How can I tell if my cat is overweight?
March 08, 2019
A weighty issue
Did you know that around a third of Australian cats are considered above their ideal weight?
Pet obesity is a serious issue, and globally it's on the rise. As with humans, overweight pets are at an increased risk of serious health consequences, which may be life threatening. In addition, obesity may exacerbate existing medical conditions in pets.
Overweight pets have a reduced quality of life and are more likely to be disinterested in exercise and play. They tire quickly when they do exercise and might appear to walk with a waddle.
Body condition scores
You can learn to assess the body condition of your cat and this also helps let you know if you're feeding them the right amount of food.
Take a look at your cat from both a side-on, as well as an aerial view (ie from above looking down) and check:
• Can you see and feel your cat’s ribs, as well as the bones along their spine and over their hips?
• When looking down on your cat, can you see an obvious ‘waist’?
• Look at the area behind the ribs. Can you see a tuck of the abdomen?
A cat in ideal body condition has:
• Ribs which can be felt without excess fat covering them.
• A ‘waist’ which can be seen behind the ribs when viewed from above
• The abdomen is tucked up when viewed from the side.
Once a pet is overweight, it becomes more difficult to feel their ribs due to a padding of excess fat. Their ‘waist’ becomes less obvious and their abdominal tuck decreases.
All packets of ADVANCE™ cat food display a 5-point body condition scoring chart that you can use to help condition score your cat.
On a 5-point body condition scoring chart, a score of 3 is considered ideal. A score of 1 or 2 indicates that the cat is underweight, while a score of 4 or 5 indicates that the cat is overweight.
Getting back in shape
Overweight pets need a tailored diet and exercise plan, and this is best managed under supervision by your Veterinarian. Feeding a lower calorie or ‘light’ diet can be helpful, as they provide less calories per meal. In addition, a tailored exercise program that is appropriate for the cat helps burn calories and build muscle.