O is for Overweight / Obese.
Sometimes cats can get overweight. This is usually caused by eating too much relative to their exercise level. There are those who say it's based on the type of food they eat as well.
Wild and feral cats usually get most of our calories from fat and protein, with the occasional carbohydrate if our prey has just eaten something. If we eat food that is high in carbohydrates all day long without having to hunt for it and eat too much of it, that becomes fat.
Parker and Sandy (our human's inside-outside cat from his youth) developed good exercise habits from their time spent outside when they were young, and although Sandy may have been a little heavier than his mother, he was not obese. When they became strictly inside cats, they did not take to overeating and porking up (no offense to any of our swine readers).
So if the cat gets too heavy, what can be done?
- Make the kitty hunt for food. Put it in various places around the house, and not in the same place three days in a row. If eating becomes more than just a habit or a way to pass the time when bored, Kitty will burn some calories getting food. The video below (play it here, or click through to YouTube) gives more details.
- Play actively with the kitty for about 10 minutes per day. This could be with toys, or making kitty follow the person who gets up during the commercials to go to the next room.
- As a combination of the two previous suggestions, don't serve dry kibble in a bowl, but rather toss it down the hall one piece at a time and make kitty chase it. Feral cats chase our dinner before we eat it, so this helps mimic the situation we have out there.
When the cat begins to lose weight (about a half-pound or 250 g per month is a good rate), they will have more energy and want to play more, which will cause them to lose more weight until they get closer to their ideal weight.
sources include: http://www.catinfo.org/?link=felineobesity
personal conversation with Parker (and Binx)'s vet