While you may think of your feline friend as big, cute and cuddly, even just an extra few ounces can make a long-term difference to your cat's health and well-being. Here, our Groton vets explain how you can tell if your cat is overweight.
Why Your Cat's Weight Matters
Your cat's weight is likely not something you spend a lot of time worrying about, but your feline friend's weight is a critical element of their overall health.
Just like in people, when your cat is carrying extra weight, they run an increased risk of developing some serious, and even life-threatening, conditions. Even as little change in your cat's weight as a few extra ounces can have a noticeable effect on your feline friend's health and vitality.
Health Risks Faced by Overweight Cats
If your feline friend is carrying extra weight, they face an increased risk of developing one or more of the serious conditions listed below:
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin problems
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight
Struggling to Jump
- Your cat's body is perfectly designed for jumping. If you notice that it's taking multiple tries for your cat to leap up into the favorite spot or onto furniture (or if you find that they are more inclined to give up altogether), their weight may be an issue.
Check for Your Cat's Waistline
- While your cat is standing in a neutral position, look down at them from above. Try to look for a small indent just above your cat's hips where their waist would normally be. (This may be a bit tricky when your cat has longer hair). If you can't see your cat's waist. If you can't see your cat's waist this way or notice that ther side are bulging out, this probably means that your cat is carrying some extra weight.
Feel for Your Cat's Ribs
- If your feline friend is at their correct weight you should be able to feel their ribs by running your hand along their chest. If you can't feel your cat's ribs, your cat may be overweight.
Use Our Overweight Cat Chart
- Look over the overweight cat chart below to get a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your cat may be carrying an extra pound or two.
How to Get Your Kitty's Weight Back On-track
Your kitty's breed, age, and lifestyle all make a significant difference to their nutritional needs.
If you suspect that your cat may be overweight, make an appointment to see your vet and to learn more. Your veterinarian will be able to assess your cat's condition and then let you know what your kitty's optimal weight should be. They will work with you to help your cat to reach their weight loss goals and improve their health.
For cats that are just a little overweight, sticking to their regular food but reducing the size of each meal could get your pet's weight back within healthy parameters.
If your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, it may be best to switch your kitty over to a specialized food that is formulated to help with feline weight loss.
Unexplained Weight Gain
Have you noticed that your cat has very suddenly begun gaining weight? It's time to bring them in to see your vet for an exam! Unexplained weight gain can be a symptom of an underlying health issue.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.