Cat weights don’t vary among the domestic varieties nearly as much as dogs… but there is still some variation. Small breeds such as the Singapura, the Munchkin and other small breeds typically weigh less than 3.5 kilograms (males) or below 3 kilograms (females).
Larger breeds such the ragdoll cat weigh more than double this weigh with large males sometimes exceeding 9 kilograms. The Savannah cat which is the result of cross-breeding a wild serval cat with Siamese cats is larger still, but these cats are not available in Australia.
In between these extremes are the average-sized cats, most would weigh around four to 6.5 kilograms with males tending to be around 20% heavier.
The Guinness book of records is no longer accepting entrants for “heaviest cat” due to a campaign which showed this was leading to people intentionally overfeeding cats in order to try and attain this record… effectively forcing a life of poor health and early death on their cat for the sake of a record.
Cats and obesity
With the Western world, especially Australia is experiencing an obesity epidemic, likewise, the Western feline world is experiencing its own epidemic with over 50% of cats estimated to be overweight. Likely reasons are:-
- A domestic cat does not need to hunt for its food. In the wild, a cat needs to weigh up the benefits of hunting to catch more food versus the energy it would expend doing so. If it’s already full… chances are it’s not going to bother. But if all it needs to do is wander into the kitchen and start eating… They will tend to do so. You are doing your cat no favours by allowing it permanent access to food. Cats have a strong instinct to eat quickly and in large amounts when the opportunity presents. Who knows when the next meal is going to appear? Eat as if this might be your last one for some time. That’s fine in the wild – not so fine in the home when the next meal is always just around the corner – the kitchen corner.
- Cat owners often find it difficult to withhold food from a cat crying for more, even if it’s not in the cat’s best interests to eat more. Be strong.
- Feeding your cat a poor diet too high in calories. In the wild cats have an extremely low carbohydrate diet and they don’t convert carbohydrates well into immediate energy, first converting most to fat. Cheap cat foods are often bulked out with cereals which are far too high in carbohydrates for maintaining a healthy cat weight.
- Your cat lacking stimulation and exercise. Cats with access to a yard will probably get enough exercise, but many cats are 100% indoor cats. Make sure they have a play area, with swinging toys, scratching posts etc. A laser is a great way to exercise your cat and to interact with them. You can even get motorised ones that will move the laser for your cat to chase if you are too busy to do it yourself.
- Cats are scavengers as well as hunters. Cats will raid the rubbish, lick the gravy of plates… even climb into cupboards looking for cat treats, ripping open packaging to get to them.
- Neutered cats tend to be slightly less active and larger eaters for comfort.
Almost all breeds should be kept lean, the exceptions being breeds hailing from the far Northern hemispheres such as the Siberian cat which will tend to be heavier with thicker fur as they have been bred to handle colder temperatures. Domestic cats throughout Northern Europe and Russia tend to be stockier.
The repercussions of being too heavy are similar for cats as for people. Arthritis from too much strain on joints, diabetes from having to process too many carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease are common in overweight cats and expect them to have a shortened less comfortable lifespan.
So keep an eye your cat’s weight and ensure they live a healthier, active, longer life.