A new study on Canadian and American house cats has confirmed that the felines are fatter than they used to be.
Until recently, veterinarians were unsure if cats were really getting bigger. So Canadian researchers at University of Guelph decided to investigate, looking at records for more than 19 million cats across America and Canada.
As it turns out, cats are on average heavier than they were 25 years ago — and that could have serious health ramifications.
“A few years ago if you talked about fat cats people would laugh it off, but I think everyone is taking obesity more seriously now,” professor Theresa Bernardo of Ontario Vet College told the CBC.
She continued: “Our cats by 8 years of age had gained on average over a half a kilo, or a pound, which is 20% of their body weight. And we know that obesity is related to a lot of diseases — diabetes, some obesity-related cancers and arthritis.”
The study also showed that spayed and neutered cats tended to be heavier than their unfixed counterparts. It's believed the operations slow down the animals' metabolisms, making them more likely to gain weight.
Also to blame? Less exercise.
“People are now more likely to keep their cats indoors, and of course by doing that, you get cats becoming more sedentary,” Dr. Scott Bainbridge of Dundas West Animal Hospital told the CBC.