Cat’s weight-loss program includes swimming

Holly, an 18-pound cat, is swimming off her extra pounds since she won’t engage in any other form of exercise, according to her owner. Swimming therapy is used routinely in dogs for weight loss or to aid rehabilitation after surgery, but it’s less common to see a cat in the pool. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 55% of cats and 53% of dogs are too heavy, putting them at greater risk of serious illnesses including diabetes, arthritis and some cancers. WJLA-TV (Washington, D.C.) (1/31), TODAY/Animal Tracks blog (1/31)

It’s not every day that you see a swimming cat.

Holly in the pool.

But in Loudoun County, a particularly rotund 13-year-old cat  regularly glides into the pool to swim laps. It’s part of her weight loss  plan.

Athough it’s odd to see a cat swimming, it’s the only exercise she’ll agree  to.

“She won’t do anything else,” says Dani Lawhorne of her cat, Holly. “I’ve  tried to take her outside. She doesn’t like the outdoors so she won’t run  around, she won’t play with cat toys, she doesn’t like cat nip. Anything normal  that cats like, she just doesn’t like.”

And so once a week, Holly suits up at the Olde Towne Pet Resort.

Weighing in at almost 20 pounds, Holly’s weight loss goal is approximately  six to seven pounds.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of dogs  and 55 percent of cats are overweight or obese. That’s more than 88 million  pets.

And the effects can be life-threatening, increasing the risk of arthritis,  diabetes and even cancer.

“I don’t think people appreciate the seriousness of long-term overweight body  condition,” says Dr. Robert Justin, an internal medicine veterinarian.

If your pet is overweight, talk with your veterinarian about starting an  exercise program and choosing a lower fat food. Slimming down is especially  important for overweight pets who are injured.

Thanks to her new workout regimen and a healthier diet, Holly’s making some  progress. She’s lost about a pound the past six months.

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