I want to measure the weight of my cat in order to see if he is healthy according to his BMI. So I want to know how can I measure the weight. What is the correct way?

  • 2
    If your vet has a scale, you could always visit them. – Ash Dec 3 at 18:48
  • 13
    Is the problem that your scale is not fine-grained enough or that you don't know how to fix the cat onto the scale? If the latter, just weigh yourself two times, once with cat, once without. The absolute difference equals the weight of the cat. – phresnel Dec 4 at 10:03
  • 5
    Hold your cat. Stand on scale. Drop cat. Subtract second figure from first figure. – Strawberry Dec 4 at 11:11
  • 3
    Put a newspaper on the scale. Begin reading the newspaper. – Acccumulation Dec 5 at 23:10
  • 2
    1. Measure the weight of your house with the cat in it. 2. Put the cat out. 3. Measure the weight of your house without the cat. 4. Subtract weight (3) from weight (1). The difference is the weight of your cat. – Bob Jarvis Dec 7 at 3:41
up vote 75 down vote accepted

Do you have a bathroom scale? If so, weigh yourself. Now pick up the cat and weigh yourself holding the cat. Subtract.

  • 14
    Good idea, but its easier to put a cardboard box on the scales, then zero it. Then simply put the cat in the box (or just wait) and then read the display. – Criggie Dec 4 at 0:54
  • 14
    @Criggie A bathroom scale might not register the weight of cardboard box correctly. IMHO a person, as suggested in the answer, is better. – Hanky Panky Dec 4 at 8:10
  • 33
    @Criggie Any self-respecting cat would jump out an instant before the display stabilises. And then look at you with an expression that says "Well, I didn't know you wanted me to stay put!" :-) Holding the cat always worked for my family. – TripeHound Dec 4 at 9:44
  • 9
    @Criggie I approve wholeheartedly of the "wait for the cat to enter the box" part. Cats will stay put in the box if they went there of their own accord, putting one somewhere it didn't choose to be is likely to be unreliable :P – Ruadhan2300 Dec 4 at 12:21
  • 24
    The downside of this answer is that you also have to now consider your own weight. – Valorum Dec 4 at 22:05

If you're concerned about healthy weight (not medication), the cat's weight in pounds or kilograms is less important than the amount of fat they're carrying.

According to Pets.WebMD, and the image shown below, the shape of the cat is a good gauge of your cat's healthy weight:

“Cats should have that hourglass figure when you’re looking down at them, they shouldn’t have a saggy belly hanging down, and you should be able to feel their ribs,” [Melissa Mustillo, DVM] says.

enter image description here

If your cat is overly fluffy or otherwise hard to visually assess, its weight can also be determined by feeling the spine and ribs, as described on Purina's "Assessing Your Cat's Body Condition" page:

Ideal Cat Weight(5)

A well-proportioned body – you should be able to see a waist behind the ribs; ribs can still be felt but with a slight fat covering. There will be a small paunch of fat on the abdomen. This level is a healthy weight for a cat.

In an underweight cat, "[r]ibs can be felt with a minimal fat covering" at the least severe level, down to "[r]ibs will visible on shorthaired cats, and they will not have any obvious fat." If the cat is overweight, that ranges from "[r]ibs can be felt but are covered with a slight excess fat covering" up to "[r]ibs and lumbar area are hidden under a heavy covering of fat, and heavy fat deposits are also present on the face and limbs."

It may take some practice and discussions with your veterinarian to get the hang of checking your cat's weight, but as it becomes routine to feel along it's ribs and spine, you'll begin to notice shifts in your cat's weight.

Note that the "saggy belly" may not always be the best metric for determining the weight of a cat; while it is present in overweight cats, it is often also present in cats who are not and have never been overweight, as addressed in the question "Why does my female cat stomach area hang so low?"

The "average" weight for a domestic cat is about 10 lbs, however, this varies depending on breed and build. Anecdotally, of my two adult cats, one would be underweight at 10 lbs, while the other starts edging into overweight at the same size.

If you have concerns about your cat's weight, before making any changes to his or her diet, you should consult with your veterinarian to be sure the cat is indeed over- or under-weight and develop a plan to get your cat to the ideal weight for his or her size.

  • 6
    Our Norwegian forest cat is too furry to even begin to guess the size under the fur. When wet it looks like a rat and when dry like a wolf. – KalleMP Dec 4 at 10:39
  • 3
    @KalleMP while shape doesn't work with the super-fluffy ones, the touch test (spine and ribs) should still work, since your fingers can get under the fur to feel the bone structure. – Allison C Dec 4 at 14:09
  • 1
    I don't like this answer because many cats (in my non-vet experience) have a very prominent primordial pouch which makes them look way fatter than they are. The feel test is much more reliable, imo. – Adonalsium Dec 5 at 21:30
  • 3
    I love this chart! My "kitten" who used to fit in the palm of my hands last spring is now 18 lbs, but according to this chart is ideal. Of course, he's also tall enough to get food off the counter by himself from the ground. Color me shocked the first time THAT happened!! – corsiKa Dec 5 at 23:24
  • 2
    That chart is actually slightly outdated; this is the new one being passed around these days i.imgur.com/SrtYVIr.jpg ;) – kayge Dec 6 at 18:01

I use a pet carrier and a digital fish scale.

With the cat, small dog, rabbit, etc in the pet carrier weigh with a digital fish scale. Hang the carrier by the handle on the fish scale hook.

Let the animal out of the carrier and weigh the pet carrier.

Subtract.

IMHO This gives a more accurate weight for medications.

Related Putting a cat into a carrier

  • 4
    This is an excellent solution, although it does require that you have a) a fish scale (or something similar, like a luggage scale) and b) a cat that is willing to enter a pet carrier without an epic struggle. – Ilmari Karonen Dec 3 at 21:48
  • 8
    @IlmariKaronen All instructions about cats and health that don't start with "First put on your plate armour and make sure the bandages are easily accessible" are deeply suspect to my mind... – Graham Dec 5 at 9:32
  • 1
    Why don't cats like cat carriers anyway? They're like a box, which they love, with a box on top!! – corsiKa Dec 5 at 23:25
  • 3
    @corsiKa in my cats case it's twofold. One, cat carrier equals vet, vet equals bad. Two, cat carrier is box that they usually can't leave, which is bad. – user12271 Dec 6 at 16:53
  • 1
    If you have a larger kitchen scale, you can also put the pet carrier on the scale. As mentioned, a luggage scale works perfectly too. – Paul Weber Dec 7 at 8:11

When we had a failing cat that we needed to put weight on, we actually bought a digital deli meat scale on eBay and that way we could accurately track his weight gain/loss. It works really well as long as the cat doesn't move around too much. And as I like to joke with our healthy cats, as a benefit, if the cat gets to be too much trouble, this method is accurate enough to determine how much I'd get if I ground up the cat and sold him for dog food.

For cats that squirm too much (especially kittens) a new approach we've taken is to use our hand-held luggage scale. Normally you attach this to the handle of a piece of luggage and lift it up and the scale registers the weight of the luggage. In this case, you can simply use a reusable cloth shopping bag. Plop the cat in the bag and lightly tie the handles so the cat can't escape, and weigh the bundle with the luggage scale. To be most accurate, you'd want to tare the scale with just the bag then weigh the cat, but to be honest the shopping bags we use are so flimsy they don't really have any weight to speak of.

New contributor
christopher j paynter is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

Locate a bathroom scale that is continuous reading (either mechanical, medical or externally powered type) and place it under the litter box. If your cat is happy with you snooping when doing its business then peek at the scale and wait for the cat to jump out and determine the difference.

If you cannot find a bathroom scale that is continuous reading you can probably get a mechanical fish or bag scale that you could suspend the litter box from but your cat may get a bit irritated with you for making their toilet shaky and take feline revenge by not using it so use only as a last resort.

If you cat prefers privacy when in the toilet you can use a Go-Pro or other cheap clone recording/time-lapse digital camera to record the scale display for a day and then look for the min and max value before a visit.

As an added bonus you can vicariously monitor how large the number one and two are to monitor eating habits and general condition of your cat. You can monitor multiple cats continuously if you want.

Obviously you can locate a scale that has a built in data-logger or communications port and it will save you the trouble of watching boring cat toilet videos.

  • 1
    This one is very well thought out :D – Paul Weber Dec 7 at 8:12

protected by Community Dec 5 at 20:59

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.