Cat Obesity: a Simple, Compelling Theory That Explains What’s Going On

The cat obesity epidemic is real and scary.

According to the website petobesityprevention.com, around half of all cats and dogs in the US are either obese or overweight. A 2008 Pet Obesity Study found that 51 million US cats are overweight or obese and that these pets are at higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems, diabetes (Type 2), osteoarthritis, and different kinds of cancer.

So what causes cat obesity?

The conventional theory is that pets get heavy because they are lazy and gluttonous. Think about Garfield. He sits around, hating on Mondays, and stuffing his face with lasagna. He rarely ever exercises and does everything he can not to participate in physical activity. Clearly, Garfield and other overweight cats get obese because they eat too much and fail to exercise enough.

(By the way, we are never really get an explanation for why cat obesity would predispose pets to getting diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Does eating “excess calories” somehow make certain cells precancerous? And if so, how? How, specifically, do “excess calories” -- which are merely units of heat energy -- biochemically cause all these diseases and problems?)

Here is what we think causes cat obesity.

Cats clearly evolved from carnivores. Lions, panthers, cougars, and other wild cats live primarily on meat diets. Release housecats into the wild, and they, too, will hunt small animals like rodents and squirrels. Cats are meat eaters by their very nature! They are “obligate carnivores.”

Yet, when you look at the diet of a typical American housecat, you will find that it’s loaded with ingredients that cats did not evolve to eat and metabolize. Specifically, cat food is often bulked up with carbohydrates, like grain, corn, flour, and sugar. Cats in the wild don’t normally eat carbohydrates--particularly in such enormous quantities. That’s why we don’t see cat obesity in normal wild cat populations.

The simplest and most logical theory to explain the cat obesity epidemic is that we are feeding our cats a hypercarbohydrate diet.

This bad diet causes them to become fat and predisposes them to all the same diseases of civilization that humans develop when they become overweight and obese.

This unifying theory suggests that cat obesity and human obesity stem from the same ultimate cause: too many carbohydrates in the diet.

Like cats and dogs, human beings did not evolve to live on a high sugar diet.

Now sure, most doctors will tell you that sugar is bad. But then they will emphasize how important it is to eat whole grains and fruits and vegetables. The problem with this line of thinking is that whole grains and fruits and vegetables get digested down into SUGAR. Carbohydrates are just sugar by another name.

So, if we really want to stop the cat obesity and human obesity epidemics, we need to stop feeding massive amounts of sugar to felines, canines, and humans--all of whom evolved to live primarily on a hunter’s diet of meat.

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10.18.11 Beyond Caloriegate Cover Art

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