Understanding Cat Body Condition

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Understanding Your Cat's Body Condition

Cats come in all shapes and sizes, but the same general criteria determine whether a cat is under- or overweight. Using the guidelines here, a quick evaluation of your cat’s shape can tell you whether she’s at a healthy weight.

If you have any concerns, a veterinarian should examine your cat and set a proper diet plan for her.

Pet Obesity:
A Growing Problem.
58.3%
of cats
=
43.2
million
cats overweight
or obese
Source: 2012 Pet Obesity Study for the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
The Purina Body Condition System:
Too Thin
1
underweight top view underweight side view
1
underweight top view underweight side view
1
Ribs visible on shorthaired cats; no palpable fat; severe abdominal tuck; lumbar vertebrae and wings of ilia easily palpated.
1
Ribs easily visible on shorthaired cats; lumbar vertebrae obvious with minimal muscle mass; pronounced abdominal tuck; no palpable fat.
1
Ribs easily palpable with minimal fat covering; lumbar vertebrae obvious; obvious waist behind ribs; minimal abdominal fat.
Ideal
1
underweight top view underweight side view
1
Ribs palpable with minimal fat covering; noticeable waist behind ribs; slight abdominal tuck; abdominal fat pad absent.
1
Well-proportioned; observe waist behind ribs; ribs palpable with slight fat covering; abdominal fat pad minimal.
Too Heavy
1
underweight top view underweight side view
1
underweight top view underweight side view
1
Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering; waist and abdominal fat pad distinguishable but not obvious; abdominal tuck absent.
1
Ribs not easily palpated with moderate fat covering; waist poorly discernible; obvious rounding of abdomen; moderate abdominal fat pad.
1
Ribs not palpable with excess fat covering; waist absent; obvious rounding of abdomen with prominent abdominal fat pad; fat deposits present over lumbar area.
1
Ribs not palpable under heavy fat cover; heavy fat deposits over lumbar area, face and limbs; distention of abdomen with no waist; extensive abdominal fat deposits.
Download the Dog Body Condition Chart
The BODY CONDITION SYSTEM was developed at the Nestlé Purina Pet Care Center and has been validated as documented in the following publications: Mawby D, Bartges JW, Moyers T, et. al. Comparison of body fat estimates by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and deuterium oxide dilution in client owned dogs. Compendium 2001; 23 (9A): 70 Laflamme DP. Development and Validation of a Body Condition Score System for Dogs. Canine Practice July/August 1997; 22:10-15 Kealy, et. al. Effects of Diet Restriction on Life Span and Age-Related Changes in Dogs. JAVMA 2002;
220:1315-1320