A survey carried out by Cats Protection has found that around a quarter of Britain's cats (23%) are being fed treats despite the fact that their owners consider them overweight already.

The survey of 1,120 cat owners revealed that 70% of cats described as 'slightly' or 'very overweight' are given a special food treat at least once a week by their owners. 28% of them are being given a special treat at least once a day.

The survey also found that all cats - irrespective of their weight - are fed special treats over Christmas that are not suitable for their health. Nearly 8% feed their cats a special Christmas dinner consisting of human food, whilst some cats are given chocolate (2%) stuffing (2%), and Christmas pudding (1%).

Maggie Roberts, Cats Protection's Director of Veterinary Services, said: "The survey showed that Britain's overweight cats continue to be fed too many treats, which owners principally did out of love, habit or a desire to make their cat feel like a member of the family. However, overweight cats are at significant risk of diabetes and arthritis so there is the danger that owners are making a bad situation even worse.  

"The survey also shows that it wasn't uncommon for cats to be given treats such as milk, chocolate or cheese. All of these could make cats quite ill."