According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, close to 54% of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Obesity is known to cause arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and drastically decrease the lifespan of your pet.
As cute as they may seem to us, chubby pets are never considered healthy. In most cases, human enthusiasm in overfeeding their cat is seen as the foremost cause of obesity. More often than not, cat parents confess to be hapless when it comes to controlling their pet’s diet―the incessant meows and yowls are always answered by reaching for the can opener. It doesn’t take much time for this to turn into a habit of sorts, and before realization sets in, dear ol’ Tinkerbell has more than a passing resemblance to a cougar or a lynx.
On the other hand, underweight or malnourished cats, particularly those living in loving households are a rarity. Cats only tend to refuse meals if there is an underlying issue like an injury or illness. Once their ailment is treated, they easily resume their normal eating habits, getting back to their original size in no time.
In this article, we’re giving you visual cues which you can use to identify obesity or undernourishment in your cat. But first, take a look at this cat weight chart for easy reference.
◾ Like we said, it is unlikely that a cat living with caring humans will ever be undernourished or thin. Note that cats like the Spynx or certain Oriental breeds have a very streamlined appearance, which shouldn’t be confused with undernourishment. A weak adult cat weighs less than 8 lb.
◾ If you’ve recently brought home a weak cat, provide her with plenty of fluids in the form of pediatric electrolyte solution and water. Resist feeding her too much until she appears hydrated.
◾ Feed her in small amounts, as she may be prone to gulping down food, which can cause indigestion. You can give her finely minced boiled chicken or unflavored chicken soup with some soft rice. Feed her a tablespoon every hour―this will allow her to slowly regain her strength.
◾ Above all, give the cat all the privacy she needs and avoid overwhelming her. She will reach out to you with immense gratitude when she recovers.
◾ An ideal cat looks healthy and has an active disposition. She is muscular, but not fat. Her abdomen appears raised and does not sag. When this cat sits, you won’t find rolls of fat layered on her body.
◾ Adult cats weigh between 8 and 13 lb, with the larger breeds like Maine Coon and Norwegian forest cats weighing slightly more.
◾ Continue to monitor your cat’s diet carefully to maintain her ideal weight. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to her water intake, as most cats are usually disinterested when it comes to drinking water.
◾ Encourage physical activities so that your cat gets her daily share of exercise. Provide her with lots of interactive toys and puzzles for mental stimulation.
◾ Overweight cats are easily recognized thanks to their hefty appearance. This cat looks like a bag of lard and is more likely to behave like one―that is, be immobile for most part of the day.
◾ An obese cat has noticeable layers of fat that hang in the abdomen region. She will also have rolls around her neck when she sits. This cat’s face will have a fuller, chubbier look.
◾ If your pet cat falls in this category, you must take immediate steps to combat her weight gain. Consult your vet, who will prescribe an ideal diet for your overweight feline.
◾ As a pet parent, it is entirely up to you to get your cat back into shape, and protect her from obesity-related illnesses. Ensure that you stick to the prescribed diet and encourage her to exercise.
In case you’re still wondering about your pet cat’s size, Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s interactive tool will help you assess your pet in an accurate manner. The site also has credible information on regulating your pet’s diet to make it healthier.