Cats are a social media phenomenon. And with their pillow-like bodies and pudgy faces, fat cats are among the most popular. But sometimes these overweight pets are getting attention for more than just being cute or funny.
Earlier this month, a famous fat cat from Nashville named Buddha became widely known for his unusual fitness regime. Buddha has been walking on a treadmill in water to lose weight. The water makes the exercise easier on the heavy cat’s joints.
Being a new cat owner, I decided to research how to optimize my cat’s health and prevent him from packing on the pounds. The information I found is important for all cat owners.
Dr. Melanie Youngs, a veterinarian from The Winnipeg Humane Society, said, “The most significant reason why our cats are overweight, a lot of people would like to think it’s, ‘oh it’s just because they’ve been fixed and they live indoors,’ but really the main culprit is diet.”
Youngs said dry kibble is high in carbs, which “causes them to have spikes in their blood sugar and can lead to problems with obesity.”
“Just like it’s a problem for obesity in people, our pets will suffer from the same types of things.”
Youngs recommends feeding cats an all wet food diet.
I went to Global Pet Foods Winnipeg to speak to the owners and see if this is the case. The new pet store sells kibble, canned, dehydrated and frozen raw food. Dehydrated raw food is in between kibble and raw and must be mixed with water before being served.
Owners Chris and Debbie Delorme said kibble is the least recommended of the four alternatives. And a raw diet is typically the most nutritious.
Although there may be some cases where a cat’s health condition prevents it from eating a raw diet, Debbie Delorme said “a raw diet would be beneficial in terms of a healthier skin and coat, less preservatives in the food which could potentially reduce health issues later in life and bring down the cost of the vet bills.”
Chris Delorme added that “some cats don’t drink a lot of water and there’s traditionally a lot more moisture in a raw diet than there is in a kibble diet, so if you’re going to feed kibble we also encourage you to feed canned food.”
The owners said the initial outlay for raw food is more expensive than kibble, but if you compare the feeding levels you will see you are getting more for your dollar.
“Many of the frozen products on the market do contain a balanced diet for either dogs or cats. It has the protein sources, it has the fruits and vegetables, it has in some cases some grains, it has all the vitamins and minerals that are necessary to have a well-balanced diet,” said Debbie Delorme.
It is advised to carefully read the ingredients of any food you are feeding your cat and deal with raw food safely, just as you would your own.