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Survey of Belgian owners’ perspectives on quality of life and difficulties during a weight-loss programme in obese cats

J Feline Med Surg. 2022 Nov 2:1098612X221121920. doi: 10.1177/1098612X221121920. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to determine owners’ perception of their cats’ quality of life (QoL), and whether there is a correlation with weight-loss variables, as well as to identify the main difficulties owners encounter during controlled weight loss in their obese cats.

METHODS: The study was carried out as an e-questionnaire survey addressed to owners of cats starting a weight-loss programme. The e-questionnaire was provided at a single time point after the conclusion of the study (24 weeks).

RESULTS: Nineteen completed questionnaires were included. Eighteen cats had a lower weight at the end of the weight-loss period, two of which had successfully reached their target weight. Mean weight loss was 13.84% body weight at a rate of 0.53% weight loss/week. Although the perceived QoL was not correlated with weight-loss variables (P >0.05), it increased over time, even in cats that did not reach their target weight, and was statistically correlated with increased activity (r = 0.73; P <0.01), mobility (r = 0.78; P <0.01) and play time (r = 0.61; P <0.01). The main difficulties encountered by owners were not giving (32%) or permitting the cat to eat extra food (26%). The main presumed difficulty for the cat was having its food decreased over time (53%). Most owners considered their cats happy (42%) and quite happy (53%) during the study, and no statistically significant correlations were found between the weight loss, food-seeking behaviour and stress parameters (P >0.05).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Although several difficulties were encountered throughout the study, increased QoL and energy levels in their cats were noticed by owners. A positive perspective on weight-loss programmes is important to keep owners motivated and achieve the target weight in their cats. Furthermore, this survey provides insights into the perceived difficulties of weight-loss regimens in cats.

PMID:36322004 | DOI:10.1177/1098612X221121920

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