Our furry little feline friends are growing more like us every day. As we all know, pussycats spend a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing. Their daily schedule includes plenty of sleeping, eating as often as they are allowed to and if they are lucky a pat or two.
This idyllic life has apparently led to an epidemic of feline Type 2 Diabetes. The Small Animal Medicine Department at the University of Queensland say that Type 2 diabetes is concurrent with the rise in obesity in Australian adults. Now would be a good time to declare that despite not really being a cat person, I do in fact have a cat by the name of Napoleon and he has a weight issue. He is a Cat Haven cat so we are not sure of his ‘pedigree’ but we do know that he is part crazy and part food obsessed. He does have big bones too.
Cats are designed to do hunting and eat a diet high in protein and fat but many supermarket dry biscuits and canned wet foods contain too much carbohydrate and in fact more than 50% of the calories are often derived from carbohydrates. And of course, what about the other part of the equation, exercise. How does one get a cat to exercise? I have seen cats (okay, maybe two) being walked in the neighbourhood on a lead. Napoleon is not one of those fitness fanatics and would rather take a chunk out of my leg than move his fluffy backside.
The latest figures put cat obesity rates at 35 percent, but they can lose weight and be treated successfully for diabetes with a change to their diet. Dogs on the other hand, only get Type 1 diabetes and need daily insulin injections.
If you have a Burmese cat, look out. They are about three times more likely to develop diabetes but domestic short-haired cats are also prone.
In Australia, one household in every four has a cat, so have a look around, does your cat need a health assessment?