You may think your cat's extra weight makes them extra cuddly and cute, however, it can actually have negative impacts on their overall long-term health. That's why our Bedford vets are here to explain the ways you can tell if your cat is overweight, the reasons why your kitty might be overweight, and how you can help.
Is Your Cat Overweight?
You most likely don't think about your kitty's weight often however, your cat's weight is a key element in their longevity and overall health.
Like humans, when your cat is holding a few extra pounds their risk of developing some serious and potentially life-threatening issues increases. As little as a few excess ounces can have a significant effect on your feline friend's wellbeing.
Diseases Linked to Obesity in Cats
Cats that are overweight face an increased risk of developing a handful of serious conditions including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin problems
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
Figuring Out Whether Your Cat is Overweight
Below we have listed several suggestions on how you can tell if your cat is overweight. If you think your cat is carrying some extra ounces or even pounds, a quick trip to the vet can help you rule out serious underlying conditions and provide you with strategies for getting your kitty back to a healthy weight.
Struggling to Jump
- A cat's body is beautifully built for running and jumping. If it takes your cat multiple attempts to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your kitty gives up altogether, there's a good chance that weight is the problem.
Check for Your Cat's Waistline
- While your cat is standing, look down at them from directly above. Try to find 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 could mean your feline friend is carrying excess weight.
Feel for Your Cat's Ribs
- 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.
Use Our Overweight Cat Chart
- Review the overweight cat chart below to get a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your kitty might be carrying an extra pound or two.
Why Your Cat Might be Overweight
Following is a list of some of the most common reasons why cats can become overweight:
- They aren't getting enough exercise
- Their food is high in calories
- Your cat is given too many treats
- Neutering/ spaying
- Older cats have different nutritional needs than younger cats and you are still feeding your cat the same food
A few reasons for cat weight gain that requires veterinary care includes:
- Cushing's Syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism)
- Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma)
How To Help Your Cat Achieve a Healthy Weight
The breed, age, and lifestyle of your feline friend can make a significant difference to their nutritional needs.
If you think your cat is overweight call your vet to make an appointment. Your veterinarian can access your cat's current weight and let you know what your kitty's optimal weight is. They can also tell you how you can 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.
Unexplained Weight Gain
If your cat has suddenly begun to put on weight without cause, 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 pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.