Is My Maine Coon Overweight?


It is very difficult to tell if a long-haired cat such as a Maine coon is overweight or if it’s just its fur that gives it a sizeable appearance. Maine Coons have an abundance of long fur on their tummies and sides and this can easily conceal a few extra pounds. It’s no wonder that owners sometimes ask, “Is my Maine Coon overweight?”

In order to know if a Maine Coon is overweight, you need to be aware of the correct Maine Coon weight according to the cat’s length and height. This isn’t an exact science. If you gently feel your Maine Coon’s tummy and it hangs down lower than its rib cage and bulges out wider than its rib cage from side to side it could be overweight.

Ways To Tell If Your Maine Coon Is Overweight

The best way to tell if your Maine Coon is overweight is to examine its body shape. Because of all that fluffy fur, you will need to use your hands as well as your eyes.

  • Look at your cat from above and run your hands along its sides from front legs to hips. It should be narrower at the waist area.
  • Feel your cat’s tummy. It should be slightly higher than the bottom of its rib cage and not bulge out.
  • Stroke your cat’s sides and back. You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs, spine and hip bones but they shouldn’t protrude.

If your cat passes the sight and feel test and isn’t overweight, ensure it stays this way by providing it with a healthy diet and activity regime as described later on. If you’re worried that your cat is overweight then don’t worry: there’s plenty you can do to rectify the situation.

When Is a Maine Coon Classed as Obese?

Maine Coons can vary hugely in weight. Some weigh as little as 9 or 10 lbs whereas others can be perfectly healthy at 20 lbs. Your vet is the best person to judge the right weight for your cat according to its body length and height.

In general, an obese cat is one that weighs more than 20 percent over its ideal body weight. So if your Maine Coons ideal weight is 14 lbs but it actually weighs 16.8 lbs then it has entered the obese zone.

If your Maine Coon weighs 16 lbs and your vet recommends it loses 2 lbs this is a relatively large amount. To give this some perspective:

  • If a Maine coon is 2 lbs overweight this is comparable to a woman whose ideal weight is 140 lbs actually weighing 168 lbs so needing to lose 28 lbs.
  • If a Maine coon is 3 lbs overweight this is comparable to a woman whose ideal weight is 140 lbs actually weighing 182 lbs so needing to lose 42 lbs.

What Causes Obesity in Maine Coons?

Is My Maine Coon Overweight?

Most of the time obesity in cats is caused by overfeeding. This is generally not intentional. Many people are surprised at how little a Maine Coon actually needs to eat each day.

As an example, a Maine Coon that is a healthy weight at 15 lbs needs to intake just 270 to 300 calories per day. As a responsible owner, you should work out what the right amount of food is and stick to it. Remember cats don’t need treats. They can contain a fairly high amount of calories so don’t get into the habit of providing them. What a cat has never had it never misses.

What Happens When Your Maine Coon is Obese?

In short, if you allow your Maine Coon to become and remain overweight you could very well be contributing to it having a short, unhealthy and uncomfortable life.

Your cat only has to be 2 lbs above its ideal weight to be at risk of developing health problems including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Joint problems
  • Cancer

IMPORTANT

Before Starting Your Maine Coon On Any Weight Loss Regime Visit Your Vet To Make Sure It Has No Underlying Medical Conditions.

Once your vet has declared your Maine Coon fit they can:

  • Tell you what it should weigh
  • Tell you how much weight it needs to lose
  • Tell you how much it should eat to lose weight at a safe rate
  • Tell you how much it should eat to maintain its weight once it reaches its ideal weight
  • Advise you on the best foods to ensure your it gets a balanced diet throughout its weight loss program
  • Ensure your cat is healthy enough to be encouraged to exercise on a daily basis to aid weight loss

What Foods Help Maine Coons Lose weight?

The easiest food to overfeed a cat with is dry food. It doesn’t look like a huge amount when poured into a dish but it is high in calories.

High protein and low carbohydrates are the best foods for cats who need to lose weight. Canned wet food is the easiest way to provide this type of diet.

Don’t free-feed a cat that needs to lose weight as it is easy to lose track of how much you have put down in a day. Use precisely measured portions 2 to 3 times a day that add up to your cat’s daily allowance.

Symptoms Displayed by Overweight Maine Coons

Snoring and breathing difficulties

Just like people, overweight cats often snore. They may struggle to breathe deeply as they can’t inflate their lungs sufficiently and so exhale before getting enough oxygen.

Inactivity and Reluctance to Play

Cats do slow down as they reach their senior years but if a younger cat becomes lazy, reluctant to jump, play and climb this could be because of excess weight.

Is My Maine Coon Overweight?

Oily Skin and Dandruff

An overweight cat loses the capability to groom itself properly. Over time this often leads to a visible deterioration of its skin and coat condition.

Constipation and Urinary Tract Infections

A bad diet can lead to constipation and overweight cats can find toileting correctly too strenuous because of the pressure fat puts on their joints and spine. If A cat hasn’t been cleaning itself thoroughly urinary tract infections can be a consequence.

Appearance From Above

When viewed from above, a cat’s body should dip in at the waist (between its ribs and hips). When profile, a normal-weight cat’s abdomen tends to be a relatively straight line from the ribs to the hips. The lower the stomach hangs as you approach the hips, the greater the chance your cat is overweight or obese.

What You Can Do to Help Your Maine Coon Lose Weight

As mentioned above, take your cat to the vets and follow their advice.

Never withhold food from your Maine Coon. Feeding it twice a day at 12-hour intervals is an easy plan to follow.

Aim for your cat to lose a steady 2 to 3 ounces per week. Any more than this is too restrictive in calories.

How To Calculate Required Calories For Weight Loss

Just like for people, if a cat consumes fewer calories than it requires each day and exercises a little more the result will be weight loss. How many calories should a Maine Coon consume and what do the right portions look like?

The table below is a rough guide of how many calories a Maine coon requires per day to maintain its weight:

Weight in lbs Calories for weight maintenance Approximate dry food for weight maintenance (oz) Calories for weight loss Approximate dry food for weight loss (oz)
102532.332021.86
123042.822432.26
143553.352842.68
153803.503042.80
164053.883243.10
184564.233653.38

Please Note: The above table is only an approximate guide. Please consult a vet for more accurate nutritional advice

Is My Maine Coon Overweight?
To give you an idea of how little a cat needs to eat each day, here’s a bowl of diameter 4.5 inches, depth 1 inch filled with 3.5 ounces of dry food containing 380 calories

Many people offer their cats dry food only. It is much easier to overfeed a cat with dry food as it is extremely calorie dense, as you can see in the photo above which shows the daily requirement for a 15 lb cat.

If you offer wet food a pouch weighing 3.5 oz contains approximately 80 calories so four pouches contain 320 calories, that’s 60 calories less than the single bowl of dry food shown above.

Reducing Your Cat’s Food Portions

It’s best to do this gradually over the course of several days so it doesn’t notice. If you are changing from dry to wet, offer half and half and gradually reduce the dry and increase the wet.

Cat Exercise

The more your Maine Coon moves the more calories it will burn up, and you will have to be instrumental in encouraging it to get off the couch! Many Maine Coons are indoor cats and so don’t use up as much energy as outdoor cats do.

Some people take an indoor Maine Coon for a stroll in a harness but many cats are not comfortable doing this. A harness prevents their natural instinct to dart away from what they perceive to be a threat and can cause a great deal of stress.

Is My Maine Coon Overweight?

Here are some simple tips for getting your cat to move more:

  • Put its food down in small portions in various places all over your home (upstairs and downstairs if possible) and encourage it to go and find it
  • Invest in a feather or catnip toy on a string and encourage your cat to chase it
  • Some Maine Coons will play fetch. See if you can teach your cat this energetic game
  • Buy a laser pointer and get your cat to chase it all over the place
  • Buy plenty of scratching posts, scratching loungers, and an indoor climbing tree to keep your cat stimulated. Here are our favorite indoor trees
  • Interchange its toys so it doesn’t become bored
  • Break play up int at least two 10 minute sessions per day

Regular Weight Checks

Weigh your cat once a week for a few weeks to check its weight is reducing at no more than 2 to 3 ounces per week. Once you are certain its weight loss is steady keep up the weekly weigh-ins until it reaches its goal weight. Then if your cat keeps losing you can gradually increase its food intake until it maintains a healthy weight.

Begging Cats

Is My Maine Coon Overweight?

If your cat wakes you meowing for food or begs for extra during the day don’t give in. Sometimes it is just bored. Distract it with play, give it some fuss and attention and, hopefully, you will break these habits.

Avoid automatic free-feeders as they encourage your cat to overeat.

Make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water available at all times. A water fountain offers a great distraction.

Multi-Cat Households

Is My Maine Coon Overweight?

It is difficult to put one cat on a diet when the other is an ideal weight. Here are a few solutions to this conundrum:

  • Feed the cats in separate rooms and get out of the habit of leaving food down during the day. Cats soon adjust to this and eat everything at once instead of grazing.
  • Feed the normal weight cat on a high surface that the overweight cat can’t reach. Make sure this cat doesn’t jump down to steal from the dieting cat.

Conclusion

It is much easier to help your Maine Coon to maintain a healthy weight from the start than it is to put it on a diet. So keep a close eye on its size with visual checks and by feeling its body shape. If your cat gains weight and you’re convinced it eats the right amount, make sure it isn’t being fed elsewhere. If in any doubt, take it for a health check.

And just to repeat my earlier message: Do make sure you consult with your vet before you start your cat on a weight loss and exercise regime. It’s better to be safe than sorry.



Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog, and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences plus those of my family and friends.

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