Dear Christopher Cat
Greta, our middle-aged tortoise-shell cat, seems healthy, but over the last year or two, she has developed a “bag” under her belly. It’s growing slowly, and we’re beginning to wonder if it could be a tumor. Could it be cancer?
It’s possible, so you should have Greta’s veterinarian check her out.
But it’s more likely that the bag you see is – hm-m, how can I say this delicately? – a fat pad. I think you humans refer to it as a “spare tire.”
The first place most of us cats put on weight is under our bellies. I had a sister whose fat pad actually swung from side to side as she trotted down the hallway.
If you help Greta lose weight gradually, she might avoid weight-related problems as she ages. Heavy cats are more susceptible to everything from diabetes to musculoskeletal injury.
But be careful. We cats must never fast in an attempt to lose weight, because fasting causes us to develop hepatic lipidoses, or feline fatty liver syndrome. This kind of liver damage can even lead to death.
So help Greta take weight off gradually, by switching to measured amounts of a low calorie – but high quality – cat food. Skip the treats and the people food.
Have your veterinarian examine Greta to be certain her excess girth isn’t something more serious, and then ask for a recommendation regarding food.