An unhealthy weight is a common issue in cats, particularly indoor cats who tend to put on a few pounds when they have less opportunity to exercise. In this post, our Toledo veterinarians discuss the signs and symptoms of your cat being overweight, how it can negatively affect them, and what you can do about it.
How can I tell if my cat is overweight?
You can confirm whether your cat is overweight by bringing them to the vet for an exam. The veterinarian can also provide a specific diagnosis and provide guidance for weight management.
That said, there are a few ways you can tell if your cat is likely overweight. If you feel your cat's rib cage, the padding on healthy cats will be about as thick as that on the back of your hand. If you cannot feel your cat's ribs at all, or if you can only feel them when pressing firmly, then your furry friend may be obese or overweight.
We can also look for visual cues to get some indication of your cat's weight and condition. Begin by looking down at your cat when they are standing. There should be a slight indentation above the hips resembling a waist (remember that this may be difficult if your cat has long hair). If the waist area bulges out instead, your cat may be overweight.
How can I help my cat lose weight?
If your vet finds that your cat is overweight, they will prescribe an exercise routine and diet to help get them on track to a healthy weight. Here are some things you can do to help your cat lose weight:
Cats don't need a lot of exercise in order to stay healthy, although the ideal amount varies according to the cat's age and breed. In general, though, aim for two fifteen-minute sessions per day of interactive play, including activities like chasing and leaping after a toy.
You may also consider investing in an indoor cat tree to provide extra opportunities to jump and climb.
Diet & Feeding
You can help your pet lose weight gradually by feeding a nutritious weight control formula cat food. If your cat is very obese, your vet may recommend prescribe a special therapeutic weight loss food. Always transition gradually to get her used to a new kind of cat food.
Bring your cat to the vet to be weighed on a regular basis. This will let the vet know if further dietary adjustments or testing are needed.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.