Is my cat too skinny?

Ensuring your cat maintains a healthy weight is without doubt one of the biggest responsibilities a pet parent faces. 

Obesity is a frequent issue among felines, and one that can lead to serious ill health.

At the other end of the spectrum, an underweight cat is also cause for real concern.

Gradual weight loss can easily go unnoticed if you’re not careful, and the effects can be long-lasting and extremely damaging to a cat’s physical and mental well-being. 

Not eating enough food is often attributed to a drop in feline weight, although anxiety, stress, diabetes and other medical conditions can also be underlying causes.

The longer your cat carries on losing weight, the more serious the situation becomes with underweight cats more susceptible to injury and illness.

This is why it’s critical you know whether your cat is too skinny. 

Is your cat actually too skinny?

Knowing whether you have an underweight cat isn’t always an easy spot. 

There’s no real ‘one size fits all’ weight when it comes to felines, with age, breed and sex all playing factors in deterring a cat’s optimal size. 

These are a few common signs to look out for though, which we’ve listed below 

Before we get to that though, sudden weight loss can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition, so if you are concerned about a change in weight you should always seek medical advice. 

  • Simply weigh your cat against their target weight. Most domestic cats tend to weigh somewhere between 3.5kg and 5kg. However, because this can vary depending on breed, it’s a good idea to contact your vet and ask them how much your cat should weigh at different stages of its life. Alternatively, size guides can be found on the internet. In order to weigh a cat at home, you are best buying a digital pet scale and placing them in there periodically. Keeping a note of your cat’s weight every month will ensure you know whether they’re losing, or gaining, too much weight.
  • Are their ribs visible? Pet parents can sometimes just tell from looking at a cat that they’re under or overweight. If their ribs can be visibly seen protruding out then the chances are they’re too thin. This is also the same if you can see their backbone clearly. If you can’t be certain then gently run your fingers against their ribs, just behind the front legs. A minimal amount of fat around this area – to the point where the ribs are boney to touch – means your cat is most likely underweight.
  • Do they ‘feel’ too light for their size or age? Scooping up our felines and holding them in our arms is one of the great joys of being a pet parent. It’s also a good way to see if they’re suffering from potential weight issues. Nobody knows the way your cat feels better than you. If your big lump of a kitten has suddenly started feeling as light as a feather, or a little bit bonier than usual, it could be a sign that they need to put on weight.
  • Their coat looks dull and dry. A healthy cat’s coat should be shiny, smooth and full of colour. One that’s dull or matted is often a symptom of a poorly feline. If a cat is feeling under the weather, grooming tends to be one of the first things to slip. A dull-looking coat or dry skin can often be accompanied by weight loss, so if your cat has suddenly started to lose its shine, place them on some scales as soon as possible. A poor-quality coat is also generally a sign of a poor diet, which brings obvious health and weight implications.
  • Are they eating enough? Not a physical sign your cat is underweight, but one you should be keeping an eye on if you’re worried about them trimming down too much. If you’ve noticed your cat is regularly leaving food it may only be a matter of time before they’re losing weight. It could be that they already are but their sudden food avoidance has alerted you to the problem. A cat who loses their appetite or stops eating their food completely could be suffering from a number of issues that require medical attention. Contact your vet immediately.

What do if you’re concerned about the weight of your cat

The first call you should make when you’re concerned about the weight of your cat is to the vet. 

Being underweight, or overweight, is a sign that your feline is on the path to developing serious health problems. 

Weight loss can be caused by a number of different problems including stress, hyperthyroidism, worms, diabetes, kidney disease or inflammatory bowel disease. 

All these conditions should be treated by a medical expert.  

One thing a vet may ask you to look at when you take your pet back home is the nutrition they’re currently receiving.

If your cat is eating a lot of food but not gaining any weight, it may be because they’re not consuming the essential nutrients needed to maintain good physical health. 

Recipes like Encore’s Sardine With Tuna Fillet In Broth Tin or Chicken Breast With Brown Rice In Broth Pouch are high in protein and bursting with natural goodness; vital for supporting fit and strong bodies. 

Loss of appetite is also a major cause of weight loss in cats, which is why our recipes offer a unique taste sensation designed to entice even the most finicky of eaters. 

Another way to ensure your cat is eating enough food is to leave kibble out around the house all day so they can graze whenever they feel the need.

Our tasty kibbles – including our Complete Chicken with Salmon Dry Food – are made with 80% lean animal protein and can be easily measured out for portion control.

Monitor their intake carefully as free-feeding can sometimes lead to overeating, and your cat could then be faced with an obesity problem. 

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