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Turmeric for Cats

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Vet Talks: Obesity in Cats

Vet Talks 4 min read

One problem that pet parents are struggling more and more with is an overweight pet. Cats are particularly prone to being obese. In fact, it’s estimated that 25-50% of cats are overweight in the United States. Obesity in cats is associated with health risks such as cardiovascular diseases, bladder, and mammary cancer, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, anesthetic, and surgical complications, decreased heat tolerance and stamina, and reproductive problems.

How is Obesity In Cats Defined?

Obesity in cats is defined as body weight in excess of 15% above normal, resulting from the accumulation of fat. It is also considered a pro-inflammatory factor, as the body fat releases substances that cause inflammation, and this may be the explanation for so many health problems that obese cats can present.

What Health Issues Can An Obese Cat Have:

Cats that are obese can have health issues like:

  • fatty liver syndrome
  • diabetes mellitus
  • musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases
  • high blood pressure
  • high-fat levels in the blood
  • possible anesthetic and surgical complications
  • decreased heat clearance and stamina
  • reproductive problems
  • cats may also have difficulty moving or breathing
  • exercise intolerance
  • urinary or fecal incontinence
  • unkempt appearance
  • pressure sores

How Does Obesity In Cats Occur?

Obesity in cats occurs when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure and other risk factors are present, such as neutering and dietary factors. Neutering and spaying, especially male cats, can predispose them to obesity.

Neutered cats tend to have less activity because they no longer have the incentive to turn around and fight with other males over a female. This does not mean that a cat should not be neutered, but they must exercise and be fed a well-balanced diet.

If obesity is associated with hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism, it is important to treat these issues as well.

Obese cats are usually tested for liver disease and diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). Other tests may be recommended to assess for obesity-related diseases in other organs.

Medications, Supplements And A Holistic Regimen For Helping Obesity In Cats

Many pet owners ask about medication and products that can help their cats to lose weight. Generally, a pet parent will want to start a vet-guided weight reduction program. If obesity is associated with hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism, it is important to treat these issues as well. There are also some herbs and spices that can help in this process.

Common herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper have been proven, through research, to have anti-obesity effects. These studies have indicated that the bio-active constituents in these spices can induce differentiation and apoptosis, reduce lipid accumulation, and promote thermogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

For example, Turmeric can suppress fat tissue growth. It plays multiple modulatory roles in the inhibition of adipogenesis, induction of the browning in white adipocytes, and apoptosis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, indicating its potential for the treatment of obesity. Studies have suggested that Ginger extract could regulate obesity-related metabolic disorders by elevating muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and serum HDL-C level. Cinnamon extracts, capsaicin, crocin, DAT, and curcumin, adjusting glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown. Cinnamon extracts, DAT, thiacremonone, quercetin, and curcumin could inhibit the protein and mRNA expressions of TG synthesis and lipogenesis-related enzymes, such as ACC, SCD, GPDH, and FAS, reducing the fat accumulation in the mature adipocytes.

Research has proven Black Pepper’s anti-obesity effect. It reduced body weight (FAT%) and ameliorated High Fat Diet-induced hyperlipidemia and its constituents. These herbs have also been showing many other beneficial properties that may support the treatment of hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, and many other conditions.

NHV Turmeric is composed of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), these two herbs have been reported to be beneficial in many different health conditions, they are also beneficial for pets that are obese.

NHV Multi Essentials contains a blend of herbs to help fill nutritional voids and help with metabolism. 

obese cat on the floor

Exercise and Diet Recommendations for Obese Cats

Weight reduction programs involve a multistep approach that includes good owner commitment, a feeding plan, and an exercise plan. For the animal to lose weight, it is necessary for energy expenditure to be greater than energy intake. This is accomplished by increasing exercise and feeding a diet that is lower in fat and higher in fiber.

Nutrients in diets formulated for weight loss won’t lead to other nutrient deficiencies. Weight loss is better achieved with meal feeding rather than leaving food available for your cat for a longer period. It is also important to limit treats and not allow access to other pet’s food or to human food.

Getting a cat to exercise can be difficult. It helps to place toys in locations that force them to climb up or down or to jump. Some cats will chase toys or lights, and feeders are available to force the cat to play with them in order to reach the food.

When the desired target weight is reached, body weight is monitored monthly to ensure the ideal weight is maintained. Prevention of obesity in growing cats is very important. Working with a veterinarian is also important because of the many obesity-related diseases that occur in cats.

Talk To An NHV Pet Expert Today About Your Cat With Obesity

Our team of pet experts can help you with tricks to get your cats to play, diet tips, and more.

Book a consult with Dr. Amanda here or get a customized diet plan, specially formulated for your pet.

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda completed her undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine in 2010 and graduate studies in veterinary pathology (MVSc. 2012 and PhD 2016) at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Dr. Nascimento will be hosting her own blog series and sharing her knowledge with our extended NHV family.

Published: December 27, 2019

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