Loudoun County cat swims laps to lose weight

Holly in the pool.

It's not every day that you see a swimming cat.

But in Loudoun County, a particularly rotund 13-year-old cat regularly glides into the pool to swim laps. It's part of her weight loss plan.

Athough it's odd to see a cat swimming, it's the only exercise she'll agree to.

"She won't do anything else," says Dani Lawhorne of her cat, Holly. "I've tried to take her outside. She doesn't like the outdoors so she won't run around, she won't play with cat toys, she doesn't like cat nip. Anything normal that cats like, she just doesn't like."

And so once a week, Holly suits up at the Olde Towne Pet Resort.

Weighing in at almost 20 pounds, Holly's weight loss goal is approximately six to seven pounds.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight or obese. That's more than 88 million pets.

And the effects can be life-threatening, increasing the risk of arthritis, diabetes and even cancer.

"I don't think people appreciate the seriousness of long-term overweight body condition," says Dr. Robert Justin, an internal medicine veterinarian.

If your pet is overweight, talk with your veterinarian about starting an exercise program and choosing a lower fat food. Slimming down is especially important for overweight pets who are injured.

Thanks to her new workout regimen and a healthier diet, Holly's making some progress. She's lost about a pound the past six months.