Is Your Cat Obese? Feline BMI Norms Explained

Are you wondering, "Is my cat obese?" Overweight animals are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. Use feline body mass indexes to discover if your cat suffers from obesity.

In the United States, experts believe upwards of half all indoors cats and three out of ten outdoor cats are seriously obese. This explains higher incidents of feline diabetes, caused by unsatisfactory cat sugar levels in the blood and fatty liver disease.

Determining if Your Cat is Obese

The best way to tell if your cat is obese is not by weight. Feel your cat's spinal and rib cage. You should not be able to see the ribs, but you should feel them. If you cannot, your cat is overweight.

There is an equation to help determine a feline body mass index. Measure the circumference of your cat's rib cage. Now measure the length of the lower back leg from the knee to the ankle and write down both numbers. The steps to calculating the BMI are:

  • Divide the rib cage measurement by 0.7062 and subtract the length of the leg.
  • Divide that answer by 0.9156.
  • Subtract the new number by the leg length and that is your cat's BMI.

Understanding BMI Readings

Feline body mass indexes are relatively new. Currently, veterinarians feel a cat with a body mass index of 42 or higher needs to lose weight. Most vets still use Body Conditioning Scores to determine if a cat is overweight. They look to see if your cat's waist is apparent, if the belly is too prominent and if excess fat covers the ribs.

Changing to a Cat Diet Food

If your cat is obese, it is important to change to a healthy cat diet food. You cannot simply cut fat content; cats require fat and protein for optimal health. Instead, look at the food you feed your cat. Nutrition label ingredients must not contain unnecessary fillers or carbohydrates like white rice, corn meal or wheat gluten. These ingredients increase the chance that you cat will become obese. If your pet's food contains fillers, switching to a high-protein, no grain food improves cat nutrition.

Introduce catnip to your pet's diet. Most cats increase their activity after ingesting catnip. They may roll around incessantly or run laps around your home. It is a good way to boost your cat's exercise routine. Be warned, this does not work with every cat. A small number of cats become extremely sleepy and lethargic after eating catnip.

By changing the quality of your cat food and increasing exercise levels, your cat should reach and maintain an optimal weight and feline body mass index. Cat obese lifestyles can be stopped easily if you take a little time to read a food label.