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Abstract

Obesity is recognised as the most common multifactorial nutritional disorder of pet cats. Studies from several countries have indicated that between 11.5% and 63% of cats are overweight or obese. Breed, age, sex, reproductive status, the pet-owner relationship, owners' perceptions of their cats' body condition, type of diet, frequency of feeding, and environment have all been identified as potential risk factors for the development of obesity in cats. Obesity has significant implications for feline health and welfare as it has mechanical and metabolic effects and can predispose cats to conditions such as diabetes mellitus type 2, hepatic lipidosis, lameness, oral cavity disease, urinary tract disease, dermatological disease, and neoplasia. An important aspect of preventing and managing obesity is the evaluation of body condition to determine ideal body weight and to formulate an appropriate weight loss plan. Several methods have been developed for this purpose. This review uses recent scientific literature to discuss various aspects of feline obesity, including its prevalence, proposed risk factors, pathogenesis, associated conditions, and methods of assessment.
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... Feline obesity is a major welfare concern and studies suggest that anywhere from 11.5% to 63% cats are overweight [38]. The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity found in this study (50.7%) is comparable to what has been previously reported in the Netherlands (50%) and Japan (56%), but higher than in the United States (35.1%), ...
... Australia (32.8%) and France (26.8%) [39,40]. Housing, neutering and feeding practices may differ among countries leading to varying risk factors per geographic area [38]. ...
... Based on our univariable analysis, middle-aged, male, domestic shorthair cats were most likely to be overweight, which is in agreement with a previous study [38]. However, our study showed that the size of the average effect of being male and the amount of food on overweight was small. ...
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The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the suckling period length (SPL) on weight status among adult cats while taking into account putative risk factors. To this end, the body fat percentage of 69 client-owned cats was determined. A body fat percentage of >30% was used for overweight classification. Cat owners were interviewed using a standardised questionnaire to collect information about the SPL, age, breed, sex, feeding amount and frequency, daily playing and outdoor access. SPL was categorized into four groups (0–6, 7–11, 12–16, 17–24 weeks). Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between overweight and SPL after adjusting for identified risk factors. Of the 69 cats, 37 were overweight. The odds for overweight was three times lower in cats with a SPL > 6 weeks (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.10−0.99). This study identified a possible novel, modifiable early life risk factor for overweight in cats; the SPL. The results of this study indicate that allowing cats to nurse longer than 12 weeks might be a simple intervention to improve cat health and welfare.
... Due to their high incidence and association with pathologies [1][2][3], being overweight or obese forms a major risk for longevity and life quality in both humans and their pets [2][3][4]. The often unrewarding treatment [5,6] and, at least in cats, the inability or unwillingness of owners to correctly recognize overweight in their pet [7][8][9][10], has led research to be focused on prevention rather than cure. ...
... In cats, earlier studies identified important risk factors like neutering, sex, housing, age, diet, owner interaction, breed and individual behavior [4,6,[9][10][11][12][13][14]. Nevertheless, the already-high occurrence of overweight in young cats [9] promotes the need for further research on developmental traits (genetic as well as epigenetic) predisposing cats to obesity, as has been done in humans [3,15,16]. ...
... Ideally, such studies would point out easily determinable and useable parameters to identify kittens at risk of becoming overweight. However, with the exception of sex (since males are more at risk [4,7,12,17]), research in growing cats has not yet been able to clearly determine other early life predictive/ influential variables. On the other hand, a relationship between birthweight and a predisposition towards obesity was shown in humans (both offspring with low and high birthweights are predisposed [15,18]), pigs (offspring with low birthweights are predisposed [19]) and dogs (offspring with low birthweights are predisposed [20]). ...
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The aim of the present study was to assess factors like litter, individual and maternal effects on kitten overweight at 8 months of age, defined as body condition score (BCS) >= 6, in an intact cat family. To minimize confounding, a homogenized cat population was used. After categorization of the life weight data according to the kittens’ sex, BCS and maternal non-pregnant phenotype (overweight (OM), lean (LM), variable (VM)), analyses including Pearson’s correlation coefficients, two-way ANOVA, linear, linear broken-line regression and repeated measures mixed model analyses were performed. Overweight and OM kittens gained weight most quickly, and females reached their peak weight earlier than males (6.2 +- 0.6 vs. 7.4 +- 0.2 months). In females but not in males the age to reach peak weight differed markedly according to category. Male (5.82 +- 0.09, p < 0.01) and OM kittens’ (5.80 +- 0.11, p = 0.07) BCS at 8 months was higher and they were heavier than their counterparts, from 3 and 5 months onwards, respectively. Litter size negatively correlated with overweight (r = -0.30, p < 0.01) and birthweight showed a positive correlation to live weight (R2 = 0.05, p = 0.05) and monthly weight gain (R2 = 0.18, p < 0.01) over time. This study supports routine monitoring of birthweight, growth rate and maternal phenotype prior to pregnancy to identify kittens at risk for becoming overweight.
... In addition to the metabolic effects, obesity also promotes mechanical changes by influencing the quality and life expectancy of the animal and also the occurrence of obesity-associated comorbidities (Flanagan, Bissot, Hours, Moreno, & German, 2018), which includes diabetes mellitus (DM), hepatic lipidosis, lameness, dyslipidemia, systemic arterial hypertension, urinary tract disease, oral cavity diseases, and dermatological disorders. (Tarkosova, Story, Rand, & Svoboda, 2016). The diagnosis of the body condition can be performed using techniques that aim to determine the number of body structures, such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA); however, it is rarely used in the clinical routine because it necessitates the patient to undergo general anesthesia. ...
... The diagnosis of the body condition can be performed using techniques that aim to determine the number of body structures, such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA); however, it is rarely used in the clinical routine because it necessitates the patient to undergo general anesthesia. (Tarkosova et al., 2016). However, there are methods for easy application in the clinical routine that are based on the classification of the individual's degree of obesity through the assessment of the body condition score (BCS) on a scale of 1 to 9, verification of the loss of lean mass through the index of muscle mass (MMI), and measurement of morphometric measurements (Laflamme, 2006;Freeman et al., 2011). ...
... In the IS group, four (50%) were males and four (50%) females, while in the OW group 10 (46%) were males and 12 (54%) were females. Tarkosova et al. (2016) has reported some risk factors for the development of obesity, including sex, reproductive status, age, and race. Thus, male, castrated, middle-aged cats have a greater predisposition, with the breed being a factor that may vary according to the location (Mendes, Passos, Gáleas, Secchin, & Aptekann, 2013;Alves, Barbosa, Cheren, Silva, & Souza, 2017). ...
Article
Excess body fat can cause a series of metabolic and mechanical effects on the body. Therefore, this study aimed to verify the clinical, metabolic, and risk factors of overweight (OW) cats. For the acceptance of participation in the research, the tutors were asked to answer a questionnaire containing 34 questions and to point out the body condition score (BCS) on a sheet containing nine images of different scores (1 to 9 on a 9-point scale). Thereafter, the body evaluations were performed as a classification of the BCS on a scale from 1 to 9, with an ideal score (IS) of BCS 5 and OW for BCS > 5. Further, the lean mass index and morphometric measurements (thoracic and abdominal circumferences and height and length of the patella to calcaneal tuberosity) were performed to estimate the percentage of body fat. Systolic blood pressure was measured using the non-invasive Doppler method and blood was collected for hemogram and serum biochemistry (creatinine, urea, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol). After these analyses, we sought to guide and raise the awareness of the tutors to promote the correct nutritional and environmental management of the animals. Thirty adult cats were divided into two groups, based on the classification of the BCS, with eight having an IS and 22 being OW. The OW group was found to have a low level of physical activity, hypercholesterolemia, and higher values of body characteristics. Additionally, there was a median agreement between the perceptions of the clinician and the tutors. Therefore, it was concluded that the main laboratory alteration found in the obese cats was hypercholesterolemia, which was a critical parameter. It was observed that a low degree of physical activity could cause excess weight gain. It was found that the guardians of the cats with ideal weight underestimated the BCS, which could contribute to the supply of excess food and consequently, obesity. Thus, this study was sought to guide and raise the awareness of tutors, to promote the correct nutritional and environmental management thereby providing welfare and quality of life to the animals.
... Obesity is defined as an excess of body weight. This nutritional disorder is frequently diagnosed in cats and the reported prevalence of obesity in feline patients ranges from 11.5 to 63% [1][2][3]. The prevalence of obesity has been reported greater in older, neutered male cats than in females or unneutered males [1,2]. ...
... The prevalence of obesity has been reported greater in older, neutered male cats than in females or unneutered males [1,2]. Other factors described as increasing the probability of obesity include breed, type of diet, feeding frequency, and the pet-owner relationship [3]. ...
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Obesity is a nutritional disorder commonly diagnosed in adult cats that has been associated with an increased risk of different chronic diseases including respiratory diseases. The main objective of this study is to define if there is a relation between lung function measured by barometric whole�body plethysmography and obesity in cats with bronchoconstriction. Fifty-three cats were included in the study. All animals presented a bronchoconstriction status diagnosed with an Enhanced Pause (Penh) value higher than the reference range. Based on a standardized 9-point body condition scale, 36 cats were normal-weight cats (with BCS < 6), and 17 cats were considered overweight or obese cats (with BCS ≥ 6). Overweight cats were mainly male cats and older, and presented lower tidal volume values, lower minute volume values, and lower peak inspiratory and expiratory flows than normal-weight cats. According to the results of the present study, overweight cats showed a more compromised lung function parameters related to restrictive pattern compared with normal-weight cats. However, overweight cats did not show a higher bronchoconstriction level compared with normal-weight cats.
... Concerns about the ecological impact of cats on wildlife populations and native species, feline transmission of zoonotic diseases, and the inconvenience that roaming cats might cause to other people have led to various suggested initiatives, including night curfews, collars with bells, cat-free buffer zones around nature reserves or sensitive conservation areas, and routine confinement [3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. Another factor supporting indoor confinement is the concern that free-ranging cats may be injured by other cats, humans, cars or predators (e.g., feral dogs, coyotes, wolves) [11]. On the other hand, some disapprove of the indoor confinement of cats because it has been associated with an increase in behavioural disorders [12] and with health problems such as obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2, and urinary tract disease [13][14][15]. As well as serving as companions to families, cats can have a utility role. ...
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We studied the roaming patterns of companion cats in Denmark. The movements of 97 cats with outdoor access were traced for about seven days using GPS tracking. Data on the cats were gathered from their owners. The median time cats spent away from their homes was 5 h per day (IQR: 2.5 to 8.8 h), median daily distance moved was 2.4 km (IQR: 1.3 to 3.7 km), and median for 95% BBKDE home range was 5 ha (IQR: 2.9 to 8.5 ha). Cats above seven years of age spent less time away from home, were less active and had a smaller home range than younger cats. Cats with access to nature areas spent more time away from home, were more active and had larger home ranges. Intact male cats spent more time away from home than neutered cats and had larger home ranges as well. Finally, rainfall had an impact on the distance moved by cats: on days without rainfall the cats moved 3.6 km on average (95% CI: 2.8; 4.5 km); and on days with heavy rainfall the cats moved 2.4 km on average (95% CI: 1.6; 3.5 km).
... Introduction Obesity, a multi-factorial disease, is estimated to impact 11 to 61% of domestic cats globally [1][2][3][4][5]. Positive energy balance can be a result of many factors, including food intake (FI) being greater than total energy requirements and low total daily energy expenditure (EE). ...
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Gonadectomy is a major risk factor for feline obesity. The lipotropic effects of choline have demonstrated benefits for growth and carcass composition in livestock. The consumption of supplemental choline on body weight (BW), body composition, lipid metabolism, energy expenditure (EE), and serum satiety hormones were evaluated in 15 gonadectomized male kittens. Kittens were offered a base diet formulated for growth (3310mg choline/kg dry matter [DM]) to daily energy requirements (DER) over an 11-week acclimation. Post-gonadectomy, kittens were assigned to a base diet (CONTROL, n = 7) or choline group (base diet with additional choline at 300mg/kg BW0.75 as a top dress) (CHOLINE, n = 8). For 12-weeks post-neuter, kittens were offered three times their DER over three meals to mimic ad libitum feeding. At week -1 and 12, body composition was assessed using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), 24-hour indirect calorimetry was performed for EE and respiratory quotients (RQ), and fasted serum samples were analyzed for lipid compounds and satiety hormones. Daily food intake (FI) and weekly BW were measured. Data was analyzed as a repeated measures of variance (ANCOVA) using the GLIMMIX procedure with time and group as fixed effects. CHOLINE had lower mean daily FI and lower rates of BW accretion (P0.05) between groups, but both groups experienced a decrease in low-density lipoproteins and increase in high-density lipoproteins (P
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The ‘2021 AAFP Feline Senior Care Guidelines’ are authored by a Task Force of experts in feline clinical medicine and serve as an update and extension of those published in 2009. They emphasize the individual patient evaluation and the process of aging, with references to other feline practice guidelines for a more complete discussion of specific diseases. Focusing on each cat encourages and empowers the owner to become a part of the cat’s care every step of the way. A comprehensive discussion during the physical examination and history taking allows for tailoring the approach to both the cat and the family involved in the care. Videos and analysis of serial historical measurements are brought into the assessment of each patient. These Guidelines introduce the emerging concept of frailty, with a description and methods of its incorporation into the senior cat assessment. Minimum database diagnostics are discussed, along with recommendations for additional investigative considerations. For example, blood pressure assessment is included as a minimum diagnostic procedure in both apparently healthy and ill cats. Cats age at a much faster rate than humans, so practical timelines for testing frequency are included and suggest an increased frequency of diagnostics with advancing age. The importance of nutrition, as well as senior cat nutritional needs and deficiencies, is considered. Pain is highlighted as its own syndrome, with an emphasis on consideration in every senior cat. The Task Force discusses anesthesia, along with strategies to allow aging cats to be safely anesthetized well into their senior years. The medical concept of quality of life is addressed with the latest information available in veterinary medicine. This includes end of life considerations like palliative and hospice care, as well as recommendations on the establishment of ‘budgets of care’, which greatly influence what can be done for the individual cat. Acknowledgement is given that each cat owner will be different in this regard; and establishing what is reasonable and practical for the individual owner is important. A discussion on euthanasia offers some recommendations to help the owner make a decision that reflects the best interests of the individual cat.
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Obesity is a common nutritional disorder in cats, especially when they are neutered and middle-aged. Obesity predisposes cats to several metabolic and clinical disorders, including insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, lameness, and skin disease. Prevention and treatment of obesity is therefore of great importance in veterinary practice. Correct assessment of body composition is important for recognizing early states of obesity and for monitoring success of weight-loss programs. Various methods for assessing body composition have been proposed, of which a 9-point body-condition score has been validated in cats, and is possibly the most simple to use in the clinic; however, for extremely obese individuals, it is less useful. When calculating the appropriate daily caloric intake for a weight-loss plan, the aim is to maintain a safe weight-loss rate, increasing the chance of preserving lean body mass and decreasing the risk of developing hepatic lipidosis, while also producing a sufficient weight-loss rate to keep owners motivated. A weight-loss rate of 0.5%-2% per week is recommended, which for a cat that needs to lose 3 kg body weight results in an anticipated time for reaching the target weight of 24-60 weeks. There are several purpose-made weight-loss diets available. The optimal composition of a weight-loss diet for cats is unknown, but most of the available products have lower caloric density, an increased nutrient:energy ratio, and higher protein and fiber content. Regular follow-up visits allow the caloric intake to be adjusted based on progress, and possibly increase the chance of success. This review discusses the risk factors for and consequences of obesity, and gives directions for formulating a weight-loss plan, including daily caloric intake, choice of diet, and common problems based on the current literature. This review further provides a nutritional comparison of the current composition of selected commercial veterinary-specific weight-loss diets.
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