Once you’ve told yourself that your cat is currently having thick fur, it is probably time to take a closer look. Research has shown that many owners fail to notice when their pets are getting too fat and others refuse to do so.
Research in several Western countries has found that around half of cats are overweight or obese. In addition, the owners have an unrealistic impression of the physical condition of their pet. Many do not realize that the animal is overweight.
In Germany, three quarters of cat owners (74%) consider their cat to be of normal weight, while less than one in five (17%) state that their cat weighs too much, according to the Forsa study by the Uelzener insurance company.
However, these impressions collide with other research and findings from veterinary practice, says Britta Dobenecker, an animal dietician at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.
This suggests that 65% of German cats are actually overweight.
Numbers from VCA veterinary clinics in North America are not far away, while in Australia one in three cats is overweight, according to the Australian Pet Food Industry Association.
The main reason for the misjudgment is lack of knowledge or awareness of health care.
Some owners also deny this because they are ashamed of allowing their pets to get too fat.
Often times, obesity is caused by overfeeding and inactivity, with many cats being kept indoors and fed a high-energy diet.
Castration can also slow the animal’s metabolism and lead to weight gain. Additionally, many cat owners do not consider the harmful effects of treats between meals.
“Your cat is at its ideal weight when the ribs can be felt, when you place your hands loosely on your body, and when it has a clearly visible waist when viewed from above,” says Dorbencker.
“If your cat fails these tests, it is time to take action after consulting a veterinarian.” – dpa