Cat has protruding ribs: causes and what to do

What problems can a cat have with protruding ribs? Let’s see all the possible causes and remedies to be adopted to solve this feline physical problem.

It is usually associated with poor nutrition and inadequate nutrition, but these are not the only causes of a cat having protruding ribs. It is necessary to go to the bottom to find out if there is a pathology in progress, what are the possible causes and above all to adopt remedies to try to solve this physical problem. Here’s what this physical condition means and how to deal with it right.

Noticeable ribs in the cat: what makes us think

Looking at a cat in these conditions, the heart tightens: if it is a stray the instinct would tell us to pick it up from the street and take care of it, if instead we know we belong to a family, we would immediately think that the owner does not take it sufficiently treatment.

In most cases, however, they are indeed strays, who experience the daily difficulty of finding enough food for their livelihood. There is no boss who thinks of them systematically, so they have to ‘settle’ for what nature and the road ‘offers’ them, although they are not always adequate food (and sometimes not even real ‘food’) .

The cat has protruding ribs: just excessive thinness?

In both humans and animals, obvious ribs immediately make us think of excessive thinness, excessive weight loss due to food shortages. In fact, this is the most frequent answer we give ourselves when we see an undernourished and battered kitten on the street.

But is insufficient food the only cause of these noticeable ribs? Absolutely not! Indeed we could say that sometimes food has little or nothing to do with it. Because excessive weight loss, at the root of this physical problem, could be one of the consequences, an effect of some on going pathologies.

So if we see that over the days our cat begins to lose weight, despite a healthy and balanced diet, it is likely that something is wrong.

The cat has protruding ribs: possible causes

In case we notice this strange evidence of the ribs in the feline, let’s see what the possible causes of this problem can be, to try to adopt the most appropriate remedy to solve it.

  • Malnutrition
  • diseases that cause him to lose weight,
  • digestive problems,
  • worms and infestations.


If we have reduced the portions and quantities of food in the cat’s bowl, it is absolutely wrong, especially in the case of a cat that does not suffer from feline obesity. But even in this case, we must always avoid do-it-yourself methods and rely on the opinion of an expert, of our trusted veterinarian who will eventually have to direct us on the doses and times of his meal.

At the same time, malnutrition can also be the result of the (wrong) choice of foods that are too low in calories and which obviously fail to provide the cat with an adequate amount of calories and nutritional intake. It is no coincidence that the animal could appear not only thinner but also more tired and not very fit.


There are several diseases that can have among the ‘side effects’ the excessive thinness of the animal, but two in particular: diabetes mellitus in cats and feline hyperthyroidism . Both are common in felines that are over six years old.

Obviously, we must not focus only on the signal of excessive ‘thinness’, but also note other symptoms that your body could reveal : increased thirst, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, opacity of the hair.

The cat has protruding ribs: other possible causes

Digestion problems

Not only when the entire system fails to function regularly, but the cat can suffer from digestive problems in other cases as well, such as:

  • tooth loss,
  • gingivitis in cats ,
  • stomach ulcer,
  • intestinal gas ,
  • tumors.

Worm infestation

Newborn puppies in particular have a stomach that is particularly sensitive to intestinal worm attacks. These parasites are as tiny as they are dangerous : they can attack the intestinal system even after having ‘entered’ the body due to fleas.

The most dangerous types of intestinal parasites in cats are: hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and heartworms. However, the danger can be averted through a prophylaxis to be started preventively when the cat is still small. A fundamental indication of the presence of worms in the cat is certainly the control of the cat’s feces .

The cat has protruding ribs: useful remedies

As often happens, the best remedy to solve the problem is closely linked to the cause that prevents the cat from gaining weight or, as in this case, behind the excessive thinness. So if the cat has protruding ribs but we have ruled out that it is a food-related problem, let’s take him immediately to our trusted veterinarian.

With in-depth examinations and tests to which the feline will undergo, the doctor will be able to tell us what is the procedure to follow: perhaps a cure against worms or specific remedies for any pathology in progress. In reality, although it may seem secondary, our role is fundamental: we must be ready to notice any changes in the body and habits of the cat and inform the expert.

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