Bottom Line: Last week I shared a story that showed the impact of “fixing” golden retrievers. In the study goldens that had been spayed or neutered were far more likely to become obese and have orthopedic injuries than those which weren’t. At the time I mentioned it was only scientifically proved for goldens, but one might imagine could apply to other pets as well. Low and behold there was a companion study done of cats that’s now concluded. And the study says... Yep about the same thing. According to the study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Domestic cats tend to gain weight up to ten years of age with age eight being most common
- Cats that have been spayed or neutered are the most at risk for obesity and related health issues
There are a couple of takeaways beyond the obvious based on this research. First, if you just keep food available all of the time and you have a cat or cats that appear to be overweight or trending that way – you should consider timed release feeders at a minimum until after the age of ten. Second, don’t assume that just because your cat is an adult, they’ve maxed out in feeding habits. The average adult cat with access to food on demand will gain an extra half pound after the age of six compared to those with controlled feeding. And then yes, the fixing thing... That’s clearly a personal decision. There’s a good argument to be made based on the desire to be a responsible pet owner but what’s important based on duel studies of cats and dogs, is that it’s not without longer term negative health implications to your pets. To the extent that factors into your decision process, it’s good know.