It wasn’t too long ago that I actually took one of my cats to the vet because I thought he was too skinny. My vet laughed at me and made comment that Dimitri was actually the perfect size! Could it have been the over-protective cat-mom in me that forced a vet visit? Or was it just the fact that I was no longer used to a healthy sized cat? Do you know what a healthy cat should weigh, and at what point are they considered overweight or even obese? The answer might surprise you!
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, the ideal domestic cat should weigh somewhere in the range of 8-10lbs! An overweight cat starts at 11lbs, and obesity starts around 13 lbs. So if your cat weighs 11 lbs, he is roughly 10% overweight, that’s the equivalent to woman being 15 lbs overweight, or a man being 17 lbs overweight. Shocking isn’t it! What’s even more shocking is that from a survey taken in 2013, 30% of cats were overweight and another 27% were considered obese.
Some of you might be thinking…..”ahhhh, one extra pound of weight won’t do any harm”; BUT, when a cat is overweight , the question is no longer “will this cause my cat to develop a condition secondary to excess weight?” but “how many conditions, and how soon?”. Some of the conditions can include; diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and many forms of cancer…..and the list goes on from there. Simple fact is; a cat that is overweight has increased potential for disease.
Now if we are going to get to the bare bones of chubbier cats, we first have to ask the question, why are these cats chubby? There are 2 very simple answers; too much food and not enough exercise. Managing a cat’s weight can be tricky, and I would advise you do not do it on your own. My vet offers a weight management program for overweight cats. They weigh your cat, set short and long term goals and then prescribe you a daily food allotment to feed your feline friend. There are frequent weigh-ins and recalculations of food portions and again you go on your merry way. I stress that you should seek your veterinarian’s help if you want to try and manage your cat’s weight. Many factors have to be accounted for to make SURE your cat still gets her proper amount of vitamins, minerals and calories. Cats can develop a very serious condition known as hepatic lipidosis if she doesn’t eat for even just 2 days. Don’t put her at risk, consult your veterinarian!
As cat mommies and daddies we must do our best for our little furry kids. We shower them with love, pet them play with them, brush them clean up their….stuff!!! But we also need to make sure we keep them healthy! Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat!
N.B. The weights mentioned in this article are an average for domestic cats. Persian, Siamese and Maine Coons all have their own weight categories. Please consult your veterinarian with any questions regarding the specific weight criteria for your cat.