Friday, September 18, 2009

French Fat Cats

Last week I blogged about fat chicken. Today’s blog is about fat cats – French fat cats, to be precise.

To be even more exact, this study looks at the prevalence of overweight and obesity in otherwise healthy urban cats presented for vaccination at the National Veterinary School of Alfort, France. The cats were examined between March and June 2006 and the study was published by Laurence Colliard and colleagues in the Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery earlier this year.

On a total population of 385 cats, 19.0% were found to be overweight and 7.8% to be obese.

Risk factors for excess weight were the cat’s age, neutering (both sexes), male sex, and underestimation of the cat’s body condition by owners. With regard to the latter, it appears that owners who thought that their cats were of normal weight or even underweight tended to have more overweight or obese cats (doesn’t this remind us of parents who can’t believe their kids are overweight?).

Purebred and longhair cats had a lower risk for obesity. Persians were over-represented in purebred cats and none were obese.

Interestingly, the authors report that only cats living in one-kid households were lean – so if you want a lean cat, you may want to also have a kid to keep it company (or an ALF?).

Edmonton, Alberta

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4 Responses to “French Fat Cats”

  1. katja sawitsky says:

    Isn’t it interesting that both pets and humans are experiencing an obesity epidemic. Are pets going to fast food restaurants? Are they playing more video games? Are they missing the calorie level information on restaurant menus? Do they have poor self esteem? Do they have fewer opportunities for exercise than in the past? All of these issues have been put forth as a reason for obesity but intuitively pet lives are not much different now than they have been in the past. My childhood dog was inside more and got less exercise than my dog does today. What is different, in fact very different, is food and how it is produced, both for humans and animals. Perhaps obesity is caused by eating obesity as you, Dr. Sharma, suggested in the post last week and as the movie FoodInc points out. We continue to blame the victims (animals, pet owners and humans) when what we need is sweeping changes in our food systems. We also need to change our attitude about food and instead of paying as little as we can for food, start paying for the quality and healthfulness of food that we want.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This reminds me of myself.

    I have a photo of me with friends.
    I remember the day, enjoying my friends and the outing and feeling like an ordinary person. I remember how I felt, and how I thought of my body. I would have said I was a bit fatter than everyone else. The picture showed that I was totally out of scale compared to everyone else. I was huge.

    I’m like that French fat cat, and I was as delusional as the owner.
    Nothing like a pic of me with other people to cut through the denial.

  3. Anonymous says:

    KS – Correctly me if I am wrong but I don’t see anywhere in the article where the research compared to obesity of pets from current generation to the past generation. So how can you state that the current population of pets are more obese?

  4. katja sawitsky says:

    I am going by the information and hoopla when I visit my vet and the newsletter from my vet’s office outlining the dangers of obesity and the statistics presented. Apparently, there are more obese and fat pets these days.

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