If your cat is a little rounder than the average feline then you may feel light-hearted about it, making subtle jokes and cuddling with the extra weight. Unfortunately, an overweight cat is nothing to joke about as that extra weight can greatly affect their overall health. Today our Westport vets talk about how you can tell if your cat is becoming overweight, how it can affect them and how to help manage their weight.
Is Your Cat Overweight?
While it may not seem that obvious the weight of your cat directly affects their overall health and an unhealthy weight can create risk factors for various conditions as well as make it difficult for your cat to move around as they normally would.
Like humans, when your cat is holding a few extra pounds their risk of developing some serious and potentially life-threatening issues increases. As little as a few excess ounces can have a significant effect on your feline friend's wellbeing.
Health Risks Associated With Obese & Overweight Cats
Some of the conditions that an overweight cat could develop are:
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin problems
- Joint pain
- Chronic inflammation
How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight
Our Westport vets offer some information below about determining if your cat is overweight. If you think 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.
If Your Cat is No Longer Limber While Jumping
- 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 they decide to just skip the jumping completely then there is a good chance that your cat may be overweight.
Check for Your Cat's Waistline to Get an Approximate Weight
- 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 feline friend is carrying excess weight.
Checking Your Cat's Ribs to Get an Approximate Weight
- If your cat is about the right weight, you should be able to feel their ribs by running your hand along their chest. If you can't feel your kitty's ribs, your cat may be overweight.
The Chart Below Can Help Determine Your Cat's Size
- Review 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 Cats Become Overweight
Following is a list of some of the most common reasons why cats can become overweight:
- They aren't getting enough exercise
- Their food is high in calories
- Your cat is given too many treats
- Neutering/ spaying
- 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 include:
- Cushing's Syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism)
- Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma)
How to Manage Your Cat's Weight
The nutritional needs of your cat are greatly determined by their breed, age, and lifestyle.
If you think your cat is overweight call your vet to make an appointment. Your veterinarian can access your cat's current weight and let you know what your kitty's optimal weight is. They can also tell you how you can help your furry friend achieve a healthier size.
For cats that are just a little overweight, controlled portion sizes may be enough in order to help get their weight back under control.
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.
Weight Gain When There is No Cause
If your cat has suddenly begun to put 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.