Whiskers: “What body condition score would you give me, Fluffy?”
Fluffy: “You are definitely an 8. Whereas, I am a 5 which they call, ideal!”
Whiskers: “What does that even mean? Am I fat?!”
Fluffy: “Us cats are given body condition scores based off of a few parameters. This helps the humans assess our health.”
Body condition score cat parameters
There is both a 1-5 and a 1-9 cat body condition score (BCS) system. Using the 1-9 scale allows for a more precise depiction of body condition because there are more categories available. The following is a description and interpretation of the cat body condition score from 1-9, with 1 being extremely thin, a 4-5 being ideal and 9 being obese.
1: The cat’s ribs, spine, and pelvic bones are easily visible. The cat has a very narrow waist and no palpable fat on the rib cage. This is too thin.
2: Cat’s ribs are easily visible with no palpable fat and low muscle. A 2 BCS is still too thin.
3: Ribs are still visible, but the cat has a very small amount of fat around its abdomen.
4: Ribs are not visible but are easily felt; the cat has an obvious waist and minimal amount of fat around its middle.
5: The ideal body weight and cat BCS! The cat is well proportioned; Ribs are not visible but easily palpable. The cat still has an obvious waist and optimal amount of fat around its abdomen.
6: The cat’s ribs are not visible but can still be felt. The waist is not clearly defined when seen from above.
7: A cat BCS of 7 is considered overweight. This cat’s ribs will be difficult to palpate due to excess fat covering and it will barely have a visible waist.
8: The cat’s ribs are no longer able to be felt, waist is not visible and the abdomen is slightly distended.
9: The cat’s ribs are not palpable because of thick fat layers and extreme fat deposits around the middle. This is an obese cat.
Remember, a cat that has a body condition score of 1-3 is too thin, 4-5 is ideal, 6 is above ideal, 7 is overweight, and 8-9 is obese.
What can we do to help Fluffy (with a cat BCS of 8)?
The health ramifications for an overweight or obese cat can be extreme, so it is always best to manage your cat’s weight. Here are a few tips:
- Use a cat food that is formulated to reduce BCS. These foods are usually labeled with “perfect weight,” “weight management,” “weight reduction,” or something similar. Talk to your vet to find the appropriate solution for your cat.
- Make sure your cat is getting adequate exercise whether that is through taking them on walks or letting them outside, playing with toys, or climbing on a cat tree.
- Provide your cat with probiotics to help improve feed efficiency, digestion of nutrients from food and manage weight.
The best probiotics for cats
Probiotics are good gut bacteria that help to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal system in humans and animals. They help to digest nutrients and can even create better quality nutrients from what is eaten, which can help underweight or overweight cats.
In the case of weight management, probiotics help boost the cat’s metabolism by making sure that what the cat eats is digested properly. These good gut bacteria keep bad bacteria at a minimum, which also helps support the cat’s immune system.
Check out FullBucket’s veterinarian-formulated probiotics for cats today to get your cat’s weight back on track!