More than three million pet cats are overweight and the problem is becoming worse during the pandemic, according to Cats Protection.
In a survey of more than 2,000 cat owners, over a quarter (28%) said they had overfed their pet since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020.
Over a third (36%) said their cat visited neighbours for a bonus feed, and overall one in five cats (20%) had typically gained between 1-2.25 kilos in weight.
This echoes the charity’s CATS report, carried out before the start of the pandemic, which highlighted that at least 3.2 million owned cats were already overweight.
Maggie Roberts, director of veterinary services for Cats Protection, said: “This survey suggests the extra time we’ve spent indoors with our cats has led to us over-indulging them, which owners did out of love or to make their feline feel like a family member.
“Sadly, we are doing them more harm than good as overweight cats are at significant risk of diabetes, joint problems and urinary infections.
“At a time of year when many of us go on a diet, it’s advisable to ask your vet if your cat needs one, too.”