While your cat's extra pounds may make them extra cuddly, that excess weight could have negative effects on their health and longevity. Today, our Grand Prairie vets share some tips that can help you determine if your feline friend is overweight and how you can help your cat.
Is My Cat Overweight?
Odds are your cat's weight isn't something you think about often, but it's actually an important part of their long-term overall health.
Just like people, when cats hold a couple of extra pounds they are at an increased risk of developing a handful of serious possibly life-threatening conditions. Just a few extra ounces could have a significant impact on your four-legged companion's wellbeing.
Cat Diseases Connected to Obesity
Overweight cats are at an increased risk for these serious conditions:
- Urinary tract infections
- Chronic inflammation
- Joint pain
- Skin problems
How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight
Here, our veterinary team has shared a handful of ways you can determine if your cat is overweight. If you think your kitty is holding some extra ounces or even pounds, a visit with your vet could help you rule out serious underlying medical conditions and provide you with strategies that can help you get your feline friend to a healthy weight.
Troubles Jumping Up
- A cat's body is beautifully 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 good chance that weight is the problem.
Check for Your Cat's Waistline
- While your cat is standing, look down at them from directly above. Try to find 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 you can't see their waist or if their sides are bulging it could mean your cat is carrying excess weight.
Feel for Your Cat's Ribs
- If your kitty is around healthy weight, when you run your hands along their chest you should be able to feel their ribs. If you are unable to feel your cat's ribs, they could be overweight.
Use the Overweight Cat Chart
- By reviewing our overweight cat chart you should be able to obtain a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your feline is holding an extra pound or two.
Possible Causes of Cat Weight Gain
Below we have listed some of the most common reasons why cats can become overweight:
- Neutering/ spaying
- They aren't getting enough exercise
- Your cat is given too many treats
- Their food is high in calories
- Older cats have different nutritional needs than younger cats and you are still feeding your cat the same food
A few reasons for cat weight gain that requires veterinary care includes:
- Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma)
- Cushing's Syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism)
Helping Your Cat Get to a Healthy Weight
Your cat's nutritional needs greatly depend on their lifestyle, age, and breed.
If you suspect that your cat is overweight contact your vet to arrange an appointment. Your veterinarian will be able to access the current weight of your cat and inform you what their ideal weight is. They can also tell you how you can help your furry friend achieve a healthier size.
Cats that are just a little overweight may be able to continue with their regular food but enjoy more strictly controlled portion sizes.
If your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, it may be best to switch your kitty over to a specialized food that is formulated to help with feline weight loss.
Unexplained Weight Gain
Has your cat suddenly started gaining weight without a known cause? You need to bring them to the vet for an examination. Unexplained weight gain could be a sign of an underlying health problem and needs to 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.