Felines make for some of the best pets you can have. They’re not too fussy, they groom themselves constantly, and are definitely high on the cute factor. And as a pet parent, you’d be responsible for ensuring their overall health; they’re dependent on you after all.
If your cat’s appetite has made you to raise the question “how heavy should my cat be?”, fret not. This article has all the information you need to know about feline weight.
Why Weight Matters
As is the case with every species, your cat also needs to maintain moderate weight in order to lead a healthy, fulfilling life. Did you know, there is a 2.8-fold increase in mortality if your cat is obese?
Whether overweight or underweight, both will expose your cat to various illnesses including arthritis, pancreatitis, joint pain, and diabetes.
If you want your cat to enjoy a life without health complications, you need to get them on board a healthy lifestyle involving nutrient-rich foods and exercise. Make sure you don’t give in to their cute purring and cuddling; extra treats can be reserved for after they exercise!
How Heavy Should My Cat Be?
Image source: Pinterest
Have you ever had a reason to pause and wonder “how heavy should my cat be?”
Of course, a one-size-fits-all approach cannot work in the case of felines. There are hundreds of breeds, all of them with different genetic makeup that influences their size throughout their life.
However, we can control their weight as they grow up by customizing their diet and their entire lifestyle. You can check the required weight for different breeds of cats using a chart and their optimal weights at different ages.
How To Check Your Cat’s Weight
You could simply plop your cat onto a weighing machine and track their increase and/or decrease in weight as they grow up. You can then share this record with your vet to gain insights into whether they’re growing at a healthy pace.
During a checkup, along with weighing your cat on a scale, your vet will also assess your cat’s appearance, rating it on a 1-9 scale, where 1 is too thin and 9 is obese. The ideal health will be at 5.
Weight charts for cats can also help you figure out the status of your cat’s health. You can also perform simple visual and physical tests on your own to check your cat’s weight, and they only take a few minutes.
Rub your fingers on your cat’s sides? If you can feel a little fat over their ribcage, that’s a good sign that your cat isn’t underweight or emaciated. When you feel under your cat’s tummy, you should notice their tummy tucking in, not bulging out. The latter may be a sign of an overweight cat.
You should also make sure that you can’t detect excessive folds and that their pelvic bones are preferably noticeable.
As long as these specifics are in check, you don’t have too much cause to worry. However, if you notice that your cat has either lost their appetite or is eating a larger amount of food than they usually do, it’s best to consult your vet.
How Do You Determine a Cat’s Ideal Weight?
Is there really an ideal weight for your cat? Absolutely!
The perfect weight bracket can be determined according to your cat’s age, size, and breed.
While the average domestic cat weighs around 10 pounds, it can differ, especially if the cat’s a mixed breed.
You can use this scale by PetMD which provides an ideal weight for your cat based on its breed and current age. For instance, an adult tabby should ideally be 8-12 pounds while an adult Sphynx should weigh 6-8 lbs if it’s a female and 8-11 lbs if it’s a male.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Is Underweight or Overweight?
If you are certain that your cat is not in the weight bracket that they’re supposed to be in, don’t worry! There are several ways to get your cat’s weight back to the healthy range.
If They Are Underweight
Are they consuming too much fiber? Do they have a sensitive tummy that doesn’t take well to a fixed diet or a certain amount of food?
The first step is to determine the reason behind their weight loss — this could range from stress and anxiety to chronic illnesses. Some of the medical reasons are constipation, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, dental issues, internal parasites, diabetes, and kidney disorders.
To get your cat to gain some weight, there are various tactics you could employ.
#1. Include a few healthy homemade treats and use positive reinforcement to have them complete their meals.
#2. Offer your cat small portions of food throughout the day to gradually increase their daily food intake.
#3. Include meals rich in protein (grain-free kitten food) and carbohydrates (cheese) to increase the calorie amount.
#4. Consult your veterinarian and provide them with nutritional supplements and appetite stimulants as well; they’re highly beneficial in adding the extra pounds your underweight cat requires.
If They Are Overweight
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention noted that, in 2018, approximately 60% of cats in the US were obese or overweight. Overweight cats can suffer from a variety of medical illnesses that could turn fatal.
Their obesity could be attributed to overeating, lack of exercise, and plain laziness. A few changes in their lifestyle can keep the extra pounds away.
#1. Stick to high-protein and low-carbohydrate diets. Canned foods instead of dry foods would restrict your pet to specific mealtimes.
#2. You could use food puzzles, which make your cat work to access their meal. It slows down their eating, and also mentally stimulates their nature of exploration and foraging. Laser pointers, toys, and plushies could be put into use to get them to run around.
#3. Once your cat is on a weight loss program, track their progress so you can determine the effectiveness of their routine.
#4. Carry out monthly weight checks until your cat is safely at an ideal weight.
A Few Parting Words
Your feline deserves all the support they can get while they grow. If you’re wondering “how heavy should my cat be,” all you need to do to keep them healthy is help them be more active and give them nutritious food. After all, a healthy cat is a happy cat!