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.
Now that you are a cat parent, you want what’s best for your fur-baby and keeping your cat at its optimal health. It’s no secret that the human prevalence of obesity has risen dramatically over the last few decades, and cat obesity is also a growing problem. And according to vets, it is a prominent health issue among domestic cats.
Before you go ahead and weigh your cat, remember, bodyweight by itself does not assess the degree of obesity in your cat or your cat’s health. Ideal weight depends on stature and breed. In other words, healthy body weight for one individual may be inappropriate for another. For example, a 10-pound Domestic Short Hair is a lot different than a 10-pound Maine Coon. However, most veterinary professionals can agree that healthy, lean cats have a body fat percentage, on average, between 10% and 30%, while obese cats have a body fat percentage above 30%.
The Problem with “Average” Cat Weight
Resources listing an average weight or range may not take into consideration other factors that affect weight. Factors like breed, sex and spayed/neutered status could all have an impact. For example, the weight range for a Siamese Cat is 8 to 15 pounds. Females typically weigh 8 to 12 pounds, however, while males can weigh 11 to 15. So, a 15-pound female Siamese would be overweight, whereas that size might be healthy for a male.
Those resources also don’t account for mixed breed cats. If your cat is a mix of two or more breeds, you may struggle to pinpoint an average weight or range for her. What then?
A Better Way To Determine Your Cat’s Ideal Weight
Although your veterinarian may have your cat step on the scale at her next appointment, they’ll use more than this number to assess her health.
Veterinarians use a Body Condition System (BCS) to visually and physically assess whether your cat is too heavy or too thin.
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 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.”
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.
Why Does Weight Matter?
When your cat is hovering by the treat canister, it’s easy to toss them a few extra goodies. But too many calories can slowly add up to extra pounds, and that can cause extra stress on the body. Overweight cats have a higher risk of conditions like diabetes, pancreatitis, arthritis, and skin and joint problems. On the other hand, a healthy diet with lots of cat-friendly activities can help your furry friend live a long and comfortable life that they deserve!
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.
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
- Urinary problems
- Heart disease, and more
What Is A Healthy Weight For A Domestic Shorthair Cat?
There is no “one-size-fits-all” standard for the domestic shorthair cat, the most common cat in the United States. A healthy weight for adult cats typically falls between 6-12 pounds, with male cats weighing more than female cats on average. Use the Purina Body Condition Score to determine if your domestic shorthair cat is at a healthy weight.
What Is A Healthy Weight For A Maine Coon?
Maine Coons are considered one of the largest domestic cat breeds. Males can weigh up to 25 pounds and females up to 18 pounds. A healthy weight for Maine Coons depends on gender, but typically ranges between 8-20 pounds.
What Is A Healthy Weight For A Persian?
Lazy, fluffy Persians aren’t called “furniture with fur” for no reason. This breed weighs 7-14 pounds on average, but you’ll want to ensure there’s not too much flub going on underneath all that fur.