I’m a robust girl.
Dr. Watson clearly remembers the initial phone call with the news that her great aunt had rescued a kitty named Lily (ME!!) they went on and on about how lovely I was, that I was clearly a very special lady – quickly followed by “And…. she does need to lose some weight” *ouch* some of us are sensitive about our weight ok!? I’d love to go on the premise that I’m just “husky” or “big boned” but to be completely honest with you dear reader, I am not.
It’s a conversation that veterinarians have with loving pet owners ALL the time. The topic of pet obesity is not always a comfortable one, but the risks of an uncomfortable conversation are far outweighed by the risks associated with pet obesity so veterinarians must break the ice. It’s a conversation my very own Dr. Watson had with me as she reviewed my medical history. There was no argument – I was overweight, obese even, and we had to make some changes for my health.
Does this mean that Anne’s great aunt was a bad pet parent? That she didn’t have my best interests at heart? The answer is easy, and it’s a resounding NO! Like most cats I was showered with love, affection, belly rubs, and treats… lots and lots of treats. And that, dear reader, is where my trouble began. Like an estimated 54% of the pet population – I am overweight!
It’s become such a concern that there is actually a group dedicated specifically to managing and preventing obesity in pets – these veterinarians and veterinary personnel form the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention or APOP and you can find their website Here (petobesityprevention.org) This is a wonderful resource to help pet owners with their pet’s weight loss journey – there are relevant articles, guides for assessing your pet’s Body Condition Score and caloric needs and many other tools and logs for you to use along the way. Heres a sneak peak:
So why all the fuss about overweight pets? Surely some of us must be Fat and Happy right? I DO love my food, A LOT – but sadly, I can’t say that I’m happy about my weight. Not because I look at the other cats and feel different, but because I’m dealing with the ramifications of carrying this excess weight around.
Did you know that overweight and obese pets are at an increased risk of developing:
- HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
- CARDIOVASCULAR (heart) and RESPIRATORY DISEASE
- CRANIAL CRUCIATE LIGAMENT INJURY
- KIDNEY DISEASE
- Many forms of CANCER
- DECREASED LIFE EXPECTANCY (up to 2.5 years SHORTER than a pet with ideal body condition)
Those are a lot of potentially scary things to worry about! Unfortunately for me, I know that I’m struggling with mobility issues at least – and I really hope that I can work towards successful weight loss before I have to become concerned with some of the other things on this list. So my family and I are working hard to shed those pounds! And fortunately for us there are lots we can do!
We started with one of the easiest things to change – my diet, just as importantly my feeding amounts of this diet and finally restricting my treat consumption. I’m currently eating a special diet called Metabolic and I really quite enjoy it (again, I LOVE food!). My very own Dr. Watson thinks that I may have already started to lose weight since coming to live at the farm. We’ve also taken some measurements to track my progress and are starting a two-pronged approach to managing my arthritis discomfort while safely increasing my exercise.
And as much as I’m not thrilled to admit it here are my starting measurements:
Chest – 49 cm
Abdomen – 54 cm
Compared to the resistant OrangeCat Hawkeye:
Chest- 35 cm
Abdomen – 26 cm
You can see from theses values that I’ve got a ways to go. But I’m determined, and I’ve got a great support network, so I’m sure ill be as svelte as a cheetah in no time! Or at least much more comfortable and mobile, and with that in mind I’ve got plenty of time to be the silly care-free girl that I am – here I am showing my more refined side:
Until next time,
Purrs and Cuddles!