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Vet Notes : cats

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Fat cats are not healthy cats

I'm sure you saw pictures of "Princess Chunky", the 44 pound stray cat (male, despite the name) that made headline news after he was left at a shelter in New Jersey. Even if your cat is not even close to the size of this mammoth cat, a few extra pounds mean a lot for such a small creature.

Cats that are overweight are much more likely to develop joint problems and arthritis. Unfortunately, the medical options to manage these debilitating conditions are not available for cats as for dogs. Also, cats that do respond to treatment with various medications will respond even better if some of the excess weight is removed.

Overweight cats can develop Type II diabetes, just like overweight humans. These cats will respond to diet and exercise, but the weight has to come off or the diabetes will not be resolved.

While most cats don't take to a halter and leash for a walk around the block, some might. Some cats love chasing balls or laser pointers or feathers tied to sticks. Figure out which toy motivates your cat to move and make a point of exercising your cat daily. Some cat owners will build outdoor enclosures filled with climbing structures to encourage their cats to move around and play.

Start your cat's weight loss program with a trip to your veterinarian for a thorough checkup.

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