You may joke that your cat is 'big-boned', but carrying a few extra pounds can have serious consequences for your pet's health. In this post, our Waxhaw vets explain how to tell if your cat is overweight, and what to do next.
Your Cat's Weight is Important
Similar to humans, if your cat is carrying extra weight they are at increased risk for developing numerous serious, chronic diseases. Just a few extra ounces can have a significant impact on your cat's overall health.
Increased Health Risks for Overweight Cats
Overweight cats face a higher risk of developing diseases that can significantly effect their longevity and quality of life. These conditions include:
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
In some cases, you may notice your obese cat neglects grooming. This can lead to urinary tract infections and skin issues that may develop into problematic conditions.
How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight
Here are some ways to tell if your cat may be overweight:
Take a look at your cat directly from above. Is there a slight indent just above the hips where your cat's waist should be? Admittedly, this may be difficult if your cat is a long-haired breed.
If you are unable to see a waistline, or if your kitty's sides bulge outwards, your cat is likely overweight.
Feel for Their Ribs
If your feline friend is at their correct weight you should be able to feel their ribs by gently running your hand along their chest. The amount of fat tissue over your cat's ribs should be similar to that on the backs of your hands. If your cat's ribs can't be easily felt, there's a good chance that your cat is overweight.
Our feline companions are designed to jump. If it takes several attempts for your cat to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your kitty gives up altogether, excess weight could be the problem.
Getting Your Cat's Weight Within Healthy Parameters
Your cat's age, breed and lifestyle will all make a significant difference to the nutritional needs of your pet.
If you think that your cat could be overweight it's time for kitty to see the vet. Your veterinarian will be able to examine your cat, assess his or her weight and let you know what the optimal weight is for your cat based on the factors listed above.
If your veterinarian recommends that your cat lose weight, they will provide you with suggestions on how to help your cat to safely shed those extra ounces.
Simply sticking to your kitty's regular food but reducing the size of each meal may be appropriate if your pet is just a little overweight.
However, if your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, switching to a specialized food which has been formulated to help with feline weight loss may be necessary.
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.