Home Weight Assessment for Cats

Written by Tanya Whipps RVN
January 19, 2023

Cats come in all shapes and sizes. Body Condition Scoring (BCS) has been developed as a nice easy way to ensure your cat has the right amount of lean muscle and fat for their body size. It is based on how easy it is to feel their ribs and spine, and how much tummy tuck you can see. It is an essential home weight assessment for cats.

If you have never completed a body condition assessment before we recommend starting with a 3-point process. This is a more simple assessment and allows you and your cat to become more familiar with the process. Firstly become comfortable with the 3-point process. If you wish to know more, you can then move on the the 5-point process. Both can be completed at home.

Always check your pet is happy to be touched before starting the 5-point Body Condition Score. 

How to do it   

This weight assessment for your cat is easiest done with your pet standing up.   

  • Start with a nice cuddle to relax your pet and then run the flat of your hand over your pet’s rib cage. You should be able to feel each rib without having to press too hard.   
  • Next run your hands down your pet’s back from neck to tail. You should just be able to feel the bones of the spine and hips under the muscle.   
  • Finally, the waistline. Look and feel around your pet’s waist from the top and the side. Looking down from the top you should see a slight “hourglass” shape as the waist of your pet comes in behind the ribcage. From the side, your pet’s tummy should go up towards the back legs, and not down in a pot-bellied fashion.  

Use our pictures below to help you assess which category your pet comes into.  

BCS 1-2 Under Ideal Weight 

  • Your cat’s ribs are easily felt when you run your hands over them.   You can easily feel their spine and bony prominences.    
  • When looking from above they have a prominent waist behind the ribcage and from the side their tummy tucks up sharply.   


Under Ideal Weight


We recommend contacting your Veterinary Healthcare team ASAP to discuss this further  

BCS 3 Ideal (Perfect) Weight

  • You can feel your cat’s ribs with a slight fat covering.    
  • Looking from above there is a small waist behind the rib cage and from the side your cat’s tummy tucks up slightly.   
  • If your pet is a healthy weight, you should easily feel the ribs   

Ideal bodyweight 


Checking your pet’s BCS once a month will help you to maintain an ideal weight for your pet.  

BCS 4-5 Over Ideal Weight 

It’s difficult to feel your cat’s ribs and looking from above there is no evidence of a waist behind the ribcage.   

Looking from the side, the tummy goes straight along, or goes downwards.   There could be a fat pad present on the tummy giving a potbelly.   

Over Ideal Weight


We recommend discussing this with one of our experienced veterinary team, who can offer tips and advice on weight management and nutrition  

Where to get weight assessment help for your cat

Assessing your cats weight at home is a great step to keep them healthy. Our experienced veterinary team are able to offer tips and advice for effective weight management throughout your pet’s life. They can also assist with body condition scoring if you require help with this.

I want to know more

Your veterinary staff will use a 9-point body condition score weight assessment. It may be easiest to start with 3-point assessment at home. All assessments give the same outcome, it is the detail that changes.

You will find details on the different scoring processes by following the links below

3-point Body Condition score

9-point Body Condition Score

Become a member

Members get more peace of mind. If you would like information on pet health welfare or wellbeing become a member to call our team at any time 24/7/365

© 2024 Pet GP. All Rights Reserved

  • Health
  • Nutrition