Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for your cat's long term well-being. Cats can develop lasting health problems if they are underweight or overweight. Work with your veterinarian to determine whether your cat needs to lose weight, gain weight or maintain to achieve optimal health.
Calories and Weight
Your cat's food provides him with the calories he needs to survive. According to the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, the average healthy adult cat needs to consume 180 to 220 calories every day and generally weighs between 8 and 10 pounds. When your cat consumes more calories than he needs to maintain his weight, he will become overweight or obese. If he consumes less calories than he needs to maintain his weight, he will start dropping pounds.
The Underweight Cat
If your cat is underweight, he will appear to be very thin with easily visible lumbar vertebrae and ribs. His abdomen will appear to be tucked upwards and you will not be able to see any significant fat on him. If your veterinarian can otherwise give your cat a clean bill of health, he likely will suggest you increase the amount of food you give your cat on a daily basis. The UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program recommends increasing your cat's daily calorie intake to between 230 to 270 calories per a day to achieve weight gain.
The Overweight Cat
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports that 28.1 percent of cats are obese and another 29.8 percent are considered overweight as of 2014. Feline obesity has been linked to an assortment of health problems such as diabetes. The overweight cat will have excess fat on his body and his ribs will not be easily visible. If your cat needs to lose weight, your vet likely will recommend that you reduce your cat's daily calorie intake until he reaches a satisfactory weight.
Factors Affecting Your Cat's Weight
If you believe your cat is underweight, take him to your veterinarian for a checkup to see if there is a medical problem causing him to lose weight or preventing him from gaining it. Older cats tend to have a more difficult time maintaining a healthy weight. They may lose weight due to difficulty eating or age-related illness. Internal parasites also can cause a cat to lose weight.