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Relationship between cat body condition score and diseases

A study conducted in the 90s by the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, USA investigated the associations between body condition and diseases in cats. It found that cats that are underweight or overweight are more likely to become unwell.

Body condition score

The study looked at a range of cats covering six body conditions - cachectic, lean, optimally lean, optimal weight, heavy and obese.

The study

1,457 cats across 27 veterinary hospitals in the north-eastern United States were included in the study. None of the cats had major illnesses. They were studied over a 4.5-year period and those that had an optimal weight were compared to the cats who had a body condition score other than optimal weight.

The results

The cats that were above optimal weight were found to be 2.9 times more likely to have lameness not associated with cat bite abscesses. Obese cats were also 3.9 more likely to develop diabetes mellitus, 2.3 times more likely to develop nonallergic skin conditions and 4.9 times more likely to develop lameness requiring veterinary care. Cats with a cachectic or lean body condition score were 1.7 more likely to attend a veterinary hospital for diarrhoea.

The implications

This study demonstrates that cats should maintain an optimal weight in order for them to lead a healthier lifestyle and to lower their chances of developing diabetes, skin conditions, lameness or diarrhoea.

If you are concerned about your cat’s weight, you can speak to your vet who will help you determine your cat’s body condition score. If they find your cat to be overweight or underweight, your vet can advise you on a suitable healthy feeding plan.

SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect

In multi-cat homes, it can be difficult to ensure that all cats in the home maintain the ideal body condition score as food stealing can occur. Dominant cats can put on weight whilst timid cats might lose weight. Also, serving the incorrect portion size can cause cats to put on weight. The Microchip Pet Feeder Connect can help with both these scenarios.

This feeder has integrated weighing scales, making it easy to serve the correct portion size every time. It only opens for a registered pet’s veterinary implanted microchip to stop all other pets stealing food. It also records when a pet visits the feeder and how much they eat at each sitting, making it easy to monitor a cat’s feeding habits.

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