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How To Tell if Your Cat is Overweight

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

It’s so easy for us to give in to the irresistible appeals of our cats by letting them have treats or an extra portion of food.  However, doing this regularly can increase the risks of obesity which is a life-limiting (and sometimes life threatening) condition.

According to the latest 2019 report of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) 74% of veterinary professionals surveyed believe that the prevalence of obesity has increased over the last five years. In fact, vets confirmed that 44% of cats are overweight or obese. All these figures have increased over the last five years. 100% of vets were concerned about the prevalence of obesity and 73% stated it was ‘one of the most prevalent conditions seen’.

Here are some more interesting statistics from the report:

Feedback from owners showed that almost 68% think their pet is exactly the right size and 67% admit they are not concerned about pet obesity.

Only 8% of owners admitted their pet needs to lose some weight and 12% said that their pet needed to lose a small amount of weight.

57% of those surveyed had not discussed weight with their vet. Almost half of these pet owners judge their pet’s weight by looking at it and 16% admit they are guessing. Only 12% have looked at a body condition chart and only 2% have weighed their pet themselves.

98% of vets surveyed believe that feeding ‘too many treats’ contributes most to the issue of overweight and obese pets. Only 23% of pet owners admitted to feeding table scraps – although 41% agreed feeding scraps could be to blame.

88% of vets believe that a key reason for the rise in obesity is overfeeding, with owners not following the product’s feeding guidelines. 49% of pet owners agreed.

56% of vets commented that pet food packaging guidelines were unsuitable. 30% of pet owners admit they have never read the packaging on their pet’s food. An additional 11% said they had read it in the past.

80% of vets, but only 44% of owners, believe that a lack of exercise contributes to obesity among pets.

There is more help available to owners than ever before with most veterinary practices running weight clinics and there is also a wealth of helpful information available including weight management logs and posters on the PFMA’s Healthy Weight Hub. The PFMA’s obesity report makes very interesting reading and you can access it here.

Dietary management aside, one of the most enjoyable ways and you can help your cat to lose weight is through play and puzzle feeding. So, invest in some new toys and get creative with the way you feed your cat!

The PFMA have also developed this really useful chart for determining whether your cat is a overweight:

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