When is a Cat Too Skinny?

Most cats weigh 7 to 10 pounds, but some breeds may be healthy at higher or lower weights.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM

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Q. I am concerned about my 3-year-old, spayed, purebred Persian. I recently took her to the vet for an annual checkup and vaccinations. She weighed 7.5 pounds and checked out healthy stool sample and all.

My concern is that she is underweight, but our vet says everything is OK. She eats little bits of food throughout the day and night. She is the only cat in my apartment, and she runs around a lot in the evening and sleeps all day. Do you think she is naturally thin? She is not a large-boned cat, yet she feels tiny and thin.

A. Classically, veterinarians are taught that the average cat weighs 7 to 10 pounds. That does not take into account the wide variations in breed types. A small Siamese may weigh only 6 pounds, yet a large Maine Coon typically weighs more than 15 pounds. Still, it sounds as though (in terms of pounds) your kitty is well within the normal range. What concerns me is the fact that she feels thin to you. This just may be her normal weight. Most cats I see are overweight, and many cats that I think are at an ideal weight seem skinny to their owners. Still, for your peace of mind, consider asking your vet to perform routine blood work, specifically a chemistry panel, feline virus screen and urinalysis to see if there are any changes that might be indicative of early disease. If her blood work is normal, do not worry about her current weight but keep a close eye on her for any changes.

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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

8/6/2013 3:11:06 PM

That is tough to deal with

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

7/8/2013 9:08:26 PM

good article, thanks

Elizabeth    Harvey, LA

8/13/2011 12:46:19 PM

I have a black American short-hair who is 12 yrs. old. She is skinny. Her doctor thinks she is a little underweight. She gets plenty of food but is a picker. She is also very temperamental. Her weight fluctuates between 7 and 8 lbs. Other than that, she is perfectly healthy. I don't know what to do with her sometimes. I eats when she wants and what she wants. If I attempt to make any changes to her surroundings, she goes on these hunger strikes. She has the personality of a younger cat and she pounces and plays around with her younger sister. As long as she is healthy and there is no underlying health problems, I guess it depends on the cats personality. I have three female cats and each one has there own personality, like people. Some people are husky and eat a lot, some are athletic and eat normally and some eat but are naturally skinny.

hannah    hf, NY

7/9/2011 10:15:23 AM

My cat is young and when our other cat came she stoped playing games. She gained a few pounds which worried me because she has mild hip- dysplasia. If you have a 2 or more cat household, consider Separate playtimes. It worked on my cat she is now a healthy * pound kitty!

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