Increasingly, obesity is a growing problem not only among humans but also among pets. Cats do not escape being overweight and according to the latest studies it already affects 44% of kittens.
But, what factors influence this increase in obesity in the case of cats? On the one hand, the breed – the common European cat is, for example, one of those with the greatest predisposition to suffer it -, the physiological state – such as being sterilized-, certain endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism (or Cushing’s Syndrome ) or diabetes mellitus, gender (male felines are more likely to have extra kilos) and age (the older they are, the more the metabolism slows down).
However, there are also factors unrelated to the feline’s own physical and health condition that affect this increase in obesity. A study recently carried out by Purina revealed that one in three pet owners does not recognize when their animal is overweight, which suggests, according to the company dedicated to the care of pets, “a lack of ability on their part to detect this problem.” .
Veterinarians warn that obesity increases the animal’s risk of suffering from diseases such as diabetes mellitus, lower urinary tract problems (FLUTD), arthritis and osteoarthritis, skin diseases, liver lipidosis, exercise intolerance and heart problems. All of them important reasons to try to better monitor your weight, detect the existence of a problem in time and go to the vet to treat it.
On the one hand, controlling the feline’s diet, with a healthy and balanced diet, will be essential to achieve this weight loss, but also, as caregivers, we have another great asset in our hands: promoting physical activity and games. with our pet.
What kinds of games can we play with the cat? The possibilities are endless and many of them do not require, in addition, large budgets. We can divide them into three large groups:
Intelligence games are a good resource to get the feline to get in shape. The good thing is to offer an incentive, which can be a piece of food, a toy, a sound that he likes … Think about what greatly motivates the cat to move to get it. One of the most popular is the so-called kong, a toy that the cat must shake and move to get the treats inside (recommended in this case, of course, that they be light). There are also something more complex such as game and hunting lanes or circuits.
In this type of exercise, the involvement of the caregiver is essential since he becomes a kind of coach to get the motivation of the pussycat. It is recommended to use toys that make noises, have sounds or lights as a complement. But we can also use simple, cheap and very attractive homemade resources such as silver paper balls, a roll of toilet paper, a ball of wool, a rubber band, the movement of a rope or something you like.
Let’s take advantage of the hunting instinct of the cat, which by nature likes to chase and catch everything that moves in front of it. And caution, be very careful with small objects that he can ingest or plastic bags that can pose a choking hazard.
Excessive use of laser pointers is also not recommended as the animal is often frustrated when chasing something it can never hunt.
And last but not least, you can get the cat to exercise almost without realizing it by taking advantage of the resources of a home. For example, if you live in a two-story house, divide your portion of food in two so that you have to go up and down the stairs, spread your favorite toys at different points …
And of course, if there is the possibility and desire to take care of him as he deserves, another feline playmate can be another great option to encourage him to play and move.