Most healthy cats weigh between seven and 20 pounds. The average weight varies by breed, sex and whether or not the cat has been spayed or neutered. Some breeds, like Siamese cats, tend to be trimmer. Other cats can weigh up to 25 pounds and still be considered healthy. Determining the ideal weight of your cat depends on several factors, and can be determined through a physical examination by a veterinarian, according to the website Vet Info.
Obesity is a common problem in domestic cats, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Veterinarians have devised a series of tests to determine the appropriate weight for an individual cat and whether or not that cat is obese. If you can't feel your cat's spine and rib cage, your cat is obese. Beyond this obvious clue, you can determine your cat's healthy body mass index (BMI) with this simple formula: divide the rib cage measurement by 0.7062, minus the length of the leg; divide that sum by 0.9156; and subtract that number by the leg length.
Scoring Feline Weight
Veterinarians often use a point scoring system to assess a cat's weight. According to the website Pet Education, the scores run from one to nine, where one is emaciation and nine is morbid obesity. To determine an individual cat's rating, a veterinarian will perform a series of tests. First, the veterinarian will feel the cat's ribs. The ribs should be palpable with a minimal amount of fat. Second, the veterinarian will check the base of the cat's tail. The area should be smooth with a slight fat covering. Third, the veterinarian will make the same kind of assessment of the other bony protrusions of the body, such as the spine, shoulders and hips. Fourth, the vet will observe the cat from above to assess the waist, which should be slim but not bony. Last, the vet will observe the cat from the side, checking for a healthy abdominal tuck. If there is no tuck the cat is obese.
Overfeeding or leaving food out for the cat to eat throughout the day can lead to obesity. Providing too many treats or human foods can also contribute to excessive weight gain. An under-active thyroid gland can also be to blame, according to Vet Info. Spayed and neutered pets are often less active than their un-spayed or neutered counterparts. Special attention should be paid to your cat's weight after these procedures.
Just like with humans, too much food leads to excess weight. According to Cornell veterinarians, putting a cat on a diet should be done slowly, with small reductions over time. A veterinarian can advise you about the number of calories your cat needs to maintain an ideal weight. Additionally, avoiding sharing human food with your cat can help trim excess calories from her diet.
While some cats will not be interested in increased exercise (this is common with spayed and neutered animals that are house-bound), providing stimulating toys can coax a docile cat into active play. According to Pet Education, moving cat beds to higher locations where the cat has to climb can also help increase her activity level.