Overweight Cats: Know the Risks

Obesity is a serious health condition in cats, but often goes unnoticed because weight gain is gradual. That’s one reason why nearly half of pets in Europe are overweight.


For an overweight cat, even just a couple of extra pounds can make a big difference in her health, and can put her at risk for a number of serious health issues, including:

  • Skin diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis and reduced mobility
  • Urinary disease

If you feel that your cat is overweight, be sure to see your vet so that you can work together on a safe solution.

Recognizing the problem: body condition score


Body condition score is a tool used to evaluate the body fat level and to determine proper body condition in animals. A vet will check your cat from whiskers to tail, feeling ribs and belly along the way, to see if your cat's is at a healthy weight or not. You can try it out between check-ups, too, by using our simple BCS tool.


Check Your Cat’s Score

Play to her instincts: exercise through playtime


Exercise is more fun when it doesn’t seem like exercise. Here are some games you can play with your cat to keep her moving and help her lose those extra pounds.


On the hunt


As much as she may seem like a friendly furball, your cat is really a hunter at heart. Hide a few kibbles of food around the house (your vet can recommend a good weight management food) to keep her hunting around for her “prey.” Be sure to place it in a variety of locations, where she will need to reach, jump, etc.


Chase and catch


Let her chase a light or feather toy. She’ll love the attention and the chance to hone her innate “catching” skills. As she loses weight she’ll be able to play more actively for longer periods of time.


Tips for making playtime a success

  • Provide her with a variety of safe toys, and rotate them often. Cats sometimes get tired of the same old thing, but old toys feel new when she hasn’t seen them for a while.

  • Cats love order and predictability, so try to play with her at similar times each day, such as before dinner or when you come home.

  • Cats generally prefer interactions to be frequent, but not necessarily intense. Playing just for a few minutes several times a day may be better for her patience than trying to play for 30 minutes just once a day, giving her a better overall workout.


Benefits of achieving a healthy weight

for your cat


Your cat will feel more like her young self if she’s able to achieve and maintain her ideal weight. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight can benefit in the following ways:



They are better able to run, jump, play and take part in family activities


Cats at ideal weight are at a lower risk for a variety of weight-related diseases


Optimal-weight cats can groom themselves easily


They are more likely to get up and go to the water dish or litter tray more often, helping avoid issues such as urinary tract disease


Healthy cats seek out the most comfortable spots in their environment


They naturally move around a bit more even if they don't exercise a lot


Keeping up on daily routines helps cats stay relaxed and feel in control of their surroundings


Healthy weight contributes to better emotional and mental health in cats


Balanced nutrition can be life-changing


Your cat’s day-to-day activities can be negatively impacted if she’s not at a healthy weight. Food that provides a balanced nutrition can help her reach optimum weight while still keeping her full and satisfied. Hill’s Science DietMD Perfect Weight foods contain high quality ingredients that are carefully combined to bring out the delicious chicken flavor that cats love most. Find Hill’s Science DietMD Perfect Weight foods online, at your vet clinic or at a pet store near you.



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