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13th January 2021

Over a quarter of cat owners have overfed their cat since March 2020, but it’s never too late to introduce healthier habits.

With lots of us spending more time at home over the past 10 months, the number of overweight cats in the UK is rising.

In our recent survey of over 2,000 cat owners, more than a quarter (28%) said they had overfed their pet since the start of lockdown in March 2020. Over a third (36%) said their cat visited neighbours for a bonus feed and overall, one in five cats (20%) had typically gained between 2-2.5 kilograms in weight. This echoes our CATS (Cats And Their Stats) 2020 UK report, carried out before the start of the pandemic, which highlighted at least 3.2 million owned cats were already overweight.

If you have a feline friend of your own, you’ll understand just how irresistible their furry face can be. Perhaps you too have been spoiling your cat with extra treats, or have noticed your cat has gained weight and suspect a well-wishing neighbour may have something to do with it. Over-indulging our cats – or the cats who visit our gardens – usually comes from a place of love, however, sadly, it often does more harm than good. Overweight cats are at significant risk of diabetes, joint problems and urinary infections.

How to help your cat lose weight

We’d always advise consulting your vet before implementing a specific weight loss plan, however, there are some immediate healthy habits you can introduce safely:

  • weigh out cat food daily so you are not overfilling bowls

  • if giving your cat treats, reduce the overall amount of food you provide them

  • avoid giving your cat human treats such as milk or cheese as many cats cannot digest cows’ milk products

  • ask neighbours to help your cat by not feeding them. This is especially important if your cat is on a special diet or medication. Consider affixing a simple paper collar to your cat stating that your cat is on a diet and politely requesting neighbours to avoid putting out food

Further tips for helping overweight or obese cats can be found here.

Paisley’s story

Five year old Paisley weighed 10.75kgs – twice her recommended weight – when she was brought to Cats Protection last

Paisley the black and white overweight cat year. She was so large she couldn’t move properly or reach round to groom herself. After being put on a specially prescribed diet she was adopted by James Frankland, 52, from Hove, East Sussex, who was determined to help her reach a healthy weight.

Initially, James kept Paisley on a vet-prescribed diet and was later able to move her to normal cat food, while sticking to responsible portion sizes. He also introduced more play. Thanks to James’s love and dedication, Paisley has lost more than three kilos so far. She’s already gained lots of energy, and as her risk of health complications is now lower, she’ll likely live a longer life, too.

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