I'm Just Big-Boned, Aren't I?
As many of us now know, and as medical science has proven, some of us are more prone to unintentional weight gain than others. What is true for humans is true for animals, as well. We believe that an informed pet owner is a healthier pet owner, so we did our research and put together a list of cats that are most likely to be, let’s say, chubby.
At first glance, one cannot imagine this cat ever being overweight. The Sphynx is basically the Twiggy of the cat world. But even über thin models -- and cats -- can get fat if attention isn’t paid. Because they have no heavy fur to cover their sins, the first indication of excess weight gain is a pot-belly. To keep your Sphynx fit, an indoor kitty treadmill would be just the solution.
This long, tall Sally is a big cat to begin with, and you may find that it is extra hard to say no to those soulful blue eyes, but say no you must, because the Birman will get fat if you let him eat to his heart’s content. This is one of the low activity lap-breeds, so your attention will have to be focused on a weight control diet along with low-key indoor exercise.
Known for being one of the calmest and most tolerant of breeds, especially with kids and other house pets, this same laid-back point of view can also lead to a tendency to grow a big belly. Special care needs to be given to the Rag’s diet, and only healthy, low-cal treats allowed. Additionally, since Rag’s love to spend lots of time with their people, this is a perfect breed for leash training.
#7 Exotic Shorthair
As you may have noticed by now, the heavier cats are also the most likely to gain excess weight. The Exotic Shorthair is another example of a big cat, typically weighing in at about 15 pounds -- mostly muscle. As a short-nosed breed, this isn’t one for strenuous exercise, so a healthy meat-centered diet is the best bet for this guy, along with some chase the string games.
#6 American Shorthair
One of the original housecats to travel to the "New World," the American Shorthair is as American as apple pie and hotdogs. Inattention to diet can lead to weight gain for this large-sized breed, but take comfort in knowing that the American Shortie is a natural born hunter (they have been guarding countless farms and homes from nasty rodents for hundreds of years, after all), and they can be easily tempted into games that bring out their natural predator instincts. A mechanical mouse or laser light toy would create the perfect exercise environment.
#5 British Shorthair
You may recognize this plush breed from a long ago dream, as it perched atop a tree branch, slowly fading, leaving only a glimmering smile in its wake. The British Shortie is one of the original Egyptian cats, but it has grown to become one of the most popular housecats in the Western world. As its smile suggests, this cat is easily amused, so you can take heart in knowing that daily play, like games that encourage jumping and running, along with healthy foods, will help to keep this cat fit.
#4 Colorpoint Shorthair
The Colorpoint Shorthair is a relative of the slim Siamese, but they have a tougher time keeping their kittenish physiques as they age. They are very outgoing, but also very relaxed -- just the type that makes for an ideal social companion. They also love to eat, so treats should be limited to low-cal, low-carb varieties. Combined with daily games, you can keep your Colorpoint Shortie as slim and elegant as she was in her first years.
Unlike some of the previous breeds on the list, the Manx is not a typically large cat -- but he is a stocky one, so it may be difficult to perceive the shift from him being square shaped to being as large as a box. The characteristic that makes this breed a "stumpy tail," can also lead to shortened spines and arthritis, so attention to moderate weight is especially important. You should have your Manx on a weight control diet from the time he is a kitten.
Closely related to the Persian, the Peke-Faced cat has many of the same characteristic tendencies, including a peaceful personality and a preference for lazing around. It also has the tendency to get fat, as happens to many of us who choose to lie around all day between meals. This is a normally plump breed in the best of health, so you will need to stick to a strict diet with healthy, no-carb treats, along with regular visits to the vet and regular play breaks through the day.
Why is this breed number one? Because it is the fattest? No, it is not the fattest breed, but the Persian is one of the most popular domestic pets, and one of the most spoiled and babied, so this breed is frequently seen by vets for health problems related to weight gain. Because it is a short-nosed breed, strenuous exercise is not recommended, but short, daily breaks for play, along with scrupulously scheduled mealtimes and limited, healthy snacks only -- no matter how much he begs! -- will keep your Persian healthy well into its old-man or old-lady cat years.