It’s something to take seriously. Even just a couple of extra pounds can make your pet more likely to get some health problems such as type 2 diabetes and make others, like arthritis, worse. It can even keep them from grooming themselves properly. Keeping off excess weight should lead to a healthier, happier cat. 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.

Whether you are a first cat parent or an experienced owner, you are probably wondering how you know if your cat is overweight or underweight? What does the average cat weigh, or if your cat is within a healthy weight range? At one point, you may be discussing how to maintain a healthy weight or reach the ideal weight of your cat with your veterinarian.

Ideal Weight For Cats

Most domestic cats should weigh about 10 pounds, though that can vary by breed and frame. A Siamese cat may weigh as few as 5 pounds, while a Maine Coon can be 25 pounds and healthy.

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 Should The Average Cat Weigh?

In veterinary medicine, we often say that the ideal weight for the average healthy cat is 10 pounds. We follow that statement with the qualifier that healthy cats come in a variety of sizes and weights. More than the weight alone, we must evaluate the body frame size and the lean muscle mass of a cat. 

How Is A Cat’s Ideal Weight Determined?

To account for all of the variables (body frame, lean muscle mass, etc.) and make this evaluation less subjective and more standardized, veterinarians developed the “Body Condition Score” chart.

This chart categorizes the body condition of a cat on a 9-point scale—with 9 being morbidly obese and 1 being extremely emaciated. Ideally, your cat should fall into the 4-5 range.

What Is A Healthy Cat Weight?

So, what does a healthy cat weigh? 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.

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.

How To Spot An Overweight Cat?

There are tests you can do on your own to determine whether your cat is at an ideal weight. Firstly, do they look overweight? Does their belly sag in any way or are they visibly different in appearance to other cats? If this is hard to spot because you see your cat every day, ask your friends or family to see if they can notice a difference.

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.

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.

How Do I Get An Obese Or Overweight Cat Down To A Healthy Cat Weight?

Cut down on treats and avoid feeding them human foods altogether. Make sure your cat is on the correct diet for their life stage. If appropriate, a neutered or senior cat diet will provide better calorie control. If your cat is obese, speak to your vet or registered veterinary nurse about weight loss diets: these provide all the required proteins, vitamins and minerals while reducing calories. Remember, when changing any diet, introduce the new food gradually over the course of about a week.

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

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