Similar to humans, cat’s come in all shapes and sizes. However, weight gain is a common issue in cats with older age or slower metabolism.
There are a handful of ways to tell if a cat is overweight, which will be discussed in this guide.
If you’re conscious of your cat’s health and want to give them the best quality of life possible, then be sure to read on and find out some of these small and big-scale signs that your cat might be overweight.
Check With a Veterinarian
Before any at-home checks, if you are concerned that your cat may be overweight, then it is always advised to check with your veterinarian for expert advice.
A vet will give you a professional opinion and help make you aware of the implications of obesity in cats. They will also give you helpful information on how to help your cat lose weight.
If your cat has grown in size quickly, but you haven’t been overfeeding it, it could be because it has a tumor or growth. If you suspect this, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. It is always better to get it checked out sooner rather than later.
No amount of research can outdo the help of a professional opinion, so it is always best, particularly when you are concerned about something, to seek help from a veterinarian.
What are the Risks of Obesity?
Many health risks come with obesity, some of which can be life-threatening. It is always wise to stay on top of your cat’s diet, especially if they are a house cat that doesn’t get much outdoor exercise. Some of the health risks include:
- Diabetes: Obesity can increase the risk of developing diabetes in cats, which can lead to further health problems.
- Joint pain and arthritis: Extra weight can strain joints and ultimately lead to arthritis.
- Heart disease: Overweight cats are more likely to develop heart disease, which can reduce their lifespan.
- Liver disease: Fatty liver disease is a common problem in obese cats and can lead to serious problems or even liver failure.
- Respiratory problems: Obesity in cats can make it more difficult for them to breathe and increase the likelihood of respiratory problems.
These are just a handful of the problems that can arise from obesity in cats, so it is always worth staying on top of your cat’s diet to ensure they live a happy and healthy life.
How to Check if a Cat is Overweight
There are a few routine home checks to perform on your cat if you are curious whether they are overweight, underweight, or average for their age. Some of these include:
By gently running your hands along your cat’s ribs gently, you will be able to assess their level of weight.
- Overweight: They will likely be overweight if you cannot feel their rib cage with gentle pressure.
- Underweight: If their rib cage is visually prominent and rather boney to feel, they are likely to be underweight.
- Average: You can gradually feel their rib cage with a healthy layer of fat.
You can assess their stomach by taking a side view of their body and comparing it to an average sizing chart.
- Overweight: If their belly hangs low and is podgy, they are likely to be overweight.
- Underweight: If their belly is very tucked and hidden, they may be underweight.
- Average: If their belly has a slight tuck and gentle upward curve, they are a healthy weight.
Similarly to the ribs, you can assess a cat’s weight by feeling its back with gentle pressure.
- Overweight: If you struggle to feel their spine with gentle pressure, they will likely be overweight.
- Underweight: If their spine is very prominent to see and feel, they are likely to be underweight.
- Average: If you can feel their bones through a small layer of fat, they are a healthy weight.
You can assess their waist by taking an overhead view of their body and comparing it to an average sizing chart.
- Overweight: If their waist is hard to notice, they may be overweight.
- Underweight: If their waist is too prominent and very tucked behind their ribs, they may be underweight.
- Average: If you can notice a clear waist area, with a thinner area between the rib cage and hips, they should be a healthy weight.
In general, a healthy adult cat should weigh around 3.6 to 4.5 kg in the UK; however, it may vary depending on the cat’s age, breed, and overall health.
Prevention is a much better remedy than cure. So it is always better to notice signs of obesity before it worsens. Cats that have been overweight once will be more prone to weight gain again, so it’s important to keep an eye on their eating habits.
Again, for the best results and clarity, always ask your veterinarian, who will be sure to give you clear guidance and answers for going forward.
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