5 ways to know if your cat is too fat

One of the most amazing things about cats is their wild, sleekness. Kitties resembling teddy bears might be nicer to snuggle, but overweight cats are more susceptible to diseases, arthritis, and an earlier death.

We’ve put together a collection of ways tell if your cat is overweight (follow this link to see illustrations of the veterinary obesity scale that might help you know).

If you answer ‘no’ to any of these examples, then your cat is likely overweight:

1. Feel the ribs

You should be able to quite easily feel your cat’s ribs. There should be a slight amount of fat over them, but you should be able to feel each rib.

2. Check the base of the tail

There should be a slight fat covering over this area and it should feel smooth, but you should still be able to feel bones.

3. Feel for bones in the spine, shoulders, and hips

You should be able to feel a small amount of fat over these areas.

4. Look at your cat from above

He should have a definite waist behind the ribs. You definitely don’t want the waist area, between the ribs and hips to be wider than the hips or ribs, or you’ve definitely got a problem.

5. Look at your cat from the side

The area behind the ribs should be smaller in diameter than the chest. An overweight cat won’t have this.

Fear not, especially with older cats, if your cat has a “primordial pouch.” Big cats like like lions and tigers have them too. This hanging pouch of saggy skin just in front of the rear legs is common in cats. While some people mistakenly assume the cat develops this excess flesh as a result of being spayed or neutered, it’s actually a normal part of your cat’s anatomy and it serves all kinds of uses.

Here are two more links to help you know if your cat is overweight:

Is my cat overweight? (a quiz)

If your cat fails the paunch test, we have some really great options for foods that will help your cat to slim down. Come and visit us — and feel free to bring you cat (in a kennel or leashed) if she enjoys getting out.