How do I know if my cat is too fat or too skinny?

Cats, like humans, come in all shapes and sizes, and their ideal weight can be influenced by factors such as age, sex, breed, and overall health status. It's important to regularly monitor your cat's body condition to ensure they're maintaining a healthy weight.

Here's a basic guideline to help you understand if your cat is underweight, overweight, or just right:

1. **Feel the Ribs:** With your cat standing, run your hands along their side. If your cat is at a healthy weight, you should be able to feel their ribs easily under a light layer of fat. In overweight cats, you might not feel the ribs at all or they might be very difficult to feel due to excessive padding. In underweight cats, you'll feel the ribs prominently with little or no padding.

2. **Look at the Waist and Tummy:** View your cat from above and from the side. A cat with a healthy weight will have a visible waistline behind the ribs when viewed from above. From the side, their belly should appear tucked up, not sagging down. An overweight cat may lack a defined waist and have a noticeable roundness or even a sagging belly. An underweight cat may have an exaggerated waist and tucked abdomen, which makes their bones more noticeable.

3. **Feel the Spine and Shoulder Blades:** You should be able to easily feel your cat's backbone and shoulder blades, but they shouldn't be excessively prominent. If your cat is overweight, these bones may be hard to find under the fat. If your cat is underweight, the spine and shoulder blades might be overly prominent and sharp to the touch.

4. **Examine the Base of the Tail:** At the base of the tail, you should be able to feel but not see the bones. If you can see these bones, your cat might be underweight. If you can't feel these bones at all, your cat might be overweight.

If you're unsure about your cat's body condition or if you think they may be over or underweight, it's best to seek the advice of a veterinarian. They can provide you with a comprehensive health check and nutritional advice tailored to your cat's specific needs.

Remember, sudden weight gain or loss in a cat could be a sign of a serious health condition, so it's important to address any concerns promptly.