Chonky cats – the cute trend with catastrophic consequences!
Whether you find them entertaining or not, you’ve more than likely seen some “chonky cats” whilst scrolling on social media.
A quick search on TikTok or Instagram of #chonkycats will bring up a plethora of videos featuring these thick felines.
And it isn’t just chonky cats that are a constant trending topic!
Round animals, chonky bois, chonks, you name it, overweight pets seem to be celebrated at an almost worldwide level.
And we get it, cute, cuddly, squishy...real-life marshmallows with floof! What’s not to love!?
Well, if we’re being completely honest, there’s a lot!
As adorable as they appear, these are obese cats at risk of health conditions such as diabetes, urinary tract disease, breathing problems, arthritis and joint problems. Yikes!
Are we killing our cats with chonkyness? It would seem so! Just look at these shocking statistics!
- In the UK a whopping 39-52% of cats are overweight or obese. That’s half the cats in the UK. Half the cats!
- Obese cats are 20% heavier than their ideal weight
- Overweight cats are 10-19% heavier than their ideal weight
- Neutered cats are more likely to become obese as the metabolic rate decreases by about 20% after castration. Also, the desire to roam is decreased, resulting in less exercise.
- Cats between the age of 2-10 are more likely to become obese due to reduced movement and exercise.
Most cases of cat obesity are generally linked to the following:
- Inappropriate diets
- Lack of activity
- Lack of space or areas for natural behaviours
- Incorrect feeding routines
- Little knowledge of normal weight and body conditions of pet cats.
To check if your cat is an ideal weight, you can use something we vet professionals call a body condition score (BCS)
- Run your hands over your cat's side. You should be able to easily feel the ribs with a small covering of fat.
- Feel above the base of the tail. Overweight cats can have a build-up of fat here.
- Run your hand over your cat's back. You should be able to feel the spine and hips. They should not be completely sticking out or unable to be felt at all.
- Feel under your cat's belly. You shouldn’t be able to feel any fatty bulges.
If your cat is a little on the chubby side, there are some things you can do from home to keep obesity at bay!
If you’re a cat parent, you’ll already know how lazy our feline friends can be. They sleep on average 15/20 hours a day. What a dream!
Indoor cats often have fewer opportunities to get as much exercise as their outdoor companions. And this can lead to weight gain.
Encouraging all exercise in or out of the house can increase metabolism and get those joints moving.
You may also find that at certain times of the year, your cat may be less active than others.
In winter, they may choose to spend more time indoors out of the cold weather and be more inactive.
In summer, outdoor cats may naturally lose excess weight by indulging in their natural hunting instincts and running about more.
Tips to increase exercise
- Find a toy that your cat is interested in. They can be so stubborn and picky and what works for one cat may not work for another. Laser pens, feathers on a stick, and toys designed for chasing or kicking are all great for keeping your kitty mobile. See which your cat prefers!
- Build a catio for indoor cats (or get someone to do it for you!)
- Throw treats around the house and use a treat ball
- Create shelves and climbing walls in rooms in your home
Change the way you feed
- Change the area you feed your cat every day to give mental and physical stimulation closer to their natural hunting behaviour.
- Scatter food or use a food puzzle toy for great exercise and mental activity. You can make your own from empty toilet rolls, cardboard boxes, and containers. Let your imagination run wild!
- Avoid overfeeding. This can be difficult if there are a few people in the home feeding the cat, or in multi-cat households. Use markers so everyone knows when your cat has been fed or needs feeding if this makes it easier. Also, avoid over-giving treats daily. We all like to spoil our furriends, but we must make sure these are given in moderation.
- There has been a lot of research regarding ad-lib feeding and its relation to obesity in cats. However, up to this point, there is still no agreement! We, therefore, encourage each cat parent to use an individual basis for your cat to decide which way suits them better when it comes to weight.
- Cats are frequent feeders, so feeding little and often into five daily portions is recommended by International Cat Care.
- Check the feeding guides on your food packets so your cat receives the recommended daily amount of food. These are always guides and you may need to consider your cat's age and activity. If you need support, Buddy vet nurses can help you check this.
- If you have a multi-cat household with a chunky cat and one of ideal weight, it may be an idea to invest in microchip reader feeders, which will only open for a specific cat. This enables you to feed the cats exactly what they need whenever they want it. It also removes the stress of you having to feed separately and make sure your chonk is not stealing your other cat's food!
Fuzzball offer subscriptions for dry and wet cat food and freeze-dried treats with no added salt and fillers. Developed by veterinary nutritionists.
Preventative health measures
We champion proactive pet care and want more cat owners to feel empowered to take control of their cat's health.
If you are noticing that your cat is becoming a little chonky then it’s time to act.
Not only do we need to look at the cat's weight, but also are there other factors involved:
- Grooming - When cats are a little chonky, it can be more difficult to groom certain areas such as their back end or the base of the tail. Do you notice any matted fur, dandruff or dry skin in this area?
Our vet nurses can support you with grooming and help you address any weight issues with a personalised weight loss plan. We can help you get your cat comfortable with grooming gradually and make it a fun and positive experience. This can help avoid any skin issues such as pain, inflammation and sore wounds.
Our in-house vet team also recommend Omega Care. It’s a great supplement that helps keep the skin and coat healthy. It's also amazing for the brain, heart and joints, plus it’s tasty too!
- Joint problems - Being overweight and more inactive can put more pressure on the joints resulting in stiffness and mobility issues.
If you have an overweight cat that's struggling to move BuddyJoint Care supplements with Glucosamine and Chondroitin can be given daily to support healthy joint mobility.
Free Online Vet Nurse Consultations
If you need advice on diet, nutrition or weight management, you can speak to a Buddy vet nurse for free!
Connect with a registered vet nurse online using our live chat or during a scheduled online consultation.
You can book your consultation for a date and time that suits you. Whether you’re on the go, in the office or snuggled up with your buddy on the couch.