It's easy to write off an overweight cat as "extra fluffy," but carrying even a few extra ounces can have a detrimental effect on your cat's long-term health. Today, our Los Angeles vets explain how to tell if your cat is overweight and what steps to take to help them get back on track.
Long Term Health & Your Cat's Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of your cat's overall wellbeing. Even a few extra ounces can negatively impact their vitality and put your cat at an increased risk of developing serious health conditions such as:
- Urinary tract infections
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
- Skin problems
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight
There are a few telltale signs that your cat is holding a few extra pounds. Your Ambassador Dog & Cat Hospital vet will also discuss your cat's weight with you when you bring them in for their annual wellness exam.
- Cats are natural jumpers—if you notice your kitty is having trouble jumping up to low surfaces they once lept onto with ease, their weight could be the issue.
Check for Your Cat's Waistline
- 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 challenging with long-haired cats). If you can't see their waist or if their sides are bulging it means that your kitty is could be carrying excess weight.
Feel Your Cat's Rib Cage
- When a cat is at their ideal weight you should be able to feel their ribs when you run your hands along their chest. If you can't feel your kitty's ribs, it could be a sign that your feline friend is overweight.
Use Our Overweight Cat Chart
- The illustration below offers a visual guide to understanding your cat's weight category:
How to Best Manage Your Cat's Weight
Your cat's breed, age, and lifestyle all make a big difference to their nutritional needs.
If your cat is only slightly overweight, you may just need to slightly reduce the portion size of their meals or not give them as many treats. It's always a good idea to encourage play as a form of exercise as well.
If your cat is significantly overweight their diet may need to be switched to a specialized food that is formulated to help them achieve weight loss.
If you think that your cat may be overweight make an appointment to see your veterinarian. Your vet will assess your cat's current weight then let you know what your kitty's optimal weight is and how to help your cat reach a healthier weight range.
Unexplained Weight Gain
If your cat is rapidly gaining weight and has not experienced any change in their routine, it could be a symptom of a more serious underlying health issue and you should see your vet right away.
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.