Knowing how big your cat is going to get is imperative. Besides, we need to know how much space they are going to need and whether we can easily pick them up for a cuddle. But what about tabby cats, specifically. What can you expect in regards to their size? Here is what you need to know.
So, how big do tabby cats get? Depending on the breed, tabby cats can grow to around 16 inches in height and can weigh up to 18lbs! However, the average height and weight are around 9.1-9.8 inches and about 10lbs. To determine the healthy weight of a tabby cat, you will need to assess what breed the cat is. However, all tabby cats are prone to obesity, so you should keep your cat on a strict diet throughout its life.
Tabby cats are incredibly popular worldwide, yet it may be surprising to hear that the word tabby actually refers to a specific coat pattern rather than a particular breed.
As a result, it can be difficult to generalize the temperament or ideal weight for tabby cats as it depends on their genetics and breed.
So how can you determine how large a tabby cat should be?
Read on to find out!
How Big Should A Tabby Cat Be?
An average adult tabby cat can weigh anything between 8-12lb, depending on the breed. Male tabby cats generally weigh slightly more than females, with approximately a 3lb difference between the two sexes.
As mentioned above, a tabby cat is named so because of its distinct coat pattern of stripes, spirals, and spots, rather than being a particular breed.
In fact, there is a wide range of breeds that can exhibit the tabby coat pattern.
The tabby pattern can cover the whole body or can be localized in small areas.
There are five recognized tabby patterns in the world today, with the classic tabby being the most common pattern.
However, all of the tabby varieties have the distinct ‘M’ shape on their foreheads, which is a characteristic also seen on many wild cat species, including the Ocelot and the Cheetah.
Despite being different breeds, all tabby cats carry the same gene that is responsible for the coat pattern.
This gene can be traced back to their wild ancestors, which displayed the same coat design, including the African wildcat (Felis lybica) and the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris).
Because of the wide variety of breeds that can exhibit the tabby pattern, you will need to determine the breed of tabby cat you have in order to accurately assess the correct weight and size he should be.
Let’s run through some of the more popular breeds now:
These cats are probably the most recognizable as tabby cat’s because over 70% of them display these patterns.
They can also come in a variety of colors, from brown and black to silver and cream.
These cats have a strong, sturdy build and can reach anywhere between 8-12 inches in height. They usually weigh around 8-12lbs.
Thought to be directly descended from the cats that were worshipped in Ancient Egypt, these cats have soared in popularity in recent years for their stunning pattern of dark stripes.
These cats weigh between 6-12lbs, with males being larger than females.
On average, they are around 10 inches tall.
European Domestic Shorthair
This breed can come in four out of the five recognized tabby varieties, as well as numerous other coat patterns and colors.
Originating from Sweden, these cats can weigh anywhere between 8-14lbs and reach heights of 12-14 inches.
This breed is the gentle giant of the cat world!
A healthy Maine Coon can weigh up to 18lbs, with females being significantly smaller than males (weighing around 12lbs).
They can reach lengths of 19-30 inches and heights of 10-16 inches.
These cats are easily recognized by their short stumpy tails, with the tabby pattern being very common in this breed.
They normally weigh between 8-15lbs but can reach weights of 18lbs.
The average size of an American Bobtail is around 10 inches tall and 17-19 inches in length.
As you can see, there is a wide variety in the size and weight of healthy tabby cats, so it is important to figure out the average healthy weight for your own tabby, depending on its breed.
At What Age Do Tabby Cats Stop Growing?
Most tabby cats are considered adults when they reach 12 months old and are fully grown at around 18 months old. However, certain breeds such as the Maine Coon will not reach maturity until they are five years old.
The first stage of a cat’s life is the newborn kitten stage.
Most kittens weigh around 90g when they are born, but they can double their weight every week until they reach around 16 weeks old.
By this age, they have normally been weaned off their mother and can be fed a normal cat diet of kibble or meat.
If you plan on hand-feeding young kittens, it is very important that you don’t overfeed them, as kittens can easily overeat if given the chance!
Overfed kittens can suffer from numerous health issues, including diarrhea, dehydration, and even vomiting.
Once a kitten reaches around 25 weeks old, they should weigh 5-8lbs, and when they reach 11-12 months old, they should be around the ideal weight according to their breed.
For adult cats, it is essential that you offer them plenty of opportunities to exercise and flex those hunting skills!
There are multiple ways you can do this, from interacting with a wand or catnip toy to taking them for strolls on a lead and harness if they have been appropriately trained from a young age.
Cat trees and shelves are also a great idea for active cats as they love to climb, and it will help keep their physiques in good condition.
Many people are also now setting up outdoor catio areas so their indoor cats can get exercise in a safe outdoor space.
Once a cat reaches old age (7-10 years old), it is important to take them for regular check-ups at the vet to ensure any diseases or ailments are picked up on quickly.
You may find that your cat loses a bit of weight in his senior years but rest assured, this is completely normal; however, too much weight loss can indicate a health issue that needs to be addressed.
Your cat should also be weighed once a year at the minimum at their annual health check-up and booster vaccination appointments.
What Is Overweight For A Tabby Cat?
Cats are considered to be overweight if they weigh 10-20% over their ideal body weight, which can vary from breed to breed.
A healthy Cornish Rex should weigh around 9lbs; however, a healthy Norwegian Forest cat can weigh up to 20lbs, so it is important to consider the breed of your cat when assessing weight.
Also, bear in mind that males of most cat breeds are heavier than females.
Aside from determining breed, you can use a body score system to work out if your cat is overweight.
To do this, simply run your hands along the sides of your cats’ body and use the guide below to assess your cat’s body condition:
Body condition score 1-3: UNDERWEIGHT. In underweight cats, you may be able to see their ribs and backbone, and they may appear to have a very tucked-in waist.
Body condition score 4-5: IDEAL. The ribs and backbone can be felt when you lightly brush your hands along the cat, but they won’t be overly visible to the naked eye. Cats of an ideal body condition should have a distinct hourglass shape.
Body condition scores 6-9: OVERWEIGHT, with cats scoring nine considered to be obese. In these cats, there will be no defined waist, and the ribs can only be felt by applying pressure with your hands. You may also see fat pockets forming around the neck, shoulders, and hips.
If you think your tabby cat may be overweight, then you should get him checked by a vet to make sure and also ask for advice on the best course of action.
Tabby cats are prone to putting on weight as they are known to love their food! So, a strict feeding schedule is best for these cats, regardless of breed.
Health Issues That Can Result In Excess Weight Gain In Tabby’s
They also need regular exercise to remain in good condition. It is important to note that there are several health issues that can contribute to weight gain in cats.
Let’s run through the main ones now:
Cats with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) sometimes gain weight because the reduction in hormone release can slow down metabolism significantly.
They may also show signs of lethargy, a dull-looking coat, and constipation.
Also known as Cushing’s Syndrome, hyperadrenocorticism is caused by abnormally high levels of cortisol being produced by the adrenal glands.
It is a fairly rare disorder in cats but causes weight gain and the increased formation of fatty deposits in different parts of the body.
It can also cause thinning of the skin, which may cause cracks and tears to appear in your cat’s skin.
For this reason, cats with hyperadrenocorticism must be handled with care.
These can cause distention of the stomach which may look like your cat has gained weight.
Fluid in the stomach, which can be caused by certain heart conditions or feline infectious peritonitis, can also mimic weight gain in cats.
Seek advice from your vet if unsure.
Some cat breeds struggle when left alone for long periods, which may cause them to seek comfort in food.
Other sources of stress could be the addition of a new pet in the household, unfamiliar scents, or moving house.
Keeping your cat at a healthy weight will not only prolong his life but will also reduce the risk of him developing certain health conditions.
These can include diabetes, lower urinary tract disease, and joint issues.
Tabby Cat Size Considerations For Owners
Tabby cats come in a multitude of sizes, colors, and temperaments. As with all cats, you must ensure you have the time, money, and commitment to care for one properly.
Cats are highly intelligent and active animals, so they should be given plenty of opportunities to exercise and stimulate their brains.
It is recommended, depending on size and breed, that cats get 20-30 minutes of exercise every day, and you should rotate toys regularly to prevent your cat from getting bored.
Bored cats can often become destructive (especially wild-hybrid cats) and suffer from anxiety or even depression in extreme cases.
In terms of space, the amount required will be dependent on the breed of your tabby cat.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that vertical space is more desired by cats than floor space, especially for more energetic breeds such as the Egyptian Mau and the Bengal.
Lead training is a good option to provide exercise, but training should begin when the cat is young; otherwise, you may find that your cat is resistant to the lack of control associated with a harness.
Try to take cats on walks in quiet areas, as loud noises and sudden movements can cause them to bolt and potentially hurt themselves in the process.
Every tabby cat is different, with its own preferences and personalities, so it is important that you provide the right environment for your cat.
Quite the range.
That’s generally what you can expect in regards to the size of a Tabby cat.
So, perhaps the best thing you can do to get a better estimation is to identify the breed.
Remember, tabby refers to their coat color – and nothing else. And as a result, the amount they shed varies.
So do consider that depending on any potential allergies you have.
Are you wondering how big other cat breeds get? Then my following size guide may be of interest:
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.