As a cat lover, we imagine you will go to great lengths to ensure the health and happiness of your feline friend. From providing a balanced diet to booking regular vet appointments, you strive to give them the best possible care. Whilst it can be easy to spot if your cat isn’t feeling very well, it can be difficult to tell if they are carrying a few extra pounds. With various health risks related to cat obesity, it is important that you know how to properly manage your cat’s weight.
In this blog, we provide guidance on evaluating your cat’s body condition and offer advice on developing a tailored dietary plan. Find out how you can keep your cat in tip-top shape below.
If you are unsure whether your cat is overweight, speak to your vet or take a look at the body condition chart below. This should help to identify your cat’s body type and shape.
Average domestic cats should weigh between 4 and 5 kilograms. However, this can vary depending on the breed of your cat. For example, if you have a male maine coon cat at home, you can expect them to weigh as much as 7 to 11 kilograms. If you want to find out the ideal body weight of your cat, we would recommend asking at your next visit to the vet. They will be able to provide you with an accurate number, as well as check whether your cat is currently a healthy body weight.
It can be difficult to tell if your cat is overweight, this is only made more challenging if they have long hair or fluffy fur. However, there are a few signs you can try to look out for.
If your cat is a healthy weight, you should be able to feel their ribs with a slight fat covering. You should also be able to see an abdominal tuck when looking at your cat from the side and above. This is when there is a slightly smaller diameter behind your cat’s ribs, similar to a human waist.
If your cat is overweight, you may struggle to feel their ribs through their fur. You may also find it harder to spot an abdominal tuck when looking at your cat from the side or above. This is where the abdomen is starting to become rounder due to excess body fat.
Unfortunately, overweight and obese cats are at an increased risk of health problems. So, if you do not take the required steps to bring your cat back down to a healthy weight, it can put them at risk of the following conditions.
Diabetes mellitus is increasingly common in overweight cats. Excess fat coverage can place a strain on your cat’s body, and lead to insulin resistance. This is when your cat’s body becomes unable to produce insulin, impacting their ability to regulate blood sugars. Key symptoms of diabetes mellitus are excessive drinking and urinating. Spotting these symptoms early is key to protecting your feline friend from high blood sugar and heart disease.
Hepatic lipidosis, otherwise known as fatty liver disease, is when a cat has a large amount of fat around their liver cells. This is a condition specific to cats, and can be life threatening if left untreated. Key symptoms of hepatic lipidosis are loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and jaundice. If you don’t notice these symptoms early, it can lead to liver failure.
Arthritis poses an increased risk to overweight cats. The excess weight can place additional stress on their joints, leading to chronic inflammation. Key symptoms to look out in your cat include reluctance to perform daily activities, such as jumping, running or climbing. This can have a direct impact on your cat’s quality of life, so it’s important you take steps to properly manage your cat’s weight.
If your cat is overweight or obese, it’s important you put a weight loss plan in place as soon as possible. This will help to decrease the risk of any weight-related health issues, allowing your cat to live a long, happy and healthy life.
The first step to helping your cat lose weight is looking at what food they are currently eating. This includes reviewing the ingredients to ensure it has all of the essential nutrients they need. It’s also recommended that you check the food is appropriate for your cat’s stage of life. For example, our Original Chicken and Brown Rice food is ideal for adult and senior cats due to the controlled levels of protein and fat in the recipe. However, it is not suitable for kittens.
The second step is to make sure you are not accidentally overfeeding your cat. Dry cat food should always be weighed, to ensure it is within their daily requirement. While some cats prefer to graze throughout the day, this does not mean that they should have access to an unlimited amount of dry food. Instead, weigh the food at the beginning of each day. Once the bowl is empty, avoid topping it up as this could exceed your cat’s daily limit.
The third step is to try and cut back on the treats. Whilst it can be tempting to feed your cat a treat here and there, treats should always be given in moderation. If you do want to feed your cat a treat, adjustments may need to be made to their daily amount of food to account for this. This is particularly important if you are trying to help your obese cat lose weight.
The final step is to make sure your cat is being active. This is particularly important for indoor cats who may spend a bit too much time curled up asleep. This can be achieved by dedicating some time to play with your cat on a daily basis, as well as making sure they have access to toys should the mood strike. If your cat seems bored at all, it can be a good idea to rotate their toys so they always have something new to play with. Or you can even use feeding toys to provide both enrichment and exercise.
One of the main reasons that there are so many overweight cats is because their owners overestimate the amount of food they need. Especially if a cat is licking their bowl clean at every meal, some owners see this as a sign that they are still hungry. However, it’s important you don’t give in to their every demand, no matter how cute they may be!
To figure out the correct amount of food for your overweight cat, you need to know their ideal weight. You can then use our feeding guide below to ensure you are feeding your cat an appropriate amount.
|Bodyweight||Adult (9+ Months)||Senior||Neutered|
Maintaining a healthy weight for your feline friend is crucial for their overall well-being. By understanding the health problems and evaluation methods, you should be able to properly manage your overweight cat’s diet. However, it’s important to remember that your cat’s weight loss won’t happen overnight and it may take several months for them to reach their ideal weight.
For further advice on supporting an overweight or obese cat, get in touch. Our team of nutritional advisors are here to answer any questions you have about obesity in cats.