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Weighing your cat on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to monitor her health.
Gradual weight loss or gain is often not noticeable in cats until it has become quite dramatic. Consider that the average cat weighs 10 pounds. Weight loss of only 6% of a cat’s body weight is considered a clinical sign – that’s less than ten ounces. Depending on the size of your cat, visible changes to her weight may be too subtle to notice without actually weighing her.
Weight loss of only 6% of a cat’s body weight is considered a clinical sign
Dr. Andrea Tasi, a holistic vet and owner of Just Cats Naturally, considers weight the 4th vital sign. “Temperature, pulse, and respiration are awfully valuable for assessing any patient in an acute situation,” she says,”but for really tracking the chronic health status of a cat over time, there is nothing more valuable than weight.”
Obesity affects 59% of America’s cats
This shocking statistic, sadly, mirrors the equally disturbing increase in human obesity. The serious health problems in cats which result from obesity are the same as in humans: diabetes, arthritis and joint problems, heart and respiratory problems, gastro-intestinal and digestive problems, a compromised immune system, and increased risk during anesthesia and surgery.
Weight loss as an indicator of disease
“Nearly all chronic diseases that creep up on cats cause insidious weight loss,” says Dr. Tasi. If you are weighing your cat regularly, you will pick up on this trend long before your cat may show you any other symptoms. A cat who is losing weight with no change in her diet or exercise levels requires veterinary attention.
How to weigh your cat
While you can weigh your cat by weighing yourself on a human scale, then weighing yourself while holding your cat, and subtracting the difference, your results will not be accurate enough.
Your best bet is to purchase an inexpensive digital scale designed for babies. These scales measure pounds and ounces accurately.
I weigh Allegra on the first of every month. That way, I won’t forget, and I keep track of her weight so I can see a pattern.
And yes, we do have a cat tree in the kitchen. It’s a holdover from when Ruby used to chase Allegra off the top of the microwave, and her only escape was to jump straight down, which was hard on her joints. Placing the cat tree next to the microwave cabinet created an exit ramp. You can read the full story behind the kitchen catification here. Even though Allegra doesn’t use it, I haven’t had the heart to remove it, and it’s actually coming in handy as an additional surface in my rather small kitchen to hold cookbooks, timers, and such.
Do you weigh your cats on a regular basis?
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