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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Overweight Cats and What to Do About Them

by Kaye George

More Information
As Janet Cantrell, I’m writing a cozy series about an overweight cat, the pudgy, but adorable Quincy. He’s meant to be amusingly plump, but he’s fiction! Even in the books, his owner and his vet are striving to slim him down. His owner, Chase Oliver, even invents healthy cat treat recipes to entice him away from the crumbs of the dessert bars produced in her Minneapolis bakery shop, Bar None.

If your own cat is overweight, what can you do about it? First of all, how did she get that way? In my cat ownership experience, indoor-outdoor cats can get slightly tubby, but won’t be grossly overweight, since they’re chasing their natural prey when they’re outside. Indoor cats, on the other hand…well, it’s very hard for them to get enough exercise, even when their diligent owners tempt them with toys and playtime.

Here are some playtime ideas, in case you’re stumped: laser pointer; wand toys; catnips toys (you can even make these); provide places for Tubby to jump up onto; put her food and water in different places; empty boxes and bags are fun toys. 

Exercise and diet, right? That’s what we humans are told to pay attention to when we want to control our weight. Assuming you’re trying your hardest to get Tubby moving, the next thing to concentrate on is food. A pudgy cat IS cute, but too much weight can contribute to diabetes, arthritis, and urinary tract infections. Overfeeding is, obviously, a contributing factor. 

Another consideration is wet food versus dry food. The dry food is oh so convenient, and smells a lot better. But wet food can be healthier because it gets more liquid into Tubby, who doesn’t always drink as much water as she needs. This is because her natural food, the stuff she would catch if she were wild, has a high liquid content, so your cat is not used to seeking out as much water as she needs. On the other hand, dry food helps prevent dental problems. More fat and protein and less carbohydrates are something to look for.

A third consideration is making cat food yourself. Be very careful! If you don’t have the balance of nutrition, vitamins, and minerals that a cat requires, your pet can get very sick. Storage is also a factor. Raw or cooked? There are dangers in using raw food, so again, be very careful if you decide to go this route. I highly recommend you consult the 4th link below before embarking on this course.

It’s worth taking the trouble to slim Tubby down. A healthy cat is a happy cat!

Some information was obtained from:

photos from photobucket

Sheila's Note: One of the biggest contributors to excess weight in pets is availability of too much food. Many people leave food out for cats to free feed, but I do NOT recommend free feeding, for many reasons. The only way to control portions, and to know if your pet stops eating (often the first indication of illness), is to feed on a schedule. Cats can learn to eat on schedule! For more information about feline nutrition, please see this excerpt from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting and Owning a Cat by Sheila Webster Boneham, PhD, winner of the MUSE Award for Best Health and Care Book and an Award of Excellence from the Cat Writers' Association. 
For more information on feline nutrition and other health topics, please consult your veterinarian, and use reliable sources, such as the Cornell University Veterinary School - Cornell Feline Health Center 

Kaye George, Agatha-nominated mystery writer, writes several series:
Imogene Duckworthy, Cressa Carraway (Barking Rain Press), People of
the Wind (Untreed Reads), and, as Janet Cantrell, Fat Cat debuting in
September (Berkley Prime Crime). Her short stories appear in
anthologies and magazines as well as her own collection, A Patchwork
of Stories. Her reviews run in Suspense Magazine. She lives in
Knoxville, TN.  http://kayegeorge.com/

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