Oscar, a CatCentric foster who arrived severely overweight and addicted to kibble. In going back over my notes for the last month or so, I realized I published but never introduced my latest article, “Cats, carbs, and calories: An obligate carnivore’s perspective.

    This piece was written in response to the confusion that swirls around the topic of overweight pets. More specifically, how to avoid and reverse feline obesity.

      The growing pudge of America’s felines has been a veterinarian concern for several years and is now a hot topic among veterinarians and cat owners alike. The Banfield 2012 Pet Health Report five-year statistics show dramatic increases in several feline diseases, including an astonishing 90% leap in obesity, and the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s latest survey found that a dismaying 55% of cats are classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians.

        That’s over 47 million cats dragging around excess and unhealthy rolls of fat.

          Although metabolism, genetics and activity level all play a part in a cat’s body condition, diet is the single most important factor. Commercial pet food manufacturers are capitalizing on this epidemic of titanic cats by producing a plethora of “Lite” and “Indoor Cat” products. Unfortunately, feeding these diets is no guarantee a cat will lose weight and, more often than not, little progress is observed.

            Counting calories is another highly-recommended but often futile weight control method. Owners will go to great lengths to reduce their cat’s caloric intake – purchasing costly prescription diets or meticulously measuring out absurdly small amounts of daily rations – resulting in a hungry and disgruntled kitty who is nevertheless still not losing weight.

              Cats transitioned from kibble to canned products will, on the other hand, frequently begin losing weight, and cats transitioned to a balanced raw diet are almost guaranteed to shift to and stabilize at an optimal weight, without reducing the amount of food being offered and often while increasing the total daily intake.

                Click here to understand why feeding a high protein, low carbohydrate diet is critical for feline weight maintenance, and why simply trying to reduce calories will never have an effect until carbohydrates are removed.

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