Chonks. an internet craze that promotes unhealthy cats

Last updated on May 3, 2023 by Crystal Uys

fat cat sitting on the grass

If I were to open my Instagram account and mindlessly scroll through the media buffet, I would undoubtedly see pictures and videos of cats.

What do I mean by chonk? I mean puffy, fluffy, fat cats. In photos as far as the eye can see, furballs of fat flaunt their bellies, ready to rabbit punch any finger that dares to scratch the surface.

There is no hiding place. How could you? It spills over the side like bread baking around threads in a fun way. Needless to say, the internet is full of cats. But as fast as we laugh, we have to question whether our love of fat cats is contributing to unhealthy pets (the answer is yes).

Fupa is not fat

To be clear, fupa is not chonk. When your cat runs down the hall, runs over the cat tree, or falls down on the floor, you almost always see her poo poo. It’s called the primal pouch, a patch of fat, skin, and fur that’s most noticeable in mature cats and larger breeds.1:

Although the bag looks fun, it protects your cat’s vital organs and allows for more flexibility. However, it is only noticeable at the bottom.

On the other hand, fat accumulates in several places around the body. So the next time you see your cat wagging her foopa, you can unapologetically pat her belly.

a white cat with a primitive purse
Image credit: Phrakrit Juntawong, Shutterstock

Feline obesity has always been around, but not like it is now

Fat cats have been a part of this world for a while. Sometimes, you may find a chubby cat chasing its next meal indoors after finishing its snack. But these fat cats were few and far between.

Now it is the opposite. Fat cats are everywhere and are glorified on the internet as funny videos and memes.

We laugh as they face-plant in guacamole and violently tear a piece of bread from a grocery bag. We giggle when our cats struggle to reach their body parts to groom themselves properly. And we smash buttons like that when cats show us their squishy bellies.

How did cats get to this point? A better question is, how did we let this happen? Several factors are at play, but one thing is certain. the problem is not the cat.

Cats no longer need to be hunted

Cats made it. They no longer need to hunt to survive, at least most cats don’t. Even outdoor cats can sometimes bet a cute person leaving cat food on the porch.

fat cat
Image credit: Andreas Almstedt, Pixabay

food quality

Good, quality cat food comes at a price that most people can’t or don’t want to pay. Cheap food contains filler ingredients that a feral cat would not normally eat. That’s right, these fillers help our cats stay full longer. But they also pack on the pounds with added calories.

Exercise and portion control

Feral cats roam several miles chasing and hunting critters for their next meal. It’s great exercise that a house cat can’t access on a whim.

Also, owners tend to overfeed their cats by free feeding or simply not knowing how much to offer. A determined, hungry cat also runs from one food bowl to another, eating the scraps of other pets.

internet reputation

Admit it, you’ve thought about creating an Instagram account for your cat. Most cat owners have thought this and a few have done it.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with showing off your cat’s unique features and personality. But at some point we stopped caring about our pets and started chasing likes, comments, shares and stories instead. We’ve chosen internet fame over our cat’s life, and it’s not in the best interest of our fur babies that we claim to love so much.

orange cat looking in the mirror
Image credit: Eduard Delput, Unsplash

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I admit my guilt for stalking fat animals on the internet. However, after spending time in the veterinary field, I quickly grew out of these accounts. The number of cats entering the clinic with diabetes, cancer, joint problems, etc. was alarming.

We need to stop glorifying pet obesity and start praising cat owners who value the health and vitality of their pets. Cats should be praised for their agility, athleticism, and beauty, not how much they look like Jabba the Hutt.

We have a responsibility to our feline friends to keep them as healthy as possible. Indeed, cats come in all shapes and sizes. But a cat can hug without fat rolls.

Featured Image Credit: Dennis van de Water, Shutterstock

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