What are the signs of an overweight cat?

Feeding an overweight cat

Obesity is a major problem in cats, with some estimates suggesting that up to half of domestic cats are overweight. Being overweight causes health problems for cats as it puts a huge strain on the body. Obese cats are likely to live shorter lives than normal-weight cats, since being overweight increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and urinary tract problems, among others.

Cat weight loss requires work from the cat owner. Read our tips on how to tell if your cat is overweight and how you can help your cat to lose weight.

Is my cat overweight?

Cat obesity is most often caused by problems with the cat's diet and low activity levels. A cat's satiety is regulated by protein intake. This means that the cat will stop eating when it has met its protein requirements. If the cat's food is high in plant-based protein or low in animal protein, the cat will need to eat more of it than meat-based food to feel full. At the same time, the cat may exceed its energy needs and gain weight.

The most common causes of cat obesity

  • The cat gets too much food.
  • The cat's diet is too low in animal protein.
  • Excess treats are offered to the cat too often.
  • The cat's activity level is too low.

Did you know PrimaCat cat foods are always rich in meat and never contain unnecessary wheat or added sugar? Cat foods rich in animal protein can help with cat’s weight control.

Test if your cat is overweight

  1. Can you feel your cat's ribs? The ribs of a normal-weight cat can be felt under the skin when you lightly touch the cat's side. 
  2. Can you see your cat's waist? The inward curve of the cat's waist should be clearly visible when you look at the cat from above. 
  3. Is your cat moving normally? Being overweight puts stress on your cat's joints, which can make movement painful and stiff.
  4. Is your cat energetic? An overweight cat is exhausted and has no energy, and it cannot or doesn't want to play like it used to.

Cat weight loss

Controlled weight loss can be achieved by changing your cat's diet and increasing its activity. It is best to feed your cat a type of cat food that is suitable for weight loss, which means that the fat content of the food is lower. With lower fat content there is little need to change the amount of food. In this case, your cat does not feel hungry, and its weight loss happens in a controlled manner. Also reducing the amount of treats will help the cat to lose weight.

For your cat's main meal, you should choose a wet food to keep your cat hydrated and its urinary tract in good condition. Remember to change your cat's diet gradually. Read our tips on how to change a cat's food.

PrimaCat Classic wet food designed for sterilised cats is ideal for cats in need of weight control, as it has a slightly lower fat content than other Classic cat foods. Check out the PrimaCat Classic Turkey in Gravy for Sterilized Cats.

Of all PrimaCat dry foods, the wheat-free and corn-free PrimaCat Chicken for sterilised indoor cats is a good dry food for overweight cats, as it has a low fat content and more than 90% of its protein is of animal origin. The completely grain-free PrimaCat Turkey for sterilised adult cats may also be a suitable dry food choice for a cat in need of weight control.

Read more about feeding a cat and the natural diet of a cat.

Especially for a sterilised indoor cat, extra pounds can easily accumulate if the cat's environment does not provide enough stimulation. For example, stimulating feeding times activate the cat's predatory instinct and encourage exercise. You can hide cat's kibble in various activation toys or toilet paper sleeves. You can also lure your cat into predatory play with fluff toys and other cat toys. In addition, walking your indoor cat gives your cat not only exercise but also variety.