Mews: Pet obesity set to soar, warns vet charity PDSA

Hi everyone,

The PDSA launches their 10th pet slimming contest to fight the flab of nation’s pets. Having problems with your pet gaining weight despite best efforts? You may want to enter their contest! 😉 But hurry entries are accepted until Sunday 26th of April via this website.

Details from the PDSA:

Findings from the latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report say four out of five veterinary professionals have seen an increase in pet obesity cases in the last two years.

Obesity is the number one concern among vets when it comes to man’s best friend but worryingly, nearly half of people surveyed are not aware it’s a major issue. This is a huge concern given that 80% of vets and vet nurses believe there will be more overweight pets than healthy weight pets in five years time and PDSA is stressing the need for urgent action.

Obesity can contribute to pets developing deadly conditions that can cut their lifespan such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as debilitating conditions including arthritis.

To help combat the pet obesity crisis PDSA launched its annual Pet Fit Club competition and is inviting owners of the UK’s biggest pets to apply for a chance to take part in the fat fighting contest.

Nicola Martin, PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare, said: “Over the past decade, Pet Fit Club has transformed the lives of some of the UK’s most obese pets, having helped nearly 100 animals shed over 60 stone so we are welcoming entries again and offering our expertise.”

Early entrants to the competition, which has been helping the nation’s pets to battle the bulge for the past ten years, includes a bulging black cat Boycus, who tips the scales at a whopping 10kg – double the size of your average moggie.

Boycus the cat is over twice is ideal weight

Sadly obesity isn’t confined to just people, cats and dogs as even rabbits and rodents like Spider the rat, who is almost double the size of an average rat, and struggles to squeeze into his sleeping quarters, are piling on the pounds.

Pet Fit Club participants will take part in a tailored diet and exercise programme, overseen by expert vets and nurses over a six month period.

Owners can enter their pets at; the deadline for entries is Sunday, 26 April, 2015.

Nicola Martin added: “PDSA’s research has shown that pet obesity is a growing problem and that too many people are continuing to feed their pets inappropriate foods including takeaways, cake, cheese and chips and sadly many pets aren’t getting enough exercise.

“Pet obesity is entirely preventable and we’re trying to help owners understand that while their pets may beg for food, and giving a treat is seen as a way of showing affection, ultimately it could be killing them with kindness.”

PDSA’s PAW Report, produced in conjunction with YouGov, provides the biggest annual insight into pet health and welfare and has highlighted some of the not-so-sweet home truths about our pets’ unhealthy habits when it comes to diet and exercise.

Pet obesity – The Facts

89% of owners are aware that pets can suffer from obesity-related issues such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis

88% of owners acknowledge that overweight  pets will have a shortened life span

Over 5.5 million pets get treats as part of their daily diet

Over 2 million owners give treats because their pets beg for them

In the dog house: Dog owners are significantly more likely than cat and rabbit owners to feed their pets unhealthy treats. And by quite a margin too – 83% of dog owners feed their pets at least one of these unhealthy things, compared to 38% of cat owners.

Dr Philippa Yam, leading animal obesity expert at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, said: “It’s clear that pet obesity continues to be a major issue due to a lack of understanding about pets’ welfare needs. PDSA’s Pet Fit Club competition has successfully raised awareness of this serious, but entirely preventable condition and continues to help many pets year on year.”

Further information about PDSA Pet Fit Club

PDSA Pet Fit Club was launched in 2005 and has already helped 63 dogs, 26 cats and 6 rabbits lose a total 60stone 6lb. This weight loss is the equivalent of 384 bags of sugar, more than 6,700 sausages, 761 tins of dog food or over 500 blocks of lard.

Case studies


Rescue cat Boycus is one of several felines in the Denning household; all the others are a healthy weight, but this black cat has ballooned in the last couple of years and now weighs a whopping 10kg – more than double the size of an average cat.

He has a tendency to eat everything in sight and his owner Sam, from Sutton Coldfield, has tried everything to restrict his access to food to help him lose weight.

Boycus’ vet recently suggested upping the exercise levels, but with a fat, lazy cat, that’s easier said than done! Sam is desperate to help Boycus battle the bulge so has turned to PDSA for help.

Sam said: “We’ve had Boycus since he was a kitten and he’s seven-years-old now. The weight gain has happened in the past two years, despite our efforts.

“We’ve tried everything – we’ve built feeding stations, with cat carriers that are too small for him to try and stop him stealing our other cats’ food. But he always finds a way to break in.”

Boycus the cat is over 10kg


Guy is an eight-year-old white cat from Leicester who is loving, loyal and, according to his owner, has never been slim. Angie Barcock has had Guy since he was 12-weeks-old. She collected him on 5 November, so he was named after Guy Fawkes.

“He has always been a big cat,” said owner Angie Barcock. “He is the best cat ever, he’s so calm and placid, and he follows me everywhere. Guys is an indoor cat so perhaps doesn’t get as much exercise as outdoor cats. He eats normally although he does sometimes steal my other cats’ food, but he’s also very lazy!”

Angie added that she wants her beloved cat to lose weight with PDSA’s help for Guy’s health, as she is worried about his heart, so she has entered him into PDSA Pet Fit Club for help to reduce his curves

Guy is now on a diet and exercise plan with PDSA
Why am I on a dog scale?!?

More about the PDSA:

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity, providing free veterinary care for the sick and injured pets of people in need and promoting responsible pet ownership. For further information about PDSA please visit or call 0800 731 2502.

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22 thoughts on “Mews: Pet obesity set to soar, warns vet charity PDSA

  1. franhunne4u says:

    Oh no, let us not get hysterical about the pets, too. We have just found out, that obesity treatment does not work in humans (failure quota 95%) … I say nothing against a responsible feeding approach and moderate activity, there is something like a HEALTHY lifestyle. Just do not get hysterical about it.

  2. dogear6 says:

    From my own personal experience, restricting food is not the way to go. All you end up with a hungry, begging animal who is fixated at one thing only. There is no companionship or fun. I had that with one of my cats and he was miserable.

    Having said that, I’m coping with a very fat beagle right now. He’s already on restricted food, but he is a poop eater and that creates other problems too. Unfortunately beagles tend to fat and bad backs. We’ve got him on the green bean diet – he gets mostly green beans and a 1.5 cups of dry food a day. It’s helped, but not enough. I walk him, but that has been limited due to his back.

    It’s no win situation.


  3. lawjic says:

    It is a serious problem and should never be ignored. Yes, cats LOVE to sleep and lay around, but as CAT GUARDIANS, it is our job to get our cats the exercise they need and keep them on an age and size appropriate diet. With your cats, Marc, you have NO WORRIES. But for those gone all day, the cats are likely sleeping and then they want FOOD and attention. So, by all means, give them what they want. Please just check with your veterinarian about the NATURE and TYPE of diet you cat requires.

    Your veterinarian may well encourage you to exhaust the cat every evening BEFORE bed so they get their exercise instead of just going to sleep on a full tummy. When they are “resting and digesting”, they are burning the very LEAST of calories.

    As Marc’s article states, obesity is dangerous to your cat and my end their lives WAY to early. In almost every cat, it IS PREVENTABLE and you have the power to have a healthy cat. Don’t listen to me. Please DO get your cat well cat exams and see exactly what your veterinarian wants you to feed the cat and says about PLAYING with the cats. The doctors ALWAYS put your cats VERY BEST INTERESTS first.

    There is just no reason (unless its genetic or illness related) for you to have an over-weight cat. You have all the POWER to prevent this condition before it gets out of control and kills your very best friend. We all know how much our cats love their foods. We just need to feed them the foods recommended by their doctors and be compliant CAT GUARDIANS by following through with the veterinarian’s instructions about food and exercise.

    My cat will turn 19 on May 17, 2015 and she is a domestic. She is not healthy by accident.

    Thanks for sharing this urgently important issue with your readers, Marc. Great stuff!

  4. mvaden1948 says:

    I was worried at first that someone had gotten a picture of Diavolo when I saw that black cat but the second picture showed that he is more than a bit heavier than Mr. D….who weighs in at a whopping 6 kilos (I used a conversion chart to convert from lbs). Still bigger than average but he is also much taller (longer) than average. But then my little Lili was always small and never weighed more than 3 kilos so Diavolo always seems heavy to me. But I keep him busy chasing a laser light around the room so that helps a lot (oh, and feeding him small servings several times a day rather than two large ones).

    • Marc-André says:

      Haha don’t worry. Diavolo may be a little chubby but he is why my friend Yuki lovingly calls a Boss cat (look at snowball on the blog ^^) this article really is more to raise awareness of heavy overweight problems that are on the rise at least in the UK! I can’t imagine how many treats too many the poor white cat received to get to that stage. 🙁

  5. mvaden1948 says:

    It’s important for all of us to have healthy diets and get more exercise….pets and humans.
    I find that since I switched Diavolo to a more “expensive” food; he loves Sheba’s new perfect portions….which says you should feed 3 portions for every five lbs of body weight twice a day….really! that would be nine portions a day! I’m assuming that the portions are spread over the day and they don’t mean 18 portions total. I make it six spread over the day with a bowl of crunchies if he’s really extra hungry and he doesn’t insist on more food or as many treats as he did before so I think he may be getting better nutrition. Of course he is a bit older and his “abs” aren’t as tight as I’m sure they once were. When he runs he has that tummy sway from side to side. But his doctor says his weight is fine.
    My mother had a 25 lb cat…a tabby that could have posed for the poster that said “I’m built for comfort, not speed”. He’d had a car accident which he survived but then gained all that weight. He lived a very long life though.

    • Marc-André says:

      Gosh from that feeding instruction it sounds like we are underfeeding our two oO. They get a tin of canagan 85gram of pure chicken meat in the morning. A few crunches during the day and a nice bowl of crunches in the evening.

  6. Debi says:

    I have 4 indoor here who were all somewhat overweight. For the past year and a half they get a small helping of dry in the morning, they share a 5.5 ounce can in the afternoon, and another small helping of dry late evening. Their dry has no grain, no meat or bone meal, no dyes. Their canned is not cheap, mostly meat with veggies (no grain, cellulose or fillers). Happy to say they have all lost weight and look much better, although if you saw them I am sure they would tell you they are STARVING!!! lol

  7. sledpress says:

    We have Mystery the least mysterious cat in the world, except it’s a mystery why he believes he is still a tiny, starving kitten and the runt in the litter, as he once was. This may be a cause of the problem which has been overlooked. Mystery would eat 24/7 if he could and even “foodie” cats usually don’t do that. It’s a constant battle to keep him from eating other cats’ food out from under them. He has a sister with a similar physiology — I will say that since she has lived under my roof she has lost most of a kilo (one and a half pounds). He still weighs 17 pounds. He waddles.

    If you have several cats, and some love to eat while others have enough and walk away, this problem can develop without anyone being guilty of overfeeding. But you do have to have eyes in the back of your head.

    A couple hours ago I made deviled eggs for my own dinner. With wasabi. And paprika. And when I came back into the dining room after answering a phone call, Mystery was eating one. I mean, WASABI! Nothing even slows him down!!!!

    • Marc-André says:

      Jesus! Wasabi!!!! Any cat should be put off by that XD. Oli once stole my spicy Thai chicken thighs and was not impressed at all lol. Btw I’ll actually be reviewing a microchip pet feeder soon. It only allows the set pet to eat from it which to me seems like a good gadget to prevent issues of over feeding in multi pet households.

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