Posted in cats, dogs, pet health

Put down that kitty treat!

There have been a few pounds creeping up on me in the last few months. Celebrations like graduation and birthdays this summer brought cake, cake, and more cake. How could I refuse?

Now I see the extra calories as extra weight. Hindsight isn’t going to help me here. Apparently I’ve gained just enough weight to make my knee bind up and that makes me notice the stairs. How can I have this problem when I’ve been carrying boxes of our son’s belongings up and down three flights of stairs in his new dormitory? That’s adding injury to insult, I think.

At least I’m conscious of my overindulged condition. My cat Casper is not aware of his own plump outline, so when he looks up at me with his one good eye and bleats at me, I know what he’s saying. “Feed me!”

Ah, but it’s all too easy for us to let our pets get carried away with their food intake. We are a nation of snackers. I know that on days that I’m not at work, I sense a pang of hunger, like clockwork, right around the 9 a.m. coffee break time.

If I’m at home, I can step into the kitchen and raid the refrigerator in a few seconds.

At work, if I’m not careful, I can walk next door and purchase some temptation from the grocery store in a matter of minutes.

Feeding these kinds of impulses is easy. It should be easy to reverse the process, logically. If only it was that easy, but with pets, starting a weight-balancing program should be pursued with guidance from your veterinarian.

The folks at Drs. Foster & Smith pet supply company have an obesity checklist in their recent catalog. It tells you to look to see if your cat has: a saggy stomach, no waist when you view him from above, a broad flat back, an excessively round face, excessive padding and skin folds at the base of his tail, your cat’s breathing is labored, he walks with a waddle, cannot tolerate exercise, and cannot tolerate the heat.

The dangers of obesity for pets is similar to humans, including developing diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and high blood pressure.

The time to put your pet on a diet should not be chosen blithely. You should not restrict or replace foods you normally feed your cat as you might with your own diet. Don’t be tempted to put your cat on a starvation diet; it would put the cat at risk for a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis.

Your vet can help you structure a plan to decrease your pet’s caloric intake and start getting more exercise. The two combined are the simplest way to get your little buddy back to a safe weight. Playing games with your pet can help provide exercise for both your pet and you!

And that’s food for thought.

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Owned by three cats over age 13