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5 Health Risks of an Obese Cat

For this week’s #CFAHWeightLossChallenge post we are focusing on the dangers of obesity in cats. Our feline friends live a more sedentary life compared to their ancestors. Though having a “fat cat” may be cute, the health risks they are facing are extreme. Here are a few of the health issues that can result from obesity:

Sly Neal our overweight cat from Oberlin

Sly is our Weight Loss Challenge cat from our Oberlin location who currently weighs 18.5 pounds!

1. Diabetes: overweight cats are at a 2x higher risk for developing diabetes and obese cats are at a 4x higher risk. Fat cells in the cat’s body make a variety of molecules that interfere with the function of insulin. The more fat cells present the more of these molecules are produced, and the insulin doesn’t work like it is supposed to. We can see the following symptoms of diabetes in cats: increased thirst and urination, a change in appetite, inappropriate urination, and extreme lethargy.

2. Urinary tract infections and bladder stones: obese cats are not able to groom as well because they physically can’t reach certain parts of their body. These cats, especially females, are at a higher risk of developing bladder infections because the bacteria and dirt around their anus can enter their vulva and then ascend into the bladder! If the bladder infection isn’t diagnosed and treated, some cats develop crystals. Over time, these can combine and harden into bladder and/or kidney stones. Bladder stones can be very irritating to the bladder, can harbor infection, and often require surgical removal.

3. Arthritis and joint problems: Carrying all that weight puts extra pressure on cat’s joints, which can accelerate joint pain and arthritis! This can cause a cat to not want to move around as much, which can result in more weight gain.

4. Skin issues: when a cat is not able to groom themselves properly their hair can become matted. Those mats can keep moisture and bacteria close to the skin, causing infections to develop.

5. Shorter life span. Research has shown that obese pets have a shorter life span due to the number of diseases for which they are at risk.

Keeping your cat at an ideal body weight is an excellent way to prevent these and many other diseases. Talk to your veterinarian to see if your cat is overweight and if so, develop a plan to get them back in shape! Keep following the #CFAHWeightLossChallenge for more tips on getting your pet in shape and to keep up with our participants!

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