Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Hands-On Guide to Checking if Your Cat Is at a Good Weight

Do you think your cat should start the catkins diet? You can check if kitty has been carrying her holiday weight for a little too long in the comfort of your own home. In five minutes or less you can also gauge whether kitty is too thin, either from illness or not consuming enough calories (especially if a kitten). All you need is a keen eye and hands ready to pet.

Illustrations are of adult cats.

What you will see and feel if your cat is too thin:

  • Ribs: You can see bones protruding and do not feel a small amount of muscle/fat over them when you run your hands along your cat's sides.
  • Base of Tail: When looking at the base of the tail, you see bones sticking out and do not feel a small layer of fat/muscle covering the base when you run your hands along it.
  • Spine: When looking at your cat from above, you see bones protruding and do not feel a small layer of fat/muscle covering the spine when you run your hands along your cat's back.
  • Waist: When looking at your cat from above, you notice an extreme waist line and bones are visible.
  • Abdominal Tuck: When looking at your cat from the side, you see a severe tuck under the ribs.

Emaciated Cat

emaciated_cat_top_24pct emaciated_cat_side_29pct

Thin Cat

thin_cat_top_24pct thin_cat_side_29pct

What you will see and feel if your cat is at a healthy weight:

  • Ribs: When running your hands along your cat's side, you can easily feel the ribs while also feeling a small amount of fat covering them.
  • Base of Tail: When feeling the base of your cat's tail, you notice a small layer of fat and it is smooth to the touch.
  • Spine: When running your hands along your cat's back you should be able to feel the spine and a small layer of muscle/fat covering it.
  • Waist: When looking at your cat from above, you see a visible waist line just behind the ribs.
  • Abdominal Tuck: When looking at your cat from the side, the area behind the ribs is visibly smaller than the chest.

Healthy-Weight Cat

healthy_cat_top_24pct healthy_cat_side_29pct

What you will see and feel if your cat is overweight:

  • Ribs: When running your hands along your cat's ribs you cannot easily feel the ribs or feel them at all.
  • Base of Tail: When feeling the base of the tail, there is a large amount of fat covering it and no bones are felt.
  • Spine: When running your hands along your cat's back, no bones are easily felt below a layer of fat.
  • Waist: When looking at your cat from above, no waist is seen or the area between the ribs and hips protrudes.
  • Abdominal Tuck: When looking at your cat from the side, there is no visible tuck behind the ribs or there is a layer of low hanging fat.

Fat Cat

fat_cat_top_24pct fat_cat_side_29pct

Obese Cat

obese_cat_top_24pct obese_cat_side_29pct

* Weight-loss diets for your cat should only be done under supervision of your veterinarian.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Cat Weight Loss: How You Can Help Your Cat Lose Weight

Fatty Liver Disease in Cats (Hepatic Lipidosis)

Kidney Disease in Cats

Obesity In Cats: Overview of Dangers and Solutions

Interactive Playing with Wand Toys

Why Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?

How To Take Your Cat To The Vet

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at CatHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.