Healthy Weight for Cats: How Heavy Should My Cat Be?

Healthy Weight for Cats: How Heavy Should My Cat Be? 1

Chonky cats are cute and cuddly. However, just like us, humans, overweight cats are more at risk of suffering from several health problems. Hence, it’s not surprising why more and more pet owners these days are starting to ask, “How heavy should my cat be?”

Indeed, prevention is always better than cure. The sooner you start transitioning your furry friend to a healthier diet and lifestyle, the better. However, before you limit your cat’s food intake, you should also know the healthy weight for your cat.

Generally, most domestic cats weigh around 8 to 10 pounds or 3.6 to 4.4 kg. But a healthy cat weight is influenced by different factors, such as age, breed, and gender. So, keep reading as we go over how to figure out your cat's optimal weight and how to make changes to ensure a long and healthy life for your cat.

How Heavy Should Your Cat Be?

Every cat has particular health requirements depending on their breed, gender, activity level, nutrition, and environment. By being aware of the various aspects that influence your cat's weight, you'll be better prepared to reduce health risks and make sure your cat is always at its absolute best.

The best place to begin is by analyzing the particular conditions of your cat. When it comes to weight management and health objectives for cats, there is no one-size-fits-all, just like with humans.

To attain their ideal weight, some kittens may need to gain a few pounds, while others may need to lose a few. Determine what makes your furry friend unique before anything else!

Average Cat Weight Based on Breed

There isn't just one recommended weight for cats because there are over 80 different domestic cat breeds. For instance, a Siamese cat may barely weigh five pounds, compared to the 25 pounds that a healthy Maine Coon may weigh.

Some cats tend to be large-boned and bulky. You would assume that cats can be quite heavy animals if you had ever picked up a Maine Coon cat. Despite the fact that some cats appear to be overweight, they are simply fluffy and do not weigh much. Even though your cats may seem bigger and larger than they actually are, it is still important to treat them well and feed them properly.

If you have a large breed cat, identifying whether he is overweight or not can be extra challenging. Therefore, it is best to consult a veterinarian to learn more about the weight and physical condition of your cat.

How Heavy Should My Cat Be

Average Weight of Cats Based on Gender

The gender of your cat also has a big impact on his weight, similar to breed type. In general, male cats are often larger and heavier than female cats.

Cats can weigh between 8 and 12 pounds on average. Male cats, in contrast, weigh between 11 and 15 pounds. Therefore, whereas a male cat weighing 15 pounds is typical, a female cat weighing that much can be called heavy.

Another crucial factor that affects the weight of a cat is its reproductive status. Unspayed or unneutered cats typically have faster metabolisms, making it simpler for them to maintain a healthy weight.

Despite the lack of studies, most veterinarians concur that cats who have been spayed or neutered tend to gain weight more quickly. Hence, following spaying or neutering, veterinarians advise diets and portion management for cats.

Average Weight Based on Age

Additionally, a cat's age affects its average weight. For instance, a mature female Maine Coon cat can weigh up to 20 pounds, while an adult or full-grown Himalayan cat only weighs around 7 pounds. 

The average peak weight for the four popular purebreds—Siamese, Maine Coon, Persian, and Himalayan—occurs between the ages of 6 and 10.

Also read: Best Cat Food Brands for Weight Loss

What Is Your Cat’s Ideal Weight?

To assist you in determining whether your cat is overweight and to provide an answer to the age-old question, “How heavy should my cat be,” we've divided a cat's weight into five categories. 

Critically Underweight

Cats who are severely underweight require prompt care. Unless the cat is a stray or someone has been neglecting it, it is uncommon to encounter one in this state. Cats that are severely underweight will have ribs that are evident from both the side and the top.

The bones around the tail are more pronounced than usual and lack any fat covering. The tummy tuck will be dramatic, and they often won't have much energy left over for playing, hunting, or grooming. If it is a stray, it will become less afraid of people and approach you in search of food.

Underweight

Cats who are underweight will have slightly more fat than cats of the previous category, but not much. The cat's ribs will still be visible from the side and easy to feel when you stroke it, but it can be more challenging to notice them from above.

Along with an extensive belly tuck, the bones around the tail will have some cushioning but will still be noticeable and easy to observe. Even if they are underweight and in imminent need of food, they will still have plenty of energy to hunt and play, and they might even decide to hide or flee from people if they come into contact with them. The majority of stray cats are underweight, especially during the winter or in areas with a high stray cat population.

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Ideal Weight

Cats that are at their ideal weight will have palpable ribs noticeable when you pet them, but you won't be able to see them unless he is stretching, jumping, or climbing.

Looking down on the cat from above, the tail bones will be padded but shaped and visible, giving the cat a waist. The cat will be active and animated, with lustrous fur.  Although cats in this weight range live the longest, doing so requires the most work from pet parents.

Overweight

In many homes across America, there are more overweight cats than cats that are at an ideal weight, which has grown to be a serious issue. With a little pressure, you can still feel the ribs of an overweight cat, and you can even feel the fat.

If you look at overweight cats from above, you can see that their tail bones are well-padded and that their body somewhat bulges towards the back without a hip line.

Obese

Obese cats need prompt care, just like very underweight cats do. These cats are dealing with a number of health problems that are reducing their life, including diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and more.

An obese cat won't be able to climb and jump as easily as it formerly could due to the added weight and its negative effects on the joints. Additionally, the extra fat can make it challenging for him to expand his lungs and breathe appropriately.

The cat can also start snoring more frequently. An obese cat's ribs will be hard to feel, and its face, limbs, and lumbar region will all have obvious fat deposits.

When viewed from above, the back end will protrude out and there won't be any discernible waist. Instead, the abdominal region will be pretty noticeable, rounded, and padded with thick fat.

Also read: Best Cat Food Brands for Weight Gain

How to Know If Your Cat’s Weight Is Healthy?

It can be tempting to hold all cats to the same standards, stating that a healthy cat should weigh no more than 10 pounds, for example. However, as mentioned earlier, breed, age, and gender all have an impact on health. Hence, this method isn't completely accurate.

Instead, a lot of vets adhere to the Purina Body Condition Score (BCS), which is essentially just using your hands and eyes. The BCS lists three characteristics of a cat with a healthy bodily condition:

  • A thin layer of fat lies on top of the discernible but not particularly noticeable ribs (at least in short-haired cats).
  • Looking from above, there is a distinct waistline.
  • When seen from the side, there's a noticeable tummy tuck.

Moreover, a cat is more likely to be healthy if he is energetic, loves playing, and has a lustrous coat that he frequently grooms. He should be able to hop on high countertops with relative ease, and his breathing shouldn't appear laborious.

Chonky cats, particularly those with lengthy fur, may find it difficult to groom themselves and may develop mats. It won't try to leap onto high countertops anymore, and it won't run as much. Apparently, weight gain increases as activity levels decline.

Additionally, fat cats will be more likely to snore and their breathing may sound strained, as though they had a stuffy nose. And when they run, their fat deposits will be very noticeable.

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Why Is a Healthy Weight Important?

It's crucial for your cat to keep a healthy weight. The body of your cat may experience similar stress from gaining weight as does a human. The following are just some of the common health issues associated with being overweight:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Arthritis
  • Heart Disease
  • Urinary Problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Skin Sores
  • Pancreatitis

Obese cats struggle to groom themselves, which results in hair loss and skin issues. Feline obesity can also shorten your cat's life and reduce his quality of life. Therefore, it is crucial to check and pay attention to your cat's weight. Putting your cat on a diet to reduce his weight can minimize the likelihood that he will develop these weight-related health issues.

How Can Your Cat Lose Weight?

A cat's diet undeniably affects its weight. Cats put on weight because they eat when they're bored. They would whine for food if their food bowl is empty, and most cat owners instantly feed their furry friends to make them happy.

In addition, cats who are sedentary and inactive tend to put on more weight. Hence, it’s not surprising as to why there are a lot of fat cats these days.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to assist your cat in losing weight. So, it is far preferable to keep your cat from gaining weight in the first place.

If you try to make cats lose weight too quickly, they may quickly acquire fatty liver disease. The ability of your cat to process blood is impacted by fatty liver disease, which can be fatal.

You may help your cat lose weight gradually by following these few easy steps:

  1. Give your cat high-quality food that is rich in animal protein and stay away from grains. Foods containing corn and soy should be avoided.
  2. Cut back on your cat’s food portions. Instead of feeding your cat every time he asks for food, just feed him three or four little meals throughout the day.
  3. Try using an automatic feeder. With an automatic cat feeder, you can schedule smaller meals throughout the day and control your desire to keep re-filling the bowl.
  4. Consult your veterinarian about cat food with fewer calories. Be sure not to feed your adult cat kitten food, which has more calories.
  5. Consider switching to a wet food diet. Typically, dry kibble contains carbohydrates and starches that are unnecessary for carnivorous cats. These carbohydrates could cause weight gain or intestinal problems in cats.
  6. Encourage your cat to exercise. And to get your cat to be more active, play with him for a little longer each day. Excellent cat-running inducers include laser pens.
  7. Ask your veterinarian's advice by bringing your pet in.

How to Help Underweight Cats Gain Weight?

If your cat is underweight, start by examining the quality of the food that he is eating. Make sure that animal protein is the predominant component, or better yet, the first ingredient. Instead of giving your cat highly processed proteins, choose meat or real proteins.

Your cat's diet should also have a small number of nutritious carbs and a substantial amount of healthy fats. You can also consider giving your cat a little more food.

Conclusion

We hope you've liked reading this article and have gained some knowledge on whether or not your cat is within a healthy weight range.

Obesity is a critical issue that needs to be controlled for the majority of modern house cats. However, as mentioned earlier, making your cat shed his excess weight should not be drastic.

Also, it’s a good idea to take your cat to the vet or a trained vet nurse before making any significant decisions concerning his weight and behavior. They will be able to properly assess your cat's weight and provide dietary and exercise guidance that is personalized for your pet.

Remember, tough love can be better sometimes. And oftentimes, too much love (i.e. giving in to your pet’s desires all the time), can kill.

Healthy Weight for Cats: How Heavy Should My Cat Be? 4
  • January 24, 2023
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.