Meow Cat's Death and Pet Obesity - as part of the news and politics series by GeoBeats.
Often, in our culture, overweight or unusually large pets are often associated with humor.
However, pet obesity is no laughing matter and risk factors for pets related to being overweight are similar to those for humans. Meow, the 39-pound cat who made national news in the past few days, sadly passed away due to heart failure. Before departing, Meow did trigger an increased interest in the issue surrounding obese pets.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of the cats in the United States are overweight, of which nearly 20 million are obese. Cats above their desired weight are much more likely to have diabetes, heart problems, joint issues, and skin-related conditions. They also have a dramatically shortened lifespan.
Obesity in dogs is just as common. Over 55% of dogs are overweight with about 16 million being obese. One of the reasons for high pet obesity rates is that the owners are not aware of their pets being overweight and many don't know the right amount of food they need to give to their pets. A veterinarian notes in a CNN report that dogs above their ideal weight range are at increased risk for high blood pressure, severe arthiritis, and diabetes. Just like with cats, obese dogs also see their life expectancy shrink by several years.