Obesity in cats is becoming increasingly common, but it's important to understand that even a few extra ounces can make a significant difference in your cat's overall health and longevity. Here, our Los Angeles veterinarians share how to tell if your cat is overweight and what you can do about it.

Weight & Health

Carrying extra weight increases your cat's risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, just as it does in humans. A few extra ounces can significantly improve your cat's vitality and overall health.

Increased Health Risks Faced by Overweight Cats

If your feline friend is carrying extra weight they face an increased risk of developing the following conditions: 

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

Why Cats Become Overweight

Cats are built to run, jump, and hunt. Cats typically gain weight when they consume more calories than they burn, but some cats are more predisposed to weight gain than others. Cats with a high risk of weight gain include:

  • Neutered male cats
  • Senior cats
  • Indoor cats with decreased opportunity for exercise

If your cat falls into one of the categories above, speak to your vet about your cat's caloric and nutritional requirements and aim to keep your cat at a healthy weight.

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight

Below, we'll share some tips to help you tell if your cat is overweight.

Trouble Jumping Up On To Furniture

Felines are built to jump. 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.

Feel for Your Cat's Ribs

By running your hand along your cat's chest, you should be able to feel their ribs if they are at the proper weight. If you can't feel your cat's ribs, he or she is most likely overweight.

Can't See Your Cat's Waistline

Looking down from above, look for a slight indent just above your cat's hips, where their waist should be. If your cat has no visible waist or bulging sides, he or she may be overweight.

Use Our Overweight Cat Chart

Check out our 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

Getting Kitty's Weight Back On-track

Your cat's age, breed, and lifestyle all make a significant difference to the nutritional needs of your pet. If you think that your cat may be overweight, make an appointment to see your veterinarian. Your vet can assess your cat's current weight and let you know what your kitty's optimal weight is. 

If your vet recommends that your cat lose weight, they will provide you with recommendations on how to help your cat shed those extra ounces safely. 

For cats who are slightly overweight, sticking to their regular diet while reducing the size of each meal may help your pet's weight return to healthy levels.  If your cat needs to lose a lot of weight, it may be best to switch to a specialized food designed to help with feline weight loss.

What To Do About Unexplained Weight Gain

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.

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. 

Help get your overweight cat back to a healthier weight with regular exams. Contact our Los Angeles vets for an assessment and a treatment plan to get your cat's weight back to normal.