Common Health Problems affecting Dogs and Cats

Veterinary advice from John Burns BVMS MRCVS

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Overweight Cats

The number of overweight and obese cats in the UK is increasing.

Overweight cats are more likely to suffer from: arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, pancreatitis and many more diseases. On average an overweight cat will probably have a shorter lifespan.

If your cat is the correct weight then you should be able to feel his/her ribs easily, with a slight fat covering. When looking from above you should be able to see a waist. If you cannot feel the ribs, your cat may need to lose weight. If in doubt, ask your veterinary surgeon.

If you are advised to help your cat to lose weight then the following guidelines may help:

1) Gradually introduce a low fat, low protein diet to your cat.
2) Cut out all treats and tit-bits (make sure ALL the family members and neighbours agree to this).
3) Feed the recommended amount for your cat’s ideal weight, not his/her ACTUAL weight.
4) Do NOT free feed. Any food not eaten after 10 minutes should be picked up.
5) If your cat is particularly greedy then you may find that smaller more frequent meals help, in the wild cats may eat up to 20 tiny meals per day.
6) If there is no weight loss after 4 weeks then you are feeding too much, a reduction in the daily amount should help.
7) Overweight cats are more likely in multi-cat households as they may finish off food left by the others. You may need to feed these cats separately.
8) A slow steady rate of weight loss is preferred as rapid weight loss may predispose cats to Fatty Liver Syndrome (Hepatic Lipidosis).
9) Increase your cat’s exercise. Play with your cat more often and encourage games.


Common pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health Management Programme







John Burns can be contacted at 99 Ferry Road, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA17 5EJ -
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