Weight is one of the health indicators that veterinarians always check in their pet patients. Sudden weight change can signal a health problem that needs immediate medical attention.
How to weigh your cat at home
Vet clinics invest in specialized weighing scales. And although you can go to a clinic to have your pet’s weight checked, you can do this vital task at home.
You do not have to invest in a weighing scale like those used in vet clinics. However, you should avoid using the weighing scale you have in your bathroom. One of the main reasons behind that is that this type of weighing scale is not accurate.
You need to get your cat’s precise weight. Because of a cat’s relatively small size, the weighing scale should be able to check any weight loss or gain with a high degree of accuracy. Sometimes, a minor weight change does not register on an ordinary weighing scale.
If you are going to use a luggage scale, you can put your cat in a heavy paper bag, a canvas shopping bag, or any other similar container. Before weighing your cat, attach the carrier you are going to use to the luggage scale and reset it to zero. This simplifies things by eliminating the need to make further calculations later on.
Next, calibrate the weighing scale, making sure that it will display your pet’s weight in decimal format. Also, check if the weighing scale is set to the measuring system that you prefer.
Once you are done, weigh your cat and take note of his latest measurements. If you notice a substantial weight change, consult your vet for guidance.
Why you should check your cat’s weight regularly
Upon reaching adulthood a healthy cat will remain within the same weight range for most of his life. However, it is critical to actively monitor your pet’s weight so that you are alerted to potential health problems.
Even the slightest weight change can indicate a medical problem that needs to be checked by a professional. Furthermore, cats have become prone to obesity. And just like in humans, when a cat becomes overweight, he becomes vulnerable to a host of health issues.
When a cat loses weight
It is normal for senior cats to lose weight as they advance in years. But if your cat is young or just reached adulthood, weight loss can indicate a medical problem like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or kidney disease.
Weight loss can also indicate that your pet is not eating enough. As a creature of habit, your cat may come to his feeding station regularly but he might not be eating enough because of stress or because he is suffering from a condition like an oral health problem.
It can be difficult to monitor a cat’s intake, especially if you have other felines in your home. One cat may not eat enough while another might swoop in and finish off the leftovers.
But even if your cat finishes his food consistently, he may still suffer from weight loss because he is dealing with a gastrointestinal condition.
When a cat gains weight
Like people, cats can gain weight through the combination of excessive eating and lack of physical activity.
However, weight gain can also arise from other reasons. For example, if you have a queen as a pet, she might be gaining weight due to pregnancy. If your unspayed cat is indeed carrying kittens, you should not decrease her food intake, quite the opposite.
Weight gain can also be a symptom of other problems like heart disease and feline infectious peritonitis or FIP. There are also some medications that can trigger weight gain in cats.
How often should you check your cat’s weight?
Because changes in a cat’s weight can indicate a health problem, you should not wait for your pet’s annual check-up to know his current weight. But on the flip side of the coin, it is impractical to check your cat’s weight daily, especially if he is trying to lose or gain weight. Like in people, a cat’s weight can change daily.
Ideally, you should weigh your pet at least once a month, preferably weekly.
It is a good idea to jot down your cat’s weight so that you can always see if there is a substantial loss or gain. Do not worry if your cat’s weight fluctuates by a few ounces. This is normal, especially if your cat is trying to gain or lose weight.
However, if the weight change is drastic or too fast, especially if there is a noticeable trend, you should inform your veterinarian.
How much should your cat weigh?
There is no clear ideal weight for all cats. Instead, veterinarians take into account their patient’s age, body type, and breed.
Your vet should be able to tell you what weight range is considered healthy for your pet. But apart from weight, your veterinarian will also check your cat’s overall body shape. A healthy cat has an hourglass figure when viewed from the top. When you touch your cat, you should be able to feel his ribs when you run your fingers over that part.
Make it a habit to track your pet’s weight
Along with your cat’s pulse, respiration, and temperature, his weight is one of the crucial indicators of his state of health. Weight changes spread over time can provide veterinarians a picture of changes in a cat’s health.
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