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Health Talk: When Does “Fluffy” Become a Feline Obesity Concern?

A study identifies major risk factors for cats becoming obese; here's what you can do.

Jackie Brown  |  Aug 25th 2016


Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the March/April 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

Fat cat memes might be funny, but feline obesity is no joke. In fact, nearly 58 percent of U.S. cats are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

Fat cats may be cute or funny, but the consequences of obesity certainly are neither. Fat cat sitting by Shutterstock

Fat cats may be cute or funny, but the consequences of obesity certainly are neither. Fat cat sitting by Shutterstock

A study published in October 2015 in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine identified two major risk factors for obesity in one-year-old cats living in the U.K.: a dry food diet and an indoor lifestyle. Although the study authors did not draw definitive conclusions as to why dry food is related to more overweight cats, it makes sense that cats living inside get less exercise. (Here are 5 Signs That Your Cat Is Obese.)

If your cat is plump, talk to your vet about her diet, and try upping her exercise with 20 minutes of daily vigorous play using feather wands and other chase-inducing toys.