Medical Conditions of Obese Cats

Obese cats may encounter health issues more frequently than cats with a normal weight. Being overweight is not healthy for your cat. Spayed or neutered cats have a tendency to gain weight, and maintaining a consistent diet is the key to keeping your cat healthy and fit.

Arthritis in Obese Cats

Arthritis is a condition that is more frequent in older obese cats. Arthritis is a joint disease and the extra weight only causes more joint stress and pain. Your cat will display symptoms such as:

  • Limping
  • Hesitating or refusing jump
  • Pain when walking
  • Behavioral changes (irritability, depress or aggression in some cases)

Arthritis is not a treatable condition, but can be managed with pain killers, diet and weight loss, which will ease the stress on the joints.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is caused by an insulin deficiency in cats. Overweight cats are more susceptible to diabetes.

A cat with diabetes will have symptoms including:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • More frequent urination
  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness

Diabetes can be managed with insulin shots, pills and a strict diet.

If left untreated, cats can lose their eyesight and develop neuropathy - weakness in the legs. Diabetes also leads to malnutrition, dehydration and even death.

Heart Conditions

Carrying around extra weight is a burden on the heart of the cat and it will tire this organ, leading to several heart conditions. Obese cats are more prone to strokes.

Regular check-ups and blood tests will show if your cat has a heart condition.

Difficulty in Breathing

Overweight cats have difficulty in breathing when performing routine activities, because of all the extra fat. If your cat is obese, he will avoid activities because these make him tired and cause hard breathing. Inactivity will lead to more fat gain and less energy spending.

Lameness in Limbs

Lameness is caused by joint disease - arthritis or muscle injuries - and obese cats can be more prone to this disease.

Lameness can occur in one or several limbs and is a great discomfort for a pet.

Skin Conditions

Cats with a weight problem can develop non-allergic skin conditions due to the fact that they cannot groom properly. They cannot reach certain areas of the body and bacteria can nest in these areas. These bacteria may cause different skin conditions or other diseases. This can cause hygiene problems for the entire household.

Premature Death

Overweight cats can suffer from a premature death, which may or may not be due to the different medical conditions. The life expectancy for obese cats is around 6 to 12 years.

Keep a diet rich in protein and less carbs, and make sure your pet gets enough exercise to be able to maintain a healthy weight. Opt for interactive indoor games that will put your cat in motion. The diet should be sensible and ensure the energy intake at the end of every day is less than the energy spent. Don't try crash diets, because these may cause health problems. Talk to your vet and decide on the most appropriate, step-by-step diet.