Fat Cats: the Issue of Cat Obesity

 

The pet obesity epidemic is a big concern in this country, and the problem is growing worse.  Weight loss is not easy for anyone, human or otherwise.  When it comes down to it, the solution seems simple:  Eat less, exercise more.  This is easier said than done, however, particularly in the cat.  But there are important reasons for us to strive to reach a healthy weight for our feline companions.

Overweight cats are prone to illness and shortened lives

Overweight cats are prone to some serious medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer.  Overweight cats live shorter lives than normal weight cats.  Also, these cats tend to be “lazier”, not moving around as much, which makes it harder to detect early signs of serious illnesses.  Fat cats are no laughing matter.

What can you do to help your cat slim down?

So how do we accomplish safe, successful weight loss for our furry felines?

  • Cut the calories.  This sounds simple enough, but there is more to it than just not eating as much.  Fat cats are prone to developing a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis if they do not eat enough.  Kitty diets should only be started under the guidance of your veterinarian.  He or she can help you to calculate your cat’s daily calorie requirements.  Don’t be tempted to use a self-feeder.  Instead, measure out portions daily.  Pet or play with your kitty when it begs–some cats are literally starving for attention!  Feed small meals frequently and freshen the water bowl often.  These little changes can make a big one!
  • Change the food.  For some cats, simply changing the diet can make a drastic difference.  For instance, most canned foods have a lower caloric content than their dry counterparts.  Light or diet foods are also available.  Be sure that you are not cutting calories too drastically by calculating caloric needs with your veterinarian.  Cats can be finicky about new foods, so be sure to gradually introduce the new diet over a 1-2 week period.  You can try to make new foods more palatable by warming them slightly or adding a little oregano or a splash of salmon juice or omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
  • Get that kitty moving! No bones about it–it is harder to increase your cat’s activity level than your dog’s.  It takes some creativity to get your cat burning calories.  Make your cat “hunt” for its food by moving the bowl frequently.  Try putting it at the furthest place from kitty’s sleeping spot to encourage movement.  Use interactive toys such as flashlights, laser pointers, paper bags–anything your cat likes to chase to have a short activity session daily.   You may need to change it up frequently.
  • Keep track of progress.  Rechecks and weigh-ins can help tell you if you are on the right track.  Monthly weigh-ins are ideal.  If you are not making progress in a month’s time, it is time to try another food or technique.

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

 

Old Man Winter may be in town, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the Great Outdoors with the family pet.  If you are going to be spending time outside, however, there are some special precautions that must be taken in order to ensure everyone has a great time!  Take the following into account when spending time in the elements this winter:

  • Be sure that your pet has access to water.  Just because it is cold out doesn’t mean hydration is not necessary.  Don’t forget that many water sources freeze in the winter.
  • Pay attention to the paws!  Your pet’s paws may become sore or even cut when walking on frozen ground and ice.  You might consider investing in some protective doggy boots if trekking for long periods in these conditions.
  • Many ice-melting products are not pet-friendly!  Use a pet-approved product for your own property and be sure to clean any potential contamination from your pet’s fur and paws upon your return home.
  • Steer clear of antifreeze.  Even a tiny amount of this sweet substance can be lethal.
  • Be extra careful around frozen lakes and ponds.  If your pet should fall in accidently, it may not be able to get out.  Hypothermia is also a concern.
  • Use extra care in icy areas for both you and your pet.
  • If your pet begins to shake or shiver, it is time to end your outing.  Just because your pet is wearing a fur coat doesn’t mean it can’t get cold.  Just like you, the more active your dog is, the warmer it will stay.  Your pet may benefit from wearing doggy booties or a coat.
  • Try to target your outdoor activities for the warmest part of the day.  There is a big difference between going for an hour long walk at noon and walking in the evening after the sun has gone down!

Don’t keep your pup all cooped up until Spring!  By getting out, you will enjoy the season and keep you and your pet healthy and fit.  Just be aware of weather-related dangers so that you can head outdoors worry-free.

 

Top Ten Signs of a Top Notch Boarding Facility

It is hard enough to leave your pooch or puss behind when you have to be away from home, let alone select somewhere for them to stay.  Ease your worries by making sure your boarding facility displays all the signs of being a quality joint.

10.  Separate lodging for cats and dogs.  Especially for cats, this can be a big deal.  Make sure the cats and dogs are not intermingled.  Bonus points if cats are kept in an area that drowns out the noise of any barking dogs.

9.  Spacious accommodations.  Take a look and see if cage sizes seem appropriate to the size of the animal it contains.  Don’t forget your pet may be staying more than a night or two.

8.  Personalized care.  Special diet requirements, medication administration, or caretaking requests should be honored (within reason of course).

7.  Opportunity for exercise.  Particularly if your pet is staying more than a few days, it is important that they are allowed the ability to stretch their legs and burn off some steam.  Even pets that don’t require much exercise (couch potato kitties, older dogs) should be offered some form of interaction on a daily basis.

6.  Caring staff.  Talk to the people that will be taking care of your pets.  Oftentimes you can get a good feel for their level of commitment to their job and to their furry guests.

5.  Willingness for you to visit.  A good facility should be willing to have you come and take a look around.  This is often the best way to get a feel for the quality of care.

4.  A plan.  A top notch facility should know their policies, have a plan in place for medical emergencies, and ask you about your desires for specific situations.

3.  Cleanliness.  Of course anywhere that houses animals is bound to have some “accidents”, but overall pet’s living conditions should be clean and smells should be minimal.

2.  Vaccination and other health requirements.  If a boarding facility doesn’t ask for your pet’s vaccine status or de-worming history, chances are they haven’t asked for anyone else’s pet’s either.  Your pet can come into contact with diseases at a place such as this, and a conscientious operation will be on top of these types of issues.

1.  A genuine interest in your pet.  This is often what separates the good from the great.  A great facility will welcome your pet with open arms and offer the same caring touch that you would at home.  The presence of a true interest in your pet is what will make you the most comfortable leaving your baby.

Be sure to consider us for boarding if you’re taking some time away. We would love to take care of your loved one, and we’re sure you’ll find we match up to all of the criteria listed above!