Pet Obesity: The Cost of Having an Overweight Cat

apopTomorrow is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. This day was created by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) to help raise awareness of both the seriousness of and the magnitude of the pet obesity problem we have in the U.S. Pet obesity is a major problem in the U.S. According to the 2013 APOP survey, 58% of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Perhaps even worse, a whopping 26% of all cats are considered obese. Studies in some other countries, like the United Kingdom, show that this problem exists globally as well.
We frequently talk about the health implications of an overweight pet, today we want to take this opportunity to highlight the substantial financial cost to owners with overweight cats. If a much shorter life span and a lower quality life for your cat is not reason enough for you to change the way you feed and exercise your them, perhaps the realization of how costly it can be to have an overweight cat will be the impetus to change your behavior.

The Financial Costs of Having an Overweight Petcat, calculator
In 2009, researchers at the Michigan State veterinary hospital conducted a study to determine the annual treatment costs associated with common canine and feline diseases and disorders. The results for cats are shown in the table below.
Annual Costs of Common Feline Diseases

Annual Veterinary Treatment Costs, Feline Diseases


Average Cost

Heart disease












Chronic kidney disease




See our post at SlimDoggy for the costs for dogs.

The cost to treat a cat with any one of these disorders is obviously significant. Because these are estimated annual costs, a cat’s total treatment costs over a lifetime could easily exceed $10,000 depending on the disease and age at diagnosis. Even worse, an overweight cat may develop multiple diseases due to their weight problem raising the treatment costs even higher.
An overweight cat is more susceptible to many diseases and orthopedic disorders. In fact, virtually all of the conditions listed above are more likely to occur in overweight pets than in properly weighing pets. According to APOP, the primary risks of overweight pets include:

  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Many Forms of Cancer
  • Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL)
  • Kidney Disease
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

Although pancreatitis is not on the APOP list, overweight pets have a higher risk factor for this than do healthy weight pets.
In 2011 alone, pet insurance claims for diabetes increased by 253%, according to Petplan USA, a pet insurance company. Claims for heart disease and arthritis rose by 32% and by 348% respectively. The fatter our pets get, the more prevalent are the associated diseases.
What do you do about it if your cat is overweight? Come back Thursday for Part 2 in our series: Steps to Keep your Cat Lean and Healthy

Related Articles


Share Button


  1. I had my cat bro Bert take a look at this since he is the one that has been fat and still could stand to lose a half pound or so, but he says he doesn’t care, he just loves to eat. I find he has the wrong attitude altogether! No wonder we have such a battle trying to keep him in shape!
    Emma recently posted…My 2 Favorite Benefits Of Walking #DogWalkingWeekMy Profile

  2. Gweat posty. Lots of peeps fink we must be ovewweight at 30 pounds each. But da vet man sez meez purrfect fur meez size and sis Lexi’s only ’bout 4 pounds ovew weight. And since hers weight fluctuates da weality is dat hers not weally ovew weight most of da time.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi
    Dezi recently posted…FIP: To Soon for GoodbyesMy Profile

    • 30 lbs is a pretty big cat Dezi, but if your vet says okay…
      KitKat recently posted…Pet Obesity: The Cost of Having an Overweight CatMy Profile

      • Yep it’s vewy big. But meez a Ragdoll and one of da bweeds features is their lawge size. Bein’ a purebwed, me is duin’ da bweed wight. As fur sis Lexi, mommy waised hers fwum 10 minutes old and waised hers on vit. D homo. milk, and dat tends to make any animal (maybe not cows) hav bigger, thicker bones and be lawger. Sis Lexi is tall and long, and is only a foo pounds ovew weight, and of course da VET sez dat at hers age twyin’ to get hers to dwop those foo extwa pounds wuld be pointless. Specially cuz hers is udderwise hellfy. And meez hellfy too. And of course weez not look fat or ovew weight most of da time. Sum camewa angles make us look lawge, but most don’t.

        Luv ya’

        Dezi and Lexi
        Dezi recently posted…Nip-Vine: Oh MyMy Profile

  3. A good weight management for cats is very necessary for keeping our pet healthy. An over weighted pet is always at a higher risk of getting affected from various diseases and also impact on your budget.
    Calvin recently posted…Fall Is Here, Is Your Dog Ready?My Profile

Comments are now closed on this post.