Carrying excess weight makes your cat much more likely to develop diabetes, urinary disease, arthritis, and to have a decreased life expectancy.But many cat parents have a hard time evaluating their cat’s weight. One study showed that only 10% of people with an overweight cat knew that their cat was overweight.

And on the other end, your cat might actually be underweight or losing weight without you being aware or knowing what their ideal weight should be. Unexplained weight loss in cats can be a sign of serious health issues or diseases, so it’s crucial to know what your cat should weigh and to monitor their weight gain or loss.

 Cats are one of America’s favorite pets, but as more of them spend their lives indoors, they are also putting on more weight. Obesity can lead to several health problems, but most importantly, it shortens their lives. If you want to keep your pet healthy but aren’t sure how to tell if they are overweight, we are here to help. The average house cat should weigh 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.4 kg). But there are multiple factors that may change these values, so keep reading while we discuss how to determine the ideal weight for your cat and how to make adjustments so your cat can live a long healthy life.

Average cat weight 

We know cats are typically small animals, but often we are unsure how much our beloved pets should weigh. Although your cat’s weight will naturally change over their lifetime, gaining or losing too much weight can pose problems for their health. 

If pet owners overfeed their cats or give them too many treats, this can lead to obesity, which often has long-lasting and serious effects on a cat’s health. However, if cats aren’t fed enough, or they lose weight quickly, this can also become a serious health issue. In this article, Whiskas investigate average cat weight, and how much you should feed your cat to ensure they stay in top condition.

How Much Should My Cat Weigh?

It varies depending on the breed but for most domestic cats, you can take 10 pounds (4-4.5 kg) as an ideal weight. Certain larger breeds can weigh as much as 25 pounds (11 kg) and smaller breeds can weigh as little as 5 pounds (2.2 kg).

What Is A Healthy Cat Weight?

It’s tempting to reduce all cats to the same standards—saying, for instance, that a healthy cat weight is around 10 pounds. Yet this isn’t an entirely effective way to determine health, owing to the fact that breed, age, and gender all play a factor. For instance, a 10-pound Maine Coon may be considered healthy (even petite for his breed!), while a 10-pound Bambino cat would be considered obese.

Instead, many veterinarians follow the Purina Body Condition Score (BCS), which basically boils down to using your eyes and your hands. The BCS describes three factors you’ll find in a cat with an ideal body condition:

  • Ribs that can be felt but are not highly visible (in short-haired cats, at least), with a small layer of overlying fat.
  • A clear waistline when viewed from above
  • A visible tummy tuck, when viewed from the side.

Why Is A Healthy Cat Weight So Important?

Litter-Robot resident veterinarian Dr. Justine Lee sees a diabetic cat at least once a day in the ER. Why so often? Because there is a growing prevalence of insulin resistance secondary to obesity.  It’s so important to work toward a healthy cat weight because overweight cats are at increased risk of the following serious medical conditions:

  • Diabetes mellitus 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Urinary problems
  • Heart disease, and more

What If My Cat Is Overweight?

If your cat is overweight, consider switching to a weight management cat food to help her achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We also recommend consulting with your veterinarian to rule out any potential medical causes for her weight gain. You may also want to incorporate more activity into your cat’s day-to-day life. See our article on helping cats lose weight for more tips.

What If My Cat Is Underweight?

Obesity is a concern with many cat breeds, but it’s possible for some cats to be underweight. This may be especially true if you’ve recently adopted a cat or taken in a stray. If your cat’s BCS indicates she’s too thin, “Your veterinarian may recommend increasing the amount of food you’re feeding or suggest a higher-calorie food to help her gain weight,” says Dr. Harris. “Once she’s reached a healthy weight, an adult maintenance formula can help her maintain it long-term.”

It’s tempting to give your underweight cat as many calories as possible, regardless of the source. You don’t want to go overboard with treats right now, though. These can lack essential nutrients your cat needs and cause her to gain too much fat. Don’t overlook exercise and activities, either. These are important to help your cat build muscle, which will help her gain weight in a healthy manner.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Above The Average Cat Weight? 

The first thing you have to realize is that your cat needs to lose weight if it is an obese cat. You can start by making your cats exercise and feeding them the best diet cat food. It is best you do your research so that you can find out what causes cats to gain weight too! 

Of course, make sure to consult your veterinarian if you are going to feed your cat a whole new diet. Your vet will also be able to advise you on matters to do with your cat’s health and any underlying health issues. 

Does The Average Healthy Cat Weight Vary Amongst Breeds?

The difference in body size between breeds of cat can be significant. Some breeds, like the Abyssinian, are meant to be long and lithe with delicate features. These more petite cats can have a healthy body weight of as little as 7-8 pounds.

Maine Coon cats are bred to have a medium to large body frame with broad chests and strong features, and may have a healthy body weight of over 20 pounds. The best way to learn if your cat is at a healthy weight is to work with your veterinarian. They can account for the variables (body frame, muscle mass and breed) in order to determine what your cat’s ideal healthy weight is.

What Are The Dangers Of Cat Obesity?

Obesity’s a common problem in cats, as it’s not always possible to tell exactly what your pet’s eating or how much exercise they’re getting if they’re allowed to roam around outdoors. It’s something you need to look out for carefully though, as there can be a number of unwanted consequences if you let it get out of hand.

The excess fat from putting on weight can have a big effect on your cat’s health, and cause them problems with their joints, heart and digestive system. Cats are naturally active creatures so when they become obese and are unable to move with the same level of agility, they’re likely to become anxious and unhappy.

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