Dear Tabby: Is My Cat Fat?

deartabbyDear Tabby,

I have a 4 year old cat that we rescued about 2 years ago. She’s a sweet cat, named Sarah, but I think she is overweight. We’ve never had cats before, but my aunt did and she would just put a big bowl of food out for her cats everyday. We do that for Sarah, but she eats it all in the morning, so sometimes I give her more at night because she seems to be starving. Is that okay? She doesn’t do much but lie around and sleep.

Mom to a Fat Cat


Dear Fat Cat Mom,
Free feeding works only if the cat eats only when they are hungry. It sounds like Sarah eats whenever there is food available. First thing is to stop doing that and talk to your vet about your cat’s weight. There are body condition charts that you can also use to see if your cat is overweight. You have to be really honest if you use these and don’t try to delude yourself.
Here’s a great article on free feeding from the Feline Nutrition Organization…Cats are Not Cows!

And here’s the cat body conditioning chart.
Body condition score chart cats-page-001

In addition, YES you should exercise your cat. A 4-year old cat has many years ahead of them and exercise is as important to their health and longevity as it is for you. We’ve posted several pieces on exercising your cat – check some of them out for some easy exercise ideas.


Good luck and keep us posted.

Dear Tabby

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  1. Great question and answers! We see a lot of rescued cats that are over weight, I think it stems from being without food so when they have a chance to eat they are going to eat it all as they don’t know when their next meal will be. It’s up to us to keep them fit and monitor their food intake.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Monday Mischief~Chapstick Bandit/Counter SurferMy Profile

    • Absolutely…and maybe have a couple of dogs to run them around 😉
      KitKat recently posted…Dear Tabby: Is My Cat Fat?My Profile

  2. Great post! I love the diagram for how your kitty should look. I have seen them for dogs before, but never kitties! Thanks for sharing!
    xx husky hugz!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Huskies LOVE Bowzer Box!My Profile

    • You’re welcome – please share with any flabby tabbies you might know.
      KitKat recently posted…Dear Tabby: Is My Cat Fat?My Profile

  3. In our experience, free feeding and cats is more of a myth than anything. It seems about half the cats do just fine that way, and the others just snarf it all down and get fat.
    Emma recently posted…Make Your Pup A Banana Strawberry Ice Cream CakeMy Profile

    • Better to regulate the feeding, then there’s no issue.
      KitKat recently posted…Dear Tabby: Is My Cat Fat?My Profile

  4. I agree with Emma, free feeding just doesn’t work with a lot of cats. We always knew it was a mistake when our cats would eat to the point of throwing up, and then be looking for more! It is difficult to judge weight with cats, especially if you are new to them. But you can tell, and that chart is a great way to do so.
    Jan K recently posted…Cats’ Turn! #WellnessPetFoodMy Profile

    • Yeah, leads to bulemia! Yikes!
      KitKat recently posted…Dear Tabby: Is My Cat Fat?My Profile

      • I never even thought of it that way, but it’s so true! Our cat Bones was the first one that we experienced that with, and she was always chubby.
        Jan K recently posted…#FuelTheCure Blog Hop & FundraiserMy Profile

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