Obesity can be a dangerous and debilitating condition for cats, causing unnecessary discomfort and pain. Cats in particular are prone to putting on the extra pounds when they become older and less active, in fact, obesity is the most common nutritional disorder and affects around 1 in 4 cats in the UK.
It is important to recognise when your cat is overweight, so you can take the necessary steps to adjust its diet and improve your pet’s health. Some of the main signs to look out for when assessing whether your cat is overweight are listed below.
1. First, start by feeling the cat’s ribs. Each rib should be easily distinguishable with only a slight amount of fat over them. If you can visibly see your pet’s ribs, then it is too thin and if you cannot feel the ribs at all then it is extremely overweight.
2. Next, check the base of your cat’s tail. It should feel smooth and have a slight bit of fat covering this area. If the bones are protruding around this area your cat is underweight and if you cannot feel any bones at all it is overweight.
3. Also, feel around the other areas of the cat’s body where bones should be felt, such as; the spine, the shoulders and hips. Like the tail and ribs you should be able to feel a small amount of fat covering the bones, but if you cannot feel them at all then your pet is overweight. Again, if the bones are visible and too easily felt, then your cat is too thin.
4. Look at your cat from above to determine if it has a clearly defined waistline behind the ribs. If the waist is too extremely defined and bones are very visible, then your cat is too thin. Similarly, if there appears to be no waist, or the area between the ribs and hips is wider than either the ribs or hips then your pet is grossly overweight.
5. A healthy cat should display an abdominal tuck when observed from the side. An abdominal tuck means that the area behind the ribs is smaller in diameter than the chest. An animal that is too thin will have a very severe abdominal tuck whilst an overweight animal will have no abdominal tuck at all.
If you suspect your cat is too fat you should seek advice from a veterinarian who can give you advice on diet and exercise tips to get your cat back to a healthy weight.