Knowing when your pet is too tubby is like trying to gauge if a child’s weight is healthy. There’s size as well as shape to consider. Fur can be deceptive, especially if your pet has a long coat. Also, some cats are simply naturally chubbier than others.

For me, I find the easiest way is to start by looking down on a cat from above when your pet is standing up on all fours. The shape should be naturally sleek. If the belly is sticking out, then there’s too much fat around the tum.

Next, look at your pet from the back and then the front when he is sitting down. If you’re seeing a massive pear shaped butt, your pet’s probably a little bit too plump.

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Then, pet your cat thoroughly, paying particular attention to the rib area. If you can’t feel ribs, there’s probably too much padding, if your cat has a short coat. If your cat has a long coat, it may be easier to explore the back legs.

Finally, look at how active and agile your kitty is. Cats do slow down when they’re older, so you may not have a pet bouncing about. However, he or she should be able to chase a ball or wrestle happily and easily with a furry friend.

Also, healthy sized cats should be able to jump up on the sofa and coffee table easily. Most cats can also leap up on the dining room table and kitchen counter easily – although elderly cats may find that a little too high.

If you do find your pet is too fat, be gentle. Inside cats especially may eat out of sheer boredom and ex-strays may have anxious attitudes towards food. So don’t be brutal about a diet as this can be perceived as punishment by your cat. Play more, cuddle more and gradually reduce portions.

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