Weighing Your Cat. Can Your Kitchen Scale Do the Trick?


Weighing your cat regularly is one of the easiest ways to monitor its health and wellbeing. Gradual weight loss or gain in cats is often not very noticeable to the naked eye, so having a consistent record of your cat’s weight will allow you to detect subtle changes over time. Monitoring your cat’s weight can help identify potential health issues early, before they become more serious. Obesity is one of the most common health problems for cats, and weighing them regularly allows you to catch weight gain early and adjust their diet or exercise regimen. Alternatively, cats can lose weight rapidly when sick, so noting weight loss through regular weigh-ins can alert you to illnesses that require veterinary attention. Overall, establishing a habit of weighing your cat provides important data to ensure it maintains a healthy weight and to monitor for any underlying issues.

Challenges of Weighing a Cat

Weighing a cat can be tricky for a few reasons. First, cats typically do not like to stay still for long periods of time. They can get antsy and wiggly when you try to put them on a scale. Cats like to be in control of their movement, so having to stand in one place goes against their nature. Their constant fidgeting and squirming makes it hard to get an accurate reading on a scale (Sources: https://www.catcare4life.org/advice/weighing-your-cat/, https://www.dvm360.com/view/feline-weight-issues-big-and-small).

Another challenge is that standard kitchen scales often have weight limits that are too low for some cats. Many bathroom scales max out at 400 lbs, which is well under the weight of large, overweight cats. Stepping onto a scale that cannot handle their weight will not provide an accurate number. You need a high capacity scale made for weighing pets if your cat is substantially overweight (Sources: https://www.dvm360.com/view/feline-weight-issues-big-and-small, https://www.catcare4life.org/advice/weighing-your-cat/).

Choose the Right Scale

When weighing a cat at home, it’s important to use a sensitive digital scale with enough capacity to weigh your feline friend. Look for a scale made specifically for pets that can register very small amounts of weight change. Avoid bathroom scales made for humans, as they are not sensitive enough for cats.

For most cats, a pet scale with a 5-10 pound weight capacity is sufficient. However, if you have a larger breed cat, look for a scale with at least a 20 pound capacity. The scale should be able to register changes in weight down to 0.1 lbs or less. This level of precision is key to tracking minute fluctuations in your cat’s weight over time.

Some top digital pet scales for weighing cats at home include the Greater Goods Pet Scale, the Pawfect Pets Scale, and the Petkit Scale – all available on Amazon. These scales are designed for pets, have high weight capacities, and have precision levels around 0.1 lbs.

Prepare the Scale

Before attempting to weigh your cat, you’ll need to make sure your scale is ready to provide an accurate reading. Kitchen scales work best when placed on a flat, hard surface like a table or countertop. Avoid weighing your cat on carpet or an uneven surface, as this can affect the accuracy.

Check that your scale has fresh batteries. Weak batteries may cause unreliable readings or errors. Refer to the scale manufacturer’s instructions if you need guidance on changing the batteries.

You may also want to calibrate your scale if the manual provides instructions to do so. Calibration helps ensure the scale’s internal sensors are correctly measuring weight down to the decimal point.

Once the scale is on a flat surface with fresh batteries, you’re ready to try weighing your cat!

Calm Your Cat

It’s important to relax your cat before attempting to weigh them. A calm cat will be much easier to handle and less likely to struggle or run off. Here are some tips for relaxing your cat before weighing:

Create a soothing environment. Play soft music, diffuser pheromones like Feliway, or turn on a white noise machine. This will help set the mood for a relaxed weighing session.

Give your cat a calming treat or supplement. There are many calming treats, chews and supplements made specifically for cats. Give them one about 30 minutes before weighing to promote relaxation.

Pet and cuddle your cat. Gently petting or holding your cat can help lower stress levels. Provide pets, massages and cuddles to make kitty feel comfortable.

Use treats as positive reinforcement. Give your cat treats during the weighing process so they associate it with something positive. Treats can be a powerful motivator.

Avoid loud noises or sudden movements that may startle your cat. Be calm and move slowly so as not to disturb kitty. The more relaxed the environment, the better.

Give your cat adequate exercise and playtime before weighing. A tired, exercised cat will be less likely to struggle or resist.

Patience is key. Never rush or force your cat onto the scale. Take your time and let kitty relax into the process.

Weigh Your Cat

When trying to weigh your cat using a kitchen scale, the most important thing is to have someone help you. Cats don’t like to be picked up unnecessarily, so having an extra set of hands makes the process much smoother and less stressful for your feline friend.

First, have your helper pick up the cat properly. They should support the cat’s hindquarters with one hand and place their other hand under the cat’s front legs. The cat should be held close against their chest in a calm, secure grip. Avoid holding your cat by the scruff or dangling them unsupported, as this will make them struggle.

Once your helper has a good hold on the cat, step onto the kitchen scale yourself to get your starting weight. Have your helper pass you the cat, and hold the cat against your chest just as they were. The cat should stay still if properly supported. Look down at the scale and take note of your weight while holding the cat.

To get an accurate reading, try to keep still and avoid shifting your weight during the weighing process. The difference between your starting weight and the weight holding the cat is your cat’s weight. You may need to practice this a few times to get a precise measurement. Having an extra set of hands makes getting an accurate kitchen scale cat weight much easier.

Cite: https://www.katkin.com/articles/how-to-weigh-a-cat

Get An Accurate Reading

When weighing your cat on a scale at home, it’s important to take multiple readings and average the results to get the most accurate weight.

Your cat may be moving around or not stay completely still on the scale. This can lead to fluctuations in the readings. Weigh your cat 3-5 times in a row. Make sure to record each weight reading.

Once you have multiple weight readings, add up all the weights and divide by the number of readings you took. This will give you the average weight over the multiple tries. The average weight will account for any variability and give you the most accurate result.

For example, if your readings were 8.1 lbs, 8.3 lbs, 8.2 lbs, 8.4 lbs, and 8.2 lbs, you would add them up (41.2 lbs total) and divide by 5 readings to get an average weight of 8.24 lbs.

Averaging multiple weigh-ins will help account for any wiggling or movement by your cat. It will provide the truest measure of your cat’s weight compared to relying on just one attempt.

Track the Weight

It’s important to record your cat’s weight regularly and monitor any changes over time. Sudden weight loss or gain can indicate an underlying health issue that needs veterinary attention. According to the Petivity app, tracking your cat’s weight helps provide early detection of concerning trends.

Keep an ongoing written record of your cat’s weight. The Cat Weight Tracker from American Pets Alive provides a simple printable chart you can use. Record weights at least monthly, or more frequently if your vet recommends it. Note the date and time of each weighing.

Watch for any weight fluctuations outside of the normal range for your cat. A loss or gain of 1-2 pounds over a short period warrants a vet visit to check for underlying causes. Gradual increases may signal the need for diet and exercise adjustments before obesity sets in.

Apps like the Purrfect Weight App from Cornell University can help you track changes and chart weight over time. But you’ll still need to weigh your cat regularly and input the data.

By monitoring your cat’s weight routinely, you can catch concerning changes early and work with your vet on any needed health interventions.

When to Contact the Vet

Rapid weight loss or gain in cats can indicate an underlying medical issue, so it’s important to monitor your cat’s weight and contact your veterinarian if you notice significant fluctuations.

According to the ASPCA, weight loss exceeding 2 pounds per month could signify a serious illness in cats. Sudden weight loss should not be ignored – contact your vet promptly if your cat is losing weight without explanation. Underlying causes could include hyperthyroidism, diabetes, dental disease, cancer or gastrointestinal issues.

On the other hand, rapid weight gain can also be problematic. Obese cats are more prone to diseases like diabetes and arthritis. As per the American Animal Hospital Association, a cat is considered obese when it weighs 15-20% above its ideal weight. If your cat is becoming obese, take steps to modify its diet and activity levels. But also have your vet examine it to rule out conditions like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease which can spur weight gain.

At your annual vet visits, keep your vet updated on any weight fluctuations and discuss ways to get your cat to a healthy weight. With your vet’s guidance, monitor your cat’s weight at home and contact them right away if you notice any concerning changes.


In summary, weighing your cat at home can provide valuable health insights, but does require some preparation and finesse. Choose a sturdy digital kitchen scale designed for pets. Place a towel or mat on top for traction and comfort. Try tempting your cat with treats onto the scale for an accurate reading. Track the numbers from week to week, watching for any concerning drops in weight that may indicate illness. While challenging, monitoring your cat’s weight provides an early warning system for medical issues. With the right tools and techniques, you can turn weigh day into a rewarding experience!

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