CAT owners have been urged to watch their pet’s weight as research reveals almost half of all adult cats are carrying extra pounds.

A new study, conducted by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, used data collected from the medical records of over 1000 cats with information on body condition, breed, age, sex, neutering status, activity level and outdoor access analysed.

The study revealed 45 per cent of cats were found to be overweight, while just 22 per cent of owners recognised their cat as carrying too many extra pounds.

Male cats were also more likely to be overweight, accounting for 57 per cent, the study showed.

The cats ranged in ages from one to 21 years old, with British shorthair the most likely to be overweight, accounting for 65 per cent.

The study also revealed overweight cats are more likely to be diagnosed with urinary tract infections, breathing issues, diabetes, skin disorders, struggle with their movement, and are more likely to suffer a trauma.

Jennifer Dean, of leading pet food brand Webbox Natural, based on Whitebirk Industrial Estate, in Blackburn, said: “Cats prefer to eat little and often.

“We recommend three times a day.

“Cats generally tend to portion control themselves, but if they are offered more they will eat more if they are in the house all day.

“Sometimes owners may think it’s nice to have a ‘cuddly’ cat, but it’s important to remember there are significant health risks associated with being overweight.

“No matter what you feed them, the thing with animals and obesity is always owner awareness.”