Weighing Your Cat Without a Scale. Yes, It’s Possible!


Weighing your cat at home is important for monitoring their health and wellbeing. Gradual weight gain or loss in cats can be an early indicator of medical issues like diabetes, thyroid disease, and kidney disease. But not all cat owners have an at-home pet scale to weigh their feline friends. This guide will explore different methods for cat owners to estimate and track their cat’s weight at home without a traditional scale.

Monitoring your cat’s weight over time can help identify concerning trends before they become serious health problems. A healthy weight is important for your cat’s quality of life and lifespan. While a vet’s office can provide accurate weighs, being able to weigh regularly at home helps catch issues early. This guide will provide cat owners with solutions for tracking their cat’s weight between vet visits without needing to purchase an at-home pet scale.

Estimate Weight by Looking

There are some clear visual signs to look for when determining if your cat is at a healthy weight. From above your cat, you should see an hourglass shape at the abdomen with a distinct waist behind the ribs. Viewing from the side, there should be an upwards tuck at the abdomen showing the waist indentation. According to Petco, you should be able to easily feel but not see the outline of the ribs without an excess fat covering.

For overweight cats, you will notice no defined waist or abdominal tuck. Their belly will hang and sag low and wide. From above and the side, their body shape will appear round rather than hourglass. According to Cumberland Animal Clinic, you may have trouble feeling the bones beneath excess fat and flab.

Underweight cats exhibit prominent ribs, spine, and hip bones. Their abdominal tuck is extreme, waist is pinched, and they have little body fat or muscle mass giving them a thin, frail appearance.

Estimate Weight by Lifting

One simple way to estimate your cat’s weight at home is by picking it up and holding it. When you lift your cat, focus on how heavy it feels in your arms. Pay attention to which parts of its body you feel the most weight from. Estimate the overall weight based on your experience carrying objects of various weights.

Start by standing on a flat surface, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and lift with the legs, keeping your back straight. Use both hands to cradle your cat’s torso from below. Lift smoothly and bring your cat in close to your chest at chest height. See how easy or difficult it is to lift and hold the cat. Shift your cat’s position to feel the weight distribution.

Compare the lifting feeling to picking up bags of flour or other objects around the home of known weights, like gallons of milk or water bottles. Cats who feel similar to 8-10 lb objects are medium in size. Cats who feel substantially lighter or heavier can be estimated relative to that. With practice, you can assign a weight in pounds to how heavy your cat feels.

Just be careful not to squeeze or hold cats in positions that could cause distress. This method provides a rough guide, but consider the individual size, body type, and conditioning of your cat as well.

Use Alternative Household Objects

While dedicated pet scales provide the most accurate method for weighing cats, there are alternative household objects that can serve as makeshift scales for getting a reasonable weight estimate:

  • Bathroom scale – Set the scale to zero with a towel or blanket on it, then place your cat on top and note the weight. Be aware that bathroom scales may not be sensitive enough to pick up small cats. See Weighing your cat at home for tips on using a bathroom scale.
  • Kitchen scale – Make sure to use a digital kitchen scale, and set it to zero before placing your cat on top. The surface may be too small for a large cat to fit entirely. Kitchen scales designed for food may have a lower weight capacity than dedicated pet scales.
  • Luggage scale – Attach the strap to your cat’s harness, then lift the cat just off the ground and note the weight shown. This estimates weight based on downward pull. Ensure the strap doesn’t constrict or hurt the cat. See Weighing your cat at home for a recommended luggage scale model.

While not as accurate as a pet scale, these household objects can provide a rough weight estimate if you don’t have a dedicated cat scale available.

Make a DIY Cat Scale

If you don’t have a scale but need to weigh your cat, you can make a simple DIY weighing device using household items. This can provide a rough estimate of your cat’s weight.

You will need two sturdy boxes or bags of equal size and weight. Place one box/bag on a bathroom scale and weigh it. Make note of the weight. Then place your cat in the second, identical box/bag and also weigh on the scale. Subtract the weight of the empty box/bag from the weight of the box/bag with the cat inside. This will give you your cat’s estimated weight.

For example, if the empty box weighs 2 lbs and the box with the cat inside weighs 8 lbs, then the cat’s estimated weight is 6 lbs.

While not as accurate as an actual cat scale, this DIY method can provide a ballpark figure for your cat’s weight when you lack other options. You may want to take multiple measurements and average the results to increase accuracy.

Source: https://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckingindustryforum/threads/no-cat-scale-before-state-scale.94953/

Use Human Baby Scale

Using a human baby scale is one of the most accurate ways to weigh your cat at home without a pet scale. Baby scales are designed to precisely measure the lower weight ranges of small babies, usually starting at just 1-2 lbs.

To use a baby scale to weigh your cat:

  • Place the scale on a flat, hard surface like a tile or wood floor.
  • Turn on the scale and make sure it is calibrated and set to lb/oz.
  • Place your cat gently in the middle of the scale platform.
  • Allow your cat to settle before reading the weight measurement.
  • Record the weight reading immediately before your cat steps off the scale.

A human baby scale will provide a very accurate weight for your cat, usually within 0.5 oz. However, it’s important to choose a digital baby scale, not a simple spring scale, for the highest precision. Make sure your cat is calm and still to get the most reliable reading.

According to Floppycats, a baby scale is well-calibrated for cat weights and provides greater accuracy than trying to weigh on a human bathroom scale. For monitoring minor weight fluctuations or small changes, a baby scale is ideal.

Go To the Vet

The most accurate way to get your cat’s weight is to take them to the veterinarian for an official weighing. According to Forbes, the average cost of a routine vet visit is about $61. However, costs can vary based on your location, the veterinary clinic, and any additional services or procedures done during the visit.

At a standard wellness checkup, the vet will do a basic physical exam and weigh your cat as part of determining their overall health status. You can call ahead to verify the vet offers cat weighing services and get an estimate of the cost if you only need a weight check.

Getting an official weight from the vet provides the most accurate measurement using a properly calibrated scale. It also allows the vet to monitor weight changes over time and make diet and lifestyle recommendations to keep your cat at a healthy weight.

Monitor Food Portions

Properly monitoring your cat’s food portions is one of the best ways to measure weight changes over time without needing a scale. Using standardized measuring scoops and cups allows you to keep track of how much food your cat is eating each day. According to the Royal Canin guide, healthy weight is achieved by maintaining the correct balance between energy intake from food and energy used through activity.

To monitor portions, first determine the appropriate daily calorie intake for your cat based on their weight, age, and activity level. Then use a standardized scoop or cup to measure out the recommended amount at each mealtime. For example, if your cat should eat 240 calories per day, you can split that into two 120 calorie portions. Over time, adjust the portions up or down slightly if your cat gains or loses weight.

Keeping a feeding log to track scoop sizes and your cat’s weight allows you to regulate portions. If your log shows steady weight gain over 2-3 weeks, you can gradually reduce portions until the weight stabilizes. Portion control, rather than free-feeding, is key for weight management and health.


While these at-home methods can provide an estimate of your cat’s weight, they may not be as accurate as using a proper pet scale. According to ecats.vet, scales made for humans or luggage can be very inaccurate for weighing pets, especially small cats. They recommend investing in a digital pet scale for the most precise measurements.

It’s also important to note that regularly monitoring your cat’s weight at home is not a substitute for veterinary checkups. As stated by Ingrid King, gradual weight changes can be hard to notice, so your vet should evaluate your cat’s weight at least annually as part of a full health exam. They can then advise you on a healthy weight goal and plan based on your cat’s age, breed, and medical needs.

While tracking your cat’s weight at home can be helpful, consult your vet to determine what’s ideal for your feline friend. They can recommend if investing in a scale would be beneficial or if visual monitoring is sufficient between checkups. Weight management is complex, so work with your vet to set realistic goals and identify any underlying issues.


In summary, while it’s ideal to weigh your cat on an actual scale, there are plenty of ways to estimate your cat’s weight at home without a scale. You can visually assess your cat’s body condition and make an educated guess. Lifting your cat can also help judge their heft. Using household objects like a digital kitchen scale or human baby scale allows for a more precise measurement. Building your own DIY cat scale is also an option for pet owners who are handy. Lastly, keeping track of how much food your cat eats per day can provide insight into whether their weight is increasing or decreasing over time.

The most important thing is keeping your cat at a healthy weight, not necessarily knowing their exact weight down to the ounce. Monitor their body condition, energy levels, and appetite as the best indicators of their wellbeing. If you have any concerns about dramatic weight changes or your cat appears overweight or underweight, consult your veterinarian. With some creativity and a few simple tools, you can get a reasonable estimate of your cat’s weight at home without an actual pet scale.

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