What are the signs of an overweight cat?

An obese cat – Tips for planning a healthy diet

An obese cat may suffer from many health problems as the extra weight puts a huge strain on the cat's 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.

Obesity is a major problem in cats, with some estimates suggesting that up to half of domestic cats are overweight.

An obese cat needs a diet that supports the cat’s weight control. Also, cat weight loss requires work from the cat owner. Read our tips on how to tell if your cat is obese and how to plan its diet properly.

Is my cat obese?

  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? An obese cat may move stiffly and avoid jumping, since extra weight puts stress on your cat's joints, which can make moving painful.
  4. Is your cat energetic? An obese cat is exhausted and has no energy, and it cannot or does not want to play like it used to.

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? Read more about the basics of feeding a cat.

How to plan a healthy diet for an obese cat

Cat obesity is most often caused by problems with the cat's diet and low activity levels. This is why controlled weight loss of the cat can be achieved by changing your cat's diet and increasing its activity.

1. More animal-based protein, less carbohydrates

A cat's feeling of being full is regulated by how much protein it eats. This means that the cat will stop eating when it has met its needs for protein. If the cat's food is high in plant-based ingredients, such as grains, 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.

High-quality cat food meats the cat’s natural nutritional needs and supports the cat’s wellbeing. Read our guide how you can tell if the food is high-quality.

2. Check the fat content of the food

If your cat needs to lose weight, choose a wet cat food that has under 4% of fat. With dry cat food the fat content should be under 15%.

With lower fat content there is little need to change the amount of food. So, your cat does not feel hungry, and its weight loss happens in a controlled manner.

Feeding an obese cat - PrimaCat


3. Wet food as the main meal

An obese cat has a higher risk for urinary tract problems; hence the cat’s diet should be based on high-quality wet food. The cat can have kibble on the side, but make sure you cat eats mainly wet food. It contains water that helps to keep the cat hydrated, dilutes the urine, and makes the cat urinate frequently, which flushes the bladder and supports the urinary tract health.

4. Choose sugar-free food

Did you know that some cat foods contain added sugar? Even small amounts of added sugar are not good for an obese cat, and added sugar is completely unnecessary for the cat. Read more about the harms of sugar in cat food.

5. No extra treats

Cut out all the treats from your cat’s diet. If you need to give treats for your cat because of the reasons like medication, choose treats that are low-fat, sugar-free, and rich in protein. You can also use the cat’s kibble as treats.

In older cats, being overweight is a frequent issue that can make problems like osteoarthritis worse. Learn more about how to feed your senior cat.

6. Support your cat’s active life 

Especially for a sterilised indoor cat, extra pounds can easily accumulate if the cat's environment does not provide enough stimulation. Stimulating feeding times activate the cat's predatory instinct and encourage exercise.

You can hide cat's kibble in interactive toys or toilet paper sleeves. You can also lure your cat into predatory play with fluff toys. In addition, walking your indoor cat gives your cat not only exercise but also variety. Read more about enriching your cat’s daily life.

Remember to change your cat's diet gradually to avoid any stomach problems. Read our tips on how to change a cat's food.

Cat food that supports the cat’s weight control from PrimaCat

PrimaCat Classic wet food designed for sterilised cats is ideal for obese cats, as it has a lower fat content than other Classic cat foods. Check out PrimaCat Classic Turkey in Gravy for Sterilized Cats. All the Classics are grain-free.

Of all PrimaCat dry foods, the wheat-free and corn-free PrimaCat Chicken for sterilized indoor cats is a good dry food for an obese cat, as it is low-fat and more than 90% of its protein is of animal origin.

The completely grain-free PrimaCat Turkey for sterilized adult cats may also be a suitable dry food choice for a cat in need of weight control.