Care & Advice - Cats

Cat body condition score

Making sure your cat is at an optimal body weight is really important when maintaining good health. The following Body Condition Score chart is based on a 1-5 point scale (1 = emaciated and 5 = obese). This chart is a useful technique to assess the condition of your cat but it is only a guide and if your cat does not fall into the ‘ideal’ range then consult your vet for further advice.

1. Emaciated
Easily visible ribcage, spine, pelvis and shoulder blades. No fat on rib cage. Loss of muscle mass.

2. Thin
Visible ribcage, spine, pelvis and shoulder blades. Clearly seen waist or abdominal tuck. Minimal abdominal fat.

3. Ideal
Ribcage and spine not visible but easily felt. Easily visible waist or abdominal tuck. Little abdominal fat.

4. Overweight
Ribcage and spine not easily felt. Absent waist or abdominal tuck. Abdominal distention.

5. Obese
Large fat deposits on thorax, abdomen and spine. Very obvious abdominal distention.

Top tips for looking after your cat

If your cat remains indoors provide access to fresh grass. Cat lawn can be purchased from some pet stores. Cats love to chew on grass, this is a natural behaviour; the exact reason for this is not known but theories suggest it helps the cat expel hairballs and other indigestible matter.

If you have an indoor cat, reduce the amount of food you feed to keep them in lean active condition as indoor cats have a tendency to put on weight.

If your cat is overweight do not free feed, but feed several portion controlled meals per day.

In hot weather add some ice cubes to your cat's water to help keep them cool.

Litter trays should be cleaned at least once a day, ideally more as cats can be put off by strong smelling odours. Regular emptying of the litter tray will alert you to any potential health problem, anything unusual should be discussed with your vet. If you have more than one cat you will need more than one litter tray, ideally one per cat with an extra one for good measure.

A variety of sturdy scratching posts, including horizontal and vertical posts and scratching pads will help encourage your cat to leave the furniture alone. Remember a well warn scratching post, is a well-loved scratching post.

Cats with long hair need regular grooming; having different brushes and combs around the house will make it easier to take advantage of a napping cat. However, pay attention to your cat’s mood and when they have had enough stop the grooming session.

A cat's mood can be assessed by paying attention to how he is holding his tail, watch your pet cat closely and you will quickly be able to learn how to read his tail movements.