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Overweight Cats

(credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

(credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

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By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Obesity in domestic cats is described as being 20% or more over the ideal body weight. Overweight cats are at a higher risk of poor health, breathing difficulties, urinary tract infections, feline diabetes, arthritis, heart and liver disease, skin conditions and possibly even a shorter life span.

Find out first if the weight gain is due to a medical condition with a visit to your veterinarian to rule out any health problems. Start your cat on a healthier diet.

Provide physical activity in the form of toys, especially interactive ones. There are certainly a wide variety of safe interactive cat toys from which to choose. Spend some interactive playtime with your cat as well; ten to fifteen minutes a day provides the right amount of exercise without overdoing it or being too exhausting for your cat.

Sometimes depression, lack of attention or boredom can entice a cat into overeating too. You can resolve all of these issues with some healthier choices and a little more playtime together.