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Is My Cat Overweight?

Not only men suffer from obesity. Calm and stressless life of a house cat quite often leads to overweight problems. But obesity does not necessarily mean that your cat is inactive. In many cases it is just a consequence of bad nutrition or even serious diseases. Frankly speaking, obesity is one of the most popular cat health problems today. In this article I will give you some practical tips on how to tell if your cat is overweight. We will learn the real causes of this problem and try to find optimal solutions in this situation. Let’s dig into this issue and become a better informed cat parent right now! 

Is Your Cat’s Weight Higher Than Normal?

is your cat's weight higher than normal

Being an experienced volunteer at a cat shelter and a cat owner who took an obese cat from one of my family members I firmly believe the problem is not that bad. However, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention reports that over one-half of all house cats suffer from obesity. This issue is not only about the aesthetic look of your pet. Overweight cats suffer from various health problems triggered by their weight gain.

Your primary task is to understand there is a problem you need to solve together with your kitty. Knowing that almost 60% of cats living in households are obese means that comparing your cat with those living in your neighborhood is not the best way. In fact, there are certain practical methods to conclude whether my cat is fat or not. 

The first way is to examine your pet with a hand. Standing above your kitty, try to touch your pet child as if you want to feel her ribs. The feelings should be like you are touching someone’s hand from the back side of the palm. If you need to apply certain force trying to feel the cat’s ribs, it means your kitty may have overweight problems. 

One of the visual methods is to look at your cat’s body from above. The oval shape means obesity. In fact, the ideal kitty’s shape somehow resembles the hourglass. 

Causes of Cat Fat Gain

Let us assume my cat is fat. Once I realize it as a cat owner, I should learn what may be the cause of this problem. There may be several causes why my cat is getting fat. Below are the most popular.


cat is overweight because of overeating

The truth is we give too much food to our cats. The calorie allowance matters not only when it comes to people who want to lose some weight. In fact, cat owners very often do not understand how much food should be eaten by their cats. Feline norms are different from those amounts of food we see on our plates. That is why some cat parents misunderstood the allowance.

It may also be accompanied by low-quality cat food sold in majority of supermarkets. Or your kitty is simply a great fan of treats and you as a cat owner do not realize that she eats too many treats besides meals. If you are confused and have certain problems with working out the optimal calorie allowance, consult your veterinarian and learn about it.

Low Activity Level

cat is overweight because of low activity level

Think how active big cats can be in the wild. They need to hunt actively in order to get food for life. And now I am looking at my feline child wondering ‘is my cat obese’. He surely can be due to the lack of physical activity. An average cat obesity chart will show that this cause is one of the main among house cats. Even ten-fifteen minutes of active games can improve the situation. 

As a caring pet parent, you should not only provide your furry kid with enough food at any time he or she wants, but also think of your pet’s entertainment. Cats should be active by nature, so give them a chance to demonstrate their activeness.

Pick the best interactive toys that would involve your kitty in the game or stream an online game for cats to give a chance for your kid to catch a digital butterfly or hunt colored stripes on your tablet’s screen. Encourage and help your lazy kitty get more exercise. It surely will keep him fit and entertained. Think of what toys and games may interest your cat and be active, too. One of my top-of-mind suggestions is a cat treadmill.

And if your kitty cannot live without treats, for example, you can always buy a toy dispenser, so the process of getting a treat will be fun and involving for your pet! However, remember that all toys should be safe and solid to avoid any risk of swallowing little spare parts.


cat overweight because of diseases

One of the most serious causes of why your cat is too fat may be a certain health problem. There are several most common diseases resulting in weight gain. One of them is hypothyroidism. It is a serious health problem that may lead to death. Hypothyroidism causes imbalance of hormones production by an animal organism. This leads to slower speeds of the metabolism and your kitty simply cannot use all the energy she gets from food, which becomes fat in her body. 

The increased level of cortisol can also make your pet an overweight cat. Sometimes weight problems occur when a kitty is taking some drugs to fight another disease. Whatever the matter is, your first step should be to consult your vet. Only a specialist can diagnose your cat’s problem correctly. He will also give you some practical advice on how to lose weight.


cat overweight because of pregnancy

However, one cause of feline overweight conditions may be positive. If your kitty is a furry lady aged 6 months and older, weight gain may simply mean pregnancy. The ‘symptoms’ may be quite common: better appetite, less physical exercise, sleepy mood, and weight gain. Just like we always hear it talking about women, pregnancy is not an illness. It is a natural process that should be wisely controlled, however.

Bring your furry girl to the doctor and let him examine your pet. Get recommendations from your vet on what her ‘pregnant’ nutrition should be. And give more care and attention to your expecting furry daughter.

Multiple Cats

One of the most common problems of having multiple cats is feeding. It’s not easy to properly track the amount of food each cat digests. Especially when your cats have different diets. One of the cats may be always hungry and eat others’ food. At the same time, you may need to fatten up another cat that is underweight. The right solution here is purchasing a smart feeder for multiple cats.

Not Enough Water

Your cat should always have access to fresh water. Otherwise, she may mix up the thirst with the hunger and keep eating to fulfill that need (and gain some moisture from food).

You can utilize several bowls, install a feline drinking fountain and improve the ratio of wet food in your cat’s diet.

Read our guide on how much water your cat should drink and take this into account as well.

Adding too much treats or other food

One of the most common mistakes many cat owners make is that they do not count the calories from treats and other food they feed their felines.

For example, you could feed your cat with commercial cat food but also give her a homemade kibble as an addition. However, you should give less regular food if you don’t want your cat to digest those extra calories.

Is It Bad that My Cat Is Overweight?

The answer will be ‘yes’ unless my cat is a pregnant female. In other cases too much weight is no good for an animal. Even if my cat does not suffer from any kind of diseases right now, health problems can be not only the cause of why my cat is so fat, but also the result. Obesity is the problem of great concern regarding human health, but the situation is exactly the same with cats.

The results of feline obesity may be shocking. Vet experts at the Clinical Nutrition Service state that it may lead to cats’ diabetes, problems with bones, joints and blood pressure and simply decrease the pet’s lifespan. The quality of life will suffer too. Your cat will become less active and less happy due to activity decrease. Our furry children’s ancestors, wild cats, are predators. They need to be active in order to get food. Activeness has not been lost through the centuries, so our meowing family members are happy when they are active. And we are happy too, seeing them playing and having fun. 

How to Help the Cat Lose Weight?

Now, when you are aware of how to tell if your cat is overweight, you need to do something in order to help your pet lose weight. It is essential for your furry friend. The key efforts should be concentrated on the following:

  • calorie allowance;
  • enough exercise;
  • illness therapy;
  • cat food quality.

I am going to give some tips on these aspects right now. Of course, calorie allowance is very important for your cat’s new life. However, the food should be not only ‘diet’, but also of the good quality. Kim prepared a brill guide with both healthy and effective cat food for weight loss.

Reduce the amount of treats. I guess all cats love having treats throughout the day, but they really can be evil. The same happened to one of my cats that I had to take from my aunt a couple of years ago. Once I realized that this fluffy girl eats too many treats, that was the answer why my cat is fat! After that we increased the number of everyday activities. I started to engage my new cat into active games. And the result was perfect! Of course, if there are some health problems, you need to be extremely caring and attentive giving all the drugs your vet has prescribed. 

What’s the Best Way to Track the Cat’s Weight?

For feline lazybones it may be a problem to start being more active throughout the day. So it is a pet owner’s task to involve a cat into active games, outdoor walks, etc. But if you are away during the day, you obviously cannot control your kitty. Indoor cat cameras may be a way out, however they will not give a true picture of what is going on while you are not at home. 

The digital era of our civilization brings certain advantages to pet owners too. Many portable and almost weightless gadgets for pets are available in stores. To know how active your cat is during the day you can purchase a pet tracker. The gadget will not only help you find your furry friend’s location, but also track his level of activity. One such smart device is Findster Duo. I really loved it for being helpful and reliable in work. The tracker reported on everyday mileage and number of steps my overweight child was performing. And I could monitor the process on my smartphone. Very handy, I should say! I knew exactly how many calories my cat burnt on activities and how it was related to the cat’s weight.


What is obese for a cat?

There is no exact figure to say whether your cat is obese or not. A cat’s weight should depend on its breed, size and age. However, you can understand your kitty is fluffier than average by looking at her from above. If the cat’s shape reminds you an oval, consult your veterinarian. The doctor will calculate the optimal weight of your kitty.

Is 12 pounds overweight for a cat?

Different breeds may have different weight. However, there is an average weight of a cat. Most of breeds weigh between 8-10 pounds. If your cat weighs 12 pounds and he does not belong to a breed of a big size, better ask your vet whether there is overweight.

What weight is obese for a cat?

Once your veterinarian has calculated the ideal weight for your kitty, you can calculate the obesity edge for your pet. It will be 20% and even more above the calculated figure of the feline perfect weight.

Why does my cat have a big belly?

There may be many reasons for a big feline belly. The most common is if your cat is overweight. Fat will be concentrated in the ribs zone visually making a cat’s belly bigger. Another reason may be pregnancy. If your feline female is older six months she can be expecting. Bring her to a vet consultation.

What is the fattest cat breed?

The most popular and well-known domestic cat breeds are Maine Coons, Persians, Bengals. They are really large in their sizes. However, Siberian Cats are probably the largest in shape, weight, and size. Adult males of this breed may weigh up to 20 pounds!

What cat food is best for overweight cats?

Organic, natural food with a high amount of animal proteins is highly recommended. We have a separate guide with the best cat food for weight loss. Quick suggestions are following:

In Conclusion

Monitoring your cat’s weight is an important task for you as a cat owner. The quality and amount of food are essential in this case. Being indifferent to feline obesity can result in health problems, serious lethal diseases, and decreased quality of life for your furry child. 

There are no exact figures for an ideal cat weight, so consult your veterinarian. The specialist will give you practical advice on activities and calorie allowance for your kitty. There are lots of interactive toys available in pet shops today. They will encourage your cat be more active. And you can buy a special device to monitor your pet’s activity throughout the day. Be a strong team of two with your kitty and believe in your pet with all your heart! 

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