Is Your Cat Too Fat?

How to Check:

  • You should be able to easily feel your cat’s ribs, but not see them sticking out. This indicates that your cat is at a desirable weight.
  • Look at your cat from above. Some indentation between the rib cage and the hips (that classic hourglass figure) indicates that your cat is at a desirable weight.
  • Check your cat’s belly. If the belly protrudes, the cat may be overweight. (A protruding belly on a cat is called an apron.)
  • Feel your cat’s hips. Anything more than light fleshiness indicates that your cat is above normal weight.
  • Always consult a veterinarian before putting a cat on a diet. Your veterinarian can recommend the right diet for your cat, and can examine your pet to rule out the possibility that a serious medical condition is causing the obesity.

What to Do:

  • Regular exercise helps your cat lose weight.
  • A cat’s weight at one year of age often reflects the animal’s optimal body weight, although this is not true of cats who are already obese at one year. A veterinarian can provide weight guidelines.


  • Visible ribs or excessive thinness could be a sign of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) in cats, especially in those over 12 years of age. Consult a veterinarian if your pet is chronically underweight.
  • It’s crucial not to let your cat become overweight. Obesity can lead to hepatic lipidosis (a fatty liver), diabetes, arthritis and other serious medical problems.
    It’s also crucial to work with your veterinarian on a weight-reduction program, because a cat who loses weight too quickly can suffer from life-threatening complications.