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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, since 1877

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Resources » Pet Library

Fat Cats

by Dr. Karen Halligan

The Risks for Overweight Cats

Obesity is one of the most common problems inflicting domesticated cats. Overweight cats are at risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cushings disease, pancreatitis, heat intolerance, arthritis, cancer, anesthetic complications and FLS (fatty liver syndrome).

About FLS

Overweight cats are prone to FLS, also known as feline hepatic lipidosis, as it is one of the most common liver diseases diagnosed in cats. This condition is not recognized in overweight dogs, yet it is fatal to overweight cats if not treated rapidly and aggressively. The typical scenario with FLS is that the overweight cat has gone through a period of not eating. The chances of FLS occurring are greater if the cat is obese before the anorexia began. Basically, when the fat is broken down to supply nutrients it is deposited too rapidly in the liver, failing to be adequately processed. The fat becomes stored in and around the liver cells, resulting in liver failure. Cats with FLS often become very cold, and/or may develop jaundice, which identifies itself by turning the normal whites of their eyes, skin and mouth yellow. FLS is a life threatening illness which must be treated immediately. Treatment is aggressive and includes intravenous fluid therapy, nutritional support and hospitalization until the cat’s appetite returns and the liver is functioning normally.

What to Do If You’ve Got a Fat Cat

The bottom line is that your cat will have less health problems and live longer if she is not overweight.

Please visit our spcaLA Marketplace in Long Beach or South Bay MiniMart which have a great selection of low-calorie foods to choose from and a staff that pride themselves on helping out!

Behavior and Training Department

If you would like more information on training or have a behavior question you can email the Behavior and Training Department at training@spcaLA.com or call the Behavior Helpline at (888) 772-2521, ext 260.