Categories: Cat HealthWeight

Healthy Cat Weight

Moe a famous fat cat – photo by danperry.com

Generally, a healthy cat weight is between 9 and 12 pounds for a male cat and between 7 and 10 pounds for a female cat (book No 5– See: Methods and References (new window) for the philosophy behind presenting medical information and references used). Another source says that intact males (unneutered) should weigh between 8 and 15 pounds normally and neutered males and females between 5.5 and 10 pounds (book 1).

Some cats are naturally large. A large cat breed that comes to mind is the Maine Coon the largest non-wildcat hybrid probably. Some breeds are naturally smaller such as the rare Singapura, so cats should not be forced into unnatural weights. The weight of mixed breed cats varies substantially too. There are some nice stories on this site about larger than average cats and these are often large cats in terms of bone structure not because they are a little tubby (see them here). And individual cats vary in what is a natural weight for them. You can see visitors’ input on their cats’ size on this page and scroll down.

But the vast majority of cats are in the middle bracket of cat weights and for these cats a healthy cat weight is as mentioned above.

See:

I think it fair to say that assessing the weight of a cat is mainly a case of common sense. We can tell when our cat is overweight or underweight. But sometimes we can become a little blind to what is the ideal because, for example, we have lived with an overweight cat for a long time. We tend to normalise the extreme over time. A simply test is to see if you can feel your cat’s ribs easily. If not your cat is almost certainly overweight (book 7).

Some cats are naturally large.

It is fairly common knowledge that if there is a weight problem with cats that are not ill it is that they are overweight. This is frowned upon by vets as it can cause cat health problems such as heart and kidney disease (book 4)

Weighing our cat routinely or assessing weight routinely is a good source of information about a cat’s health. Vets do it as we know. How best to weigh a cat to maintain a healthy cat weight? Ideally the scales should be baby scales (a paediatric scale). Scales that weight people won’t be accurate enough, I think, even if you carry your cat on to the scales with you and then subtract your weight. However, some scales for human use might be accurate enough for this provided they are calibrated and set to zero properly (the author of book 7 recommends it). An example of paediatric scales in the USA are: Tanita BD-585 Digital Baby Scale (if you have the money!).

Most kittens weigh between 85 grams and 120 grams at birth. They increase weight at about 100 grams per week (book 6).

Overweight cats tend to be neutered, indoor cats that are over 3 years old. A cat is considered obese when body weight exceeds the normal weight by 15% or more (book 6).

Cat Food is the first consideration when treating weight issues. Cats usually regulate their weight well. Cutting out titbits and substituting cat’s milk for water is a good start in reducing food intake. A weight loss diet should be carried out carefully and ideally in conjunction with a good vet (in the USA this means a vet that does not declaw).

Weight loss of 15% can be achieved in 18 weeks by providing a diet that is 60% in calories of the standard diet to maintain proper weight (book 7).

Cats can be finicky in eating. Cats have cycles of body weight. A down cycle of body weight will result in reduced appetite. It may last a month (book 2) or several months (book 4). A consistently reduced appetite, though, indicates a cat health problem. A cat’s appetite increases during cold weather and decrease in warm weather (book 4).

For an underweight old cat it is said that a possible idea is to mix in to the diet one teaspoon of lard. This adds calories.

From Healthy Cat Weight to Cat Health Problems

Header photo: published under creative commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Healthy Cat Weight

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Jul 25, 2011different body types
by: Rebecca I have 3 cats, all very different body types. I have to rely on feeling them all over for body condition because they’re all so different.#1 (Lily) we got at about 8 weeks, very undersized – she has a Siamese/Oriental body type with long legs + tiny paws, and weighed 3.55kg at her 5yr-old exam; looks skinny but she’s all muscle.
#2 (Angie) came to us at 5 months old, starved & undersized and looking like a 12-week kitten – she has a cobby British Shorthair body, an apple-shaped head, stocky legs + chunky paws and a VERY pronounced Jenny belly; she weighed 3.15kg at her 4.5yr-old exam and looks like a little pudding cat but she’s all muscle too (and very thick fur).
#3 (Basil) we got at about 6/7 months, starved almost to nothing – he has a Norwegian Forest Cat body type with a long spine & back legs longer than front, and the biggest paws I’ve ever seen; he weighed 5.5kg at his 3yr-old exam, and is VERY much all muscle.

Because when we got them they were all starved and always hungry, we leave catbix out for them all day – surprisingly none overeat, they just snack now. We continually feel their hips/spines for boniness and their ribs and bellies for wobbly fat. They all get LOTS of exercise indoors & out which accounts for the muscle tone I guess!


Oct 25, 2009
by: cat loss Thank you for useful information.

Oct 18, 2009Hi Finn
by: Michael I agree Finn. I sort of expected something more precise but I suppose the range from individual to individual and from breed to breed is large so there is, as yet, nothing precise. We are left to rely on the rib test!

Oct 18, 2009BMI?
by: Finn Frode, Denmark Thank you for an interesting article. It seems to me setting a normal cat weight with an upper range almost twice that of the lower range as Carlson and Giffin do for both males and females, presents a problem. With such a wide range they must be talking about very different types – and of course they are. The span from a siamese to a brit is considerable – not to mention the more extreme breeds.If there were a universally accepted way to determine the BMI of cats, things would be somewhat easier, but from what I see on the net there isn’t one yet. Just as human BMI, measuring feline BMI would of course have it’s shortcomings and cause heated discussions, but it could serve as a guideline. Surely it must be more precise than feeling for the ribs?

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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