5 Ways to Keep Your Kitty Fit

If your cat has been mistaken for a sofa cushion, it’s a strong indication that she needs to move more and eat less. Likewise, if she has a pendulous belly that sways when she moves or a thick layer of fat that covers her ribs. And if she has a flat, broad back from neck to tail — without a waist that tucks in toward her spine between her ribs and hips — it’s time to slim down. An estimated 70 million cats — more than half the domestic cat population in the United States — are overweight or obese, according to a 2010 study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

All cats require routine health and dental care to stay fit. Don’t be surprised, however, if your veterinarian recommends increasing your cat’s activity level. Unless her fitness improves, your cat will be at risk for heart, respiratory and kidney disease, as well as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and ligament injury. In addition, an obese cat will die an estimated 2 1/2 years earlier than a cat with an ideal weight.

How much exercise your cat needs will vary with age, breed and existing health conditions. One thing’s for certain: Getting your kitty to move more often will improve her quality of life.

Wondering whether your cat needs a personal trainer? Psych yourself up for the job starting on the next page.

Your cat can benefit from a more active lifestyle.Image Credit: Sheri L Giblin/Getty Images | Nir Elias/Reuters/Corbis | Inti St. Clair/Getty Images | Hemera/Thinkstock | iStockphoto/Thinkstock | Bloomimage/Corbis

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