HOW TO PREVENT OBESITY IN A NEUTERED CAT ?
After neutering, the metabolism of the cat slows down, its behaviour is different. After the surgery,if its consumption is not strictly controlled, obesity will set up in 70 % of cases. Actually, a cat requires 9-10 weeks to adapt its food consumption to its lower energy expenditure. At that time, a cat may have easily increased its own bodyweight of 40 % up to 50 % ! The risk of obesity is specially acute if the cat is confined in a small environment, without any physical activity.
Check the bodyweight of the cat regularly
We can speak about feline obesity as soon as the cat's excess weight reaches 20-25 % of the ideal bodyweight. A 4 kg adult cat that gains 1 additional kg, already suffers from an important excess of weight. It is important to be very careful because obesity may induce serious consequences on the cat's health: predisposition to diabetes, to lower tract urinary disease… It is possible to observe the evolution of the waist, to palpate the ribs, but this is often difficult in long hair cats. Weighing the cat remains the best way to make obvious an excess weight. (By weighing oneself with and without the cat, the cat's weight is obtained by difference). The veterinary can supply information about the ideal weight of the cat according to its breed. In general, it gets its ideal bodyweight around one-year old and it should keep it for the rest of its life.
Information about the energetic requirements of the cat
A low active neutered cat does not require more than 60 kcal per kg and per day. For a 4 kg cat, it is equivalent to a daily food consumption of:
- 70 g of Slim 27 (3500 kcal / kg)
- 60 g of Fit 32 (3850 kcal / kg)
- 50 g of Sensible 33 (4550 kcal / kg)
If the cat already presents a tendency to be overweight, these quantities have to be reduced of 15-20 %. More or less 15-20 g is sometimes difficult to appreciate: it is highly recommended to use a specific measuring cup or a cooking scale to dose the daily ration.
Some cats have a very expressive behaviour for begging food all the time. Dividing the daily ration in several small meals allows to make them satisfied without increasing the quantities distributed. But giving something else than the complete food is prohibited: avoid the milk cup in the morning, leftovers, treats…
Choosing the right product
• Limitation of the fat content, augmentation of the fiber content
By respecting both these criteria, the energetic concentration of the food is lowered, and a satiety feeling is encouraged. The cat is less tempted to overconsume. In a neutered cat with a tendency to get overweight, we recommend to use a premium dry product that does not contains more than 10 % fat (Slim 37). Dry products that contain more than 20 % fat (Sensible 33), must be reserved to very active cats or cats that are prone to suffer from diarrhea.
The claim "light" or "lite" of some competitors products is sometimes misleading: it might be used for products that contain more than 14 % fat, and bring more than 4000 kcal / kg.
Choosing a light product does not exempt the owner to strictly control its cat's consumption, even if the volume of the ration is higher than it would be with a richer product. Otherwise, he will progressively compensate the lower energetic concentration by eating more, to get back to the initial dietary intake.
• Acidification of the urina
Urinary calculi are more likely to appear in obese and/or sedentary cats. The food acidification, that induces the urinary acidification, is the safest way to prevent from struvite crystals formation.
• Good palatability level
It is very dangerous for a cat to loose weight too rapidly. If it refuses to consume the proposed food, the fats stored in the body are brutally mobilized, go to the liver where they accumulate, inducing an hepatic degeneration. Then, it is important that a catfod, even poor in fat, keeps a high palatability. A cat should never fast more than one week.
Concerning obesity, prevention is easier than treatment. The owners must be very watchful from the moment they get the animal. Our role is to teach them how to choose and to use the available products. RCFI range is large enough today, to allow all the cat owners to find the suitable product that corresponds to his cat way of life.
Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website