Signs of a healthy cat: How to keep your feline fit

Playing with your cat is one of the most enjoyable things about owning one, and it’s very important for their health, from kittenhood right through to old age. Play encourages your cat to be active, keep supple and maintain a good body condition. Even better, playing is a great cat exercise that helps encourage them to express their natural hunting instincts.
Cat playing in grass
Cat playing in grass
Cat playing in grass

Healthy Cat Weight and Body Condition

Cats come in all shapes and sizes so it’s sometimes tricky to determine whether yours is the right weight or not – after all, you love them regardless of any extra pounds!

But size does matter when it comes to health, and excess weight on your cat can cause problems. So what is a healthy cat weight? It varies from breed to breed, but to check your cat’s current and ideal size, just follow these simple steps.

Use the slider below to select the image that most closely matches your cat, and we’ll be able to tell you if they may be underweight, overweight or just right.

We try to avoid putting the emphasis on weight, because there’s more to having a healthy cat than weight alone. Created by pet care experts, our Body Condition Tool is designed to help you determine if your cat is a healthy size overall, and encourages you to get hands on with your cat, to get to know their actual size underneath all that fur!

You should look at your cat from every angle to get an all-round view – this is important in finding a healthy weight for a cat. Take your time and be gentle – your cat might not be used to being handled like this, but they’ll soon get used to it.

View a short video of Purina's resident vet Zara demonstrating how to check your dog's body condition

Why do cats need to stay slim?

A healthy cat is a happy cat, and one much less prone to illness and health problems. If your cat is overweight, they may not live as long as their healthy counterparts, and they’ll be less able to enjoy themselves when they’re exercising and playing, because of potential joint problems. Some specific concerns that can develop from excess weight include:

  • Arthritis, joint damage and joint pain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Reduced exercise endurance and stamina
  • Increased anesthetic and surgical risks
  • Reduced liver function due to a fatty liver
Vet checking cat

Example of body condition scoring

Remember, weight alone won’t tell you if your pet is the right size. To find out your cat’s body condition score, you’ll need to get hands on!

Not sure if you’re judging it properly? The ideal healthy cat weight is leaner than you might think, mainly because pet owners tend to underestimate the weight of their cats. Each individual cat will require different food, a different meal sizes and varying levels of exercise. Depending on their body shape, size and breed, it’s quite possible that two cats could weigh exactly the same, but one would be overweight and the other would be underweight! Take a look at these examples of cats that have been scored against the Body Condition Tool. There’s a lot of variety here – it’s not just about weight, but about the size and shape, too.

PURINA® Body Condition Tool

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If you’d like more information on our cat body condition tool or have any other queries, contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM