In the wild, big cats eat only the prey they catch. Your cat is a natural hunter too, however she relies on you to feed her the kind of balanced diet she needs to stay healthy … and the right weight. But it can be hard to resist the pleading look in those big eyes, and treating can be an important part of playtime. So take a moment occasionally to check your cat’s weight, and make sure she hasn’t been over-indulging!
Checking your cat’s weight couldn’t be simpler – just use your bathroom scales. First, weigh yourself. Then step on the scales again, this time holding your cat in your arms. Subtracting the first number from the second will give you the weight of your cat!
Checking her over
It’s also a good idea to look for changes in your cat’s body weight. You can do this by standing directly above her and looking down. If you can you see a slight "waist" behind her ribs, she may be overweight. Look too for pouches of fat between her hind legs, and under her belly.
Alternatively, place both hands on your cat’s sides. If you can feel her ribs, your feline friend is the perfect weight. But if her ribs are actually sticking out, she's too thin.
Helping an overweight cat
If your cat is beginning to look a bit podgy, your vet will be able to suggest a diet plan. It's better for your cat to eat little and often, so try giving her four small meals a day, instead of two big ones. And you’ll probably need to put a stop to all those treats and snacks!
Just like her big cat cousins, your cat thrives on plenty of exercise – and this can help her shed weight too. Get your cat used to the idea with short bursts of playful activity. Then gradually extend her playtime, adding five minutes here and there, until she's getting a full workout.
Helping an underweight cat
If you think your cat is underweight, ask your vet for advice about how much, and how often, to feed her. If she doesn’t improve, she might be poorly, so take her back to the vet for a check-up.