A common question asked by pet parents is “how much should my cat weigh?” As a caring owner you want the very best for your furry friend, and that includes making sure she’s well fed.
However, unless you know what to look for it can be hard to tell if your kitty is the right size. In this post you’ll find out if your kitty is an ideal weight or not
Plus, steps you can take if your cat is either over or underweight. Also, common health problems related to weight and what you need to do.
What is the average weight of a cat?
Unless you have a large breed, most domestic cats weigh around 10 pounds. A Maine Coon on the other hand can weigh up to 25 pounds, and you can expect a Ragdoll to weigh between 15-20 pounds.
Oriental cats tend to be slim and lean looking, though males are often heavier. As a result, their looks can be misleading. If you have a female Siamese her weight should be around 8-12 pounds. On the other hand, males typically weigh up to 15 pounds.
Whatever breed of cat you have, males are always bigger in size than females. In addition, it should be noted that neutered tom cats tend to gain weight. This is because neutering is believed to slow down a cat’s metabolism by 20%!
How can you tell if your cat’s weight is ok?
Obviously, if your cat is looking more like a barrel than a lean mean hunter, something is wrong! If you can’t see your cat’s waist she’s overweight. A good idea is to run your hand along the side of your cat. Feel for the ribs, and if you think they’re covered with a layer of fat, your kitty could be overweight.
On the other hand if your cat’s ribs feel prominent she may be underweight. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s not eating enough though.
There are many reasons why cats lose or gain weight. However, feeding your cat too much is one of the commonest causes of obesity.
Getting your cat’s health checked annually by a vet is a good idea. Not only can it reveal any early signs of disease, but show if your cat is over or underweight.
Your vet will be able to advise you on your cat’s ideal weight and offer advice on feeding. This is a good time to chat about any concerns you have and if your feline friend requires a special diet.
Weighing your cat at home is possible, but you’d need to get scales especially for small animals. I’d only advise this if you’re really concerned about your cat’s weight, or if your vet suggests it.
BYKAZATY pet scale is multi-functional and comes with a tape measure. You may find this useful if you want accurate digital readings.
Your cat’s body condition score
Just as people use body mass index or BMI for evaluating weight, our pets have their own version. This is known as the body condition score with 1 being severely underweight and 9 being obese. The following video demonstrates how this works.
What to if your cat is overweight
A cat is considered obese if it’s 20% over the ideal weight. Just like with people, eating more calories than is burned soon leads to weight gain.
The first thing you need to do is look at your cat’s diet. This is because some brands of cat food are higher in calories than others. It’s not always the amount of food you give your cat that’s the cause of weight gain.
Talking to your vet can help as he or she will be able to recommend a specific diet. It’s important to follow any guidance given, and monitor your cat’s weight regularly.
If your cat spends most of her time indoors you need to get her active. Interactive toys your cat can play with on her own are great for stimulating hunting and encouraging exercise.
Also, spend time playing with your cat each day. During cold winter months when my cat spends most of his time indoors he plays with a laser pointer. Of course, I have to work it, but it never fails to get him running and chasing the red dot!
Most cats that are allowed outside access get plenty of exercise. Chasing prey, climbing trees, and exploring, not only keep your kitty fit, but mentally active as well.
Could boredom be making your cat overweight
It’s not uncommon for people to eat out of boredom and the same applies to our pets. Snacking on chocolate or fat laden deserts is something most of us have done at one time or another!
Unlike dogs, cats usually know when they’ve eaten enough. However, this doesn’t necessarily stop them worrying for food!
It’s easy to spoil your feline friend and pestering for food out of boredom is quite common. This is why it’s important to keep your cat occupied and her little kitty mind off food!
One good tip is to feed your cat using a food puzzle. You don’t need to do this with every meal, but maybe once a day.
Food puzzles get your kitty mentally active as she works out how to pull the food from the container. This simulates hunting prey, and challenges your cat. It’s excellent for relieving boredom and your cat gets a reward as well!
As your cat is only gets a small amount of food at a time it slows down her eating. This mimics how a cat would eat in the wild.
Hunting and catching prey is usually done in small bursts of activity throughout the day. The rest of the time is spent conserving energy!
What to do if your cat is underweight?
If your cat is losing weight but eating, you need to get her examined by a vet. Older cats are prone to kidney disease, and gradual weight loss is a common sign.
Even younger cats can suffer from diseases that lead to weight loss. If you feel you should increase the amount of food you’re giving your cat do it gradually.
As I’ve mentioned before, cats thrive on smaller meals multiple times a day. You could try 3 small meals a day and increase the amounts slightly. Also, provide a bowl of kibbles your kitty can nibble on throughout the day.
Still provide her with wet food at regular mealtimes though, but use the dried food as something to snack on.
If you’ve taken in a stray that had limited access to food, it’s vital you start building her up. Rescue centres do their very best to bring poorly kitties back to health. However, it’s your responsibility to ensure she has a nutritious diet.
Your vet will be able to advise you on the type of food your cat needs to gain weight. Also, he or she may suggest a supplement as well.
Even if the shelter has given your cat a thorough examination and treated her for fleas as well as de-worming. it’s still a good idea to see your vet. This is because you want to eliminate any possible diseases.
Underlying health problems that may cause weight issues
If your cat is gaining weight and you’re not over feeding her, she could have a health problem. Firstly, your vet will carry out an examination including blood tests. After weighing your cat, she or he will feel your cat for any unusual lumps or bumps.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that can be treated, but causes weight gain. Though not a health problem, pregnancy will cause your cat to gain weight over the coming months.
If you have a female cat that’s not been spayed, this is a distinct possibility! You’ll need to care for your expectant mum and find homes for her babies unless you plan on keeping the litter.
It’s also strongly recommended that you get your cat spayed after she’s given birth. Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted kittens, and is healthier for your cat.
Other health conditions that can cause weight gain include diabetes and intestinal disease. Most health problems can be treated especially if caught in the early stages.
Weight loss can be down to aging. If you have a geriatric kitty that’s over 17 years old you can expect some loss of weight. The same can be seen in very elderly humans.
Kidney disease as mentioned earlier is common in older cats and weight loss is one of the signs to watch for. In addition, some feline cancers cause weight loss.
Tape worms can cause weight loss, and are easily treated. If you get your kitty wormed regularly, you can prevent such infestations.
Hopefully, I’ve helped answer your question “how much should my cat weigh” Remember to always consult your vet if you’re worried or unsure about your cat’s weight.
Most domestic cats keep healthy throughout their lives. Some rarely require veterinary treatment apart from annual inoculations. However, it’s important to monitor your cat for any unusual changes in weight.
Grooming gives you the chance to feel your cat for any unusual lumps as well as bond with her. In addition, you’ll be able to notice if her body shape is changing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and it’s helped you understand a little bit about your cat’s weight. Feel free to share with your friends and family. In addition, you’re welcome to share this pin on your “pets” board.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, please leave your comment below.
Wishing you a purrfect day:)