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CATS - HEALTH

Content Image Exercise and Overweight
Published 2010/12/09

Keep your cat mentally stimulated and offer it plenty of opportunity for exercise, and it will have less opportunity to be destructive in your home.

If your cat is frustrated or bored, it may chew your plants, scratch your furniture or tear your draperies. Changing your cat's behaviour is not impossible, but frequent exercise is one of the best solutions to behaviour problems. Exercise is also essential to your cat's health because it enhances the functioning of its heart and blood vessels while developing muscles.

Exercise helps prevent overweight and obesity.

Obesity is the number one nutritional disorder among cats. Studies suggest that approximately 25 percent of the cats presented to veterinary clinics are overweight. The number of obese cats appears to increase steadily as the cat has evolved from living as a hunter in barns and outdoors to a more sedentary house companion. These changes in lifestyle, coupled with increased availability of palatable and energy-dense pet foods, have contributed to the increased incidence of obesity in adult cats. This extra weight puts your cat at risk for certain health problems involving the cardiovascular, respiratory and skeletal systems. Documented research indicates obese cats are far more prone than cats of normal body weight to Diabetes, arthritis and a very serious disorder called Hepatic Lipidosis.

Knowing how to recognize the signs of obesity and taking corrective action is important. But more important is knowing how to keep pets in good condition to start, thus avoiding the development of obesity in the first place. Regardless of predisposing factors, however, the underlying cause of obesity in all animals is a excess of energy. The more your pet exercises, the more calories it burns and the less fat it accumulates. Take your cat's activity level into consideration when deciding how much food feed him or her.

To improve the cat’s physical activity, you can add some interactive play toys to the cat’s environment. Get your pet toys that simulate an escaping prey to make him more interested in playing. You can also adopt another cat so they can both have “someone” to play with.

Treats

Its very common for cat’s owners that as soon as their cat starts to beg or vocalize, they try to keep him shut by giving him a treat. This vocalizing behaviour is a normal social trait and it has no relationship with the cat being hungry. Every time you give a treat to your cat when he is vocalizing, you are “rewarding” him for that, or in other words, training him for doing it. So try no to give treats to your cat, since it will help him to loose weight and you will not be teaching your cat to vocalize even more.

For those pets at risk of becoming overweight or for those animals already carrying extra kilograms, one or more of the following guidelines apply:

  • Reduce or eliminate table scraps and treats. These are often high in fat and calories which contribute to excessive intake;
  • It is best to measure the amount of food your animal receives, than give him any amount. This helps keep the serving size consistent and prevents the natural tendency to pour a little extra in the bowl;
  • Increase the amount of exercise your pet receives. For cats, the owner may have to temp the pet to play as a way to increase activity;
  • Consider switching to a low-calorie or light pet food. These products are typically lower in fat and higher in fibre. This allows the owner to continue to serve a nice-sized portion while reducing the number of calories the pet actually receives;
  • Consult a veterinarian before beginning any weight reduction program. The veterinarian will design a weight loss program for the individual pet and help identify specific problems and suggest alternatives along the way. It is also helpful to have the pet weighed periodically to track progress.

1st Choice recommends Adult Cat, Weight Control, Chicken formula to help reduce those extra pounds your pet may have put on, through eliminating excess fat and maintaining muscle mass. This superior quality pet food helps to promote the optimal health of pets while reinforcing their immune system. Nevertheless, its recommended you ask your vet the best way to manage your pet weight lost program.

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