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Is Your Cat Overweight? Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

If you’ve been asking yourself, "Is my cat overweight?" you’re not alone. Many pet owners are concerned about their feline friends' weight and health. An overweight cat can face numerous health issues, just like humans. Understanding the signs, symptoms, and solutions is crucial for maintaining your cat's well-being.

Why Your Cat's Weight Matters

Your cat's weight is an important factor in your cat's overall health. Similar to humans, when a cat is carrying extra weight, their risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening conditions increases significantly. Even a few excess ounces can greatly impact your cat's vitality and overall health.

Health Risks Faced by Overweight Cats

If your feline friend is carrying extra weight, they face an increased risk of developing one or more of the serious conditions listed below: 

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Skin problems

How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight

Physical Signs

  • Rib check: Gently run your hands along your cat’s sides. You should be able to feel their ribs without pressing too hard. If you can't, your cat might be carrying extra weight.
  • Waistline: Look at your cat from above. A healthy cat has a noticeable waist behind the ribs, while an overweight cat may have little to no waist definition.
  • Abdomen: Check the abdomen area. A hanging belly or a “paunch” can be a sign of excess weight.

Behavioral Signs

  • Lethargy: Overweight cats tend to be less active and more lethargic.
  • Difficulty grooming: If your cats struggle to groom themselves properly, it could be due to excess weight.
  • Shortness of breath: Noticeable panting or heavy breathing after minimal activity is a concern.

Use Our Overweight Cat Chart

  • Look over the overweight cat chart below to better understand your cat's weight category and whether it may be carrying an extra pound or two.

Overweight cat chart, Houston County Vet

Common Reasons for Cat Obesity

Overfeeding

One of the most common reasons cats become overweight is overfeeding. Many cat owners unintentionally overfeed their pets by leaving food out all day or giving too many treats.

Lack of Exercise

Indoor cats often don’t get enough exercise. They can easily gain weight without the opportunity to climb, chase, and explore.

Medical Issues

Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, can cause weight gain. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

How to Get Your Kitty's Weight Back On-track

If you suspect that your cat may be overweight, it's important to make an appointment with your vet. Your veterinarian will assess your cat's current weight and then inform you about your cat's optimal weight and how to help it achieve its weight loss goals.

During the vet visit, your vet will likely conduct a physical exam and may also recommend blood tests to check for underlying conditions. Depending on the outcome, you can expect this at the vet if the blood tests come back clean.

Adjusting Diet

  • Portion Control: Measure your cat’s food and adhere to feeding guidelines based on their ideal weight.
  • Quality Food: Choose high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods. Avoid feeding your cat table scraps and high-calorie treats.

Increasing Exercise

  • Playtime: Engage your cat with interactive toys like laser pointers, feather wands, and balls.
  • Environment Enrichment: Provide climbing trees and scratching posts to encourage movement.

Keeping your cat at a healthy weight is crucial for their well-being. You can ensure your feline friend stays healthy and happy by being vigilant about their diet and exercise and consulting with your vet regularly.

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.

Are you concerned about your cat's weight? Schedule a vet appointment at Smith Animal Hospital today to ensure your furry friend's health.

New Patients Welcome

Smith Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Houston County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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