What Is a Healthy Cat Weight?

Healthy cat weight is determined by a number of factors, including breed, age, activity level and amount of food consumed daily.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates that 57 percent of American cats are overweight or obese. This is based on the body condition scale (BCS) veterinarians use to evaluate a patient's weight. The categories are thin (1), underweight (2), ideal weight (3), overweight (4) and obese (5). Ideally, patients should score 3 on a 5-point scale, but most American cats are scoring a 4 or a 5.

Overweight cats are at greater risk for developing health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Symptoms of an Overweight Cat

An overweight cat has small fat deposits over his ribs, but you can still detect the ribs and spine when you run your hands along his sides. He has concave flanks and a slightly rounded abdomen. Fat deposits may also be found at the base of his tail, on his chest and on his hips. An overweight cat's waist is pear-shaped when you look at him from above. He jiggles when he walks due to the increased amount of fat on his body.

An obese cat has more pronounced fat deposits over his ribs. It's difficult to find his ribs and spine when you run your hands along his body. He has additional fat deposits on his chest, his back, his hindquarters and at the base of his tail. He also has a rounded abdomen and no visible waist. An obese cat sways from side to side when he walks, thanks to his higher body fat.  

How to Know a Cat Is too Thin

A thin cat has bones, including his ribs and spine, that are easily seen from a distance. He has a thin neck and a narrow waist, and no fat is visible on his body. This cat appears bony and emaciated.

An underweight cat has ribs and a spine that are easily felt when you run your hands along his body. He has minimal body fat and a noticeable waist. This cat appears skinny or lean.

Signs of Healthy Weight in Cats

A cat at ideal weight has ribs that can be felt, but not easily seen. He has a slightly visible waist when viewed from above, and his abdomen is slightly tucked up. He neither wiggles nor sways when he walks, and he presents a trim, muscular appearance.

A cat’s breed can help determine his ideal weight. According to the APOP, a Siamese should weigh between 5 and 10 pounds, while a Maine Coon Cat should weigh between 11 and 15 pounds. A Persian should weigh about 10 pounds, and a mixed-breed domestic cat should weigh between 8 and 11 pounds.

The average 10-pound pet cat should consume between 180 and 200 calories daily, according to the APOP. He should also receive about 30 minutes of daily exercise to help him maintain his weight.

Read feeding instructions for your cat's diet carefully, and feed it as instructed to help your cat stay at a healthy weight. Offer exercise opportunities each day to help your pet stay trim.