which are high in protein fat and water content. The dry food they get at home has a very low moisture and protein content and high in carbohydrates.

I would have to say that here in HK our cats are lazy. They generally have poor muscle tone and almost all will have excess fat accumulation. Basically they take in more calories than there bodies use for exercise and the excess calories are stored in fat depots around the body.

An obese cat is not a healthy animal.  They expose themselves to liver disease and diabetes. The excess weight puts extra stress on the joints and they become inflamed leading to degenerative joint disease. We will recommend that you do further blood and urine tests.

When you come for your annual check up, we may determine that your cat is overweight and recommend a diet program. It can be dangerous for your cat to lose to much weight to quickly and our trained nurses will discuss a diet plan that will involve the whole family cooperating. A diet plan for a severely obese cat can last up to eight months.

Please remember that a cat is a carnivore and needs a high proportion of animal protein in its diet. An adult cat requires twice as much protein as a dog. I have had some clients who are vegetarians and had been feeding their cats a vegetarian diet. Needless to say these cats were presented to me in a very poor condition.

Get your cat some toys that he can chase after. A feather toy at the end of a string can keep you and your cat entertained for hours and is a great way to bond with your cat and get him exercised at the same time. I have even seen cats chasing after a laser pointer. Please let me know if you have any other games that work well for you and your cat that we can share with our clients.