You might believe your kitty is even more adorable with the extra weight on them, although those extra pounds can negatively affect the long-term health of your feline companion. In today's blog, our Lafayette vets discuss the reasons why your cat might be overweight, how to tell if your cat is overweight, and how you can help them be healthy again.
Is My Cat Overweight?
You probably don't consider your cat's weight when thinking about their healthcare however, your kitty's weight plays a key role in their overall health and lifespan. Just like people, when cats hold some extra pounds they are at a higher risk of developing several, potentially life-threatening conditions. Even just a few excess pounds can have a significant effect on your furry friend's wellbeing.
Diseases Linked to Cat Obesity
When cats are overweight they face an increased risk of developing a variety of serious conditions including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Joint pain
- Skin problems
- Chronic inflammation
How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight
We have listed a handful of suggestions below on ways you can tell if your cat is overweight. If you believe your cat is carrying some extra ounces or even pounds, a quick trip to the vet can help you rule out serious underlying conditions and provide you with strategies for getting your kitty back to a healthy weight.
Struggling to Jump
- A cat's body is perfectly built for running and jumping. If it takes your cat multiple attempts to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your kitty gives up altogether, there's a fair chance that weight is the problem.
Check Your Cat's Waistline
- When your cat is standing, look down at them from directly above. Try to detect a slight indent just above your cat's hips where their waist should be (this could be a little tricky with long-haired cats). If you can't find their waist or if their sides are bulging it can mean your kitty is carrying excess weight.
Feel for Your Cat's Ribs
- If your cat is approximately the right weight you should be able to feel their ribs by running your hand along their chest. If you can't feel your feline companion's ribs, your cat may be overweight.
Check Our Cat Weight Chart
- Look at the overweight cat chart below to get a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your kitty might be carrying an extra pound or two.
Reasons Why Your Cat Might be Overweight
Below is some of the most common reasons why cats can become overweight:
- Their food is high in calories
- Your cat is given too many treats
- They aren't getting enough exercise
- Neutering/ spaying
- Older cats have different nutritional needs than younger cats and you are still feeding your cat the same food
Here are several reasons for cat weight gain that requires veterinary care:
- Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma)
- Cushing's Syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism)
How To Help Your Cat Get to a Healthy Weight
The breed, age, and lifestyle of your cat can make a significant difference in their nutritional requirements.
If you believe your cat is overweight call your vet to schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian is able to access your kitty's current weight and will let you know what your cat's optimal weight is. They may also tell you how you can help your feline friend get to a healthier size.
Cats that are just a little overweight might be able to continue with their regular food but enjoy more strictly controlled portion sizes.
If your cat has to lose a significant amount of weight, it might be best to switch your kitty over to a specialized food that is formulated to help with feline weight loss.
Unexplained Weight Gain
If your cat has suddenly started putting on weight without cause, it's time to see your vet. Unexplained weight gain can be a symptom of an underlying health issue and should be investigated.
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.