While it may not seem like a big deal, carrying just a few extra ounces can have a negative impact on your cat's long-term health and wellbeing. Today, our Alpharetta vets explain why your cat's weight matters, how you can tell if your cat is overweight, and how to help your cat achieve a healthier weight.
Is my cat overweight?
Chances are that you don't give a whole lot of thought to your cat's weight, but your kitty's weight is an important element of their overall health and longevity.
Like us, when your feline friend is carrying extra weight their risk of developing some serious and potentially life-threatening conditions increases. As little as a few excess ounces can have a significant effect on your cat's wellbeing.
What diseases are linked to obesity in cats?
Cats that are overweight face an increased risk of developing a number of serious conditions including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
- Skin problems
How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight
Below are a few suggestions on how to tell if your cat is overweight. If you believe that your kitty is carrying a few extra ounces or even pounds, a quick trip to the vet can help to rule out serious underlying conditions and provide you with strategies for getting your feline friend back to a healthy weight.
Check Out the Overweight Cat Chart
- The illustrations in the overweight cat chart above can help you to get a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your cat may be carrying an extra pound or two. Which illustration best represents the size of your cat?
- Is your feline friend struggling to run or jump? A cat's body is beautifully built for running and jumping, and these activities should come easily to your kitty. If it takes your cat multiple tries to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your cat gives up altogether, it could be due to carrying excess weight.
Look for Your Cat's Waist
- While your cat is standing, look down at them from directly above. Try to spot a slight indent just above your cat's hips where their waist should be (this can be a bit tricky with long-haired cats). If you can't see their waist or if their sides are bulging it means that your feline friend is probably carrying excess weight.
Your Cat's Ribs Should Be Easy to Feel
- If your cat is about the right weight you should be able to feel their ribs by running your hand along their chest. If you can't feel your kitty's ribs, your cat may be overweight.
How To Help Your Cat Achieve a Healthy Weight
The breed, age, and lifestyle of your feline friend all make a significant difference to their nutritional needs.
If you think that your cat may be overweight make an appointment to see your vet. Your veterinarian can access your cat's current weight then let you know what your kitty's optimal weight is and how to help your furry friend achieve a healthier size.
Cats that are just a little overweight may be able to simply continue with their regular food but enjoy more strictly controlled portion sizes.
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.
Gaining Weight for No Apparent Reason
If your cat has suddenly begun to put on weight and you're not sure why it's time to see your vet. Unexplained weight gain can be a symptom of an underlying health issue and should be investigated.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.