• Dr. Marilie van Rooyen BVSc

Old FAT cats - weight loss & what to look out for.


Weight loss in older cats...

Cats often lose weight when they get older (over 8 years). It is important to pick this up as early as possible so that we can treat and manage problems before irreversible damage occurs.

When they start losing weight, they could have many diseases associated with old age (kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus) or viruses. It could even be worms!

Signs you might pick up that emphasises the importance of taking your cat to a veterinarian is drinking a lot of water, urinating a lot more than usual or aggressive behaviour. Sometimes you could also see your cat has pain when eating (mouth ulcers).

So if you notice that your cat is losing weight do not hesitate to see your veterinarian. Most of the problems associated with weight loss are controllable if picked up early enough.

Cats with a poochy

Some couch-potato cats will eat all day long when given the chance. Even though we want to give our cats what they want, their well-being should be prioritized above that. Especially when we want them to be with us for as long as possible. Overweight cats are a lot more prone to get cardiovascular and kidney diseases, diabetes and joint problems. All of these are very difficult to manage and it can become very expensive.

If your cat is already looking on the rounder end of the scale it is best to put him/her on a diet with special food. Talk to your veterinarian about the food best suited for you and your furry friend’s needs.

How to put your cat on a diet guilt free

We all know that bewitching, arm twisting look that our cats give when the food bowl is empty. This does not, however, always mean that they are hungry!

Cats are creatures that love hunting and in the wild the majority of their time would be spent chasing down mice, birds and all kinds of other creatures they so generously bring into our homes.

Now that we feed our little predators, however, they don’t need to hunt for food anymore. We take away the inspiration for most of their physical activity.

To prevent your cat from this boredom driven obesity it is best to help your cat show normal cat behaviour i.e chasing, hunting and climbing. The internet is full of clever ideas to entertain and feed your lion-hearted fluff-ball making them happier and less pot-bellied allowing them to amuse us for many years to come!

Why is it important?

Our feline friends’ weight tells us a lot about their health. It is therefore essential to notice when they pick up or lose weight. It can also help us to treat or manage diseases as soon as they arise. This will add many years to your cat’s life.

What should my cat weigh?

There is not one ideal weight for all cats. A cat should have a slim waist when viewed from the top. You should not be able to see the ribs when looking from the side but you should be able to feel them when you rub and squeeze them. When they reach this ideal body condition, weigh them to determine their ideal body weight.

Entertain your hunter

There are plenty of ways to satisfy the hunter in your cat while slowing down their feeding. This helps them to eat less and think more. And a stimulated, lean cat is a happy cat!

Having a large variety of toys, cat scratchers and cat trees help to create a jungle for our domesticated predators. When your cat is less bored it also won’t loaf around the food bowl all day.

One of the toys I would recommend is the wobbler. It releases few pellets at a time while the cats play with it. If you are interested in or want more information about the variety of feeding toys available, please don’t hesitate to call us.

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