I just came across this neat synopsis from Newsweek about obesity in cats and dogs that is based on information from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. I was really surprised to learn that 54% of pet cats and dogs are considered overweight or obese. What was really interesting though, was that only 8-9% of owners would call their own animals obese. I have to admit, having a Garfield-like cat of my own, that they are easier to take care of when they are what I like to call "cuddly". After he lost weight, he had so much more energy to get into mischief in the middle of the night! You can check out the website for more interesting factoids here.
As cute as they are, obesity in animals is a serious issue. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, animals with obesity can develop numerous complications such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, pulmonary and heart diseases, injuries, kidney disease, cancer, and often have shortened lifespans. Therefore, it is important to talk to your veterinarian about your pet's weight.
I contend that the obesity problem exists in at least all mammals, in that no mammal evolved in an environment where food was in surplus, there was always a shortage. Only in the last 100 years has surplus food arrived. Since in the old days being able to store fat for the coming famine was an evolutionary advantage, bodies evolved to do this efficiently.
One example of this is my niece who is a vet has a cat that was feral for a while. If you put any food in front of the cat it will be eaten immediately and she will beg for more being always hungry. As a result she had to put the cat on a diet. I understand the same is also true of horses.
First You stated a lot of things that i had no clue about!! The 8-9% of people admit their pet is obese that was really interesting!! I also know you are completely correct about how animals get very sick from being obese, because my dog who was very overweight also, and he got osteoarthritis and many other things before he finally passed of some type of cancer that I don't know the name of at the moment.