Why Is My Cat So Small? 5 Possible Reasons

Cats come in different breeds and sizes. But sometimes a cat may appear a bit too small. One may ask “why is my cat so small?”

We once rescued a teeny tiny kitten at the side of the road. It’s unusually small for a kitten, so we asked the veterinarian upon bringing the kitty to a local shelter.

why is my cat so small

In this case, the kitten is undernourished, having been roaming the streets for at least a few weeks.

Aside from that, the breed is a large factor in how big your cat will be. Worm infestations and health problems will likely make a cat small despite proper nutrition.

If your kitty doesn’t seem to grow big as it’s expected, you should consider these potential causes:

Why is my cat so small? Here are 5 Possible Reasons

While some cats are naturally small, others will appear frail and thin due to worrisome reasons.

The following are the potential culprits why your cat is so small, even during adulthood.

why is my cat so small and skinny

1. Poor nutrition

Nutrition plays a big role in how big your cat will be. If you’re not feeding it with a complete and balanced diet, don’t be surprised if the kitty will not grow well.

Also, you should mind the feeding pattern of your cat. Most adult cats can deal with meals every 12 hours. But to avoid hunger, I suggest splitting the day’s food into three servings.

If you have a pregnant cat, make sure that it receives ample nutrition. A poorly fed mother cat produces a thin and small litter. In the long run, these new kitties will become so small, too.

The cat’s vet can advise about proper nutrition and ideal cat food products for your kitty.

2. Breed characteristics

Some cats are naturally small since it’s what their breed dictates. The likes of Singapura, Munchkins, Devon Rex, and American Curl retain the kitten size, despite being full-grown adults.

This is completely normal and even a selling point to many pet owners who are looking for small pets.

Nevertheless, you should still watch out for extreme thinness, which can indicate a health problem among small breeds.

3. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism in cats occurs due to the excessive production of the thyroid hormone. When this happens, your cat will experience drastic weight loss, poor appetite, and have an unkempt look.

You will also notice your cat drinking more often than usual.

Hyperthyroidism can be managed or treated, depending on each cat’s individual condition.

Take note that cats with hyperthyroidism must receive immediate veterinarian care to prevent lethal consequences.

4. Diabetes

Another health problem that may cause stunted growth among cats is diabetes. Feline diabetes happens when a cat can’t produce enough insulin, causing blood sugar to spike beyond normal levels.

This inability to produce insulin in cats leads to the requirement of regular doses of insulin.

A diabetic cat without insulin can not survive long and collapses.

This condition will cause depression, dehydration, loss of appetite, and sudden weight loss. Your cat will also drink and pee a lot. 

Diet is a big player if you want your diabetic cat to live a normal life. The small cat can gain weight and live a full life with proper feeding and the right choice of cat food.

The vet is the best person to consult about this condition. The earlier you get your cat diagnosed, the faster the condition will be managed.

This will prevent your cat from becoming so small. 

5. Worm infestations

Last but not the least, small or stunted growth is notoriously due to intestinal worms. As you know, these worms feed on a cat’s digestive tract.

They suck the nutrients from food, which your cat is supposed to use for its body. Over time, these parasites will cause unexplained weight loss in a cat.

This will make the kitty appear so small, despite proper feeding.

Worm infestations are one of the most common problems among furry pets.

My kitten Watson is an indoor cat, but he once had tapeworm infestation, which he likely got from the birds he chased and chewed on.

The good news is that worms are easy to treat. There’s no preventive vaccine for this, but the vet can easily perform deworming to flush out the parasites.

Take note that deworming should only be administered once you get proper advice from a veterinarian.

What can I do to make my cat grow bigger?

If the vet ruled out any health problems, your focus should be your kitty’s nutrition. The following are some of my tips to help your cat gain weight:

what can i do to make my cat grow bigger

Small portions, multiple servings

 Take note that it’s not just about increasing your cat’s meal size. You should also distribute the day’s entire serving into several portions.

This way, your cat will have an easier time digesting and absorbing the nutrients.

My cat Watson barfs whenever he eats a large meal in one sitting. This might be the same case with your cat so small, but multiple meals will be ideal.

Easy-to-eat food

 For senior cats or kitties without teeth, soft and mushy food will be ideal.

By making the food easy to consume, your cat will eat more. Still, make sure that the cat food has a complete and balanced formula.

Keep the food warm

Who likes to eat cold food, anyway? The same goes for your cat.

You should heat the kitty’s food in the microwave before serving it because the cat may refuse to eat cold food and stay hungry.

For kibble, you can add a small amount of hot water then stir it well.

Proper exercise

 Yes, aside from eating right, your cat needs to get ample exercise to grow big and healthy.

Packing up on calories isn’t enough. Remember that there’s a fine line between obesity and achieving the ideal weight for your cat.

Exercise keeps the weight off your cat, increases strength, and improves overall health.

If you follow the above-mentioned tips, there’s a good chance that your cat would grow normally and you won’t be left wondering “why is my cat so small?”

Consider an appetite stimulant

 For small cats with poor eating habits, an appetite stimulant might help.

This will enhance hunger in cats and encourage the kitty to eat more. However, you should never use an appetite stimulant on your cat unless it’s vet-prescribed.


Which breeds of cats stay small?

Some cat breeds are naturally born with small bodies. The following are some of the small and cute felines that remain small:

Which breeds of cats stay small

  • Munchkin. Short legs and stocky bodies characterize this cat breed. They are oozing with cuteness, making them popular among aspiring cat owners.
  • Singapura. This cat breed is so small that it’s only half the size of a typical adult feline. However, this kitty isn’t for first-time owners due to its bold personality.
  • American Curl. This cat breed got its name from its curled ears. It also has a small body and a vibrant personality. They are excellent pets for families with children.
  • Siamese. This cat breed is very popular due to its small size and striking blue eyes. Despite their small size, Siamese cats are very athletic and active.
  • Devon Rex. The Devon Rex only weighs 5 to 10 pounds with a compact stature. They are very sociable and love being the center of attention.

How can you tell how big a cat is going to be?

To know how big or small your cat will be, you should try to identify the breed.

Tall back legs are indicative that the kitty will grow big in the coming months. Also, thick and big tails might mean that you have a big kitty in the making.

Nevertheless, the only way to be sure is to wait for your kitty to grow. Most cats will achieve their full size at 12 to 18 months.

Most tabby cats will have their adult size once it reaches a year old. However, bigger breeds like Maine Coon may take a few more months.

If you’re really keen to know your cat’s adult size, you should take the kitty to the vet.

The vet may give you educated guesses after running a few tests. Still, these are not absolute, especially if you don’t know anything about the cat’s breed.


Why is my cat so small? It could be due to poor nutrition, natural breed characteristics, or health problems like hyperthyroidism and diabetes.

If you’re concerned, you should take the kitty to the vet for a check-up. This will let the veterinarian diagnose health problem before it becomes serious condition.

We hope you have gained useful information about your cat from this article. 

Thank you for reading! 

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