What Makes a Cat Overweight? 11 Factors

There are 11 factors that can make a cat overweight. Sometimes the factors overlap and interact with each other in complex ways. It’s rare that one factor alone causes the problem. Issues related to food, exercise, the cat’s body and the social environment can cause or exacerbate a cat’s weight gain.

1. Food Type

Food that is of low quality thus requires more calories to offer needed nutrition. This is one of the biggest problems with dry cat food. Other foods that contribute to weight gain are those that contain too many carbohydrates and ingredients such as corn, soy and high fructose corn syrup.

2. Food Amount

Sometimes cat weight gain is purely an issue of too many calories. Feeding too much of any food will cause your cat to gain weight. Your cat should get about 25 calories per pound of the weight they should ideally way.

3. Method of Feeding

Leaving a bowl of dry food out at all times will contribute to cat obesity. It’s best to feed a cat a measured amount of food twice per day.

4. Lack of Exercise

A cat has to burn off the amount of calories they take in or they will become overweight. A cat burns calories just to stay alive but if a sedentary cat eats as many calories as an active cat, she’ll gain weight.

5. Age

Cats tend to gain weight between the age of 6 and 10 years. A cat’s metabolism slows down as she ages so food intake needs to be adjusted accordingly.

6. Breed

Genetics come into play with obesity risk. Non-pedigree cats may be prone to obesity. Breeds such as the Siamese are naturally more slender.

7. Lifestyle

The lifestyle of the cat and the owner can affect obesity. An owner who can spend at least 10 minutes a day playing with their cat will likely have a more fit cat. A cat who can go outside and explore will also stay more trim.

8. Spayed Or Neutered Cat

The act of neutering or spaying your cat is not a cause for obesity in and of itself. The problem comes because a fixed cat has less urge to roam and thus burn calories. If your cat is spayed, you may have to make more of an effort to encourage her to exercise.

9. Disabilities

An injured or disabled cat will have a harder time moving around to burn calories. You can work with the parts of her body that work, however, to help her stay fit.

10. Disease

Cats with hypothyroidism and diabetes are at high risk for obesity due to the disease process. It’s possible to keep these cats healthy with a little extra effort.

11. Social Environment

If your cat feels unwelcome or unsafe outside, she’ll be less likely to want to go out and explore even the back yard. A growly dog or a neighbor with a spray bottle can be deterrents. It’s the same in the cat’s house. If she gets picked on by other animals or people, she’ll likely want to hide in her room.