Holly the Cat Takes to the Pool to Lose Weight

Chubby cats may be adorable, but they can be prone to serious health complications. Excess weight in cats can contribute to bone and joint pain, the development of arthritis, respiratory complications, skin conditions, diabetes and more. Since cats are so small to begin with, a few pounds can make a big difference, and that’s where careful weight management comes in, ideally with a diet and exercise plan.

But, as we know, not all cats are keen on exercise. That’s why you sometimes have to get creative, and that’s what Dani Lawhorne did when she brought her feline pal to the pool at a facility that specializes in pet weight loss and physical therapy. She figured that since Holly enjoyed baths, she might do well in the water, and it turned out she was right! Holly took to the pool like, well…a duck to water. Rumor has it she outswims some of the dogs at the facility.

Once a week, Holly trundles on down to the pool and dons a life vest for a supervised swim with Dani. She lost one pound over the first six months of her program, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but again, cats are so small to begin with that even a pound helps. And, critically, slow weight loss is important with cats to avoid liver complications. Dani and her vet are pleased with Holly’s progress from couch potato to lap swimmer, and her pool time could end up extending her life and helping her live more comfortably.

While most domestic cats don’t like water, there are some exceptions, and for Holly, exercising in the pool carries an added bonus. She has arthritis in her back legs, which makes load-bearing exercise uncomfortable. In the pool, she can get some safe cardio without straining her joints, which reduces the risk of injury and helps her feel good after working out.

Lest you’re eyeing your cat and the bathtub, be aware that Holly is on a weight loss program supervised by a veterinarian, and she works out at a facility specifically designed to be safe for animals. In addition to wearing a life vest and being supervised during sessions, she also swims in a pool laid out for pets, with a slanted entry and exit ramp to make it easy for her to get in and out. If you think your pet might be overweight, book an appointment with the vet to discuss your options, and talk about which forms of exercise might be suitable; chances are high that your kitty isn’t destined to join the Olympic swim team, but she might benefit from other activities.

Related articles:

The Overweight Pet Revolution

Dangers of Pet Obesity

Famous Fat Cat Joins Invisible Choir

Photo credit: Dania Do Svidaniya


.2 years ago

I don’t waste my free time that’s why I read the informative things when I got this blog I really enjoyed reading this. LeanRunnerBean

.4 years ago

thank you for sharing

Sheri D.
Sheri D4 years ago

It's a great idea for cats who tolerate water. I'm sure the life jacket helps make the cat feel secure.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Raine hansel-alexandropou

the pair of them should be swimming

Haitham Hamed
Haitham Hamed4 years ago

the real Tom and jerry
you like it

cristiano torchio

Chubby pets (or humans) are not funny, it's a warning for health risk.

Felicia L.
Felicia L4 years ago


Georgia G.
Georgia a4 years ago

In answer to Dee D.'s question, neither neutering or spaying an animal causes them to gain weight, just lack of exercise or over-feeding. My Mother, who was overweight, had a dog she adored. Only problem was she showed her love by overfeeding her dog. Both my sister, the Vet and I had tried talking to her to no avail. She fed the dog people food, candy, cake and at night when she tucked her into her bed, she fed her a huge bowl of ice cream. This was every day. The poor animal had become so obese she needed help climbing the steps into Mother house. I had never felt such pity for an animal in my life. Mother let her out one day and she never returned. Both my sister and I agreed she escaped our Mother's "tender care" before she killed her. Of course this manner of feeding the dog did not surprise us. She had used it on all of us kids causing my sister, brother and I to struggle with our weight most of our lives. That was one reason we had the Vet call her but Mother told her she was a quack and she knew better than her how to feed her dog. Obviously not, since the dog decided to leave her. I only hope she found a better home.

Christine Heynen
Christine Heynen4 years ago

Just saw YouTube video (video in Care2 link not working). Couldn't help laughing @ Holly's eyes (her pupils were as wide as my Soxy's when he's trying to tell me, "Mommy, let me OUTTA here!!!" But kudos to her & her owner for at least doing something to help her lose weight.