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How Much Should a Cat Weigh? (Does It Matter?)

If you have a new cat or one that you have had for a while there may become a time when you look at it and wonder how heavy my cat should really be… 

How heavy should my cat be?

Your cats weight can vary depending on the breed. Anywhere from 5 – 25 pounds. For example, on teh larger side you may have a Maine Coon. But, others my be normal at 10 pounds or lighter.

So, now you know. But, does the weight really matter? What does an overweight cat even lok like? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Does a cats weight even matter?

A large cat lying next to its food bowl.

A large cat lying next to its food bowl.

A cats weight does matter. If they maintain a healthy weight it can help them to lead a long stress free life. On the otherhand, if they are overweight, they are more susceptible to health issues such as arthristus,  diabetes or skin related issues.

These are not the only issues, they are just some examples of the issues you may face. Your cat may not object to eating what you offer it, but that does not mean its diet is OK.

What does an overweight cat look like?

An overweight cat will have visible fat around its abdomen. And, in some cases, when held you may struggle to even feel its ribs. There are other tell tail signs, such as it not walking as comfortable as it used to.

Some cat owners notice their cats gaining weight when they allow it to freefead all day with no portion control.

An underweight cat is quit easy to see. Their profile is boney and their ribs are usually quite visible. In some cases their belly is slightly inverted.

The ideal weighted cats will have easy access to their ribs when touched. But, not obvious to see from a distance. 

What can you do to keep the weight off your cat?

To keep the weight off your cat you need to control its food portions and keep it active. Often a biored cat will become greedy. Therefore keeping more active, rather than feeling bored, can help it to not bego for more food.

Also, if you allow your cat to eat wheenver it wants. It may be worth keeping to a food schedule instead. This could be a few small meals per day rather than freefeading.

With regards to the type of food, if you are currently offering primiraily dry food, try switching to wet food. Why? Well, typically, wet food has more protein and less carbs than dry. Also, it offers more hydration as an additional benefit.

Can puzzle feeders help to slow may cats eating down?

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Yes. Cat puzzle feeders are ideal to control the speed of your cats eating. This may also reduce the amount it eats. Also, it will make it work for its food rather than grazing all day.

These are quite easy to setup and most cats will enjoy the challenge of getting to their food. Remember, in teh wild, they were used to hunting for food, not being served food daily. And, when they are outside you often see them hunting because its ingrained in them.

What do critically underweight cats look like?

A critically underweight cat will have obvious displays of its bone. Meaning you can see its ribs from various angles such as above or on teh side. They will also have verly little, if any, fat on theri tails.

Another tell is theri behavior. They will no longer have fear of humans, assuming its a stray or feral cat. Thai means it may approach you from desperation rather than running away.

What is the Body Condition System (BCS)?

The Body Condition System (BSC) is a system used to define teh condition of a cat. This was devised by Purina and helps vets asses their shape. For example, one of teh point checks is a visible look at the ribs and how their abdomen shape is.

Armed with teh results from these 9 points a judgement can be made. In some cases its obvious just by looking at the cat. But, this helps to have an agreed benchmark rather than guessing.

How can I see if my cat is obese?

Obesity in cats can be detected by looking at their condition. Such as looking at it from the top down and cheking on teh abdomen. If teh waist bulges out instead of slight indentation it could signify overweight or obesity.

There are many other checks that your vet can do to conclude. But, this may help as an early indication of obesity.

Do cats stop eating when full?

Most cats will stop eating when they are full. However, there are some that will continue. This can result in them being sick or gradually becoming overweight.

Even if the overeighting is marginal, with time it can lead to them being overweight. Especially if the cat is an indoor cat with little, or no exercises provided.

Why does my cat have a saggy belly?

Your cat may have a sagging belly because it is primordial pouch. This is normal in cats. You may notice that your cats belly is saggy even if they seem to be average weight. And, you may even notice some movement from it as they walk.

Obviously, if your cat is overweight thai will be more of a saggy belly and may need your vet to verify or check its weight.

Lindsey Browlingdon