Over three million pet cats are overweight in the UK and the problem has become worse throughout the pandemic, according to Cats Protection.

Over-indulgence is the primary cause, with one in five much-loved moggies gaining over 1 kilo in weight since the beginning of 2020.

Pets Putting on the Pounds

In a Cats Protection survey of over 2,000 cat owners, more than a quarter (28%) said they had overfed their pet since the start of lockdown in March 2020. Over a third (36%) said their cat visited neighbours for a bonus feed and overall, one in five cats (20%) had typically gained between 1 and 2.25 kilos in weight. These figures echo the charity’s CATS report, carried out before the start of the pandemic that highlighted at least 3.2 million owned cats were already overweight.

Maggie Roberts, Director of Veterinary Services for Cats Protection, said: “This survey suggests the extra time we’ve spent indoors with our cats has led to us over-indulging them, which owners did out of love or to make their feline feel like a family member. Sadly, we are doing them more harm than good as overweight cats are at significant risk of diabetes, joint problems and urinary infections.”

Maggie adds: “At a time of year when many of us have started a diet, it’s advisable to ask your vet if your cat needs one too.”

Paisley Frankland

One cat currently on a weight loss regime is Paisley. The five-year-old weighed 10.75 kgs – twice her recommended weight – when she was taken to Cats Protection last year. After being put on a specially prescribed diet she was adopted by James Frankland who has continued with Paisley’s slimming plan.

James says: “I felt so sorry for Paisley when I first met her, said James. She was so large she couldn’t move properly or reach around to groom herself. I have a deep love of cats and was determined to help her reach a healthy weight.”

James continued: “Initially she was following a vet-prescribed diet and I later moved her to normal cat food while sticking to responsible portion sizes. Paisley begged for food most days, so I usually bought her off with a catnip toy or a bit more play to help her get more exercise. She is now getting used to normal sizes of cat food and has lost more than three kilos. Although she is still two kilos from her ideal weight, she’s already so much more agile and lively. I have no doubt it’s extended her lifespan.”

Feline Fit!

Cats Protection recommend owners follow these top tips to keep your kitty happy and healthy:

  • Weigh out cat food daily, don’t overfill bowls. If giving your cat treats, reduce the overall amount of food you provide them
  • Avoid giving your cat human treats such as milk or cheese as many cats cannot digest cow’s milk products
  • Ask neighbours to help by not feeding them. This is especially important if your cat is on a special diet or medication. Consider affixing a simple paper collar to your cat stating that your cat is on a diet and politely requesting neighbours not to put food out

Cats Protection

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year through a network of around 230 volunteer-run branches and 37 centres. The charity’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.

More information about Cats Protection can be found at cats.org.uk

Pets Corner

Pets Corner, located at Peterborough One Retail Park, is an ethical pet store chain, with the main area of business being specialist natural pet foods, accessories and treatments. These are predominately for cats and dogs, but also for small animals, reptiles, birds, wildlife and fish. Pets Corner stocks a variety of products and services to ensure your feline friends are kept in tip top health, as well as entertaining toys and stylish accessories.

Head to Pets Corner this week and pick up some purrfect goodies for your much-loved moggy!

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