First, we need to distinguish between obese kitties and large breed cats. An obese cat weighs at least 20% more than its ideal weight according to VCA Animal Hospital. Consequently, a small breed cat may meet the medical criteria for obesity while a large breed cat could be the perfect size for its genetic type. You need to place your cat's ideal weight against wherever he tips the scale to know if he's hitting the right poundage or not.
Sadly, weight control problems have ballooned among our feline friends due in part to overfeeding and lack of exercise. Some sources say that 50% of cats who show up in vet's offices get classified as either overweight or obese, and more than a few vets are even talking about "super-obesity" among especially corpulent kitties.
Since cat obesity can lead to diabetes and other serious medical conditions that can shorten life, it's important to take an overweight or obese cat to the vet. You want to address weight issues before they turn into disabling or life-shortening health troubles.
Obesity is different from a cat that was born and bred to be large.
What size is a large breed cat?
Most house cats weigh about 10 lbs, so any animal over 12 lbs generally gets labelled "large" in the cat community. Many plus-size cats tip the scales at far more than 12 lbs, though. A healthy, large breed feline can weigh up to 25 lbs, but most come in somewhere between 12 and 20.
Cats are getting bigger all the time. A report published in The Smithsonian states that today's ordinary house cat has grown 16% larger than its average ancestor during the Viking Age. Put that against the average dog who has grown 25% smaller than its predecessor from the same time. A big cat isn't unusual in modern times.
As for length, cat sizes can vary tremendously. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the award for the world's longest cat goes to Barivel, a 3' 11.2" goliath of an animal who lives in Italy. A Maine Coon by breed, Barivel reportedly shows a shy, quiet personality and takes the frequent comments about his size with good humor. Barival also maintains an Instagram account (barivel_maine_coon) where he shares images of himself, his family, and his favorite foods.
A long animal like Barival needs plenty of space to run, climb, hide, and do his business. Your cat may not give Barival a run for his money in the size department, but if your pet is descended from a large cat breed, you'll likely find that the average litter box doesn't cut it for your kitty. It would be like a human trying to go to the bathroom in a gym locker. Large cats need jumbo litter boxes.
Is your cat a large breed — or part large-breed — animal? If your pet isn't a purebred, how can you tell if it's genetically predisposed to be large? Here's what we know about cat breeds and sizes.
The Maine Coon typically weighs 15-25 lbs. These gentle giants originated as farm cats, but they can now be found in homes throughout the world. Maine Coons hold a reputation as friendly animals with a wide clownish streak. Some people compare these cats to dogs since they seem to love affection, sometimes dive into the water for a swim, and will (usually) come when called by name.
Solidly built and sporting a plush coat, the British Shorthair typically weighs in at 15-22 lbs. Intelligent and affectionate, most British Shorthair cats can happily live cheek by jowl with dogs or children. Typically, though, they prefer keeping their feet on the ground and will object to being carried around by a human.
Norwegian Forest Cat
Loving, playful, and independent, Norwegian Forest Cats may be best known for their thick, beautiful coats and almond-shaped eyes, which can vary in color from gold to green to copper. These cats can weigh between 10 and 16 lbs. Their large size belies their often athletic natures, and like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats seem to have a natural affinity for water.
Derived from Siamese and Persian cats, Ragdolls' gentle personalities have landed them among America's most popular cat breeds. Most of these smart, friendly kitties love to snuggle with their people, and some Ragdoll owners say they've taught their pets to play fetch. On average, male Ragdolls weigh 15-20 pounds and females tip the scales at 10-20 pounds.
Chausies stand tall and proud. These athletic, agile felines weigh about 30 pounds. Their large size comes from their heritage as a cross between a jungle cat and a housecat. Though their partly wild nature makes them unable to accommodate with some homes, when they do well as pets, these fellows do really, really well. Chausies develop strong bonds with their people who in turn need to offer these super smart cats plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Other large cat breeds include the American Shorthair, Ragamuffin, Siberian, and Savannah Cat. Identifying a mixed breed cat's heritage can prove difficult, although it's possible to have your kitty's DNA tested. A less expensive way might simply be to ask your vet what she or he thinks and if your cat appears to be the right weight for her breeds.
Do you need an extra large litter box for your big cats? Yes, cats need room to move around when going to the bathroom.
Why do big cats really need extra large litter boxes?
The answer lies in the biological history of cats. Remember that in the wild, cats serve as both predators and prey. Wild dogs, larger cats, foxes, and even raccoons will attack a vulnerable kitty. And no one feels more vulnerable than when they're on the toilet. That's why cats need to feel safe in the litterbox. No loud noises, no unexpected visitors, and no claustrophobic feelings from a too-small litter box.
Another reason cats like to have space is their habit of pooping and running. You may have noticed your kitty taking off at top speed after making a large deposit in his box. That's probably because the smell of fresh poop serves as notice to predators. Your cat needs to feel like he has the space to get away from anything that might come after him.
That's why the best litter box for a large cat is a spacious litter box.
How big should my cat's litter box be?
For a standard size cat, a standard litter box will suffice just fine. You don't want to buy a huge litter box that takes up space unnecessarily or one that's so mammoth you can't easily lift it, carry it, and clean it. Nevertheless, your large cat needs a high sided litter box with enough space to turn around comfortably.
The best overall litter box is the one your cat will use regularly. Cat sites on the internet provide helpful lists, and of course, we can share with you the benefits of a Modkat. But if your cat won't use the box, it's not the right large litter box for you. That said, let's take a look at the best large litter boxes we offer.
We created our traditional Modkat for cats up to 12 pounds. So when looking for the best large litter boxes, our original prototype may not prove to be your best choice. One of our other three choices, however, could work for you.
Let's take a look at these:
At 21" long and 17" high, the Modkat XL lives up to its claim as one of the largest litter boxes available. It's fully 5" wider and 2" higher than the original Modkat and is the largest top-entry litter box on the market. Suitable for all cat sizes, the Modkat XL includes a three-position swivel lid, a litter scoop, and a top entrance or walk-off platform. It's leak-proof base keeps your house clean and smelling fresh while it's reusable liners make clean up jobs simple. Cats love the Modkat XL, and we do, too.
Flip Litter Box
Coming in at 20.5" long and 16.8" high, the Flip barely squeaks in behind the XL for size. It also comes with an ergonomic litter scoop and a three-position lid. We like to say it's "flippin' great." But we're biased. Here's what Wirecutter said about our Flip litter box, however. "It looks nicer than any other hooded or open option we considered, is easy to access for cats and humans, and is easy to clean thanks to the custom-fit liners."
The Modkat originally began as one of a lineup of covered litter boxes, and most of our products still keep the lid on the cat toilet. Over time, though, we learned that a certain percentage of the cat population enjoys going public with their business. For these brave felines, we invented the Modkat Tray, which sports an open top. At 20.3" long, it's not much smaller than the Modkat XL.
The Tray, too, comes with a scoop along with a splash guard. One of our reviews said, "My cat is about 12 pounds and he has enough room to move around in it comfortably." So the Tray could be the right large litter box for you if your cat weighs more than most kitties but does not qualify as extra large in size.
When you care for a large cat, you need to think about more than litter boxes. You also want to look at toys and scratching posts for bigger cats.
Cats love toys, and they need to play with them in order to stay healthy and happy. Although our kitties spend a lot of time snoozing during the day, these animals need to be mentally and physically active when they're awake.
Toys for Big Boys and Girls
Large cats enjoy the same kinds of toys as their smaller cousins. Catnip mice, balls, hammocks, tubes, scratching posts, and cat trees can all add to the feline fun and frolic at your house. But large cats need durable, long-lasting toys that their heavy weight and powerful muscles can't destroy easily.
If your cat enjoys chasing a feather on a wand, for instance, considering purchasing a leather wand. The strong leather lasts much longer than plastic. If you plan to invest in a cat tree, look for something large — around six feet of space — crafted from pressed wood, durable carpet, and sisal. For the kitty who loves to scurry through a cat tunnel, look for one that's at least 12" around so your pet will have plenty of space to maneuver through the maze.
Several cat toy brands make products especially for plus-size kitties. Check around on Amazon or at your favorite pet store for toys specifically crafted for large cats.
Every cat needs a scratcher. Scratching reduces stress, provides exercise, strengthens back muscles, and offers cognitive engagement. A cat does not automatically know that sofas and chairs are off-limits to tiny claws. So if you don't provide an alternative in the form of a scratcher, you could come home to find your furniture shredded.
Large cats especially can do a lot of damage to a sofa's fabric due to their bigger claws and stronger muscles. At Modkat, we offer a scratcher that's constructed from durable, long-lasting cardboard. You may have to try more than one kind of scratcher, though, before you find something your pet will enjoy. It doesn't hurt to invest in two or three styles to see what your pet will prefer.
Big kitties need a place to stretch out and snooze without feeling cramped. You probably need to invest in an extra-large bed for these guys. Both ecommerce sites and brick-and-mortar pet stores are full of cat beds. It's just a matter of finding one that your cat likes, that looks great in your home, and that fits your budget.
The New York Times offered a thorough review of the best cat beds in 2020. It's a good place to start as you begin searching. Keep in mind that your cat may snub one kind of bed only to find another one enchanting. Here again, finding the right cat bed for a plus-size kitty can be a matter of trial and error.
Large cats make great pets. They're often warm and friendly while showing a lot of strength and spirit. But they also require extra attentive care from their human parents. Start by choosing a bigger litter box for these gentle giants, and then make sure you have durable toys and big beds. You cat's goodies should last a long time, keeping both of you feeling great about life together.
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