Having a happy and healthy cat requires some attention and responsibility from you as a pet parent. It is important to keep an eye on your cat's weight and body condition on a regular basis. However, determine whether your cat is overweight, underweight or in an ideal condition, can be a bit tricky. In this article, we guide you with the help of the vet's own tool!
First of all it is important that you follow the feeding recommendations and give the right amount food depending on your cat's weight and activity level. If you are uncertain how much food to give you your cat, have a look at our feeding recommendations that are based on guidelines set by FEDIAF.
Body Condition Score
WSAVA, The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has developed the Body Condition Score which can help cat owners check the size and shape of their furry friends to get a better understanding of the cat's condition. The scale is graded from 1 to 9, where 1 is severely underweight and 9 severe obesity.
To rate your cat on the scale:
You start by looking at the cat's body shape both from above and from the side. Regardless of breed, you should be able to see a waist on your cat from both sides. This can of course be harder with fluffy cats with long or thick fur.
Then feel the cat's body from front to back with one hand on each side. When you feel with your fingers over the cat's ribs, you should be able to feel them with a light pressure, without having to "dig in" your fingers.
If you then feel further back, you should clearly feel that the waist narrows where the chest ends, and then widens again over the hips. You should feel the hips, but they should not be excessively sharp.
Have a look yourself in the charts below and in case you are having any additional questions or concerns about the health condition of your cat, we recommend booking an appointment at your local veterinary clinic.
What Body Condition Score is your cat?
Where did you find your cat on the scale?
Body Condition Score 1-3
Your cat is below ideal weight. If your cat scores in any of these categories, despite you giving it enough nutrition and care, we recommend that you book an appointment with your veterinary clinic to investigate possible reasons for your cat's weight loss.
Body Condition Score 4-5
Perfect, your cat is in ideal body condition! This means that you are giving your cat the right conditions in nutrition and diet to remain a happy, healthy cat through his or her life.
Body Condition Score 6-9
Your cat is overweight. If your cat scores in any of these categories, it is recommended that he or she loose weight in order to lower the risk of health issues. Some health issues in cats are closely linked to obesity, such as urinary tract diseases, diabetes and joint pain. If your cat scores in the upper categories (BCS 8-9), a veterinary visit is recommended to get professional help with your cat's weight loss, or investigate reasons causing the obesity.