What is the Ideal Weight for Cats?

This topic for me is so important because it is something that we all face day to day as humans, weight loss, or weight gain, whatever the case may be it is a way of life.  So too should it be for our little feline companions.  It is so easy to overfeed your cats, we love them, and one of the best ways to show this is to give them food, and more food!  We cannot tell them verbally, although we do, how much we love them, so we show them by giving them the one thing they show they adore, food.  But, when and how do you know when you’ve crossed the line and your kitty is a fatty?

Exercise and Food, how much is too much – or little? 

My husband and I enjoy going to the gym, and we enjoy the good binge from time to time as well.  Who’s to say that you can’t enjoy the bad foods, as long as you balance it out with some exercise.  Yes, this is easy for us humans because we have the mind set to control what goes in and what comes out, but our kitties are relying on us to make those choices for them.

I’ve never had an obese cat, overweight, yes, but never obese.  The way I’ve managed to control my cat’s weight is simply by getting them into a routine and not deviating from this routine.  They get fed small portions twice a day, and even though I’m a firm believer of a meat only diet, I have always given my cats their pellets / kibble, which they love and I find that it is quite hard to get them into a meat only diet at this stage.  So, they have their pellets in the morning and meat for dinner.  Their weight is normal, as per our vet, so we are all good.

The easiest way, as I mentioned above is to get your cats used to eating at certain times of the day.  In the morning and evening suits me, but twice a day is best at small portions.  Cats prefer to eat little bits at a time, instead of giving them one big meal a day. This too should prevent excess weight on your feline buddy.  Getting them used to a certain routine will help control their food intake, and how often they eat at that.

Diseases caused from Obesity

As in humans, cats too can develop diseases when and if they are overweight.  Obesity is very uncomfortable for anyone, and can have serious negative effects on their joints and heart.  Below is a list of diseases that your cat will most certainly develop should he be overweight:

 

  • Type 2 diabetes – an obese cat is at least 3 times more likely to develop this serious disease than a cat of normal weight would;
  • Kidney disease;
  • Chronic inflammation;
  • Heart disease;
  • Osteoarthritis;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Many forms of cancer – especially intra-abdominal cancers.

 

Obese or overweight cats are known to live much shorter lives than that of healthy weight cats.  When your cat is heavier he will have difficulty moving, which will result in less exercise, so the chances of weight loss are then reduced.  Since cats are already sleepy creatures, it is easy to overlook the reason for the sudden laziness, so once again, as mentioned in a previous blog, it is important to get to know your cat so that you can see changes such as this. 

How can I prevent my cat from being Overweight?

There are four main reasons why cats are overweight, namely:

 

  • They’re on the wrong diet
  • They’re being overfed
  • Getting too many treats
  • Getting too little exercise

So, looking at the above you can see that a lot of it has to do with the human element. After all, our little fur babies are reliant on us to give them the best or most suitable quality of life we can. If you feel your cat is overweight, try to change their diet, try to give them smaller amounts of food more often rather than one large meal.  Do away with the treats and rather supplement it with something like catnip.  Spend at least 20 minutes a day playing with your cat. Even if your cat is an outdoor cat, this is not only important for their physical health, but for their mental health as well.  The more time you spend with your cat, the happier both you and your kitty will be in the long run. 

Let’s look at the Facts

You will never see a fat cat in the wild.  This just does not happen!  Cats in the wild eat when they can, and because it is spread out they eat little bits. They have constant exercise as well; they are the healthiest you will see in terms of weight in cats.  The overweight problem is due to domestication. Us humans are to blame; it is as simple as that.  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in the U.S.A, 59% of American cats are obese, 15% of cat owners have said that their cats weight is normal when in fact they are overweight. The same can be said for cats in South Africa, although the numbers might be less, it is considerably high as well.  Yes, it comes down to knowledge, but I guess this is why I have started my blog.  I find it so important to share my research and experience with others because I have realized that there are many important facts about cats are simply unknown, or just not thought of.  According to APOP (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) if your cat is as little as 0.9kg overweight, he is already at health risk.  Cats are not supposed to be overweight; their little bodies just cannot handle the excess baggage. 

The Ideal weight

So how can you tell if your cat is overweight, underweight or Ideal?  Here are some ways to make sure your cat in the most ideal shape:

 

  1. Underweight: Ribs are visible on shorthaired cats; Lumbar vertebrae is obvious; No Palpable fat; Obvious waist behind the ribs;
  2. Overweight: Ribs are not palpable under heavy fat cover; Heavy fat deposits over lumbar area, face and limbs; No waist; Extensive abdominal fat deposits; Abdominal fat bad obvious;
  3. Ideal: Ribs palpable with minimal fat covering; Noticeable waist behind ribs; slight abdominal tuck; Abdominal fat pad absent; Well-proportioned; Waist is behind the ribs.

 

A rule of thumb for me and my fur family is this, you need to get your cat checked at least once a year, whenever I take my kitties to the vet I always ask him what his opinion is about their weight.  I always ask him if they are under weight or over weight.  He will then weigh them, and give me his opinion.  If you ask your vet each time you go, it will give you enough time to change the diet and routine if need be.

 

To conclude, I do believe that with a little bit more planning and action your cats weight gain and potential thereof can be prevented.  If you feel like treating your fur ball of purr then rather treat with things like catnip and toys, they get the same satisfaction from this believe me. There are ways to keep your little kitty happy without having to give him food constantly, or large amounts of food at that.  Get your cat into a healthy routine, and get yourself used to showing love with other means that will not add to his waist.  We all want to live a lengthy, healthy life as much as possible, the difference is, we can do it for ourselves if we want to, but our Cats rely on us to make the right choices for them.  

With love,
Kat

 

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