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Obesity in Cats: Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

Obesity in Cats: Signs, Symptoms & What to Do

Obesity in cats is becoming more common in the modern age, so it is important for owners to know how even a few extra ounces can impact your kitty's health. Our vets in Nashua, NH share the signs and symptoms of obesity in cats and what you can do to help them reach a healthier weight.

Weight & Health

Carrying a little extra weight can affect cats more than it does humans. As little as a few excess ounces can have a significant effect on your cat's vitality and health, leading to lifelong and sometimes fatal medical conditions.

Increased Health Risks Faced by Overweight Cats

An overweight cat runs a higher risk of developing any of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Skin problems

Why Cats Become Overweight

Cats are built for running, jumping and hunting, cats typically gain excess weight when they begin consuming more calories than they are burning however some cat's are more prone to weight gain than others.

  • Cat's facing a higher likelihood of weight gain include:
  • Neutered male cats
  • Senior cats
  • Indoor cats with decreased opportunity for exercise

If your cat falls into one of the categories above, speak to your vet about your cat's caloric and nutritional requirements and aim to keep your cat at a healthy weight.

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Overweight

Below are some ways to tell that your kitty might be on the heavier side. If you're unsure, consult your veterinarian to determine if your cat is overweight or not.

  • Trouble Jumping Up On To Furniture. Felines are built to jump. If it takes multiple tries for your cat to jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture, or if your cat gives up altogether, their weight could be the issue.
  • Feel for Your Cat's Ribs. You should be able to feel your cat's ribs fairly easily if they're at a healthy weight. If you can't, there's a good chance that your cat is overweight. 
  • Can't See Your Cat's Waistline. Look down at your cat from directly above and look for a slight indent just above your cat's hips where their waist should be (this can be a bit more challenging with long-haired cats). No clear waist or bulging sides means that your kitty may be carrying excess weight.

Use Our Overweight Cat Chart

Check out our overweight cat chart below to get a better understanding of your cat's weight category, and whether your cat may be carrying an extra pound or two.

Overweight cat chart

Getting Kitty's Weight Back On-track

Your cat's age, breed and lifestyle can all impact their weight as well as what their ideal weight should be. If you think that your cat may be overweight, make an appointment to see your veterinarian. Your vet can access your cat's current weight and let you know what your kitty's optimal weight is. 

If your vet recommends that your cat lose weight they will provide you with recommendations on how to help your cat shed those extra ounces safely. 

For cats that are just a little overweight, sticking to their regular food but reducing the size of each meal could get your pet's weight back within healthy parameters. 

If your cat needs to lose a significant amount of weight, it may be best to switch your cat over to a specialized food that is formulated to help with feline weight loss.

What To Do About Unexplained Weight Gain

If your cat has suddenly begun to put on weight without cause, it's time to see your vet. Unexplained weight gain can be a symptom of an underlying health issue.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

Do you fear that your cat is overweight or unhealthy? Contact our Nashua vets to get your kitty the help they need.

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