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Obesity harms cats’ ability to digest, study finds

Obesity harms cats’ ability to digest, study finds
by Lucinda Beeman

Read time: 2 min

Recent research shows that obesity is seriously harmful to cats – and our in-house vet nurse, Caroline, has a rallying cry for cat parents. 

This is off the back of new research, published in the Journal of Animal Science, which suggests that obesity in cats has far-reaching consequences. 

According to a study conducted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, obesity influenced the digestive tracts of 18 cats – for the worse. As the cats gained weight, they became less able to digest certain macronutrients. And the balance of bacteria in their gut microbiome shifted. 

It’s grim news at a time when cat obesity is increasing. According to the Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity’s 2022 survey, 61% of cats are overweight or obese. That’s up from the year prior. 

Caroline, KatKin’s in-house veterinary nurse, says: “Speaking to our cat parents, a cat’s body condition score (BCS) isn’t a concept that always comes up, or is even truly understood. We’re working to change that – and as mentioned in the article, ‘obesity is a physiological disorder affecting numerous body systems.’ So the benefit of knowing your cat’s BCS is paramount.”

She continues, “An increase in BCS can be linked to – but not limited to – diabetes, heart conditions, urinary conditions, arthritis and constipation. So at KatKin, we incorporate the BCS, along with other inputs based on the individual cat, to provide each cat with their ideal daily caloric intake.

But assessing a body condition score isn’t a one-and-done thing – checking it should be a constant in any cat’s life to keep obesity at bay.” 

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