My cat is overweight - what should I do?

Do you believe that your cat controls his/her own diet?

Have you got in the habit of filling his/her bowl whenever it is empty?

Do you give your cat treats or leftovers?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, it is time to change your habits… because your cat is getting rounder before your very eyes!

How do I know if my cat is overweight?

There are different breeds of cats, with varying shapes. If you think your cat has been into the kibble too much lately, try to feel his/her ribs. If you have trouble feeling them or cannot feel them, it is likely that your cat is overweight.

On the other hand, a “pocket” of skin under the belly is not necessarily a sign of an overweight cat. Feel it to try to see if it contains fat.

You can also consult the following chart*


If you are unsure, or if you want to determine the ideal weight for your cat, consider making an appointment with your veterinarian, because determining a target weight and an action plan for weight lost is not an easy task!

No strict diets or yo-yo fasting diets

Extreme diets and magic cures for weight loss are not recommended for humans… so strict diets and fasting are not good for our cats either.

Your veterinarian will help you determine how much kibble to give your cat based on the caloric intake of the brands considered. Wet cat food usually has fewer calories than kibble, because it contains more water. Energy requirements are higher in young cats, so it is vital to set up a nutritional plan with your veterinarian. He or she will also be able to advise you about good feeding habits and how to interpret the instructions on the label.

Never make your cat fast! Restricting food can cause serious health complications for cats.

Weigh your cat regularly

Weighing is still the best to regularly monitor your cat’s weight. Once your cat is an adult (at about one year, depending on the breed), get in the habit of weighing him/her every month. The easiest way is to get on a scale with your cat and then without your cat and calculate the difference.

Remember that outdoor cats gain weight in the fall to prepare for the cold. However, that gain should not exceed 5%. Keep track of the monthly weight to be able to compare from one year to the next.

Get your cat moving

A little sport is good for your cat’s morale and helps him/her regain and maintain a balanced weight. Check out our tips for making sure your cat gets exercise in a small space. However, if your cat has osteoarthritis related to age or weight, consult your veterinarian. Your vet will advise you on the propre treatment so that your kitty regains some of his/her mobility and movement!

* WSAVA, Nutritional Assessment Guidelines, 2011