Pet owners struggle with what nutritional habits they should be practicing on their pets. Cat owners in particular may be concerned about overfeeding their felines. A 2011 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that over 53 per cent of American pet cats were overweight or obese, both of which are caused by overfeeding. Overfeeding can also lead to other problems later on.
One of the direct effects of overfeeding a cat is obesity. It is the most common nutrition-related problem of pet cats. Cats are naturally predators and wildcats must exert themselves to obtain food. Domestic cats are simply fed by their owners, which eliminates the exertion required to get food. This results in a decrease in calories spent. Cats not regularly exercised by their owners can become obese, which can lead to other health problems later on. Obese cats can have a hard time grooming themselves because of their size and can develop skin problems from lack of hygiene.
When balanced nutrition is not met when a cat is fed, they can become obese. Cat obesity has a direct link with cats developing arthritis as well. Feline arthritis symptoms include cats not moving as fast as they used to. Chronic pain may plague the cat, which will make it not want to be handled and it may react defensively.
Hepatic Lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, is a common feline liver disease. Cats who are overfed may have problems processing proteins and fats in their livers and may develop Hepatic Lipidosis. A sure symptom of Hepatic Lipidosis in felines is yellowing of the eyes.
Overfeeding can eventually result in cat diabetes. When a cat's body does not properly produce or use insulin, it means the cat has developed diabetes. Often, a cat's diet will have to be changed. Cats with diabetes may also require insulin injections twice daily. A cat with diabetes that eats incorrectly may slip into diabetic shock or die.
- Pet MD: Obesity in Cats ... and What to do About an Overweight Cat
- Pet MD; Taking After Master; US Pets Obese, Too, Study Finds; February 25, 2011
- Pet MD: Fatty Liver Disease in Cats
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Diabetes
- Pet Well Being: Cat Arthritis
- Your Healthy Cat: Can Overfeeding Lead to Cat Illnesses?