In today's post, our Gallup vets explain aim to answer all your questions about weight gain in cats and when your feline friend's weight might be cause for concern.
Why Your Cat's Weight Matters
As with people, carrying extra weight can pose a number of serious health risks for cats. Just a couple of excess ounces can have a significant effect on your cat's health and vitality.
Health Risks for Overweight Cats
Cat's carrying excess weight face an increased risk of developing:
- joint pain
- chronic inflammation
Overweight cats can also begin to neglect grooming. A reluctance to groom themselves properly can lead to skin issues and even urinary tract infections.
Ways To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight
Feel for Their Ribs
When a cat is at their correct weight you should be able to feel their ribs by gently running your hand along their chest. The amount of tissue over your cat's ribs should be similar to that on the backs of your hands. If you can't feel your cat's ribs, there's a good chance that your cat is overweight.
This can be a bit more challenging with long-haired cats, but try looking down at your cat from directly above. You should be able to spot a slight indent just above the hips where your cat's waist should be. No waist, or bulging sides may mean that your cat is carrying extra weight.
Difficulty Jumping Up on Furniture
Cats are made to jump. If your cat takes several attempts to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or gives up altogether. Weight could be the problem.
How to Get Your Cat's Weight Back On-track
Factors such as age, breed and lifestyle make a significant difference to the nutritional needs of individual cats.
If you think that your cat may be overweight make an appointment to see your vet. Your vet will be able to access your cat's weight and let you know what the optimal weight for your cat should be.
Your vet may recommend that your cat lose weight, and provide you with suggestions on how to help your cat shed those extra ounces safely.
If your cat is just a little overweight, your vet may recommend something as simple as sticking to their regular food but reducing the size of each meal you feed your cat.
However, if your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, switching to a specialized food that is formulated to help with feline weight loss may be necessary.