To help your cat live a long and happy life, it’s important to keep them at their optimal weight. You should be able to easily feel their ribs, but not see them - their waistline should also be visible. If you’re unsure about what your cat’s optimal weight should be, organise a vet check to find out.
How to tell if your cat is overweight:
- Place your fingers on their shoulders and run your finger down over your cat’s rib cage. If you can’t feel the bony definition of each rib, it’s usually an indication that your cat is overweight.
- When looking down at your cat, you should see a slight indentation or waist behind the ribs. If your cat curves out instead of in, they may be carrying extra weight.
- If your cat also has a no defined abdomen behind the ribcage and skin rolls under the chin, they are most likely overweight.
To prevent you cat from becoming overweight, stick to the recommended feeding guide on their cat food. Avoid feeding them human foods such as table scraps and snacks, and keep treats to a minimum. Cats metabolise foods very differently to us, and what may be a small treat for a person is actually a high calorie meal for your cat.
Keep your cat active and increase exercise by setting aside play time each day. This will also help strengthen the relationship between you and your cat.
- Offer plenty of toys for your cat to play with and rotate them daily so your cat doesn’t get bored.
- Instead of feeding your cat in one spot, scatter small amounts of kibble around the house to encourage your cat's hunting instincts and get them working for their food again.
- Toys don’t need to be expensive to keep your cat amused. Try scrunching up pieces of paper, using a torch to encourage swatting behaviour on the floor or dangling chase toys to get your cat up and about.
If your cat puts on weight easily, make sure everyone in your household helps keep a treat-free and healthy environment. Dry food formulations that assist weight management are also very effective at helping your cat maintain a lean and healthy weight. These formulations are designed to satisfy your cat – they are low in calories and high in nutrition.
Weight problems can also be due to certain medical conditions, so be sure to get your cat a check-up with your vet before they undertake any weight loss regimes.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.