You may consider your cat to be cute and cuddly, but carrying even a little extra weight can be enough to negatively impact your kitty's long-term health. Here, our vets at Whites Road and Highway 2 explain how to tell if your cat is overweight as well as what to do to help your them get back to a healthier weight for their size.
Your Overweight Cat
Chances are, you don't give much thought to the weight of your feline companion. But, your kitty's weight is an integral factor in their long-term health and well-being.
Just like in people, when your cat carries extra weight, they are at an increased risk of serious, and even life-threatening, conditions. As little as a few extra ounces may have a measurable impact on your cat's overall health.
Diseases Linked to Obesity in Cats
Overweight cats face an increased risk of developing a range of concerning conditions like:
- Skin problems
- Chronic inflammation
- Urinary tract infections
- Joint pain
Figuring Out Whether Your Cat is Overweight
If you think your feline friend may be carrying some extra ounces around, or even a couple of pounds, a quick trip to your vet may help to rule out any underlying conditions that could be causing it. Your vet will also be able to provide you with some strategies for getting your cat back to a healthy weight.
Here are a few suggestions of signs to look for when determining whether or not your cat is overweight.
Struggling to Jump
- Your cat's body is well-built for jumping and running. If your kitty requires multiple attempts to jump up onto their favourite chair, or if you find that they give up altogether, there is a good chance that their weight is impacting their ability to leap like normal.
Check for Your Cat's Waistline
- While your cat is standing up, look down on them from directly above. While doing so, see if you can spot a slight indent above their hips where their waist should be (this may be tricky for a long-haired cat). If you aren't able to see their waist or if their sides are bulging, it means that your cat is probably carrying some extra weight.
Feel for Your Cat's Ribs
- If your kitty is at their correct weight, you should be able to feel the bones of their ribs just by running your hand across their chest. If you aren't able to do so, your cat may be overweight.
Use Our Overweight Cat Chart
- Take a look at the chart below to gain a better understanding of your cat's weight category and whether or not they may be carrying some extra ounces or pounds.
How To Help Your Cat Achieve a Healthy Weight
Your cat's breed, lifestyle and age may all play a part in determining their nutritional needs.
If you think that your cat may be a bit overweight, make an appointment to see your veterinarian. They will be able to measure your cat's current weight, let you know how it compares to their optimal weight, and will be able to provide some options and strategies for helping your feline friend achieve a healthier size.
Cats who are only a little overweight may need to have their portion sizes controlled but will be able to remain on the same food as they have been eating.
If your cat is more significantly overweight, your vet may advise you to switch them over to a food that is formulated to help with feline weight loss.
Unexplained Weight Gain
If you notice that your cat has quickly begun gaining weight without any obvious cause, you should see your vet as soon as possible. Unexplainable weight gain may be a symptom of an underlying health issue and demands proper investigation.
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.