PDSA nurse Steph Williams as she struggles to lift Cookie the cat
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Fat cats: Health problems for overweight pets

More than 18 million of the UK's pets could die early because of their diet, the veterinary charity PDSA warns.

Owners wanting to treat their animals give them food such as takeaways, crisps and cakes, it says.

The Today programme's reporter Zubeida Malik spoke to some owners of overweight pets in south London.

"She sounds as if she's snoring when she is awake," one cat owner said, describing the breathing difficulties that his pet was experiencing.

Elaine Pendlebury, from the PDSA said: "It is very difficult to resist the pleading eyes, but it's what owners have to do really.

"It isn't really the pet that opens the tin of biscuits."

Overweight owners are more likely to own overweight pets, she added.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 14 March 2013.

  • 14 Mar 2013
  • From the section UK