Wondering what the ideal weight is for your cat? We'll show you how to check your cat's weight at home along with how to help them lose weight.
Average cat weight
This will hugely depend on:
- the breed
- their age
- health conditions
An average, healthy moggy cat can weigh anything from 3.6 to 4.5 kilograms.
How to check if your cat is overweight
A good way to test if they are overweight is not just by numbers. You can give them a good look over and check the following.
Check their ribs
To do this you'll need to run your hands along your cat's rib cage.
- Overweight: If you can't easily see or feel your cat's ribs, they are most likely overweight.
- Underweight: You can both see and feel your cat's ribs and they don't have a small covering of fat.
- Average: You can easily feel their ribs and they'll be covered with a small layer of fat.
Check their stomach
Take a look at your cat on a side angle.
- Overweight: If you see a bit of a podgy belly that's hanging low, then your cat may be overweight
- Underweight: If your cat's belly is very tucked in, they may be underweight
- Average: Your cat should have a slight tuck or their belly, in a gentle upward curve
Check their back
Run your hands along your cat's spine.
- Overweight: They should have a small layer of fat over it but you should be able to feel their bones easily. If you can't, then they're most likely overweight.
- Underweight: You'll be able to both see and feel their spine easily
- Average: You'll be able to feel their bones through a small layer of fat
Check their waist
Take a look at your cat while you're stood up and look at their waist while you're above them.
- Overweight: If your cat is overweight you won't be able to see their waist
- Underweight: Your cat's belly will be very tucked in behind their ribs
- Average: You'll see a clearly defined waist line with no excess fat. It should neatly arch up from their ribs to their hips.
If your cat quickly gains or loses weight, this could be a sign that they are unwell. Speak with your vet straight away if this happens.
How to help your cat lose weight
Prevention is much better than cure. Cats that have been overweight once will always be prone to weight gain.
If your cat is becoming overweight, start by discussing this with your vet. They will be able to help you with a plan to get your cat shifting some of that weight.
You can also reduce the amount you feed by about a quarter or you can try changing onto a light diet. These are usually complete dry foods manufactured for less active or slightly overweight cats. They contain fewer calories than normal adult cat foods. You will still need to keep a close check to make sure your cat is losing weight and not getting any bigger.
The other important part of weight loss is exercise. Increasing the amount of exercise your cat gets, by playing with your pet, will also help them become leaner and fitter.
Treats contain calories and they aren’t necessary. If you do give your cat treats, reduce the amount of food given that day to compensate.
When to feed your cat less
Whether for medical reasons, weight or age, you may need to carefully monitor your cat's diet.
It's best to feed them a little less if one of the below applies.
Your cat has recently been neutered
Many people believe that neutering makes cats put weight on. This is not the case. But neutered cats do need fewer calories.
After your cat is neutered, reduce their food intake by about a quarter, until you see what effect neutering has had. If your cat begins to lose weight, you can gradually increase the meal size again.
You have an older cat
As cats get older, their nutritional needs change. In general, they need fewer calories and food that is easier to digest. They may also need other changes to their diet. For instance, if they are starting to develop any illness associated with ageing (such as kidney or heart disease).
Your vet will be able to advise you regarding specific illnesses. But, in general, you will need to feed less food and consider changing to a complete food specifically for older cats.
What to do if your neighbours feed your cat
We know that sometimes cats are fed by well-meaning neighbours. If you think this is contributing to their weight gain, you could:
- reduce the food you give them a little
- ask your neighbours if they could stop, if you're worried about your cat's weight
If you're not sure who else is feeding them, you could also try an alert collar or post leaflets around your neighbourhood with more information.