Is my cat really that big?
September 5, 2008 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Is my cat the walrus everyone keeps telling me she is?

I recently have had a number of people tell me that my cat Rhubarb is an unusually large cat. I had one guy tell me that she is the size of a dog, and that she is definitely the largest cat he's ever seen. Not that she's fat, but just that she's BIG! I thought she was normal but now that I look at her I guess I can see how she is big. I finally measured her and she is 22 inches from head to butt, plus another foot or so for her tail... Is this big for a cat? (She's ~2 years old) What is the average length for a standard housecat?

(ps - you may remember Rhubarb from this question. Yes, she is still just as dumb and clutzy, and yes I still love her so hard I can barely breathe.)
posted by gwenlister to Pets & Animals (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My cat's 24" with an 11" tail, a neutered male, weighing 15 pounds. I think he's pretty standard big-cat size.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:50 PM on September 5, 2008

Mine is 21-23". Tough to get him to stay still with the excitement of a tape measure and all.

The largest Maine Coon cat on record is 48" long, according to Wikipedia.

As a side note, it's all about the width of a tail, in my opinion.
posted by tremspeed at 8:02 PM on September 5, 2008

Toby is roughly 18 pounds of lovin'. He's a big boy and roughly the size of your Rhubarb. He's big, but not freakishly so.
posted by 26.2 at 8:03 PM on September 5, 2008

My cat is about that size. He looks fat when he's lying down but he's barely over 10 pounds. Dude has some super-long legs, though.
posted by Yoshi Ayarane at 8:11 PM on September 5, 2008

Okay, I am feeling better about this now. Clearly she isn't the sideshow freak I was being led to believe she is. LOL
posted by gwenlister at 8:12 PM on September 5, 2008

I am, however, still interested to know what the average length for a housecat is. :)
posted by gwenlister at 8:12 PM on September 5, 2008

I have a couple of cousins with male cats in the 18-20 lb range. They are very large mutt farm cats.
posted by sanka at 8:18 PM on September 5, 2008

Note that all of the people who have answered so far have male cats, who are generally bigger full grown than female cats. But I have no statistics for you, unfortunately.
posted by amro at 8:19 PM on September 5, 2008

Well, I'd say she's not the only sideshow freak. I've seen one (non-Maine-Coon) cat that was bigger than that.
posted by winston at 8:53 PM on September 5, 2008

She sounds appropriately sized for cuddles. Can I come visit?
posted by bettafish at 9:10 PM on September 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

(Which is to say, large side of perfectly normal.)
posted by bettafish at 9:12 PM on September 5, 2008

Just one more sideshow freak to add to the mix - Mollie isn't all that long, about 15", but she does weigh 22 pounds.

Mischa, on the other hand, is 12 pounds and at 15" long, I'd say he's Mister Average.

And hey, I just learned that cats don't much like being tape-measured.
posted by chez shoes at 9:23 PM on September 5, 2008

Siberians tend to be on the large side, hypo-allergenic too.
posted by hortense at 9:54 PM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Perseus is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20" long (he was not interested in staying still for my measurements) and currently weighs about 18 lbs. Kali is not as long as her brother, and only weighs about 12 lbs. She still manages to inflict unimaginable pain on my when she sits (and pokes) on my fleshy bits, though.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:15 PM on September 5, 2008

I know a beefy hulk of a cat, slightly bigger than yours, not fatter...bigger. According to the vet he may have been fixed later than usual. How old was Rhubarb when you got him and was he fixed??
posted by piedmont at 10:18 PM on September 5, 2008

I got RHubarb when she was a little over a year old from the SPCA and she was fixed then.

DiscourseMaker, its hilarious you mention the pain them sitting on you causes. Rhubarb often walks across my lap and it hurts!! And she has taken to sitting across my feet and that usually makes them go numb. But she is cuddle-riffic. :)

And yeah, the fact that pretty much everyone here saying their cat is big has a male, while Rhubarb is most definitely a female. And she's just a run of the mill tortie, no breeding that I would think would indicate a reason for her ginormosity.
posted by gwenlister at 10:30 PM on September 5, 2008

I don't know what the average is for a house cat, but I do know that I had one that weighed in at 33 lbs and was likely a bit longer than yours. That cat has died, but his brother is in the same neighborhood of dimensions... We've got a few others who are much younger and from a totally different gene pool who are in a similar range... so, I'm inclined to believe that your cat isn't unusually large.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:35 PM on September 5, 2008

My husband's childhood cat, Chocolate, weighed 27 pounds. She was larger than their dog, and better behaved, too. I'd say you have nothing to worry about.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 12:30 AM on September 6, 2008

My two female cats are 19" from nose to butt, and weigh 12 or 13lbs each. They look chunky, with saggy tummies but they have short legs.

Having visited cat shows over the years, I'm always struck by the different types of cats - some of them are weeny little things with delicate bones and others are massive hulking bruisers.
posted by essexjan at 2:03 AM on September 6, 2008

Spaying female cats later won't make them larger the way that late neutering of males does. I know I've read somewhere that unfixed female cats tend to stay smaller.

I suspect that Rhubarb is pretty large for a girl kitty, at least for one that isn't a Maine Coon/Siberian/Norwegian Forest Cat. She's an inch shorter than my ginger dude Harry, and my vet has described him as a rather large (rather than simply fat) cat, so there you go. My female cat, Pretzel, is 14-15", but tiny at only 8lbs so I'm not sure if she's all that valid for comparison.
posted by thisjax at 4:02 AM on September 6, 2008

Everybody always thought my cat Fergus was gigantic (at 18 lbs, he was technically "large"), but it was mostly because he had a huge *head*. If you put him next to another cat, he wasn't longer or taller; he had a doglike presence his head was so big.
posted by acrasis at 7:51 AM on September 6, 2008

Some breeds are pretty large. My (wife's really) ragdoll cats are both pretty big. Sebby is 39 inches nose to tail and ~26 lbs. His younger half brother is about half his length and ten pounds lighter.

When sebby lays out on the floor, he looks like a bear rug. He's just huge.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:21 AM on September 6, 2008

I haven't measured my younger cat from head to tail, but I know he's around 20 lbs. When I took him to the vet, the universal reaction from the techs and the vet was "OMG that's the longest cat I've ever seen." He's jet black and can look like a panther.
posted by desjardins at 9:41 AM on September 6, 2008

both our cats are about 18-19" head to butt and their tails are about 9" long. they're each 10-11 pounds. i guess they're not as big as we thought they were!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:02 AM on September 6, 2008

I never measured lil' Pete, but he was really big.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:27 PM on September 6, 2008

I have three cats. Two are just regular mutt versions of house cats. But our big tom, Windsor, is a Maine Coon. He's 26 pounds, even big for his breed, and stands taller and longer than a Jack Russell terrier that visited once.
posted by FunkyHelix at 2:24 PM on September 6, 2008

I consider my cat Lukas to be average sized. He's a mutt-type cat but medium-haired. He is about 19" from nose to butt with a 10.5" tail. He weighs 12 lbs and has a bit of a poochy belly but is otherwise fit.
posted by cabingirl at 2:43 PM on September 6, 2008


You win :-)
I'm sorry to see that lil' Pete is no longer with us.
posted by lukemeister at 8:32 PM on September 6, 2008

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