Cat Obesity Gains Notice

Two cat health groups provide information on getting cats to a healthy weight.

By Anastasia Thrift | Posted: October 18, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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Savannah kitten
Playing can be part of a healthy exercise routine, which will help cats fight obesity.
October is National Pet Wellness Month, and cat health advocacy groups urge cat owners to keep cats healthy.

The American Veterinary Medical Association urges cat owners to visit their cat's veterinarian for a preventive health care check-up. This year, the AVMA has released a video with information on a growing, preventable dog and cat health problem: obesity.
According to AVMA, approximately 40% of dogs and cats are overweight today. The video offers dog and cat owners some tips on how to know if your pet is overweight and what to do about an overweight cat or dog. Visit the AVMA's preventive medicine web page here for free downloadable materials and poster.     

The CATalyst Council hopes to help combat cat obesity with the following five ways owners can help their cats get exercise to stay at a healthy weight. (First, please talk to your vet to ensure that there are no underlying medical reasons for your cat’s excess weight.)  

1. Work for food. Some food toys channel a cat’s natural hunting drive and release kibble a small amount at a time. You can also hide a cat’s food in different places so that he has to find it. Working for food makes a cat happy because it’s great physical and mental exercise.
 
2. Training. Cats are smart and can be trained to do fun tricks and the mental and physical stimulation is great for your cat. As an added bonus, training a cat will help strengthen the bond between you and your pet.  

3. Walking. Many cats enjoy taking walks with their owners. Walking a cat does require purchasing a special harness and leash designed for a cat and ensuring your cat is up to date on all of its vaccinations and preventative medications, but provides excellent exercise for both the cat and owner.
 
4. Prey toys. Cats are natural hunters and love chasing, pouncing, leaping, swatting and stalking prey, even when it’s not a “real” prey item. You can even make your own out of common household items (check with your vet for guidance on homemade cat toys). All the fun of hunting is also fantastic exercise for the cat.

5. Another cat. Cats are social animals. Consider getting another cat to keep your current cat company. The playing that cats do with one another is great exercise and will ensure both cats remain active and healthy.  
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Reader Comments

Shirley    Tucson, AZ

11/29/2011 2:37:56 PM

Thank you.

Diana    North Hills, CA

11/7/2011 12:50:24 PM

Thanks for the tips. It would be nice to get a buddy, unfortunately my parents don't allow me to. So we shall stick with the other tips :)

ruby    susanville, CA

10/23/2011 10:49:41 AM

cool

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

10/19/2011 10:49:18 PM

Fat cats unite!

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