Cats Protection has warned that cat obesity has been on the rise over the past 10 months, with over a quarter of cat owners having overfed their cat since March 2020.
In its recent survey of over 2,000 cat owners, 28% said they had overfed their pet since the start of lockdown in March 2020, in light of owners spending more time at home with their pets.
Meanwhile, 36% said their cat visited neighbours for a bonus feed and overall, one in five cats (20%) had typically gained between 2-2.5 kilograms in weight.
The findings echo the charity’s CATS (Cats And Their Stats) 2020 UK report, carried out before the start of the pandemic, which highlighted at least 3.2 million owned cats were already overweight.
The charity said that while overfeeding can “come from a place of love”, it is harmful for pets, as overweight cats are at significant risk of diabetes, joint problems and urinary infections.
It is now advising pet owners to consult their vet before implementing a specific weight loss plan, and has also issued some immediate advice for owners to apply in the meantime.
This includes weighing out cat food daily to prevent overfilling bowls, reducing the amount of overall food provided if treats are also fed to the cat, anf avoiding human food, such as milk or cheese, as many cats cannot digest cows’ milk products.
In addition, it advises owners to ask their neighbours to stop feeding them, adding that this is especially important if a cat is on a special diet or medication.