Many velvet paws have to do today rather with the problem that they carry too much weight with themselves. But there are also the naturally slim specimens. Slim or already too thin, that is the question.
It is the same with cats as with people. What one calls chubby or well-fed, the other finds simply fat. One prefers slim, long-legged people, the other doesn’t like skinny figures. Breeding has responded to the tastes of people in pedigree cats and produced very body shapes. So there are more than just hairy worlds between Persians and Sphynxes.
But whether a cat is too fat, too thin or just right is not decided by weight alone. Four kilos are perhaps normal for a European Shorthair. With a full-grown Maine Coon male this would be massive underweight. Some breeds like the Persian and the British Shorthair have a stocky and massive physique. Others, like the Coons, the Norwegians or Siberians, are large and muscular breeds. In contrast, all Orientals look graceful. Here the weight to the yardstick to want to make, would be wrong and the scale alone is unfortunately not much use.
The weight does not always say something about the figure.
How to tell if your cat is too thin
Just as there is a fine line between being chubby and being too fat, there is a fine line between being slim and being too thin. This is not always so easy to determine with every cat, especially not with the long-haired representatives, because the fur hides a lot of things. Look closely at your animal: If you look at the back from above and see a slight waist, then all is well. Notice from the side a straight slightly rising belly line or a minimal tummy? This is also ok. If, on the other hand, the abdominal line is strongly retracted or your furry friend is strongly sunken on the flanks? Then the vet should examine the cat.
There is one more thing you can do: carefully feel your furry pelt. Can you feel the ribs well and also count them? A small layer of tissue above is normal. The ribs, however, should not be visible, because that would be a clear sign of malnutrition in cats with short fur. Cats with a lot of hair, such as Persians, cannot be judged by this indication, because the ribs can never be seen through the fur.
Five reasons your cat is getting thinner
- Lack of nutrition
- Permanent stress
- Parasite infestation
- Chronic diseases
- Rolliness and rearing of kittens
The slim line is in the genes of Abyssinians.
If you’ve ever taken in a street cat, you’ve seen what half-starved kitties look like. Rattled skinny, sunken, hardly any muscles, shaggy coat, sunken eyes. The hunger wears out the animals. Even if cats are fed poorly for a long time, i.e. with too little or inferior food, they continuously lose weight. Mainly the flanks drop in, the legs get thinner and thinner, the head seems big compared to the body. Cats as carnivores need a food with high quality proteins. If they are missing, severe health problems and malnutrition can occur. If you want to feed a cat that is too thin, make sure it is fed a particularly nutritious and high quality food. There are also special, very high-calorie foods for animals with special needs, such as lactating mothers or cats in the recovery phase.
This is called an athletic figure: muscular and lean, but not thin.
The cat is stressed and does not want to eat
Stress is hard on the stomach – not only for two-legged friends, but also for velvet paws. Especially when there is something very wrong with the way the cat is kept, some cats refuse to eat. A frequent reason is bullying in the cat group. If an animal is not allowed by the others to the food bowls or is constantly harassed while eating, this causes fear. Such "underdogs" or better "undercats" then withdraw and dare only in the company of their human to the food. In the process they slowly and steadily lose weight and become skinny.
Also mourning around a familiar cat partner or humans is stress and shows itself with so some animal in food refusal. Fortunately, cats have a healthy survival instinct and do not starve easily. But a few days of refusal of food, too little liquid and rapid weight loss can already harm the health.
We provide the right nutrition for your velvet paw
Worms, giardia, etc.: Parasites cause problems for cats
Especially outdoor cats need regular deworming. Because they can come into contact with uninvited guests at any time. But also apartment cats are affected, if the human carries worm eggs on the shoes into the apartment with them. Whether roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms or lung, heart and bladder worms, they are parasites that can cause significant damage to the health of the animal. Undetected, they lead to diarrhea, dull coat, lack of appetite and weight loss. So regular deworming is important. If the cat is too thin and has possibly diarrhea, a fecal examination is the first step.
This is also immediately examined for other causative agents: Giardia, Coccidia, Clostridia. Giardia and coccidia are protozoa that belong to intestinal parasites. They are extremely stubborn and it takes patience to get rid of them again. Both are contagious to other cats and humans and damage the intestines if the host, i.e. the cat, is not treated. Both cause long-lasting diarrhea. The cat eats, but becomes thinner and thinner.
Clostridia, on the other hand, are bacteria that form spores. They belong to the normal intestinal inhabitants, but if they are present in excess, can lead to dangerous infections. They often occur with a weak immune system, after therapy with antibiotics or with nutritional disorders. They also cause severe diarrhea and emaciation.
The cat is too thin? Have diseases clarified
If your animal does not suddenly but over a longer period of time becomes more and more slender, there is always a suspicion of organic problems.
- Hyperthyroidism (SDu)
- Chronic renal insufficiency (CNI)
- Dental diseases
are accompanied by weight loss. All these are also typical diseases in seniors, but not only. Above all diabetes mellitus and CNI can get also younger animals.
With a thyroid hyperfunction the inner restlessness of the kitty is noticeable. They often wander around, vocalize a lot, are constantly hungry, eat a lot and yet become thinner and thinner.
Chronic kidney failure almost always leads to a loss of appetite. The affected animals often feel sick. They completely refuse to eat and collapse severely.
Typical sign of diabetes is great thirst, but also constant hunger. Nevertheless, if not treated, the cats become thinner and thinner. All three diseases can be treated to some extent and the weight can stabilize.
Since cats are masters at hiding pain, it is often not noticed until very late that their teeth are causing them problems. Some velvet paws simply eat less and become more and more slender, because food intake causes them pain. Often it is FORL, a disease in which the teeth dissolve and break off. Only when they are pulled and the mouth is healed, the cat gains weight again.
The senior cat becomes thinner
Our kitties are getting so much older today than they were a few years ago. Highly aged velvet paws of 18 and more years are long no longer rare. However, even fit seniors are not spared the effects of old age. This means that eyes and ears no longer function as well, that bones become tired – and also that one or the other cat becomes thinner. This may be related to hyperthyroidism, which is common in old age, but it does not have to be. With greater need for rest and less activity, appetite sometimes decreases as well. The cat becomes thinner. If there are no abnormalities in the blood work, a special senior food and overall high-quality nutrition can help your furry friend live a good life.
Pregnant or lactating mothers need the best nutrition
During pregnancy an expectant mother needs many energy reserves. But even more so when the young are around, they have a Herculean task to accomplish. Many a delicate feline has given birth to a litter of six or seven kittens. This takes a lot of strength and sometimes the mothers even lose weight in the process. But this must not happen, so special food and several small meals a day can help.
Whether a cat is too thin cannot be determined in general, but only in individual cases. When an animal loses weight, it can be due to stress, parasites, chronic diseases or painful teeth.