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Discussion Starter #1
Very odd question but has there been any research into any possible relationship between cat colours and a tendency to obesity?

I have four cats (five if you could the abandoned mother who is being spayed on Monday and will be kept if she settles down). Only one of them is fat.

Lottie was overweight when I first got her from the shelter and, although she has lost some weight, she is still larger than the others.

I didn't think much beyond individual metabolism since the vet said there was no underlying problem but recently I was back at the Shelter for an open day. I couldn't help but notice that the few obese cats they had were all predominantly white with black patches - the same as Lottie.

Maybe this is just an odd coicidence ut it did arouse my curiosity.
 

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I would think the only way colour would be linked with weight is in specific breeds (e.g. I think Bombay's cane become overweight more easily).

However, in a local shelter, I wonder what the odds are that there's some fatty White-with-Black tom wandering around the neighborhoods making kittens?
 

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Absolutely not...it's all about how much they're fed in relation to their activity level.

But here's a possible theory....Shelter cats, especially those who have been there for a long time, tend to be overweight...they are typically free fed a low quality dry food diet and sit in cages or are confined to small rooms so they don't get any exercise. They eat out of boredom.

Combine that with black and black & white cats being the most difficult to get adopted, therefore spending more time in shelter and that might account for seeing a lot of overweight black & white cats in the shelter.
 

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Can't say I've ever noticed a tendency of black/white cats to be overweight. It think it's related to the type of food (dry kibble as opposed to canned or raw), activity level, and appetite. The fattest cat I've ever owned was a blue tabby Manx who didn't have a stop button on his appetite. If there was food out he would eat it until it was gone. I had to resort to confining him by himself for his meals, and gave him specific portions to keep his weight in check. He was quite active as well and at that time neutered and was an indoor/outdoor cat, and was a very good hunter.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The possibility of the local Tom is an interesting one as seeral of them had very similar patterning.

I don't think it's as simple as a question of diet in the shelter. They normally have about 100 + cats there. Admittedly some of these were not visible on the Open Day that got me thinking, but I also go there when it is closed to the general public. There were plenty of tabbies on show and not one plump one.

They feed mainly wet and raw feed (they have an arrangement of some sort with a fishing fleet) and when we had Lottie she was in a single pen with a dietary plan pinned up. As she wasn't a cat we had come to see (just in the same row as one), it certainly wasn't an effort to impress. Several of the fatties were among those who had free run of the site rather than being in pens and so should have had more opportunity for exercise than the slim-line ones in pens.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's like saying all blondes are busty or all brunettes are obese.....
I didn't suggest that all white and black cats were obese - I asked if any research suggested a predispoition in that direction - simply because my observations in one place made me curious.

Apparently research in humans has suggested that red haired people are more likely to be left handed! Even in people there can be apparently bizarrre patterns without them being anything like universal.
 

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No, I've never seen or heard of any studies to do with obesity and black and white cats. I know that there are some breeds/animals that are prone to certain diseases, but as most black and white shelter cats would likely just be mixes of random breeds, I don't really see anything too common there.

I think the fact that they are shelter cats would more likely have something to do with it. Also, the longer animals are not active, the less they burn. If they were strays before being put in the shelter, that could have something to do with it as well. My grandmother took in a lot of strays throughout several years, and a lot of them tended to eat whatever they saw; they didn't have an off button. We always suspected it was because with being strays, they never knew when or how much they'd be able to find to eat, so to them like a survival thing - even after having a home for years. So if you mix that with being cooped up for possibly months, that could definitely contribute.
 

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Cats get fat b/c they're fed too much. Just like people. ;) We can make all kinds of other excuses, but the fact is that if kitty takes in more calories than she burns, she will gain weight.

So any correlation of obesity w/ color is likely to be coincidence.

The only one that holds water for me is doodlebug's theory about black cats in no-kill shelters. They are indeed the hardest to adopt out so might well spend more time there on crappy kibble and stuck in a cage.
 

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Apparently research in humans has suggested that red haired people are more likely to be left handed!
But you can't compare this to b/w cats and obesity. Hair color and handedness are genetic. Obesity is completely controlled by the humans who are feeding the cat. Yes some cats, just like some people, may have the propensity to gain weight more easily...but whether they actually do gain weight or not is controlled by the human. If I left out a bottomless bowl in my house, Kobi would weigh 50 lbs, Maggie would be a little on the hefty side and Holly would be just as slim as she is now. But I don't leave out the bowl...I control their weight by limiting how much they get.
 

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But you can't compare this to b/w cats and obesity. Hair color and handedness are genetic. Obesity is completely controlled by the humans who are feeding the cat. Yes some cats, just like some people, may have the propensity to gain weight more easily...but whether they actually do gain weight or not is controlled by the human. If I left out a bottomless bowl in my house, Kobi would weigh 50 lbs, Maggie would be a little on the hefty side and Holly would be just as slim as she is now. But I don't leave out the bowl...I control their weight by limiting how much they get.
Tres Magnifique, Doodlebug!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
These all bore a strong resemblance to each other - almost entirely white with black splodges rather than being black and white. The black and white one I had from the same sanctuary is actually the slimmest of all my cats. I think the tom cat idea might well be the answer.
 

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My mom's friend has a white cat with a few spots... black? I don't remember. But this poor cat is obese. My mom brought him to the door to show me. I said OMG please try to get him to cut back on the food. Poor thing. My mom was like what? He likes to eat.

I don't know that there may not be something genetic. I'm not saying there is, but what sbout white cats with blue eyes being deaf and the super rare male calico kitty being sterile? I agree that we have to control a cat's food but why can some cats eat just enough and others eat themselves to death given the chance? I personally have never had a fat cat but I have never free fed. I did have a pair of brothers when I was kid, one all black, the other black and white and they were both thin. They had never been on the streets or in shelters, though, so never missed a meal, my great grandfather gave them to me as kittens. I would say cats that have gone hungry might be more likely to eat all they can. I think my mom's friend's cat was a stray kitten, I don't know how old he is now, probably 5-7 yrs?
 

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Hmm I can only think of 2 overweight black/white kitties and it's because her owner refuses to believe they are overweight. One should be a petite and tiny cat and she is like a bowling ball with legs. The other is Pedro's brother who should be perhaps a pound lighter than him since he's slightly smaller in stature, but very similar structure, but I would guess him to easily be as much as 3 lbs more. :( That's completely an owner thing.

What first popped into my mind was orange boys. I can only think of 2 orange boys I've encountered through my life who weren't severely obese. One is just about a year old and his Mom is diligent about feeding and the other was an outdoor kitty who got lots of exercise. I suspect these are all likely due to human error though rather than genetics given knowledge of the owners and their attitudes toward fat kitties & appropriately feeding their kitties.
 

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Yes, I have seen a lot of fat orange cats too, and I myself have never seen a fat solid black cat. And I have been around a lot of cats, not shelter cats though. My own Ollie is an orange male, 7 mos old and already if we don't watch he gets a belly on him. His littermate Miley is black and fluffy but very tiny and petite. I can feel her bones, I'm hoping she will fatten up just a teensy bit when she stops growing. She's 7.5 lbs, Ollie is almost 10 lbs but he is obviously bigger than she is, not just fatter. He loos lean but not skinny like her.
 

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No way! :) All orange boys aren't fatties!



I will concede if given a chance this one would be the size of a house, little piggy.
 

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Mow Mow is such a handsome devil.

Of the cats that frequent my birdbath, there is a huge... and fat orange and white cat, at least 2 skinny black cats, a white cat and a couple of brown/gray tabbies that are not skinny but not fat. They have all been TNR'ed, by a neighbor or couple of neighbors. They are all fed 2 houses down from ours. When we first moved here I thought, Ugh great, stray cats hanging around. But really, they don't bother a thing and I enjoy watching them. I never feed them though. :) And I want to steal one of the black ones, he is gorgeous, but I suspect he belongs to the brick house behind us, he just likes to hang with the others.
 

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He's got such a wonderfully rubbable belly! :)

And I should have been clearer, other than MowMow the orange boys I know are chubbies. lol
 
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