Overweight Cats Risk Disease And Premature Death, Cornell Study Finds

are thin animals to begin with.

  • Cats eating some prescription diets for conditions other than weight are more likely to be overweight. That is because many prescription diets contain more calories in the same volume of food that the cat is accustomed to eating, Scarlett said. "Prescription diets tend to be caloric-dense, and if you feed them the same way you feed grocery store cat food, the cats will gain weight."

  • Inactive cats that get virtually no exercise are 16 times more likely to be obese.

    The veterinarians were surprised to find cats putting on extra weight so early in life. By one year of age, some 15 percent of cats in the survey were already overweight. And by two years of age, nearly 20 percent had landed in the "heavy" or "obese" categories.

    Results of the 2,000-cat obesity study were reported in the International Journal of Obesity (Vol. 18 Supplement 1, 1994). Results of the follow-up study will be presented at the Eighth Symposium of the International Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics July 8-11 in Paris.

    Tips for cat weight-watchers

    James R. Richards, D.V.M.

    Director, Feline Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

    • Schedule regular weigh-ins at your veterinarian's office. Veterinarians have scales that are sensitive enough to pick up slight changes in weight in an 8- to 15-pound animal, changes that are very important when we're trying to see if our attempts to get weight off the kitty are effective. Just like going to Weight Watchers meetings for humans, there is a motivational factor in regular weigh-ins.

    • Make sure the cat is eating what he's supposed to eat and nothing but. Avoid those calorie-rich snacks.

    • Ask your veterinarian if a special weight-reduction diet is appropriate for your cat.

    • Don't go overboard. Too rapid a loss in weight can have detrimental health eff

    Contact: Roger Segelken
    Cornell University News Service

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