During every routine health check your vet will want to accurately weigh your cat, check its body condition score and review its nutrition. These are fundamental parts of the health check and can provide vital information. If you record your cat’s body weight and body condition score at each visit, you will be able to plot cthese over time, allowing you and your vet to see any changes or emerging trends.
Assessing bodyweight is important for checking of normal growth in kittens and of the weight of adult cats. Middle-aged cats (during their Mature and early Senior years) are the cats that are most likely to suffer from being overweight, but in some cats this can happen at a very early age. Being overweight will predispose to many different diseases (including liver, heart and joint disease, and even increases the risk of some cancers developing). However, abnormal loss of weight is also a concern as this can be an early indicator of a significant underlying disease that needs investigation. Some active outdoor cats will lose weight during the spring and summer and put it on again during the more sedentary autumn and winter months, and this pattern will become obvious over the years.
Body condition score
Regular and accurate weighing of cats is important, and your veterinary clinic is the best place for this as they have weighing scales especially suited and calibrated for this purpose. However, the weight of the cat is only part of the story. The weight of a normal healthy adult cat can actually be very variable – from less than 3 kg for a small cat to more than 6 kg for a large cat. Because of this it is also sensible to look at the cat’s body condition score (or BCS) and record this too, each time it is weighed. The chart shows a body condition score (BCS) system that is commonly used for this purpose. Your vet can explain to you in more detail how to do a BCS evaluation, and you can carry on doing this at home. Cats should ideally maintain a BCS score of between 4 and 5 on this 9-point scale.