Get “Hands On” to Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight
Does your cat seem a little—er, fluffy—lately? Determining if your cat is overweight isn’t as simple as stepping on a bathroom scale. Healthy cats come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no single “right” weight. Depending on breed and body type, your cat could have an ideal weight range of anywhere from 7 to 25 pounds, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Obesity is a real problem for some cats and may lead to joint problems, diabetes and shortened life span. We’re here to help.
A Simple Test to Determine If Your Cat Is Overweight
1. Take a look at your overweight cat from above.
You should be able to see a noticeable “waist” between your cat’s ribcage and her hips. If your cat is too fluffy to tell for sure, run your hands down her sides to feel for an indentation.
2. Take another look from the side.
A lean cat should slope upwards from the ribcage to the back legs, rather than sporting a tummy pouch.
3. Give your cat a squeeze.
Feel your cat’s torso. You should be able to make out her spine and ribs clearly, without pressing too hard.
Need more guidance to determine if your cat is overweight? Check out this cat body condition scoring chart from APOP.
5 Tips to Slim Down an Overweight Cat
If your cat fails this test, don’t despair. Just like with people, your cat’s weight comes down to two things: How much she eats, and how much she exercises. Luckily, you have a lot of control over both factors. The ASPCA suggests taking these steps to help your overweight cat:
1. Cut out the table scraps.
Keep your cat at a distance when you’re eating, so you’re not tempted to feed her morsels from your plate.
2. Provide your cat several small meals during the day rather than one or two enormous feasts.
3. Only feed your cat from her bowl so she can re-learn good eating habits.
4. Cut back on snacks and treats.
5. Give your cat plenty of affection and attention so she doesn’t turn to food out of boredom.
Can’t Get Your Overweight Cat to Slim Down?
If the above tactics don’t produce results within a month or two, schedule a visit to the vet to rule out underlying medical problems and help you figure out what and how much your cat should be eating.