Aging is a natural and beautiful process, but it’s also one of the major factors that contribute to cats’ higher risk of obesity. As cats get older, they begin to lose the hair that protected them from the cold weather in the first place, and this makes them vulnerable to overheating. In addition, as their muscles atrophi–—which results in a decrease in physical activity—–they store more calories as fat.
While this is not always the case, it is highly important to understand the link between aging and obesity in cats. This way, your cat can live a full and happy life and you can understand the warning signs of over–—and under–—eating.
Why Are Older Cats More Vulnerable To Obesity?
In general, older animals (including humans) are more likely to be obese than younger animals. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, but in cats it’s mainly due to changes in their endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands—such as the pituitary gland—that secrete hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones are responsible for regulating many body processes, such as growth, metabolism, and sexual maturation. In general, as a cat gets older their pituitary gland produces decreasing levels of hormones, which in turn leads to poor metabolism and increased appetite. This is why older cats are more vulnerable to obesity (and its related diseases).
The good news is that even though cats are more likely to become obese as they get older, this doesn’t mean they have to! The factors that contribute to obesity in cats are very similar to those that cause it in humans. This means that even though you may have to adjust your cat’s diet or exercise regimen as they get older, you can still prevent or at least delay the onset of obesity. With a little bit of effort, you can ensure that your sweetheart lives a long and happy life!
What Role Does Genetics Play In Cats’ Obesity?
Genetics plays a huge role in determining an animal’s predisposition to obesity. Certain breeds of dog are more likely to become obese than others, and cats are no exception to this trend. Certain breeds of cat have a very high predisposition to obesity, while others are more likely to stay slim. Just like with people, there are various factors that contribute to an animal’s weight, but ultimately it’s up to the individual animal to decide how much they want to eat. However, there are some things that you can do to decrease your cat’s chances of becoming obese.
One important thing that you can do is choose a well-balanced diet for your cat. Avoid feeding your cat foods with a lot of added sugars, and make sure that their calories are coming from a natural and healthy source. In addition, it’s crucial to have a balanced diet as it relates to proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This way, you’ll ensure that your cat’s metabolism remains stable and they don’t end up storing too much fat.
It’s also important to maintain an appropriate weight for your cat. Larger breeds of dog require more calories to maintain their body weight, and this is the same for cats! Remember, heavier is not always better, and as a general rule of thumb, you want to have your cat’s weight within the following ranges:
- 3-5 pounds for male cats
- 2.5-4 pounds for female cats
- 4-8 pounds for very large cats (bulls, bears, and lions)
- Up to 10 pounds for overweight cats
Keeping an eye on your cat’s weight and seeking the advice of a professional as necessary, is the key to ensuring that they live a long and happy life. Ultimately, it’s up to you what kind of nutrition and lifestyle your cat needs to be comfortable and healthy.