In the wild, big cats eat only the prey they catch. Your cat is natural hunter too, however they rely on you to feed them the kind of balanced diet they need to stay healthy … and the right weight. But it can be hard to resist the pleading look in those big eyes, and treating can be an important part of playtime. So take a moment occasionally to check your cat's weight, and make sure they haven’t been over-indulging!
Checking your cat's weight couldn’t be simpler – just use your bathroom scales. First, weigh yourself. Then step on the scales again, this time holding your cat in your arms. Subtracting the first number from the second will give you the weight of your cat!
Checking them over
It’s also a good idea to look for changes in your cat's body weight. You can do this by standing directly above them and looking down. If you can you see a slight ""waist"" behind their ribs, they may be overweight. Look too for pouches of fat between their hind legs, and under their belly.
Alternatively, place both hands on your cat's sides. If you can feel their ribs, your feline friend is the perfect weight. But if their ribs are actually sticking out, they're too thin.
Helping an overweight cat
If your cat is beginning to look a bit podgy, your vet will be able to suggest a diet plan. It's better for your cat to eat little and often, so try giving them four small meals a day, instead of two big ones. And you’ll probably need to put a stop to all those treats and snacks!
Just like their big cat cousins, your cat thrives on plenty of exercise – and this can help them shed weight too. Get your cat sused to the idea with short bursts of playful activity. Then gradually extend their playtime, adding five minutes here and there, until they're getting a full workout.
Helping an underweight cat
If you think your cat is underweight, ask your vet for advice on how much, and how often to feed them. If they don't improve, they might be poorly, so take them back to the vet for a check-up.
You’ll find more details in our article on cat nutrients.