How to assess your cats weight at home

Written by Louise Horton RVN
January 19, 2023

Cats come in all shapes and sizes. Body Condition Scoring is a quick and effective way to assess if your cat has the right amount of lean muscle and fat for their body size. This allows you to easily assess your cats weight at home. Body Condition Scoring is based on how easy it is to feel their ribs and spine. You can easily do this at home with your pet. It’s like having a hug with some extra healthiness thrown in! 

Dogs and cats often require 25% less total daily calorie intake after they have been neutered? Weight related health issues are experienced by pets long before they are considered very overweight or obese. But how can you tell if you have an obese cat?


Firstly, ensure your pet is standing up on a non-slip surface before completing this assessment. Always check your pet is happy to be touched before starting the Body Condition Score. 

Assessing your cat's weight

Start with a nice cuddle to relax your pet and then run the flat of your hand over your pet’s rib cage.

After that compare what you are feeling to the hand assessment below.

Finally use our pictures to help you assess which category your pet comes into.

Hand Assessment

Under Ideal Weight

  • Make a fist. 
  • Gently run your fingers over the back of your knuckles.  
  • If your knuckles feel the same as your pet’s ribs, they are under their ideal weight.

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

    under ideal weight hand assessment

    Ideal Weight

    • Place your hand palm side down. Your fingers need to be extended and pointing forwards. 
    • Run your fingers over your outer knuckles
    • If your knuckles, feel the same as your pet’s ribs, they are close to their ideal weight. 

    Advice: We recommend checking your pet’s body condition score monthly. This will help maintain optimum weight management 

    over ideal weight hand assessment

    Over Ideal Weight

    • Place your hand palm side up. Your fingers need to be extended and pointing forwards. 
    • Run your fingers over the base of your fingers on the inner surface of your hand. 
    • If your lower knuckles, feel the same as your pet’s ribs, they are over their ideal weight. 
    ideal weight hand assessment

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


    Checking your cats body condition score once a month will help you to maintain an ideal weight for your pet.  

    Following this record your findings in a diary or on a calendar. This allows you to assess change over time.

    Where to get help

    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

    Primarily this 3-point score is a basic assessment. This assessment is quick and easy to complete at home.

    Firstly become comfortable with the 3-point process. Secondly, if you wish to know more, you can then move on the the 5-point process. Both can be completed at home.

    More detail is gained from either a 5-point or 9-point body condition score. These processes are more complex and more accurate. Your groomer or per store usually assess using a 5-point assessment. Your veterinary staff will use the 9-point assessment. All give the same outcome it is the detail within the outcome that changes. You will find more details on these processes by following the links below.

    5-point Body Condition Score

    9-point Body Condition Score

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    If you would like any more information on this or any other pet health related queries, please contact our team of Registered Veterinary Nurses

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