IT’S not always good to be a fat cat.
The lazy lifestyle might sound appealing, lying around in the sun and being fed titbits.
But it’s no good for your health, as massive moggie Billie found out.
The tubby Eden Vale tom weighed a whopping 8.7kg in March, but has since managed to shed 2kg – more than a quarter of his bodyweight.
He has now been crowned Top Cat slimmer in a national pet competition.
“Billie is a lot more active since he’s lost weight,” said owner Vilma Warren. “He’s so much more playful and loves to chase his ball.
“It’s almost like he’s a kitten again.”
The black-and-white tom took part in the PDSA Pet Fit Club, run annually by the veterinary charity.
He was up against dogs, cats and a rabbit, from across the UK.
The overall winner was a dog from Middlesex, which lost 31 per cent of his bodyweight, leaving Billie as the top cat.
Billie is now enjoying his slimmer self.
Vilma said: “He also comes on evening walks with us, following us with our neighbour’s two kittens.
“The increased activity has really helped his weight loss.
“He doesn’t beg for food any more either, so it’s much easier for us to stick to his diet.
“We’ll be carrying on until he gets to his ideal weight as well.”
Lianne O’Brien, senior vet at Sunderland PDSA PetAid hospital, said: “This is a great success story for all concerned.
“Vilma has clearly done a wonderful job in managing Billie’s food intake and safely increasing his activity levels.
“Weight loss in cats must be carefully managed, as losing weight too quickly can be quite dangerous for them.
“As for Billie, he is undoubtedly much fitter and happier, and has a greater life expectancy than when he was overweight.”
PDSA data shows that about one in four, approximately 3million cats, are overweight.
“I would encourage anyone with concerns about their pet’s weight to speak to their vet,” added Lianne.
“They are there to help you, and can provide plenty of advice on target weights, how much food to give and suitable exercise.”
Vilma added: “My advice to other owners is to cut out the treats.
“I thought it was unavoidable before, and that it would be unkind not to give them. But the calories really add up, and I’ve realised that it’s actually very easy to stop giving them.”
l Have you got a fat pet? Call the Echo newsdesk on 501 7326.