Is my Cat Fat? And How Much Should They Be Fed?

I’m not going to lie, my oldest cat is…fat. The baby, even though she was the runt of her litter…well, she’s getting a little fat too. While I may relish in Neka’s big fluffy belly when she rolls over, I know however cute she may be, it is not healthy for her to carry around all that extra weight. Since Neka is obviously a pretty large tabby, I never really had to ask myself, “is my cat fat?” you can tell after just once glance that we need to put her on a diet.  Gracie, on the other hand, has a much smaller calico-kitty frame and it’s harder to tell if she’s already overweight or not. And now that she just turned 5 I’ve started to wonder, how do I tell if she really is getting fat like her big sister.

Is your cat fat? How to determine if they need a new diet:

Because builds and bone structures differ in each cat, the best way to start is by assessing their frame. This is part of what vets use, called the body condition score, to determine obesity in pets.

Can you feel their ribs?

Gently touch their rib cage and see how easily you can feel their ribs. You should be able to feel them pretty distinctly under a thin layer of fat. If you can’t feel them at all then they have too much weight on them. Check other bony areas such as the shoulders and hips, they should all should be easy to feel under the skin.

Examine your cat’s waist

Look down at your standing cat from above and look at their waistline. They should have a defined waist that tapers from the rib cage to their hips. It should look somewhat like an hourglass and not an oval. Now look at your cat from the side, they should have a “tucked” abdomen that comes up from the ribs to their hips.


Photo from Purina – Click to enlarge


Knowing how much to feed your cat:

Whether your cat is overweight or not it is important to know how much to feed them to avoid obesity. Each cat is different, just as each type of cat food has different levels of protein, fats, and calories. The amount of food they need depends on the type of food, as well as the cat’s age, activity level, gender and breed.

  • Check the back of the food for proportion guidelines, however a good rule of thumb is that healthy cats should have about 30 calories per pound per day.
  • Do not leave food out all day for them to graze on. This goes against their natural instinct and genetics to find food leading to an increased chance of obesity.
  • If you think your cat is overweight, make an appointment with the vet to learn more about how much he or she should weigh and how to make healthy changes in their diet that will equal successful weight loss. Cutting back their food dramatically or changing it to a diet brand overnight will no doubt result in cries of injustice from your cat, leaving both of you annoyed for most of the day.

Have you had to put your cat on a diet? If so, sound off in the comments below with tips that helped them get healthier. Also, if you need help locating a good vet, don’t hesitate to call us!



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