We might think that it's cute and harmless when our feline friend fills out. Unfortunately, that little bit of extra weight can have a serious negative effect on your cat's health. Our Montecito vets discuss ways to tell if your cat is overweight and when you should be concerned.
Why Your Cat's Weight Matters
While it may not be the first thing that you ever think of, your cat's weight plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of your cat.
Your cat carrying some extra weight greatly increases their risk of developing some serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. It only takes as little as a few excess ounces to have a significant negative effect on your cat's body and overall health.
Health Risks Faced by Overweight Cats
When your cat carries extra weight they face an increased risk of developing one or more of the serious conditions listed below:
- Urinary tract infections
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
- Skin problems
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight
Struggling to Jump
- A cat's body is made to be limber and graceful. If you are noticing that it takes more than one try for your cat to jump up onto any furniture, or if your cat gives up altogether, their weight could be the issue.
Check for Your Cat's Waistline
- You should be able to look down on your cat while they are standing and be able 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 they don't have a noticeable waist or if you can see that their sides are bulging it means that your kitty is probably carrying excess weight.
Feel for Your Cat's Ribs
- One of the most obvious signs would be if you are petting your cat and you are unable to feel your cat's ribs.
Use Our Overweight Cat Chart
- Our overweight cat chart below can help you gain a better visual understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your cat may be carrying extra weight.
How to Get Your Kitty's Weight Back On-track
Your cat's nutritional needs are greatly determined by their size, age, and breed.
Making an appointment with your vet to have your cat examined is a great first step to getting your cat back to peak health. Your veterinarian will be able to assess your cat's current weight and compare it to others of similar age and breed and inform you of your kitty's optimal weight and how you can help your cat reach their weight loss goals.
If your cat is just slightly overweight, your vet may recommend sticking to their regular food but reducing the size of each meal could get your pet's weight back within healthy parameters.
For cats that may need to lose a greater 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
Sudden unexplained weight gain in cats is never without cause and can be a symptom of an underlying health issue and should be evaluated.
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.