Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fat Cat

Last week I was back home in the Netherlands for a short week of mainly family visits.

I stayed with my niece and her family. They live on a nice, fairly quiet street, with a lot of cat owners. Every now and then I would meet one of these felines, walking from or back to their house. What struck me was the number of obese cats, not just in their street, but also in other streets. These are cats that are allowed to go out, so at least they’re not stuck inside all day. So how do these cats get so fat? Overeating? Wrong food? Or is it just a suburban cat thing? But that doesn’t seem right as I also saw normal, healthy looking cats. I would love to chat with their humans to find out. I’m just curious. I do know that some people have the notion that it is “gezellig” – a Dutch word that is hard to describe, but cosy comes close – to have a fat cat lying in the windowsill. Personally I think that a combination of wrong food (mostly dry food with a lot of fillers) and a constant supply of it could be the reason for these cats getting so fat. There’s no need for a constant supply of food. Feed at regular times a few times a day. If you can’t be there yourself, get a timed pet feeder. You can get them for up to 5 feeds. Weigh the food so they don’t get more than they need for their body weight (So you need to know the weight of your cat to start.)

Our two started looking for food in between mealtimes, but they’re outside a lot and it is getting colder. They’ve filled out but they are still lean, mean, killing machines. They are so active, always chasing flies, leaves, toys, each other and catching mice, rats and shrews. Somebody commented on the fact that we don’t let the two out at night. He said: “that’s the time they want to hunt”. He’s absolutely right but that’s the compromise in our house: inside at night. We don’t have a cat door and don’t want to leave the window open at night for them to go in and out and maybe bring prey back with them. Other cats could come in and go for their food as well. Then there are also foxes around and I don’t want them to get into a scrap with a fox. From about 6.30 am until 6 pm they normally can come and go as they please. They then go for naps and get some playtime in between as well. No constant supply of dry food. Dry food (grain free) is given as a snack every now and then and for the rest they get their regular meals of wet food. That and plenty of exercise will keep them in good shape.

I really feel for those obese cats. It’s not nice for them to have to carry all that weight around and it could cause all sorts of health problems in the long run. Cat owners: wake up. Don’t let your cats get fat. If you really care for your pets, you watch their weight. It can also save you a lot of money on vet bills.

 Picture through Google image search.
Thanks to the original uploader.

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