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Kent turning into a county of fat cats

Hazel Fat Dog
Hazel Fat Dog

by Jo Earle

Pet owners are being warned to watch what their pets are eating, as the number of obese animals brought into one Kent animal home has DOUBLED in the past year.

Since January at least one extremely overweight dog or cat has been handed over to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home in Brands Hatch every month.

In 2010, one arrived every two to three months.

The centre is now urging owners to take stock of their pets weight, especially as they tend to move around less in the summer months.

They can also suffer from health difficulties if carrying extra weight.

Cattery Rehomer and Animal Welfare Assistant Sharon Weller said:

"These days we hardly see the thin hungry strays, instead we're seeing more large dogs and cats whose owners bring them to us, so we want to remind people not to be complacent about their pet's weight.

"The increase in larger cats can be attributed to an increase in indoor cats who often become very food orientated, and more multi-cat households where cats are able to steal each other's food."

Sharon added: "To help, your cat's owners should monitor food intake, encourage them to go outside and play games to keep them moving."

Nikki the cat, pictured below, arrived at the home in June at nearly 10kg, at twice the 11-year-old's ideal weight. He currently weighs the same as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and is so big he is unable to groom his rear.

Nicky Fat Cat
Nicky Fat Cat

Sharon said: "Hopefully he will be more active if he explores and goes outside, so he needs a new owner who can see past his big tummy, and give him a loving home."

It's not just cats, dogs are being bought in overweight too.

Rehomer and Animal Welfare Assistant Helen Stone explains:

"Overweight dogs commonly suffer from many health concerns, such as arthritis and problems with the heart, lungs and kidneys, not forgetting the added pressure on their joints and muscles.

Audio: Helen Stone

Helen recommends all dogs should have a good diet with a few doggy treats during training and lots of exercise.

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