Cat with a genetic predisposition to being obese or a self-deceiving owner?

Swayze is a domestic cat who weighs 16.8 pounds and has become a celebrity for it, which I find disturbing. We do not need to celebrate obesity in felines, please. It is completely inappropriate because, according to veterinarians, there is an obesity epidemic among domestic cats in line, apparently, with humans. Swayze is a five-year-old tabby cat living in America (northern Georgia). She's a lady and has 32,100 followers on her Instagram page

Obese Swayze
Obese Swayze. Photo: Jam Press.

To me, the interesting aspect of this celebrity cat is that her owner is not overfeeding her.  Abbe said: "I limit Swayze to very little food and I don't leave food in her bowl all day. She has been on a prescription diet that didn't work. I just limit her food and she has lost some but she is stuck at 16.8 pounds. I feed her half a can of wet food two times a day and sometimes feed her 1/8 cup of dry, but not on a regular basis. I don't give her snacks or treats except cheese but it is so rare that I give it to her."

So, we have a cat that is apparently fed properly with very few treats but her weight is stuck at the obesity level which is patently apparent in the photograph. This level of obesity clearly negatively impacts health quite substantially. As mentioned, feline obesity should not be celebrated and I strongly disagree with the fact that the owner has turned her into a celebrity cat. I'm sorry but it is not a good idea. The Instagram account should be closed down because it only serves to encourage others to make their cat obese and then become a celebrity cat. What kind of good can that do?

I have to conclude that Swayze has a genetic predisposition to being obese. This can happen in humans but my research indicates that this inherited predisposition does not necessarily mean that the body metabolises food in such a way that you become obese. It means that the individual - and I am presuming that cats can also inherit this predisposition to obesity - has increased hunger levels, increased calorific intake, reduced satiety, reduced control over eating and a tendency to be sedentary.

This implies that a person who inherits this problem is driven to eating more than somebody who hasn't inherited the problem. Is this what is going on with Swayze? It appears not because she does not eat more than normal, we are told.

Therefore, I have to be unconvinced about her owner's statement that she is fed a modest diet. I don't want to throw around accusations but people do tend to mislead themselves as to diet. Certainly, this applies to humans feeding themselves and I will therefore presume that it also applies to people feeding their cats. It is very easy to fool yourself as to the amount of food you are giving your cat.

There can only be two possibilities as to why Swayze is overweight and they are that she is not exercising enough and that she is eating too much. It's a simple formula of too many calories going in and not enough calories being burnt. Therefore, her owner is fooling himself or herself. And this ridiculous celebration of obesity must stop, please.

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