Roger Salmon column

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

Fat cats does not only refer to business men that make huge profits.

Malnutrition is the commonest form in the cause of obesity in pets in the UK due to overconsumption of calories.

Excessive thinness and obesity have both been shown to shorten life expectancy.

How can you tell if your cat is overweight?

If you feel that the ribs are covered by a thick layer of fat, if there is a thick layer of fat over the bony prominences, if the cat has middle age spread in the form of a pendulous skirt under the abdomen then you can call the cat obese and a diet is essential.

Your vet or vet nurses can give you an unbiased opinion on how much your cat needs to lose and also advise a suitable diet in order to achieve reduction in weight.

It is important to give a diet that satisfies the hunger but does not put on weight but must also ensure the correct amount of vitamins and minerals.

It is dangerous to get a cat to lose weight too quickly as this predisposes them to hepatic lipidosis, so a gradual loss can take up to a year to achieve the correct weight.

Monthly weight checks at the vets are advised.

Feeding a diet that is very palatable and high in calories encourages the cat to over-eat, especially if such foods are freely available or used as treats.

Obese cats are 20 per cent heavier than their correct weight and 20-30 per cent of the cats in the UK come into this category.

Also when calculating how much weight the cat needs to lose one needs to consider the age, breed and body shape.

When cats are taking in more calories than they are using then they store the excess energy as fat, particularly if they lead a sedentary life in front of the fireside instead of out hunting for mice.

Older cats tend to be underweight and cats under two tend to be more active so the dangerous age is between two and 10.

Cats should be encouraged to exercise through play. I chase my cat, Monty, up and down stairs which he loves and because he is a pedigree I exercise him in the garden on a harness.