Ever since the credit crunch hit, Britain has collectively been up in arms about ‘fat cats’.
However, new research from Cats Protection has revealed that actual overweight felines are – in more ways than one – an increasingly big problem.
The charity conducted a survey of 1,120 cat owners and found that nearly a quarter of British domestic felines are carrying too much timber.
It also found that 70% of overweight cats are still given edible treats at least once a week by their owners – and a further 28% of them are getting a treat at least once a day.
Nearly all cats, irrespective of weight, were fed special treats over Christmas which weren’t necessarily good for their health, including chocolate, stuffing and Christmas pud.
Maggie Roberts, Cats Protection’s director of veterinary services, said: “Britain’s overweight cats continue to be fed too many treats, which owners principally did out of love, habit or a desire to make their cat feel like a member of the family. However, overweight cats are at significant risk of diabetes and arthritis so there is the danger that owners are making a bad situation even worse.
She continued: “It’s not uncommon for cats to be given treats such as milk, chocolate or cheese. All of these could make cats quite ill. Cats are obligate carnivores and have to eat certain nutrients that can only be found in meat or commercial cat food.”
Giving cats treats isn’t necessarily wrong, but Maggie advises that it’s best to use ones which are particularly formulated for them. “Consider their cat’s total calorific intake so that they can reduce their other food accordingly,” she says.
Making sure that your pet is eating healthily and not carrying too much weight is an essential part of responsible cat ownership, along with making sure that your puss's vaccinations are up-to-date, microchipping, regular worming and having pet insurance in place.