Learn from Purina’s experts about average cat weight and how to determine if your cat is the right size. Read tips for keeping your cat active, healthy, and happy.
This makes it even more important for your cat to maintain a healthy weight. Is there an average number you should strive for, though? You can aim for specific weight ranges, but it’s not quite as simple as ensuring their weight stays at a certain number. What’s considered a healthy cat weight range is often broad and based on specific breeds. It can also vary from males to females.
If you don’t know your cat’s breed, it can be even more difficult. Fortunately, there’s a Body Conditioning System (BCS) developed for veterinarians, and you can reference this video to help you do an at-home assessment. According to RuthAnn Lobos, DVM, CCRT, CVAT and Purina Senior Veterinarian, “The BCS is a nine-point scale that can help your veterinarian assess your cat’s body condition and determine if they are over or underweight or just right.”
By evaluating your cat, rather than comparing their weight to a broad range based on breed standards, your veterinarian can get a better idea of your cat’s ideal weight.
The Problem with “Average” Cat Weight
Resources listing an average or normal cat weight or range may not take into consideration other factors that affect weight. Factors like age, breed, sex and spayed/neutered status all have an impact.
For example, the weight range for a Siamese Cat is 8 to 15 pounds. Females typically weigh 8 to 12 pounds, while males can weigh 11 to 15. So, a 15-pound female Siamese would be overweight, whereas that size might be perfectly healthy for a male.
Those resources also don’t account for mixed breed cats. If your cat is a mix of two or more breeds, you may struggle to pinpoint an average weight or range for them. What then?
A Better Way to Determine Your Cat’s Ideal Weight
Although your veterinarian may have your cat step on the scale at their next appointment, they’ll use more than this number to assess their health.
Veterinarians use the BCS to visually and physically assess whether your cat is too heavy or too thin by following certain criteria.
What if My Cat is Overweight?
If your cat is overweight, consider switching to a weight management cat food to help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight. It’s also recommended that you consult with your veterinarian to rule out any potential medical causes for their weight gain. You may want to incorporate more activity into your cat’s day-to-day life to help your cat lose weight.
What if My Cat is Underweight?
Obesity is a concern for many cat breeds, but it’s also possible for some cats to be underweight. This may be especially true if you’ve recently adopted a cat or taken in a stray.
If your cat’s BCS indicates they’re too thin, “Your veterinarian may recommend increasing the amount of food you’re feeding them or suggest a higher-calorie food to help them gain weight. It’s also a good idea to measure the amount of food,” says Dr. Lobos. Additionally, “they’ll also likely recommend blood work—especially if your cat has lost weight suddenly or had any other behavioral changes, like drinking more and urinating more. Once they’ve reached a healthy weight, an adult maintenance formula can help them maintain it long-term.”
It’s tempting to give your underweight cat as many calories as possible, regardless of the source. You don’t want to go overboard with treats right now, though. These can lack the essential nutrients your cat needs and cause them to gain too much fat. They may also throw your cat’s diet out of balance of the nutrients they need, like vitamins and minerals.
Don’t overlook exercise and activities, either. These are important to help your cat build muscle, which will help them gain weight in a healthy manner.
Average Cat Weight Does Not Exist
It’s impossible to identify a true average cat weight because no cat is average, and every breed is unique and every cat is one of a kind.
Only you and your veterinarian can determine your cat’s ideal body condition and develop a plan to help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight.