Is your cat too fat?

Animal Welfare League manager Aisling O’Brien with Murphy the cat, who has gone from 9kg to 6.5kg.
Animal Welfare League manager Aisling O’Brien with Murphy the cat, who has gone from 9kg to 6.5kg. Claudia Baxter

IPSWICH is the fat capital of south-east Queensland - and now local vets say our pets are not far behind.

Booval Veterinary surgeon Liam Graham said almost half of the animals he had treated could shed a few kilos.

"About 40% of pets that come into the clinic are overweight or obese. It's becoming a growing issue in Ipswich," he said.

The Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) Ipswich Vet Clinic manager Aisling O'Brien reported similar findings.

"Around 30% of animals we see are on the chunky side, while 70% tend to be in the normal weight range," she said.

"The biggest cat I've seen was here in Ipswich and weighed in at 14.5 kilos."

In 2002, Ms O'Brien rescued fat cat Murphy, who was dumped at the front door of a vet clinic in Sydney.

Murphy weighed 9.5kg and was placed on a Weight Watchers diet of low-calorie cat food.

He is now a Biggest Loser success story in the feline world at AWLQ, weighing in at just over 6kg and has the excess skin to show for it.

Ms O'Brien said portion control was a problem for humans and their animal companions.

"If the average woman is around 60kg and she's feeding her 30kg dog the same amount food she eats, the dog is essentially getting double the amount it needs," she said.

"Owners (also) tend to replace a walk or a play session with food, when the dog or cat would probably enjoy the exercise more."

Dr Graham says there is a misunderstanding among owners about how much to feed their animals, which leads to overfeeding and excessive snacking.

Vets recommend a high-protein, premium diet, especially for dogs and following feeding guides correct for the animal's age, exercise level, breed and weight.

Topics:  pets vet weight

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