Did you know that cats grow the fastest during the first six months of their lives?
They also end up doubling in weight in only the first 10-12 weeks! Not all cats continue to grow as much past this point though, and the majority of their physical growth will occur during this time. Some lazy cats who love to nap will end up gaining more weight than others, and some may be larger or smaller depending on their genetic makeup. There are lots of other factors as well that affect how big your furball will become.
While we might love to cuddle with our big furry cats, we have to ensure they get the proper diet and exercise so their health does not suffer. To learn more about how to keep cats healthy and happy, PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Drowning provided further details: “It’s important to remember that when a cat is overweight the excess pounds puts additional strain on the normal functioning of the body.” “The same may be true for some larger breeds of cat, especially amongst the pedigrees, where gene pools can be smaller.”
However, it’s important to remember that some cat breeds are naturally bigger than others like Maine Coons and Siberian Cats. And there’s no doubt about the fact that we love to have a good cuddle with our furry friends. So enjoy the pictures coming up next!
1. That’s a big baby
2. A beautiful big furball!
3. 28 lbs of floofness
Maine Coons are at risk of suffering from heart problems, and other health problems that are passed down genetically, Nurse Downing explains.
She says: “It’s vital that if your cat may have underlying health conditions, you do everything possible to keep them healthy so the condition isn’t made worse or brought forward early on in life. You can achieve this by feeding your cat the right amount of good quality complete food, and by encouraging exercise so that your cat can maintain a healthy lifestyle. The additional strain of any excess weight on top of underlying health conditions will only make things worse.”
4. Part Maine Coon, part Turkish Van
5. Posing for the camera
6. Those are some chonky mittens!
PSDA Vet, Nurse Downing made it clear that cats that are overweight for prolonged periods of time have an increased risk of multiple health issues. She explained: “As with us, carrying excess weight puts extra strain on joints, makes organs work harder, and can interfere with the normal functioning of the body.”
7. Looking like a snacc
8. Oblivious to the world
“Overweight cats are at risk of developing diabetes, bladder problems, including painful blocked bladders, liver disease, arthritis, breathing problems, and even cancer. As well as these directly associated conditions, it’s worth remembering that once your cat’s health begins to deteriorate additional problems can start to develop as their body weakens,” Downing further added.
10. Cat or fluffy rug?
12. Hates being photographed
Overweight cats could have different issues that affect their quality of life daily. They may end up being lazier, sleeping more, be less agile, and mostly uninterested. PSDA vet Nurse Downing added: “Although cats sleep a lot naturally, when they’re awake they should be alert and active—cats are athletic and agile creatures, so disinterest in life is an unnatural behavior for them to develop.”
13. Looking a bit confused
14. Acting sweeter than he actually is
According to Nurse Downing, pet owners may overfeed their pets as a way to bond with their felines. This may be their way of showing love to their furballs. She explained: “Our nurturing nature for those we love can be expressed in many ways, including in the form of wanting to feed our loved ones, and it’s no different with our pets.”
15. Loves being treated like a baby all the time
16. This one knows how to get what he wants!
17. Couch potato
18. Just a ball hanging in the corner
Vet Nurse Downing said that she’s seen many cat owners overfeeding their cats that have been rescued to make up for any ill-treatment they may have been subject to at their previous home. Whenever cats ask for food, the owner gives it to them, which may not always be healthy.
19. This big girl is independent now
20. Tiger or kitty cat?
“These are both very understandable emotional responses. However, we need to change our mindset to not see food as the only way to express our love. Our pets of course need to be fed, but it’s important to understand that feeding is to meet the nutritional requirements for your pets’ good health and wellbeing,” Nurse Downing explained.
Downing further added: “By overfeeding pets, we are actually harming their health and shortening their lives. It’s important to recognize as well that many owners don’t even realize that their pet is carrying too much weight. We can become blind to our pets’ physical shape, as we see them every day.”
21. He’s at the top of the world
22. That’s a massive fur coat!
23. Thicc and luscious
24. Loves being held by mommy!
Nurse Downing encouraged owners to show their cats love in other ways than overfeeding. She said: “Spend time to research a suitable food for your cat and weigh it out with scales each day to make sure you’re feeding the correct amount. You can also make your cat work for their food by sharing their daily food allowance into different bowls and placing around the house, or using puzzle feeders.”
25. Magnas loves cuddling with his hooman
26. That’s one dapper gentleman
27. Can’t breathe!
“But remember, time, play, and activity are gifts that enrich our pets’ lives just as much as food does. By playing with our cats, we can keep their mind sharp and their body active, as well as the benefit they gain from the time we are spending with them. This will help them stay healthy and avoid any health problems associated with weight gain from developing. If owners can replace the treats and extra food with more playtime and snuggles, this is a much healthier way to show them how much you love them.”
28. Will do anything for some love
29. His favorite seat in the world
30. That’s one lazy but lovable furball
31. Exploring the great outdoors
32. Those paws tho!
Dr. Ernie Ward, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention founder, said: “Obesity is our cats’ number one health threat. Feline obesity is more than ‘chonky,’ it’s a biological time bomb.”
“Obesity in cats is a serious disease with many severe consequences such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and many forms of cancer. The worst part of feline obesity is that it reduces their life expectancy and dramatically reduces their quality of life. Cats with obesity desperately need our help,” Dr Ward added.
Dr. Ward stressed the importance of not overfeeding your cat: “That’s why it’s so important that cat owners precisely feed the correct number of calories each day. I recommend having your veterinarian assess your cat’s current Body Condition Score (BCS), setting a target of an ideal weight, and calculating the number of calories you should feed each meal.”
33. The best hugs
Dr Ward said that cat owners were not well-informed about the best course of action for weight loss: “When I ask them why, the pet parent shrugs, ‘I’m feeding the special food my vet prescribed.’ Weight loss is a journey with many unexpected turns and hills; you must stay alert and be willing to take a different path if you’re not reaching your objective.” Dr Ward added that 5-minute play sessions three times a day with your cat would be enough.
34. Part-time cushion, full-time chonk
“I strongly encourage cat owners to weigh the food using a kitchen scale. We’ve done experiments with cat owners and veterinary professionals and have consistently observed that using a measuring cup isn’t as accurate as needed to achieve weight loss in many cases,” Dr Ward added. “Even feeding as few as ten extra kibbles each day can add up to a pound of weight gain in a year for a cat. Once you get the hang of it, weighing the food takes no more time than using a measuring cup. Finally, work with your vet to adjust the diet or calories every three months if your cat isn’t losing weight.”
Dr Ward concluded by saying: “I also like using ‘hunter feeders’ and food puzzles to engage a cat’s ‘inner predator.’ Use vertical surfaces, climbing towers, and other perches to allow your cat to climb and ‘stalk’ as much as possible. Environmental enrichment and exercise are essential for emotional and behavioral health as well as maintaining a lean body mass.”
35. Study breaks be like…
Dr. Ward said that cats can lose 1 to 3% of their weight every month if on the right weight control program: “That translates to my target weight loss of about a half-pound per month for most cats. If a cat loses too much weight too quickly or is fed too little, it can develop a life-threatening form of liver failure, so be sure to work closely with your veterinarian before beginning any diet program with your cat.”
As you can clearly see, chonky cats may look super cute, but there are risks attached to their weight. So be careful and make sure your cat is healthy as can be! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!