The cat is supposed to regulate his food intakes according to his needs. However, 25 to 40% of the cats observed by veterinarians, depending on the country, show signs of excess weight. It is therefore advisable to be watchful and offer a Health Nutrition food providing moderate energy intakes.
In domestic cats, excess weight is a growing concern.
The explanation for this lies in many factors: the cat has become a city animal, sterilized, with limited or impossible access to the outside, which results in a change in his energy requirements. While in the outdoors, a 4-kg cat requires approximately 300 kcal/day, indoors his consumption stands merely at 200 kcal/day, i.e. one third less.
Furthermore, a sedentary cat who is offered high-fat and high-energy foods ad libitum is less capable of regulating his consumption.
Besides the beauty of his figure, it’s chiefly the cat’s health which is running the risk of being affected. Excess weight is indeed an early sign of obesity and obesity is associated with many other pathological risks: diabetes, urinary calculi, joint pain, skin problems...
Even without weighing the cat, indicators of his overweight condition can be perceived just by stroking him and watching him carefully.
His ribs and backbone should not be visible, but easily palpable. When looking at the cat in profile or from above, his waist should be clearly marked and his belly should not sag. If the abdomen looks stretched out and you have to push in your fingers to touch the ribs, it is urgent to react!
Generally, the ideal weight is reached at the end of growth, between 8 and 12 months of age, for most cats. This weight may prove to be quite useful as a reference point for the rest of the cat’s life, for you should strive to maintain this fitness weight, whatever the cat’s lifestyle.
The incidence of excess weight is much higher in inactive cats as compared with cats that can go outdoors. A well-fed cat with access to the outdoors may hunt for at least four hours a day. One can then understand how necessary it is for a cat that doesn’t go out to be able to externalize these natural behaviors linked to his hunting instinct: playing, climbing, jumping...
Boredom is one of the best friends of excess weight! A cat tree, toys and everyday attention combined with a Health Nutrition food suited to his indoors life provide a good answer to the risk of excess weight gain. As for "treats," they should quite simply be banned, unless they comply with the cat’s dietary requirements and are integrated into the calculation of his daily intake.
Indoors life often goes in hand with sterilization. The cat can increase his daily ingestion of food by 20% very quickly, even though he is reducing his energy consumption by about 30%, thus increasing the risk of excess weight. Monitoring his weight combined with a Health Nutrition food suited to his new requirements as a sterilized cat will then help to maintain his fitness weight.