By Dr. Becker
A woman in Ottawa, Canada was recently charged with neglect for allowing her cat to grow to more than 11 kilograms – that’s about 24 and a half pounds. The poor animal was in such bad shape he had to be euthanized.
According to the Ottawa Humane Society, the 12 year-old cat named Napoleon was so overweight he couldn’t even stand up. And he couldn’t clean himself, so his fur was matted with feces. Apparently Napoleon’s owner visited the vet several times but never followed the doctor’s advice, so the cat’s health continued to spiral downward.
By the time Napoleon was brought to the humane society, he was in severe pain and his odds of recovery were poor. He was euthanized.
The cat’s owner faces a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail. She was charged under Ottawa’s animal cruelty law with “permitting distress to an animal and failure to maintain standards of care.”
According to Ottawa Humane Society Inspector Miriam Smith, “Failure to follow a veterinarian’s advice and allowing a pet to deteriorate like this is appalling. And it’s against the law.”
How Can a Pet Owner Let Something Like This Happen?
This story is so disturbing. I’m at a loss to understand how this woman could be so cruel to an animal that was utterly dependent on her.
Cats (and dogs) aren’t designed to be overweight. You’ll never find a wild feline with an ounce of fat on him. In part, this is because they spend their lives in survival mode. But it’s also because left to their own devices, it is simply not natural for animals to overeat to the point of obesity.
Obesity in today’s pets is the direct result of owner over-indulgence, biologically inappropriate food, and lack of physical activity. Obesity in a cat or dog is a disease within itself, and is also the root cause of several other painful, debilitating, potentially life-threatening diseases including hip dysplasia, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, respiratory problems, kidney disease, and a significant reduction in both quantity and quality of life.
If Your Cat Is too Heavy…
Almost 60 percent of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. If yours is one of them, I can’t stress enough how important it is to take the situation seriously. Getting your pet down to a healthy weight and keeping him there involves three steps:
- Feed a balanced, species-appropriate diet to your pet. Regardless of her weight, your cat still needs the right nutrition for her species, which means food that is high in animal protein and moisture, and no grain content.
- Practice portion control -- usually a morning and evening meal, carefully measured. A high protein, low- or no-carb diet with the right amount of calories for weight loss, controlled through the portions you feed, is what will take the weight off your cat. And don't forget to factor in any calories from treats.
- Regularly exercise your pet. An overweight body gets back in shape by taking in fewer calories and expending more energy. Daily exercise, including at least 20 minutes of consistent aerobic activity, will help your pet burn fat and increase muscle tone.
There are a number of videos and articles here at Mercola Healthy Pets that offer valuable, easy-to-follow advice and tips on how to determine if your kitty is overweight and how to safely diet him down to a healthy size. I recommend starting here: Valuable Tips for Helping Your Heavy Cat.
Since many cat owners don’t understand why dry food is not the right nutrition for their pet (especially overweight cats), I also recommend: