Want to extend your kitty cat’s nine lives? Well, you should immediately stop feeding her human food and get her moving.
A recent study of 9,000 British pets by pet insurer Animal Friends has discovered that the number of dogs and cats diagnosed with diabetes skyrocketed by 900 percent in the past five years. Cats are at a particular disadvantage, with a 1,161 percent gain.
Stijn Niessen, who currently runs a British clinic devoted to the study of feline diabetes, told the Daily Mail that more than half of the cats kept indoors are dangerously overweight, compared with a quarter of those that regularly go outdoors.
“They get tasty, rich foods from us, which thousands of years were not available,” Dr. Niessen stated. “‘But genetically cats are much the same as they were then they hunted and intermittently consumed prey.”
Obesity can also put cats at risk for potentially lethal liver conditions, arthritis and lameness.
Apparently, some cats do become fatter than others. The study also found that the British shorthair was the most likely to succumb to obesity, followed by the Burmese, the Foreign Shorthair, the Maine Coon and the Abyssinian.
“It shows a clear gap in Brits’ knowledge regarding proper care of their pets,” Westley Pearson, director of claims for Animal Friends, told the Daily Mail. “The fact that the increase is so much higher than in humans suggests that while people are beginning to think more about their health, their pets are being left on their old diet and exercise regimes.”
According to WebMD, veterinarians now recommend cats eat about 30 calories a day per pound to keep a normal, healthy weight.