Are you trying to be proactive about your cat’s health and figure how to weigh your cat at home? It may seem like a daunting task. After all, you might not have a special pet scale at home, and we all know how difficult it can be to get a cat to sit still to weigh them. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Keeping an eye on your cat’s weight is quite important for their overall health and well-being. Both overweight and underweight cats are susceptible to other health issues, so you definitely want to make sure your cat is maintaining a healthy cat weight.
The good news is that it’s quite easy to keep track of your cat’s weight right at home on a regular basis!
Knowing Your Cat’s Healthy Weight
Perhaps you’re wondering, “How to tell if my cat is overweight?” Each cat is different, so establishing what a normal weight is for your cat will depend on factors such as their breed, age, sex, and whether or not they are spayed or neutered. Experts agree that the average cat weight range is usually around 8-10 pounds, but that can vary for the reasons just mentioned.
Your veterinarian can help you determine what a healthy weight is for your cat, but then you’ll want to regularly check it at home to make sure your cat is maintaining it. We recommend checking your cat’s weight on a monthly basis.
As mentioned, an overweight or underweight cat can be prone to health problems, some of them quite serious. Losing and gaining weight can also be a symptom of underlying health issues. Because cats are relatively small animals, a weight loss or gain of even a pound is concerning, which is why you should keep a log of your cat’s weight checks.
Logging your cat’s weight will help you to notice any trends, and it may even lead you to catch a health problem before it gets too serious. We all know how important early detection is with our cat’s health!
To log your cat’s weight all you need is a dedicated notebook, a spreadsheet, the notes app on your phone, or even a pet health tracking app. Whichever way you prefer is perfect!
How to Weigh Your Cat at Home
If you’re starting to feel a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry. Learning how to weigh your cat at home is actually quite easy. All you need is a scale. There are a few different kinds that will work for weighing a cat.
Types of scales:
- Pet scale – will give you the most accurate reading, as it is specially calibrated to accurately read smaller weights
- Baby scale – will also give you a pretty accurate reading, since it is designed to read weights similar to that of a cat
- Luggage scale with a hook – will give you an accurate reading as well
- Regular bathroom scale – though not as accurate as a pet, baby, or luggage scale, a regular bathroom scale will do the job if you don’t have any of the other options
How to weigh Cat at home with a regular bathroom scale (known as the subtraction method):
- Pick up your cat and stand on the scale to determine your combined weight.
- Put your cat down and weigh yourself.
- Subtract your weight from Step 2 from your combined weight from Step 1.
How to weigh Cat at home with a scale intended for small animals or babies:
- Place your cat on the scale and try to get them to sit still long enough for the scale to register.
- If your cat won’t sit still, you can put a box or basket on the scale first.
- Tare the scale (set it to zero with the box or basket on it).
- Place your cat in the box or basket to measure.
How to weigh Cat at home with a luggage scale (this also requires a carrier or bag of some kind):
- Place the cat carrier or bag on the luggage scale hook without your cat inside.
- Tare the scale (set it to zero with the carrier/bag hanging from it)
- Place your cat in the carrier/bag to measure.
When weighing your cat at home, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, before your cat has eaten anything. That way their weight won’t be affected by anything they’ve eaten that day or haven’t quite digested yet.
Take your time and be patient with yourself. Learning how to weigh your cat at home is a process and it will take time for both you and your cat to be comfortable.
How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight or Underweight
Now you may be wondering, “Is my cat overweight?” To determine that, you can do a visual and physical check of your cat at home.
How to do a physical/visual weight check of your cat:
- Place your thumbs on your cat’s backbone and spread both hands down and across their rib cage. You should be able to feel their ribs, but you shouldn’t be able to see them.
- Examine your cat’s side profile. This works best if you are level with your cat. Check for your cat’s abdomen to be tucked behind their rib cage rather than flapping down.
- Examine your cat from above to check if you can see their waist behind the ribs, but not pronounced.
As mentioned, your vet can also help you determine a healthy baseline weight for your cat during their regular wellness visits. Then as you do your cat’s regular weight checks at home, you’ll be able to gauge whether your cat is gaining or losing any weight.
One of the biggest reasons to log your cat’s weight is to be able to notice trends and changes over time. As you weigh your cat each month, you may notice small fluctuations. A change of 2-3 ounces up or down is nothing to be concerned about unless it becomes a trend in the same direction month after month.
If you start noticing bigger changes, like 8-10 ounces or more, then you should start to be concerned. 8-10 ounces may not seem like a lot, but 8 ounces is 6% of an 8-pound cat’s body weight. Weight loss of only 6% of a cat’s body weight is considered cat rapid weight loss and is a clinical sign. Rapid weight gain is also something to be concerned about.
As a responsible cat parent, you can see why something as simple as tracking your cat’s weight is so important. Sudden or trending changes can alert you to underlying health issues, and keeping a regular log will make noticing those changes so much easier. You can then work with your vet to figure out a plan and prioritize your cat’s health.
Which of the ways listed do you find is the easiest for weighing your cat at home?
Your cat’s weight is one of the five vital stats that we encourage you to monitor. Join us in our Pet Health 5 movement, and together we can start tracking our pet’s health. All it takes is 5 minutes of your time, and we’ll even send you a reminder on the 5th of each month with a checklist of what to do and how to do it.
Start today by weighing your cat and signing up for Pet Health 5.
About the Author: Emily is “mom” to seven cats, one dog, and two sugar gliders. She has been writing in the pet industry for over 8 years, with a focus on cats, rescue, and adventuring. When she isn’t writing, playing music, crocheting, or working on her own entrepreneurial pursuits, Emily and her husband enjoy hiking, road-tripping, camping, and canoeing with their three cat adventurers. Follow her on her blog, KittyCatGo.