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Is Your Cat Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

Is Your Cat Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

We are not here to fat-shame your cat but, carrying just a few extra ounces can make a big difference to your cat's overall health and longevity. Our Seattle vets explain how you can tell if you have an overweight cat.

Why Your Cat's Weight Matters

Your cat's weight is likely not something you worry about. To people, a chubby cat can may seem more cuddly, but weight is an important element of your cat's overall health.

Much like people, when your cat is carrying extra weight their risk of developing some serious and potentially life-threatening conditions increases dramatically. While a couple of pounds is not a big deal to people, as little as a few excess ounces can have a significant effect on your cat's vitality and overall health.

Health Risks Faced by Overweight Cats

If your feline friend is carrying extra weight they face an increased risk of developing one or more of the serious conditions listed below: 

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Skin problems

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight

Difficulty Jumping

  • A cat's body is perfectly designed for jumping. If it takes multiple tries for your cat to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your cat gives up altogether, their weight could be the issue.

Check for Your Cat's Waistline

  • While your cat is standing, look down at them from directly above. Try to spot a slight indent just above your cat's hips where their waist should be (this can be a bit tricky with long-haired cats). If your cat is very fluffy you might want to try this when you give them a bath so you can tell what is cat and what is fur. If you can't see their waist or if their sides are bulging it means that your cat is probably carrying excess weight.

Feel for Your Cat's Ribs

  • If your feline friend is at their correct weight you should be able to feel their ribs by running your hand along their chest. If you can't feel your cat's ribs, your cat may be overweight. 

Use Our Overweight Cat Chart

  • Look over the overweight cat chart below to get a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your cat may be carrying an extra pound or two.

Overweight cat chart, Seattle Vet

How to Get Your Cat's Weight to a Health State

Your cat's breed, age, and lifestyle all make a significant difference to their nutritional needs.

If you think that your cat may be overweight make an appointment to see your vet. Your veterinarian will assess your cat's current weight then let you know whattheir optimal weight is and how to help your cat reach their weight loss goals. 

For cats that are just a little overweight, sticking to their regular food but reducing the size of each meal could get your pet's weight back within healthy parameters. 

If your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, it may be best to switch them over to a specialized food that is formulated to help with feline weight loss.

Unexplained Weight Gain

Has your cat has suddenly started to gain weight without cause? Then it's time to see your vet for an exam. Unexplained weight gain can be a symptom of an underlying health issue.

If your cat has not been spayed and got out of the house unaccompanied recently, that health issue could be kittens.

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.

Are you worried your feline friend is carrying some extra weight? Book an appointment at Aurora Veterinary Hospital today to get your cat assessed by our knowledgeable veterinarians. 

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