How Heavy Should My Cat Be?

Believe it or not, overweight cats are a common sight. Now more than ever, overweight cats outnumber the amount of healthy weighing cats. 

Many reasons contribute to this because most people do not know how much a cat should weigh and how much to feed them! Many people treat cats as a member of the family and feed them many treats because they want to spoil them, so it is very easy to overfeed them. 

Weight is something serious to be aware of because it has serious implications on a cat’s health. Just a couple of pounds over the average weight, cats start having problems in their joints, their digestion, and their internal organs. Making sure you are monitoring your pet will lead to overall better help for them. 

How Can I Monitor Their Weight?

Just as humans, weight comes down to three simple things: quantity, quality, and exercise. 

Cats really only should be eating about 25 calories a day which averages out to about ⅓ to ½ a cup of food for your cat. Most 8 oz cans contain about 500 calories worth of food which is 20 times the required amount recommended. So it is best to consult with your vet to see how much would be best on a daily average. 

Quality relates to how well-rounded of a diet you are feeding your cat. Do they have enough nutrients in the can you are giving them? Are you giving them enough protein and vitamins that will fuel them for the day? It is important to check on these factors and read the labels of what you are giving your cat because not every commercial food is good for them! 

Some cats are found whining at their bowl because they are quite simply bored and owners give in because they think they need fuel but in reality, the cat just needs some activity. Giving your cat toys to play with or towers to climb should help keep them busy and healthy so they aren’t whining for food! 

A few other tips: 

  1. Replace dry food with canned food. Canned typically has more protein and fewer carbs. Canned food is also a great way to establish a mealtime so that your cat isn’t just going to the bowl constantly while you leave out the dry food. 
  2. Make them work for it! Encourage them by introducing puzzles to get a treat from a compartment or a small hole in a plastic bottle. Not only will it keep them occupied for a while, but it will make them focus less on the food and more on the mental game. 

Before you think your cat is overweight, consult with your vet and do a thorough exam so that there aren't any other underlying medical problems. It might be that they just need a routine and defined meals. It might also be that you are feeding your cat just the wrong amount or the wrong food. 

Just remember your vet can help you get your cat back on track with a quick physical exam if you think they may be overweight. 

And remember, starving your cat will never be the answer. The bigger they are, if they don’t get food, they may go into liver failure quickly so make sure you aren’t shocking them with how you introduce a different diet.