Millions of the nation's cats are at risk of life-threatening illnesses including diabetes and heart disease as a result of being overfed and lack of exercise. According to a survey of veterinary practitioners by Direct Line Pet Insurance, just under half of cats are overweight, with 50 per cent of vets believing that the rise in ‘house cats’ who remain permanently indoors, has made a significant contribution to the surge in overweight cats.
A fifth of vets also highlighted stress and behavioural issues (20 per cent) as a condition more likely to be found in cats that refrain from going outdoors. This is expressed through anxiety-related problems such as urine marking or excessive scratching of furniture.
Diabetes is the most common obesity-related illness in cats (87 per cent) with overfeeding (91 per cent) being the leading cause. Arthritis (36 per cent), urinary problems (18 per cent), joint issues (14 per cent) and heart disease (10 per cent) are other serious health concerns reported by vets as a result of cats being overweight.
5 most common obesity-related illnesses
- Diabetes (87%)
- Arthritis (36%)
- Urinary problems (18%)
- Joint problems (14%)
- Heart disease (10%)
Fortunately, there’s a simple fix: "Owners really need to focus on controlling food portions and encouraging their pet to exercise, indoors or outdoors," says Prit Powar, Head of Pet Insurance at Direct Line. "Doing this effectively will help reduce the risk of serious health problems. Vet bills can often be costly and many of these illnesses will require multiple trips to the vet and on-going prescriptions.”
Check out Direct Line's naughty pet video.
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