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Are some cats naturally skinny?

Each cat is as different as each human being, but these species run a close parallel. 

  • When you are ill or not feeling well, are you likely to have minor mood or behavior changes? So will a cat.
  • You may suddenly not want to be touched or become agitated when someone constantly strokes your forehead and does not want to give you your privacy. You want to be left alone. So will a cat. They find a hidden place to hide.
  • You have food items that you do not like the taste or texture of, so you refuse to eat them. Cats will not eat any cat food that smells bad or does not have the texture they prefer. While some cats eat fish, others may hate fish and choose chicken. While some cats eat meaty bits, others prefer pate. Humans have definite food preferences.
  • If you live with other people, I am sure that you do not always see eye to eye. There may be a time when you feel like you could slap the crap out of that person, but hopefully, you don’t. When you have a multi-cat household, cats do not always see eye to eye. There are times when one cat can and does slap the crap out of another cat, or you.

Are Some Cats Naturally Skinny? 

Does it seem like you spend a lifetime trying to become skinny and that friend of yours eats all the time and never gains a pound? Your body is a bit fluffy, and hers is fit and trim. Some humans and all cats care less if another is fat or skinny. We do as we please.

It is a fact that your parents and those before you passed on specific gene characteristics to you. Passing on gene characteristics in cat families works the same with adults. This can partly account for the fact that some cats are naturally big and other cats are always skinny. Sometimes genes in families, human and feline, get blamed when it is not genetics, causing them to be skinny and the others fluffy. The following breeds of cats are known to be naturally skinny.

  • The Somali
  • The Cornish Rex
  • The Peterbald
  • The Siamese (However, there is nothing skinny about my son’s Siamese cat, Willow. She is very fluffy. We do not feed her table food of any kind. She eats grain-free foods that are premium and top of the line. Her foods are well-balanced and weight sensitive. Her lab work is routine, and she has no underlying medical conditions like diabetes or kidney issues. She gets plenty of exercise. So, why is Willow so fluffy? The vet does not know, nor do I, unless it is in her genes.

The health of your female or male cat is improved when it is spayed or neutered. However, obesity can crop up in your cat as a side effect of spaying or neutering. The flip side is that if a cat has not been spayed or neutered, it tends to remain skinny because it expends a lot of energy when mating. 

If you notice a stray cat that is always skinny, it stands to reason why. Stray cats have a hard life on the street, fending for food and protecting themselves against predators and other stray cats and dogs. Stray cats use a lot of energy living on the street, trying to stay alive in the most inclement weather. Being skinny does not always mean that cat is ill.

Why Is My Cat So Skinny But Eats? 

Have you ever met someone, or do you have a family member or friend who always eats whatever they wish and never gains an ounce? On the other hand, you eat like a bunny rabbit, and if you pop one cookie or chip in your mouth, your scales groan when you step on them?

Sometimes the issue of cats eating all the time and remaining skinny or continuing to lose weight can be due to an underlying health issue. One of the cats’ most common health problems is the same thing that some humans suffer from, IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This happens when the walls of the intestine become inflamed. The gastrointestinal tract comprises the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon. Any of these parts can become inflamed and cause a problem. The cat may display frequent vomiting, restlessness, and constant diarrhea. 

Many times after the cat vomits, it wants to eat and will show increased restlessness until you feed it. Believe me when I say this is no fun for you or your cat. 

IBS and Isabella

I have a beautiful, loving cat named Isabella. When we adopted her, she weighed 16 pounds. Over five years, she lost half of her body weight and plummeted to 7.2 pounds. It is a constant fight over the whole of 2020-2021 to try to heal her gut. We have tried numerous food brands and what I discovered is that any foods containing grains cause her increased problems. She eats a diet free from grains, may have a steroid shot three times a year, is on a few doctor-prescribed herbs, plus occasional macrobiotics and probiotics to keep her IBS in check. 

She sniffs out anything I put into her food. If she sees me adding a crushed pill to her food, she refuses to eat the food. She is very intelligent. I cannot pill this cat or give her liquid medicine because she fights badly. I will not put her through this stress. She takes oral meds mixed with the stinkest grain-free fish food I can find. That is if I am really sneaky. When she does take her medicine it is a win for both of us.

A kitty that consistently loses weight or eats like a horse and does not gain weight needs to be examined by your veterinarian. Other health issues may be underlying, and some are very treatable, such as,

  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism (cats do not get hypothyroidism)
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Worms such as tapeworms
  • Fleas
  • Dental issues
  • Lack of proper nutrition
  • Gut issues

Can You Tell If a Kitten will Always be Skinny?

Mama cats give birth to multiple cats in a litter, usually three to seven kittens per litter. In a large litter of cats, there may be runts. This kitten is not aggressive enough to fight for food ahead of the more aggressive siblings. There may be more than one runt of the litter, and unfortunately, not all of these babies survive as they become weaker and less able to eat. Runts lack the essential nutrients from the mother cat, thus cannot thrive and soon succumb to death.

Cat owners most times intervene for these runts by bottle feeding the kittens. Intervention is the only way that this kitten survives. This is the only way that the kitten’s bones have a chance to grow stronger and its body develops. As this pretty runt of the litter grows, it may remain smaller than the rest of its siblings. When this runt becomes an adult, it may be one of those cats that eat all the time and cannot gain weight. This runt may be skinny all their life. 

How to Identify Runt Cats

  • Kittens are separated from the rest of the siblings by the mother.
  • Small size
  • Weak
  • Less active
  • Unable to move after birth like the stronger siblings
  • May show a deformity.
  • Inability to get to the mother’s milk

Mother cats know if one of her kids has a low chance of survival. Thus, the mother shoves the kitten to the side or abandons the kitten. Pet owners can save these kittens by spoon or bottle feeding them and providing the kittens with the loving care they need to grow. A runt usually becomes a skinny adult cat, but sometimes you may get lucky and see your runt as a beautiful fluffy fat cat. 

How Skinny is Too Skinny for a Cat? 

Cats, like their humans, are uniquely and wonderfully made. Some cats are tall, some short, some long and lanky, some are not as long with stubby legs. Some cats have long skinny tails, while others have short fluffy tails. Some cats are overflowing with fur coats, much like an Alaskan, while others have no fur at all. All cats are different. 

When you have a cat in your household day after day, it is difficult to notice weight changes until someone who has not seen your cat for a while visits and makes a remark like, “My goodness, Fluffy has certainly lost weight, are they OK?” You begin to wonder how you can tell if your cat is too thin and do you need to help them put on more weight. 

First, understand the breed of your cat and its body type. The breed tells you much about the typical physical structure of your cat. Cat breeds all have different physical forms, such as, but not limited to,

  • Siamese
  • Russan Blue
  • Rag Dolls
  • Persians
  • Himalayas
  • Savannah

A healthy weight means that your cat is well-proportioned and defined. As you hold, touch, and stroke your cat, you can feel a layer of fat on its abdomen located toward the back of the cat’s underside. This part of the tummy is used to protect it from predator bites and indicates the cat’s health.

As with humans, the doctor can look at our weight and height chart and say, “According to the chart, your weight should be in the range from something to something, and you should fall within that weight range.” Have you ever felt that you are just plum too short, and your weight would be fine if you were taller? I do not think that cats really care if they are skinny or fat. 

Average adult human body weights must consider genetics and body structure and so must your cat. The vet can give you the expected adult body weight for your cat, and they should fall within that range, give or take some ounces. 

There are definitive signs that your cat is too skinny by taking note of the following signs.

  • Are its ribs visible, and do they appear sharp?
  • Its midsection or stomach is relatively narrow.
  • Does the abdomen appear as though it has a sucked-in appearance?
  • You can see its spine and hips as though they are sticking outward.
  • The cat has a very narrow waist.
  • The hair is dull, thinning, and dry.

A Self-Help at Home Cat Weight Test

According to zooawesome, as I referenced the site, you can perform a test to see if your cat is too skinny if, 

  • No thin layer of fat covering the shoulders, ribs, spine, and pelvis 
  • Bones feel sharp and poke outward 
  • Shoulder bones are visible
  • Can feel the ribs and hip bones

If you notice your cat may be getting too skinny, and it may or may not be still eating and drinking, peeing, pooping, and remaining active, take your best friend for a medical exam and allow the vet to decide if your cat is too skinny.