Average Cat Weight - How Much Should a Cat Weigh?
Did you know a single excess pound on a Domestic Shorthair, Longhair or Medium-Hair cat is equal to 14 to 15 pounds on a 5'4" woman?*
This makes it all the more important for your cat to maintain a healthy weight. Is there an average number you should aim for, though? There are weight ranges you can aim for, but not as simple as ensuring her weight stays within a set range. Weight ranges are often broad and based on specific breeds. They can also vary from males to females.
If you don’t know your cat’s breed, it’s even more difficult. That’s why Purina developed the Body Condition System (BCS). According to Dr. Callie Harris, DVM, “The BCS is a nine-point scale that can help your veterinarian assess your cat’s body condition and the severity of her weight problem.”
By evaluating your cat, rather than comparing her weight to a broad range based on breed standards, your veterinarian can get a better idea of your cat’s ideal weight.
Feeding her a healthy weight cat food can help your cat achieve and maintain her ideal weight.
The Problem with “Average” Cat Weight
Resources listing an average weight or range may not take into consideration other factors that affect weight. Factors like breed, sex and spayed/neutered status could 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, however, while males can weigh 11 to 15. So, a 15-pound female Siamese would be overweight, whereas that size might be 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 her. What then?
A Better Way to Determine Your Cat’s Ideal Weight
Although your veterinarian may have your cat step on the scale at her next appointment, they’ll use more than this number to assess her health.
Veterinarians use a Body Condition System (BCS) to visually and physically assess whether your cat is too heavy or too thin. You can see the criteria your veterinarian uses when evaluating your cat’s weight here.
What if My Cat is Overweight?
If your cat is overweight, consider switching to a weight management cat food to help her achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
We also recommend consulting with your veterinarian to rule out any potential medical causes for her weight gain.
You may also want to incorporate more activity into your cat’s day-to-day life. See our article on helping cats lose weight for more tips.
What if My Cat is Underweight?
Obesity is a concern with many cat breeds, but it’s 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 she’s too thin, “Your veterinarian may recommend increasing the amount of food you’re feeding or suggest a higher-calorie food to help her gain weight,” says Dr. Harris. “Once she’s reached a healthy weight, an adult maintenance formula can help her 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 essential nutrients your cat needs and cause her to gain too much fat.
Don’t overlook exercise and activities, either. These are important to help your cat build muscle, which will help her 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.
Only you and your veterinarian can determine your cat’s ideal body condition and come up with a plan to help her achieve and maintain a healthy weight. To learn more from our experts, visit our Pet Expertise page.