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Before the domestication of cats, feline obesity was not a common occurrence. These days, fat cats are everywhere.
According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 50% of cats seen in vet clinics are probably overweight or worse, obese.
Other reports put this figure between 11.5% and 63%.
Obese cats are so prevalent presently that it can be hard to tell whether yours is portly or not.
Knowing these scary statistics calls for caution for cat owners. Obesity is not something to joke about. It can trigger ailments such as diabetes and arthritis.
When you suspect that your furry friend is packing on some pounds, it is natural for you to worry.
The problem is that sometimes a cat appears big but is, in fact, healthy.
If you are wondering whether your feline friend is plump or just big, we have got you covered.
Here, we explain why some cats appear so big.
What Is Considered A Large Cat?
A large cat, as the name goes, is a naturally big kitty.
Ideally, this is a cat that is over 12 pounds of bodyweight. Different cat breeds come in different sizes. The Maine Coon, Savannah, Siberian, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll, and Chausie fit this description very well.
If your kitty is well under ten pounds, she falls in the small or averagely-sized category. This means that a large cat may be lean but appear big simply due to its size.
With that said, it is one thing for your kitty to be large and another for her to be overweight.
Unless you are very keen on her progress, telling one from the other can be the real task.
A portly cat is primarily one that has extra layers of fat on her body.
Take the example of a Siamese cat. The ideal weight is anything between 5-15 pounds. Anything over 15 pounds presents a problem for your furry friend.
Sadly, many homeowners do not have a scale to take measurements. Even for those that do, telling the right weight is pretty difficult.
Cats of the same breeds are built differently. Plus, many factors affect the weight of an individual kitty.
PetMD has a simple way of telling whether your kitty is large or stout. When you look at the cat, you should be able to see that hourglass figure that cats are famous for.
She shouldn’t have a saggy belly that hangs down. Also, you should be able to feel her ribs.
Why Is Your Cat Big?
There are several reasons a cat would appear big.
1. The cat is naturally large
If you don’t know your cat’s breed, you may not be aware of how big she can get.
In such a case, go to the vet and determine the ideal weight for her.
If she’s a large cat breed, expect her to grow bigger than other domestic cats.
2. The cat is overweight or obese
With no initiative to go out and hunt for food, most domestic cats overeat and exercise less.
Add that to a poor diet and weight gain is inevitable.
We discuss several methods you can use to know if your kitty is overweight or healthy below.
3. Hybrid cat
Hybrid cats are ideally bigger than their purebred counterparts.
Blame it on the different genes possessed. If you own a hybrid kitty, don’t be surprised if she gets bigger than the rest.
Again, let your knowledge of assessing whether your kitty is big or chubby guide you.
Is Your Cat Big Or Overweight?
By now you can tell that a big cat can be overweight or naturally large. If you don’t know the breed, there are a few things you can do.
A. Watch the cat
As said previously, taking a closer look at your furry friend will reveal a lot about her health.
For one, check whether she has a hanging belly. Watch her in both standing and lying positions.
If the belly spreads on the floor making her appear bigger, you know she needs to lose some weight. A healthy cat will have a lean stomach that is almost parallel to her back.
Besides watching the tummy area, observe your cat as she grooms herself.
Does she seem to have trouble reaching certain areas of her body? Cats are very flexible and should access all parts of their bodies with relative ease.
If yours is struggling to groom herself, it is safe to assume that she is bigger than she should be.
Some actually cry during grooming due to the frustration of not being as flexible as they would like.
B. Check the cat’s ribs
In case you are still unsure whether your kitty is plump or just naturally, try feeling her ribs.
Let her lie on her back across your lap and touch her ribcage.
If you can easily feel the ribs without excess fat, worry not – your furbaby is just healthy.
Here, you should also see her waist from above. Else, if you can feel the ribs with great difficulty, it means her weight is getting out of hand.
It is worse if you cannot feel the ribs at all. This can only mean that the ribcage is surrounding layers of fat.
Cat owners love their little feline friends and do all they can to spoil them rotten.
They feed them in excess and often with unhealthy meal options.
In the end, the cats become overweight. In case you are concerned about your kitty’s size, this guide will come in handy.
Hi! I am Eleanor Price. I started this website after my cat, Louie, almost died from a case of botulism (a type of food poisoning often caused by bacteria that grow on food items). Turned out that my cat’s diet was the problem. I have made it my duty to provide the best information and recommendations about everything cat lovers need to know about their felines’ health and wellbeing. My goal is to find the most informative content on anything feline-related and share it with fellow hardworking kitty lovers.
Disclaimer: While I ensure that the advice and tips given here are in line with the latest evidence-based veterinary information and health guidelines, under no circumstance should you misconstrue my suggestions as medical advice. Please contact your veterinarian in all matters regarding your kitty’s health.