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How to tell if your cat is fat or fit

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By Anastasia Thrift, Illustration by Tom Kimball, Design by Jerome Callens

Is your cat fit or fat?

Recent studies show that housecats are getting fatter. Could your pet be part of the problem? The research might make you wonder a couple of things: whether your cat has gained too much weight and how to really tell if a cat is overweight. To see if your cat could be among this growing number of overweight or obese cats, take a simple visual test.

If you're hesitant to paw at your cat, asking yourself how bad the problem of fat cats really could be, we have news for you. Check out this infographic for statistics on obese cats and overweight cats nationwide. It's a widespread epidemic that could endanger the health and lives of the cats we love.

Help fight the battle of the bulge inside your own home to get your cat in shape. As with people, the solution is fairly simple, but the execution is the tough part.

Diet

Roughly estimated, the average cat needs about 200 calories a day. To put kitty on a diet you can either:

  • Feed the same food you've been feeding, only less of it. (This can lead to meows of complaints at 3 a.m., making it difficult to stick with.)
  • Feed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.
  • Feed a low-fat, high-fiber diet.

Many veterinarians recommend the low-fat, high-fiber diet option. Talk with your cat's vet about which is best for your pet (and your sleep patterns).

Exercise

You can get your cat moving in many ways. A few favorite tips include:

  • Wave a fishing-pole toy with feathers on the end. Move it like a bird to encourage your cat to leap and stretch.
  • Set up boxes, bags and soft-sided tunnels to create an obstacle course for an interactive exercise session. You can make tunnels by turning boxes upside down and cutting entrance and exit holes.
  • Invest in a multi-tiered cat tree and toss or wave toys around it so your cat can jump from one perch to the other during play. This exercise improves balance and coordination.

If your little kitty is getting less and less little, you can use more tips in the infographic below to learn how to get your fat cat back on track.

Click here for a larger, printable version of the infographic. http://www.catchannel.com/images/fat-or-fit-cat.pdf

"Infographic: Is Your Cat Fit or Fat?" is provided by CatChannel.com with permission from I-5 Publishing, LLC. For the latest cat news, photos, entertainment and tips, check out CatChannel.com.

All statements and opinions in "Infographic: Is Your Cat Fit or Fat?" are the sole opinions of the I-5 Publishing and not those of CareCredit. The content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual medical provider with respect to any professional advice presented. Your participation in the presentation constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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