The Star-Herald

No fat cats

Is your cat a little on the “heavy” side? Would Kitty be a good candidate for winning the “Fattest Cat Contest”?  Not only would it hurt Kitty’s feelings, it’s just plain unhealthy to be a fat feline. The pressure and stress of Kitty’s extra weight on her bones, muscles and internal organs could actually shorten her life span.

We know our cats are smart, but we’ve yet to meet a cat that has learned how to operate an electric can opener. For the most part, cats are not the ones in charge of dispensing food. Only their human family members are responsible for over feeding their felines. (This holds true for you people out there who are owned by dogs, too.)

Pet food manufacturers have caught on and are tailoring their products to our cats’ needs. For instance, there are now formulas available for the senior, less active kitty.

The key to trimming Kitty’s waist line is as follows: less food and more exercise. 

As far as food goes, too many owners of fat felines are leaving Kitty’s bowl full all day. However, there is an alternative to leaving an unlimited supply. Instead, offer her more frequent feedings of smaller amounts of food. If you’re not home during the day, you may want to invest in an automatic cat feeder that allows you to set the amount and frequency that Kitty’s food is dispensed.

All the dieting in the world won’t help weight loss the way dieting combined with exercise will. Of course, if you’re embarking on an exercise program for your cat, particularly if she is overweight, it’s best to tell your vet and get Kitty a physical check-up.

One of the best ways to get your cat’s heart pumping is to toss her favorite toys. Toss them in an area clear of furniture so Kitty can chase these items without the fear of skidding into the sofa.

You may want to purchase or build a series of shelves for Kitty to climb. Or put down cartons or paper bags for her to explore and climb in and out of. Provide Kitty with something to scratch — store-bought posts, or a clean piece of wood or a piece of carpeting rolled so that the backing is exposed (cats prefer the backing). If your cat loves to hunt and pounce, try one of those kitty fishing poles from which a toy dangles.  

You may even try adding another feline to your family. A younger kitten certainly may help to get your Kitty moving in the right direction and losing those unwanted pounds.   More helpful tips can be found on thepetshow.com.

Stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society and check out the beautiful felines that are just waiting for their new family to arrive.  Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10-4.

Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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