The cat may gain weight or lose weight imperceptibly, but this can have a lasting effect on health. Here are some things to look out for if you think your cat’s weight may be a problem.
Although your cat’s weight will change over the course of his or her life, it is important to be able to tell when weight — whether too much or too little — becomes a health problem. This can be difficult if you gain or decrease weight slowly, but there are a few things you can observe.
Find out which cats are prone to weight gain
The cats with the highest risk of obesity are:
- cats of the shorthair European cat type, not purebreds;
- from five to ten years old with reduced activity;
- male cats;
- castrated, as this can cause rapid weight gain;
- those that eat freely and more than recommended;
- cats that are kept indoors with limited access to exercise and play.
Learn how to check your cat’s weight
There are many factors that can affect a cat’s weight, including size, breed, sex, and age. This means that weighing the cat and comparing the weight to the “ideal weight” is not always correct. Instead, you can check your cat at home with a few simple steps.
When looking at your cat from above, you should be able to see clearly the protrusions of her bones, including the indentation in the area of the hip fossa, as well as a clear distinction between the thorax and abdomen (chest and stomach). If the contours are strong, your cat may be underweight; if the outline is extended to the side and the individual parts are slightly differentiated, your cat may be overweight.
You can get a good idea of whether your cat’s weight is healthy or not by touching it. Carefully check that you can feel and count her ribs, feel the vertebrae and muscles of the back, and that there is a layer of fat on the abdomen. You can then use this information to find out if your cat’s weight should bother you:
- If you feel the ribs but they are not visible, your cat is at an ideal weight.
- If you feel the ribs but can’t count them, your cat is overweight.
- If you can’t feel the ribs at all, your cat is obese.
It is important to take your cat to a veterinarian if you have any concerns about her health; your veterinarian may perform the same test as other tests to determine your cat’s weight.
Learn what your cat’s weight warning signs are
If you notice that your cat is losing weight or gaining weight very suddenly, this may be a sign of a more serious hidden problem. If weight loss or gain is accompanied by digestive problems, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in skin or hair quality, and mood swings, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian who will make a complete diagnosis.
If your cat is at an ideal weight, she will have a much better chance of leading a healthy, fulfilling life, including good food, play, exercise and friendship. Recognizing when her weight can be a cause for concern means being able to quickly identify potential problems and resolve them by getting your cat back on track for a long, healthy life.