A cat needs to eat only enough to maintain her daily energy loss and no excess body fat. If your cat is overweight, she is eating too much.
We know that obesity shortens lives and impacts overall health, and this is true for cats, too. Overweight cats are at increased risk for obesity-related diseases, like diabetes and hepatic lipidosis. (Those sound scary, don’t they? They can be!)
The trouble is, when you see your cat every day, it is hard to tell exactly what her perfect weight might be, so cat lovers want to know if their cat is eating too much. Just be aware that the “ideal weight” for cats is not a number on a scale because they come in different shapes and sizes.
So let’s talk about how to tell if your cat needs to eat a little less. To do this, you’re going to need to take a good look at her.
1. Look from the side, up close, and at a distance. You should be able to see a little tuck around the waist area. When you check her out from above, you should be able to see a visible change in her body behind her ribs, because her abdomen should be narrower than her chest. If she is the same thickness all the way back, she is probably overweight.
2. Next, firmly press on his sides – can you feel his ribs? You should be able to feel each individual rib, but not see them. If you can’t feel them, your cat has too much fat covering them. This is important, and to protect your cat, this is a parameter that should be checked and addressed.
3. There should be no fat deposits over the hips and top of the tail. These areas are a secondary storage area for excess fat. Our companion pets don’t need these extra fat stores, which shorten their lives.
Examine your cat critically and honestly, like a veterinarian would. If her abdomen looks swollen, she may be obese. But be aware that there are other causes of abdominal distension, and if your cat suddenly appears fatter, acts tired, sick, or has any unusual signs, you need to see your vet.
If you assess your cat’s body condition and find that she may need to lose weight, you will need to make the diet plan in conjunction with your vet (much like you should consult your physician before beginning a weight loss program for yourself). As human dieters know, it is sometimes difficult to meet your nutritional needs while dieting, and all diets work better if they are coupled with an increase in exercise. Making sure that your cat is at a healthy weight is an investment in her future.
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