The extra ounces on your kitty's body may make them more fun to cuddle but, that extra weight could negatively affect their long-term wellbeing and health. Here our vets in Ypsilanti discuss the ways you can tell if your cat is overweight and the reasons why they could be carrying some extra pounds.
Is My Cat Overweight?
Odds are you don't take your cat's weight into consideration very often but, their weight is an important part of their overall physical health and wellbeing.
As it is with people, when your feline friend is holding some extra ounces on their waistline they have a higher risk of getting a handful of severe health issues that could threaten their life. Even just a couple of pounds can have a negative impact on your kitty's longevity.
Cat Diseases Caused by Obesity
Overweight felines have a higher risk of developing several serious conditions such as:
- Urinary tract infections
- Joint pain
- Skin problems
- Chronic inflammation
How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight
In the following sections, our vets have noted several ways you can judge if your kitty is overweight. If you believe your feline companion is holding some extra pounds or ounces, a simple visit to your vet can help you rule out serious underlying conditions and provide you with strategies for getting your cat back down to a healthy weight.
Having a Hard Time Jumping
- 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.
Compare 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 Might be Overweight
Below are a few of the most common reasons why cats can gain weight:
- Your cat is given too many treats
- Their food is high in calories
- They aren't getting enough exercise
- Neutering/ spaying
- Older cats have different nutritional needs than younger cats and you are still feeding your cat the same food
Some reasons for cat weight gain that requires veterinary care includes:
- Cushing's Syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism)
- Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma)
How To Help Your Overweight Cat
The lifestyle, age, and breed of your cat can make a significant difference in their nutritional requirements.
If you have tried the tests and checks about and think your cat is overweight contact your primary care veterinarian to schedule an appointment for your kitty. Your vet will be able to 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.
Unexplainable 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.