Did you know that over 40 percent of cats in the U.S. are obese? Obese cats are more prone to diabetes, arthritis, Hepatic Lipidosis and other problems than cats in a healthy weight range. Yet, despite all the problems linked to obesity, the number of obese cats is rising. Why are so many cats today becoming overweight, and, as responsible pet owners, what can we do about it?
Why are Felines Getting Fat?
In nature, cats hunt, which meant physical exercise was mandatory. But now we provide the food for our domestic felines and not only do they no longer have to exercise to survive, we fill them up with processed foods full of carbohydrates and allow them to eat whenever they want. Then many of us go off to work and leave them home to spend their time cat-napping.
Cats are carnivores. Their digestive system is not equipped to handle large amounts of carbohydrates. Unlike people, dogs, and most other mammals, felines create very little of Amylase, the enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates. Nature simply didn’t design cats to eat many carbs.
Unfortunately, many manufactured foods we give our cats, particularly the less expensive brands, are loaded with carbohydrates that turn into stored fat. When a cat eats a meal high in carbohydrates, its insulin levels raise for an unusually long time. The result is often diabetes.
What Should We Do?
Cats need food with plenty of protein and fat and low amounts of carbohydrates so that they can better digest the food. It is a myth that high protein diets cause kidney damage to normal, healthy cats. Check out
The Pet Center for an explanation.
We also need to stop free-feeding out cats. When we leave food available for them at all times, we open the door to overeating. Get your cat on a schedule and measure the amount of food you provide. Oftentimes, cats do not need as much food as the manufacturer recommends.
Five Good Foods for Fat Cats
Research shows that a healthy diet for felines should contain 35-50 percent protein, 40 percent fat, and only a small amount of carbohydrates, if any at all. Here are five foods that we feel fit the guidelines and would recommend.
This food is 50 percent protein and grain-free. It is very close to the diet a cat would eat in the wild.
There is 50.5 percent protein in this food. It has many of the benefits of a raw food diet.
Although this food does contain a little grain, it still has 36 percent protein and is a good, balanced diet. It is also a good choice for cats with food allergies.
With more than 36 percent protein, this food contains ingredients from all five food groups and provides a well-rounded diet.
There is at least 42 percent protein in this food and it contains cranberries for urinary tract health.
Remember, to keep your cat fit and trim you not only need to provide the proper diet, but your cat also needs plenty of water and exercise. Taking good care of your cat’s health is the best way to add quality and longevity to its life.