How To Know if Your Cat Is a Runt?

Some cats run loose, which means they’re less active than their usual counterparts.

Unlike dogs, which have separate torsos and necks, cats have one unified body. This means that their facial expressions are simpler than those of dogs.

You can recognize a runt by its small, compact build. So, how do you tell if your cat is a runt?

Spotting a runt cat is relatively easy if you know what to look for. So if you’re concerned that your feline friend might be a runt cat, visit a veterinarian or animal specialist who can give you an accurate diagnosis.

Sometimes cats can seem smaller and more compact than their runt counterparts when they’re still young. This is because some cats grow faster than others.

However, most cats will slim down and grow into their adult bodies within a couple of months. So regular check-ups can help identify whether or not your cat is a runt.

What Exactly Is a Runt?

A runt is a cat that is smaller than most cats.

Almost every newborn kitten’s weight is lower than its mother’s weight.

Runts generally have underdeveloped body systems because of inbreeding or hereditary diseases.

Runts are frequently the farthest away from the litter; when born, the runt will nurse at a slower rate than the other kittens and will shut itself off from the others.

A runt kitten’s small size can make it difficult to notice it at first, especially if it’s hidden in litter boxes or hiding under things.

Runts often have difficulty with feeding and catching prey on a hunt, and may not survive to adulthood.

Even when runt cats reach adulthood, they may still face health problems and lifelong disabilities.Even if your cat is a runt, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have problems throughout its life.

However, if your cat isn’t properly cared for or fed a healthy diet, it may have trouble maintaining good health for its entire life.

Some common health problems that can cause lifelong disabilities in cats include hip dysplasia and kidney disease.

Both conditions are more common in runt cats than in full-sized cats. Other health problems that runt cats can suffer from include spine problems and heart problems.

Runt cats also tend to have a shorter lifespan of about 14 years compared to about 17-20 years for full-sized cats.

How Do You Know If Your Cat Is a Runt?

Inability to Consume Food

Another technique to tell whether your kitten is a runt is by looking at its ribs and spine.

If the kitten is having difficulty breathing and if you find that its ribs are protruding and the spine looks warped, ask your breeder or veterinarian whether the kitten likely suffers from.

Physical exertion is required while eating is a first sign of a problem with some kittens who have trouble catching their food with their mouth.

While most kittens can easily drink milk, runt cats can experience trouble swallowing and digesting milk.

The mother cat normally assists the runt cat in drinking milk, so at a young age the runt cat may not be able to drink milk or it may require the mother cat to feed it the milk first.

Disability or Deformity

Some runts may also be disabled or deformed at all or for part of their life.

Although runts often look smaller or shorter than other cats their age and breed standard, this isn’t always the case. Some runts may also be disabled or deformed at all or for part of their life.

These pets often require extra care, and veterinary assistance may be required when caring for such cats. The most commonly disabled or deformed runts are those with dwarfism and hypochondroplasia (also called short limb dwarfism).

These conditions affect bone growth, and a cat with dwarfism or hypochondroplasia is often shorter than other cats in its size range.

They may have crooked legs, fewer legs or ears that bend backward.


Runts are generally weak and frail, and are more susceptible to disease and injury than cats of a normal weight for their breed and age.

This is especially noticeable within the first few days or weeks of life, when the mother cat plays with her kittens, and affectionate play and grooming weakens the kittens.


If your cat is not eating enough or is having difficulty eating, it may be suffering from a disease such as inflammatory bowel disease or hyperthyroidism.

A quick visual inspection of your kitten’s teeth may be a good indication to its condition too.

If you can see the hips or elbow joints, then your cat is also not eating enough weight.

If you feel that your cat is seriously ill and is suffering, the training contract is terminated and your kitten is adopted by another family.

Small Size

Abandoned kittens are the most likely to be underweight in order to save themselves when rescued by their owners, but underweight cats aren’t rare in real life either.

If your cat is not eating enough or is having difficulty eating, it may be suffering from a disease such as inflammatory bowel disease or hyperthyroidism.

Most cats are voracious eaters, but common conditions such as dental disease and kidney disease can be associated with loss of appetite or difficulty eating food.

If your cat is not eating enough or is having difficulty eating, it may be suffering from a disease such as inflammatory bowel disease or hyperthyroidism.

They are often malnourished and can produce a considerable amount of waste and urine per day.

Because of their small size, they cannot tolerate high nutritional needs of cats of larger size and may require special food to meet their dietary requirements.

Furthermore, runts often have a low immune system and are more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

This is why this precious kitten needs a home where he can regain a healthy body weight and optimal development of his entire body.

How to Care for Runt Cats?

Kitten starvation is a life-threatening condition.

To combat this issue, the runt’s weight must be monitored closely, and a diet and special formula must be developed.

If the queen rejects it or the cats are not fed properly, maternal starvation can occur.

Feed your cat the diet you developed for him, which likely involves high-protein foods designed to boost energy and encourage weight gain.

Do not assume that more food means additional body weight gain necessarily.

Aside from eating, the runt kitten should also receive plenty of love, affection, exercise and stimulation from its parents.

A veterinarian examination is required as well, to determine the extent of any medical conditions and to ensure that the cat is in good health and able to take care of itself.

Runts may have various developmental abnormalities, such as malformations of the eyes or heart.

Also See: Why Do Some Cats Have A Big Head?


Now that you know how to tell if your cat is a runt cat, you can decide whether to take your cat to the vet or not.

If your cat is a runt cat and you plan on keeping it as your pet, you should feed it a well-balanced diet of meat and other nutritious foods.

You can also give your cat high-quality pet supplements that help it grow stronger and more nutritious.

This will ensure its healthy growth as it enters its adult stage. If your cat is a runt cat and you think it might be better for it to be adopted into another family, you can contact your local animal shelter or a local livestock farmer to see if it would be the right fit for them.

Make sure it isn’t nursing for longer than two solid weeks, or feeding a canned food mixed with its normal food can increase its much-needed calorie intake.