Perhaps you've never given your cat's weight much thought, but carrying just a couple of extra ounces can make a big difference to your cat's wellbeing. Here, Horizon Veterinary Clinic explains how you can tell if you have an overweight cat.
Why Your Cat's Weight Matters
As with people, carrying extra weight can pose a number of serious health risks for cats. Just a couple of excess ounces can have a significant effect on your cat's health and vitality.
Health Risks for Overweight Cats
Cat's carrying excess weight face an increased risk of developing:
- joint pain
- chronic inflammation
Overweight cats can also begin to neglect to groom. A reluctance to groom themselves properly can lead to skin issues and even urinary tract infections.
Is My Cat Overweight? Ways To Tell
Feel for Their Ribs
When a cat is at its proper weight, you should be able to feel its ribs by running your hand along its chest gently. The amount of tissue over your cat's ribs should be comparable to the amount of tissue on the backs of your hands. If you can't feel your cat's ribs, he or she is most likely overweight.
This may be more difficult with long-haired cats, but try looking down at your cat from directly above. You should be able to see a slight indent just above the hips where your cat's waist should be. A lack of waist or bulging sides could indicate that your cat is overweight.
Difficulty Jumping Up on Furniture
Cats are made to jump. If your cat takes several attempts to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or gives up altogether. Weight could be the problem.
Use This Overweight Cat Chart
Look over the illustration 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 Cat's Weight Back On-track
Factors like age, breed, and lifestyle make a significant difference to the nutritional needs of individual cats.
Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect your cat is overweight. Your vet will be able to assess your cat's weight and advise you on the best weight for your cat.
Your veterinarian may advise you to help your cat lose weight and provide you with tips on how to do so safely.
If your cat is just slightly overweight, your vet may recommend something as simple as continuing to feed them their regular food but reducing the size of each meal.
If your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, switching to a specialized food designed to aid in feline weight loss may be necessary.