Even if you think the extra pounds on your kitty makes them extra fun to cuddle, the truth is even just a couple of pounds of excess weight can have a negative effect on your feline companion's long-term health. In this blog, our knowledgeable Walnut Creek vets share some ways you can tell if your kitty is overweight, the possible causes of cat weight gain, and how you can help them get back down to a healthy size.
Is Your Cat Overweight?
Odds are you don't take your kitty's weight into consideration very often but, your cat's weight is a critical component of their overall long-term health.
Similar to people, when cats have a few extra pounds on their waistline their risk of developing several severe and possibly life-threatening conditions increases. Just a handful of excess ounces can have a negative effect on your kitty's wellbeing.
Diseases Connected to Obesity in Cats
Overweight cats are at a higher risk of developing some serious conditions including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Chronic inflammation
- Joint pain
- Skin problems
Determining if Your Cat is Overweight
Here we share some ways you can tell if your cat is overweight. If you suspect that your feline companion is carrying some extra ounces or even pounds, you should take them to the vet who will be able to help you rule out any serious underlying conditions and offer you advice on ways you can get your kitty back down to a healthy weight.
Struggling to Jump
- The body of a cat is perfectly built for jumping and running. If it takes your kitty multiple attempts to jump onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if they give up altogether, there's a strong possibility that their weight is the issue.
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 approximately at a healthy weight you should be able to feel their ribs by running your hand along their chest. If you are unable to feel your kitty's ribs, your cat could 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.
Reasons Why Your Cat Could be Overweight
Following is a list of some common reasons why cats can become overweight:
- Your cat is given too many treats
- They aren't getting enough exercise
- Their food is high in calories
- Older cats have different nutritional needs than younger cats and you are still feeding your cat the same food
- Neutering/ spaying
Some reasons for cat weight gain that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian include:
- Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma)
- Cushing's Syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism)
Ways To Help Your Cat Get to a Healthy Weight
Your cat's age, breed, and lifestyle can significantly impact its nutritional requirements.
If you think your cat is overweight contact your vet to schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian can access your cat's current weight and inform you what your kitty's optimal weight is. They could also tell you how you can help your four-legged friend achieve a healthier weight.
Cats that are just a little overweight might be able to continue eating their regular food but enjoy more strictly controlled portion sizes.
If your cat has to lose a significant amount of weight, it could 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.