You may think of your cat as perfect cuddling size rather than overweight, but carrying even a few extra ounces or pounds can make a big difference to the cat's health and well-being in the long term. Here, our Oakland vets explain how you can tell if your feline friend is overweight.
Is Your Cat Overweight?
Carrying extra weight can increase your cat's risk of developing a whole host of serious conditions and may even shorten their life expectancy. Even as little as a few excess ounces may have a significant effect on your feline companion's vitality, mobility and overall health.
Health Risks for Overweight Cats
If your cat is carrying excess weight, this means that your cat faces an increased risk of developing conditions like:
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
Not only can the above conditions be traced to extra weight in your kitty, but overweight cats can also often show a reluctance to groom themselves properly which may cause skin issues and urinary tract infections.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight
Feel for Your Cat's Ribs
If your cat is about their right weight range, you should be able to feel their ribs by gently running your hand along their chest. The amount of tissue over your cat's ribs should be quite similar to that on the back of your hands. If you can't feel your cat's ribs, there's a good chance that your cat is overweight.
No Visible Waistline
If you stand above your cat and look straight down, you should be able to see slight indents above your cat's hips where their waist should be. This may be a bit more challenging if you have a long-haired rather than a short-haired cat. If your cat doesn't have a visible waist or if they have sides that bulge out, that means your kitty may be carrying some extra weight.
Trouble Jumping Up On To Furniture
Cats are perfectly built for jumping. If it takes multiple attempts for your kitty to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your cat gives up altogether, this could be an indication that their weight is a problem.
Getting Your Cat's Weight Back On-track
Factors like breed, age and lifestyle can all make a significant difference to the nutritional needs of your individual animal companion.
It's important that you bring your cat in to see your vet if you think they may not be a healthy weight. Your veterinarian will be able to access your kitty's weight, compare it against a visual chart to identify overweight cats and let you know what their optimal weight should be.
If the vet recommends that your cat lose weight they will provide you with instructions on how to help your kitty safely shed those extra ounces.
If your cat's just a little overweight, something as simple as sticking to their regular food but reducing the size of each meal you could get your pet's weight back within healthy parameters.
That being said, if your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, switching to a food that is specially formulated to help with feline weight loss may be your cat's best bet for losing weight.
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.