Why is My Cat So Petite and Thin?

cat so tiny and thin

Image Credit:Dave Hallewell

Due to a health condition, internal parasites, breed and genetics, age, or other factors, a cat may be smaller or skinnier than typical. 

It is crucial to take your cat to the doctor for a diagnosis and treatment because there are so many variables that can affect a cat’s growth. 

The nine main causes of a cat becoming small or slim have been examined in more detail below. 


Causes of Your Cat’s Small and/or Skinny Size: 

1. Kitten Nutritional Problems 

When your cat was a kitten, they might not have received certain essential nutrients. 

The mother cat may have been ill, not producing enough milk to feed all the kittens, or the mother perhaps died when the kittens were still in need of milk. 

slender kitten 

Inadequate nutrition throughout the first few years of life might cause stunted growth. 

Your cat will still need milk feeds if it is still a kitten and is still inside the first five to six weeks of life. 

They should be fed kitten wet food and milk if they have begun weaning.

Once weaned (often at eight to nine weeks old), the kitten should always have access to wet food. 

As they get a little older, you can start giving them dry food as well. 

2. Adult Nutritional Issues 

Your cat’s current diet may not be providing them with adequate food or nutrients, which is another factor related to nutrition. 

This might be the case if the food isn’t balanced nutritionally, isn’t appropriate for your cat’s age, or if your cat isn’t getting enough food each day. 

Nutritional problems may be the reason of your cat’s obesity. 

High-quality cat food that is suited to their life stage must be supplied to your cat. Depending on your cat’s tastes, this can be dry, moist, or a combination of the two. 

Follow the directions on the food’s packaging, which will tell you how much and how frequently to feed the animal. 

Adult cats typically only require a single or double meal each day, or their daily dry food intake can be left out so they can come and go as they want. 

Cats above the age of eight have varied nutritional needs. 

Additionally, you can give your cat goodies (such store-bought snacks or a little portion of cooked chicken or fish).

cat so tiny and thin 2

Image Credit:dagbo shoots

To keep your cat interested and encourage them to play and think in order to earn the rewards, utilizing food enrichment toys and puzzles is a terrific method to provide treats.

Take your cat to the vet if they have abruptly stopped eating, haven’t eaten in two days, have been incredibly hungry all of a sudden, are drinking a lot more than usual, or have lost weight for no apparent reason. 

Cats who don’t eat can develop a potentially fatal liver disease. 

3. It hasn’t fully developed yet. 

Because they are young and still growing, your cat might be little. 

We advise having your cat examined by a veterinarian if you are unsure of how old they are or are concerned that they aren’t developing as they should be. 

small cat 

Your veterinarian will be able to provide you guidance on how to monitor your cat’s growth while making sure they are receiving the right diet. They can also assist you in determining your cat’s age. 

Take weekly photos of your cat, then compare the images to see if they are still growing. 

4. Breed 

Your cat can be smaller because of its breed because certain cat breeds are smaller than others. 

Breed of cat: Devon Rex 

The Devon Rex Cat 

Your cat might possibly be a mixed breed with some genetic ties to lesser breeds; as a result, they might have inherited traits that have made them smaller.

Some of the smaller cat breeds are listed below: 

Munchkin is one of the tiniest cat breeds, and it has remained that way due to a DNA mutation. Munchkin cats tend to have a kitten-like demeanour and shorter legs than other breeds. 

The Devon Rex is a little breed distinguished by its soft coat, huge eyes, and large ears. Devon Rex cats resemble Cornish Rex cats in appearance and have short whiskers. The Cornish Rex breed does, however, typically have longer whiskers. 

Singapore – Singapura cats are small and delicateThey are around half as big as a typical cat. They are affectionate, sociable, and excellent climbers. 

Siamese – One of the oldest breeds of cat, Siamese cats are thin but athletic and weigh between 2.7 and 5.4 kg as adults. 

American Curl, a tiny cat, is distinguished by having ears that curve inward toward the skull. Although they exist in a variety of sizes, American Curl cats are typically small due to their varied gene pool. 

The total size and weight of your cat are significantly influenced by its breed. Even as adults, several smaller breeds still have a kitten-like appearance. 

5. Being dwarf 

Your cat may have dwarfism if they are small, have short legs, and an outsized body.Hormonal shortages, anomalies of the growth plate, genetic mutations, and chromosomal abnormalities can all lead to dwarfism. 

Cats with dwarfism typically have shorter lives and could need constant treatment. 

Although dwarfism in cats is uncommon, if it does exist, your cat will likely require more attention owing to potential health concerns.

6. Worms 

Your cat might be underweight or undersized because of parasites like worms. Weight loss and a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea, bloating, coughing, and vomiting, can be brought on by internal parasites. 

cat peeing in the litter box 

Worms are a very typical issue for cats, and because they steal food and harm the intestinal lining, they can lead to weight loss in addition to other issues. 

Adult cats should have a worming medication every three months, though cats that hunt frequently could need more frequent treatment. 

7. Cats with Diabetes 

Your cat may have feline diabetes if they are eating a lot yet losing weight and exhibiting excessive thirst and urination. 

Since they have a hormonal problem, their bodies are not making enough insulin. 

After a doctor performs tests to determine whether your cat has diabetes, you will likely need to make dietary changes and provide insulin twice daily. 

Diabetes can sometimes be managed solely with nutrition. 

8. Overactive thyroid 

When one or both thyroid glands are overactive, it is called hyperthyroidism. 

The signs of hyperthyroidism, which include increased appetite, weight loss, and excessive thirst, are similar to those of diabetes. 

A thin cat could not be fully mature.

Going to the vet for your cat’s diagnosis and treatment is crucial because there is a therapy for hyperthyroidism. 

9. Other Medical Problems 

A cat’s growth can be impacted by a variety of variables. 

The issue can be related to your cat’s general health (regular illness can affect your cat’s growth and development even if the illness itself is unrelated to development). 

skinny cat taking a nap 

If none of the aforementioned variables are the root of your cat’s development problems, a veterinarian may examine other medical conditions, hormonal influences, and environmental factors. 

What Is a Cat’s Normal Height and Weight? 

The majority of domestic cats weigh around 10 pounds on average. 

The typical weight of a sick cat can range from 5 pounds (2.2 kg) to 25 pounds (11 kg), depending on the breed. Smaller cat breeds can weigh as little as 5 pounds (2.2 kg). 

As you can see from the table below, a Singapura Cat is much smaller and lighter than a Maine Coon (8 to 15″ and 10 to 20 lbs), measuring only 6″ and 4 to 8 lbs, respectively. 

average breed of cats Average Height and Weight 

Tabby Cat 8 to 12 pounds (3.5 to 5.4 kg) and 9 inches (22 cm) tall 

Siamese20–25 centimetres (8–10 inches)6 to 12 lbs (2.7 to 5.4 kg) 

Munchkin 15 to 22 cm (6 to 9 inches)4 to 9 lbs (1.8 to 4 kg)

Singapura15 centimetres and 6 inches4 to 8 lbs (1.8 to 3.6 kg) 

Coon, Maine20 – 38 cm / 8 – 15 inches10 to 20 lbs (4.5 to 9 kg) 

Bengal 8-to-14-inch (20-to-35-cm)6 to 15 lbs (2.7 to 6.8 kg) 

30 to 35 cm (12 to 14 inches) British Shorthair7 to 17 lbs (3.2 to 7.7 kg) 

Ragdoll 20–28cm, 8–11 inches10 to 20 lbs (4.5 to 9 kg) 

cat so tiny and thin 3

Image Credit:Steve Wall

A kitten’s growth is rapid from around 5 months old, but it stops growing at around 1-year-old. To check if your cat is growing or healthy weight, take them to the vet for a general health check. You can also weigh, visually check their form, and take photos weekly to monitor their size and weight. A thin cat can indicate underweight, ideal, or overweight. A vet can perform a health check and perform blood tests to determine the cause and offer advice on weight gain. If your cat has never gained weight, they may have a health condition causing it. A check-up at the vet can help rule out potential causes, such as parasites, infection, genetics, or other factors. The vet can prescribe medication, offer vaccination and deworming schedules, run tests to diagnose the condition, and offer nutritional and practical advice. In some cases, there are no treatment options, so care recommendations focus on managing symptoms and providing the best quality of life.