Little information is available in the scientific literature regarding the changes in BW of cats over their lifetimes and the relationship of BW with breed and sex.1 Obesity is a growing concern in the human population as well as in many nonhuman animal species in contact with people, including domestic cats.2 In people, weight gain during early adulthood was associated with decreased odds of healthy aging, with an increase of ≥ 2.3 to < 10 kg (5 to 22 lb) associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.3
Although ideal BWs for cats of different breeds and sexes have not been established, short-term studies4–6 that involved 118 to 14,270 cats have estimated the prevalence of obesity in cats in the United States to range from 27% to 39%. Obesity has been associated with arthritis, diabetes mellitus, cardiac disease, respiratory illness, and other diseases in cats.7 Research has shown that cats have a decreased ability to digest proteins, fats, and starches as they age,8 and weight loss, particularly in older cats,9 has been observed with diseases such as hyperthyroidism, renal disease, and neoplasia.10–12 Currently, veterinarians have limited resources available to determine an appropriate target BW for different cat breeds. The objective of the study reported here was to characterize BW changes over the lifespan of domestic cats and investigate associations of BW in adult cats with breed, sex, and reproductive status.
Supported by the Idexx Chair in Emerging Technologies and Bond-Centered Animal Care.
Funding sources did not have any involvement in the study design, data analysis and interpretation, or writing and publication of the manuscript.
The authors thank Idexx Laboratories Inc for providing anonymized data used in this study.
Body condition score
Shorthair, medium hair, and longhair
Idexx Laboratories Inc, Westbrook, Me.
Cornerstone software, Idexx Laboratories Inc, Westbrook, Me.
AVImark software, Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions, Piedmont, Mo.
ImproMed software, Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions, Oshkosh, Wis.
Intravet software, Patterson Veterinary Inc, Effingham, Ill.
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