Cat Healthy Weight

Cat Healthy Weight

Every cat, like every person, is unique and special. A healthy weight for one male cat may differ from another male cat's healthy weight, and the same is true for female cats, old cats, young cats, kittens, and different cat breeds.

However, because weight-related issues, such as internal disease, parasites, cat owners feeding too little or too much, or a lack of exercise, can cause health issues for your favorite feline, it's important to understand some benchmarks: What is the average weight of a cat? What about exotic breeds, such as a big Maine coon cat? What is normal and healthy for your cat, most importantly?

Average Female cat's Healthy Weight

The weight of your female cat can vary according to race, age, and lifestyle, so it's best to consult with someone who knows your cat and the health concerns of your cat.

"The best way to know if your cat is in the weight range is to get an assessment of the medium Atlantic Cat Hospital in Queenstown," said Renee Rucinsky, DVM, Dipl. ABVP at Mid Atlantic Cat Hospital in Queenstown, Md.

Adult male and female cats weigh about 11 pounds on average. Rucinsky, on the other hand, has seen healthy, full-grown Maine coon cats weighing up to 20 pounds and Himalayan cats weighing as little as 7 pounds.

Cats' weight changes the most when they're kittens, according to Kelly St. Denis, DVM, another board-certified feline veterinarian and current president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

"Kittens can weigh anywhere from just under 2.2 pounds to 4.5 pounds on their first visits to me at 6 to 8 weeks of age," says St. Denis. "Their body weight increases with each visit, reaching adult weights around 9 to 12 months."

Average Male Cat's Healthy Weight

Male cats are occasionally slightly larger than female cats, but the difference isn't significant. Kittens vs. adult cats, as well as large breeds vs. small breeds, are significant differences.

Body condition scoring is a method that veterinarians use on a daily basis to determine whether a male or female cat is at a healthy weight. St. Denis utilizes a body condition and muscle condition scoring system developed by the World Small Animal Veterinarian Association, which takes into consideration:

  • How well can you see the ribs of a cat? (and possibly a layer of too much fat).
  • Is there a visible waist behind the ribs and before the legs of a cat?.
  • How far down a cat's belly hangs.

St. Denis advises cat owners to learn how to use a body condition scoring system and to compare their cat's body month to month and year to year to see changes.

Rucinsky advises keeping track of body condition scores and logging weight on a monthly basis. "It's a reason to contact a veterinarian if there's a trend up or down over several months, or if there's a quick change over a month," she says. Because early growth is so important, St. Denis recommends that kitten owners weigh their kittens weekly and learn a little about cat nutrition basics.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Is Obese?

According to St. Denis, more than 40 percent of all cats in North America are overweight, and while chubby cats are adorable, obesity and excess weight can increase the risk of diabetes, as well as skin and urinary illness, because overweight cats have difficulty grooming themselves properly.

If your cat is overweight, your veterinarian will devise a plan to encourage him or her to be more active, as well as feeding recommendations to reduce his or her calorie intake. Cats, like people, can gain or lose weight as they get older, so a diet change (to a different food or less of it) may be necessary for an aging cat.

Extreme weight loss plans, on the other hand, are no longer recommended, according to St. Denis. "Cats who lose a lot of weight quickly can develop serious health problems as a result of underfeeding."

If Your Cat Is Underweight, What Should You Do?

St. Denis advises that if you notice your cat is losing weight and it isn't part of a gradual weight loss plan, you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

"Weight loss in cats is a significant marker of disease, even 2 to 3 years before other disease signs appear," she says. "Kidney disease, cancer, and hyperthyroidism are just a few examples of diseases that cause weight loss early on."

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