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What's a healthy weight for cats? The numbers probably aren't what you think

Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. Naomi has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, is a self-proclaimed salsa diva, and can make a killer octopus ...

How to know if your cat's weight is posing a serious health risk

Just like people, it's normal for pets to gain weight over time, especially as we start to get comfortable in our relationship. You may not even notice that there's a little more of your cat to love, until your vet points out the problem. Unfortunately, extra weight on a small animal like a cat can pose a serious risk, considering that the average domestic cat should weigh no more than 10 pounds.

If your kitty falls within the 58 percent of cats that are overweight or obese, increasing risk for a number of diseases and health problems, here's what you can do to get their health back on track.

Face the facts

It may look cute when a kitty is chubby, but the health outlook for a fat cat is actually quite dismal. Just like humans, extra weight puts cats at risk for many serious health problems. Diabetes mellitus, arthritis, heart and respiratory disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, skin problems, some forms of cancer and a shorter life span are just some of the risk factors that come with feline obesity. You want to keep your cat around as long as possible — and extra weight on their frame isn't going to do them any favors.

But how do you know if your cat is overweight?

More: Why you should never let your feline be an outdoor cat

So what's a healthy weight?

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, the following weight ranges are appropriate for healthy cats. Keep in mind that because they are so small, a couple of extra pounds on an animal like a cat is much different than a few extra pounds on you. If you are concerned, it is always best to check with your veterinarian.

  • Domestic cat: 8-10 lbs
  • Persian: 7-12 lbs
  • Siamese: 5-10 lbs
  • Maine coon: 10-25 lbs

Next Up: How does your cat measure up?

Originally published February 2013. Updated December 2016.

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