How Much Should My Cat Weigh? The Average Weight For Cats

Posted: February 10, 2021 by Anita

overweight cat

So you just came back from a visit to the Veterinarian where you were told that not only is your cute fluff ball overweight, but she’s an obese cat. 

How can my cat be overweight? 

As cat owners, we have good intentions when we feed our cats; however, if we’re not mindful of what we provide, our cat’s weight can spiral out of control.

In this article, I will discuss the following:

  • what’s the average weight for cats
  • how much should your cat weigh
  • the importance of diet and exercise

What is the average weight for cats

So, how much should a cat weigh? Most vets will tell you that the average weight for cats is 10 pounds (or 4kg). There’s not a cut-and-dry answer to that question because cats come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes – every cat is different.

The average weight number of 10 pounds doesn’t take into account:

  • Type of breed – Some breeds run bigger than others. For example, Maine Coons are big cat breeds so 25 pounds might be considered a healthy weight. Whereas, Siamese cats are small framed and a healthy weight could be 5 pounds.
  • Male or female – male cats are usually bigger than female cats
  • Age – just like humans, cat have a tendency to put on more weight as they get older
  • spayed/neutered status

Indoor domestic cats are more likely to be heavier than outside cats.

It would help if you thought of the average weight number as an approximate frame of reference, an arbitrary number plucked out of the air.

A better indicator when determining a healthy weight for your cat is by evaluating a few factors discussed in the next section.

Not sure how much your cat should weigh? Check out this weight calculator for the answer.

How much should my cat weigh?

Your cat should weigh the amount that will ensure a long and healthy life free of chronic disease. So that number can vary from cat to cat.

Fluxations in weight are expected over a cat’s lifetime. What you don’t want for your cat is for the weight to accumulate to the point where it causes health issues.

Best way to determine a healthy weight for cats

The best way to determine whether your cat is healthy or overweight is by using the Body Condition Score (BCS). The BCS method considers the body frame and muscle mass of your cat.

It involves looking at your cat from above and from the side then assessing whether they are average or obese.

You grade or score your cat anywhere from 1 to 9, with one being thin and nine severely obese. A score of 4 or 5 is considered average weight.

Is my cat overweight?

An extra pound on your cat equals 14-15 extra pounds on a 5’4″ woman and can lead to a short life filled with chronic illnesses.

A cat is considered overweight when he is 10% heavier than the average cat’s normal weight; your cat is obese if he is 20% heavier than the average cat’s weight. 

 Vets are finding that 50% of their cat patients are overweight, with 40% obese.

And according to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 60% of pet cats are either overweight or obese. That’s huge (pun intended). Obesity makes your cat susceptible to living a short and illness-filled life.

No cat lover wants their furball to suffer when just changing your cat’s lifestyle can make a big difference. It’s an easy fix.

How to tell if my cat is overweight

Assess your cat using the BCS method:

  • check to see if you can see your cat’s waistline from above
  • petting your cat’s side to feel for ribs
  • does your cat have a waistline? Can you feel his ribs? If the answer to those questions is yes, your cat might have gained some weight. Check the chart below.
BCS chart from Reddit

If your cat turns out to be overweight, it might be time for you to talk with your vet to develop a plan of action for your cat’s weight issues.

Reasons why your cat might be overweight

Let’s take a look at possible reasons why your cat might be overweight:

  • cat eating too much: your cat might be taking in too many calories. Cats should be taking in somewhere between 24-35 calories a day per pound.
  • cat not exercising – your cat should be getting some form of exercise – at least 30 minutes a day
  • cat with unknown health issues – check in with your Vet to make sure your cat doesn’t have any underlying health conditions causing the weight gain

How to keep my cat a healthy weight

How can you keep your cat at a healthy weight so he can have a long cat life? The short answer is a healthy cat diet and proper exercise. 

Your cat is an obligate carnivore. And its ancestors hunted for its primary source of food – animal protein and fats from birds, rats, squirrels, etc. If you think about it, there wasn’t a whole lot of access to carbohydrates out in the wild.

Cats are built to consume protein and fat, plus get plenty of exercise. Weight gain occurs when cats have a positive energy balance for an extended period with no outlet for releasing that positive energy (movement).

Diseases Associated with Obesity in Cats

Is having an overweight cat a bad thing? Yes, it can be bad for your cat to be fat. Fat cats are predisposed to several diseases that can compromise their quality of life and shorten their lifespan. Here are six common illnesses associated with cat obesity:

  • Urinary Tract Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease (such as hepatic lipidosis which is the accumulation of fat on the liver)
  • Asthma

If your cat is obese, it can be a bad thing for you as well.   You can expect an increase in vet bills, and who wants to think about the possibilities of losing your precious cat to diseases that could have been prevented. That’s tough!



Conclusion

As cat owners, we have good intentions when we feed our cats; however, if we’re not mindful of how and what we provide, our cat’s weight can spiral out of control.

In this article, I discussed the following:

  • what’s the average weight for cats
  • how much should your cat weigh
  • the importance of diet and exercise

“A cat’s weight is one of the most influential factors of longevity, quality of life and disease prevention” (pet obesity prevention.org). With a few cat lifestyle changes such as proper diet and exercise, your cat can lose weight and live a long, healthy life.

So, how much should a cat weigh? Most vets will tell you that the average weight for cats is 10 pounds (or 4kg). There’s not a cut-and-dry answer to that question because cats come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes – every cat is different.

The best way to determine whether your cat is healthy or overweight is by using the Body Condition Score (BCS). The BCS method considers the body frame and muscle mass of your cat.

Cats are built to consume protein and fat, plus get plenty of exercise. Weight gain occurs when cats have a positive energy balance for an extended period with no outlet for releasing that positive energy (movement).

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