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New Cat is Too Skinny and Wont Eat

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just got a new cat yesterday. He is our only cat, and I adopted him from a shelter. He is an adult cat and was very scared at the shelter and had lost weight while there. I just got him yesterday, so I know it will take time for him to settle in. He will eat a little if I sit with him while he eats, but not much. He ate about a 1/4 can of wet food yesterday and some Pounce treats. Other than being too thin, he seems very healthy...up to date on shots, neutered, healthy looking coat, eyes, and ears. And he must be drinking because I've heard him urinate in his litter box some.

What can I feed him to help him gain weight? He looks pitiful so thin. I've heard some people say to feed kitten food, but then I've also heard the extra protein in kitten food can hurt an adult cat's kidneys. My cat was tested negative for worms (or so the shelter told me), but I think I'm going to take him to my vet this week and get that checked out just to be sure.

Right now I got him Friskies wet canned food, and Meow Mix dry food. I originally bought him Whiskas dry food, and he wouldnt touch it. But he ate a bit of the Meow Mix last night.

Thank you for your help.
post #2 of 16
First, please do NOT feed him Meow Mix dry (its full of dyes) and a lot of cats will throw it up. Its one of the least healthy foods.

I would put him on Kitten food (wet and dry). Royal Canin, Max Cat, Wellness, Natural Balance are much better foods (canned and dry).

You might also try some boiled chicken breasts (shredded or cut in small bites) to help him. I'd give him a 1/4 of canned food every few hrs (or at least 3 times a day till he gains some weight.
post #3 of 16
Some cats are naturally skinny, too, so it will take a while to know if you can fatten him up. But a cat on the thin side is likely to live longer and have fewer health issues, in the long run.

The kitten food is probably a good idea. Purina One's kitten food would not be a bad choice, if you can't get the others right away. Most of them are sold in stores such as PetCo and PetSmart. Have you tried him with any dry food? While it's not always the best choice, lots of cats have eaten it and lived good long lives. The advantage is that it is probably what the cat was eating at the shelter, and he can eat it whenever he feels a little hungry, so he may eat more. The trick is to find high-quality dry food.

One warning: Changing foods can cause a cat to refuse to eat, or it can cause stomach upsets or diarrhea.

Thank you so much for adopting a shelter cat.
post #4 of 16
it's going to take him time to settle in and start eating. My cats didn't eat much in the first 5 days. They started eating after. Sit with him and if he'll eat while you're with him that's good, as long as he's eating a little bit you aren't in too bad shape.

The foods sharky mentioned are all excellent choices. Just be prepared that the foods you have been feeding him might technically 'smell' better to him. So you have to sloely mix the new foods with the old foods, and it might cause him to puke. Again, my cats puked up their new foods for the first 2 weeks. (they were shelter cats) but now they are both healthy, happy and look fabulous.

My cat kismet even went from 5 pounds (severly underweight) to a healthy 12 pounds on orijens and wellness!
Good Luck! Keep us posted
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'll ask my vet when I carry him tomorrow, and if he agrees, I'll try kitten food. I can get Science Diet from my vet I know. I dont live near a Petco or PetSmart....all I've got is Wal-Mart. I want to have my vet check him for worms just in case, and also check his teeth to rule out any physical problems. I looked in his mouth yesterday and all his teeth look ok, and his gums were the normal pink. Put his long teeth have brown streaks up and down them....but it looks like it is in the tooth, not tarter. What is this....and is it normal? The only other cat I had, had really white teeth...even when she was old. This cat is supposed to be 4, and really with his size, coat, and eyes, I think that is about right give or take a year or two.

How long does it take a new cat to settle into a new home? He is still very scared and shakes alot. He's ok if its just me, but anyone else sends him shaking. He warms up to me very quickly once I pet on him and hold him close. He likes to be held close and hide his head in my arm. He is very timid, and I do have kids. The shelter lady who fostered him said he was good with kids once he got used to them. Just wondering how long he'll be hiding out and shaking at every little noise. I've got him in his own room right now with all his cat house, food, and litter box. That way he can get used to our house noise in a place he feels secure.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
I forgot to add. I asked the shelter what food he was used to eating, since I didnt want to change it abruptly. But they said they feed whatever is donated to them...so he's been fed a mix of brands of food both wet and dry. So I'm pretty much starting from scratch on getting him on one brand of food.
post #7 of 16
I get Iams dry and canned food from our Wal Mart. They carry a variety of the different Iam's formulas so maybe start with the Iams kitten food and after he is eating well and is more settled in, experiment with the other Iams varieties. I think Wal Mart may carry Max Cat or Nutros brands as well but we use the Iams and have had good luck with it. I agree, though, stay away from the cheaper brands if you can because there are a lot of fillers in them.
post #8 of 16
It may really just be a matter of him settling into a new home. I had a little female Siamese with us for 5 days before flying her to California and she would only eat if I sat with her by her dish. She was also very clingy with me. I would suggest you keep him in the one room as you are doing and limit visits from other family members until he has had a chance to relax a bit more and then gradually introduce him to longer periods of time with the others. We went through a month of this with our cat Simba. It took all that time for him to be comfortable with everyone and then he was a real lap cat and loving to everyone.

I also recommend you find a good quality food. Wet food is better, especially for a neutered male. Sharky is our food guru and her recommendations are generally spot on. You'll also find that if you feed a better quality food, they will actually eat less since they aren't getting all the fillers in the poor quality brands.

Keep us posted on how he is doing.
post #9 of 16
Bless you for adopting your new kitty! You've gotten some really good advise regarding food. One thing you really don't want to do is get weight added on him too quickly. With consistent feeding of a high quality food, lots of love and a secure home environment, he'll gradually get to a good weight. However, when you take him to the vet, you may want to get him a bit of canned Science Diet a/d, which is chock full of nutrients.

Also, if you mentioned it, I missed it, but you might want to keep your new kitty in a spare bedroom or the bathroom until he's settled in and used to all the sounds and such of his new home. This will provide him a safe place to help him feel secure as having total run of the house will often overwhelm a new addition.

Keep us posted on how it goes with him!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of the advice. I will get some Science Diet from my vet. I did find tonight that he seems to like the gravy and meat canned food better than the pate style. He seemed much more eager to eat it, but he still only ate about 1/4 of a can. But he is eating a little. I'm hoping he settles in better the next week or two.

Yes, for now he has his own room in my laundry room. Not exactly ideal since I'm worried my washer and dryer might scare him. But my bathrooms are too small for a litterbox and there is no place else to put it. And the laundry room is ideal since the litterbox is behind the door and my kids cant see it in plain view when we get to the point of letting kitty out and leaving the door open. Kitty seems to be warming up to me good. He is nervous when I first approach him but quickly rubs on me and lets me pet and hold him. He seems to get comfort from me, which I take as a good sign. I was worried he might be getting sick since he slept all day and wouldnt even get up when I petted him. But this evening he seemed more energetic. I think he's just more awake at night. His eyes, ears, and nose are clear and no signs of illness like that. The shelter gave him a preventative antibiotic shot before we left since he had gotten sick when he first came to them because of the stress. So i dont think he'll get sick. I have no other cats for him to catch anything from either.
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by prairiegirl929 View Post
Thank you for all of the advice. I will get some Science Diet from my vet.
Science Diet really isn't the best out there, even given your limited access. Wal-Mart has a dry called Maxximum that i've heard sharky speak well of. i've read the label on it - i'd use it before SD or the Meow Mix drys.
the SD kitten pouches look ok, ingredient-wise [wet] & they'd have the texture he seems to prefer, as well.
post #12 of 16
Science Diet is overpriced junk that vets push for financial reasons. I would not recommend it....but, since your only other option is Wal-Mart, I'm not sure. The dry foods that Wal-Mart carries are meh. Mine has some good wet foods though (Natural Life, Newman's Organics). Science Diet might be better than Meow Mix dry but that's not saying much because the Meow Mix dry is awful.

Do you live by any feed stores? They will have much better food options than Wal-Mart.

For your cat, I would recommend Natural Balance Ultra dry food. It's affordable, has good ingredients, and is for all-life-stages (rather than being for adult maintenance). It's very high in calories compared to most other dry foods. You can find this at PetCo or I would look into ordering online from somewhere like petfooddirect.com (they have a 20% discount if you sign up for their emails).
post #13 of 16
Wal-Mart's Maxximum is a fairly decent food for the price/avaliablility. I'd look into it.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Found out at least part of the problem today. My kitty has tapeworms. I found those white rice looking things and took him to the vet. They gave him a dewormer and another to give him in 3 weeks. So maybe that will help.

And I got some Maximum food at Wal-Mart.
post #15 of 16
Tapeworms are common in any cat who has had any fleas, and not a really big problem, usually. However, he'll feel better without them.
post #16 of 16
I think you're giving your kitty just what he needs most - lots of love and care. He's a very lucky boy to have such a warm home now.

You'll find a food that he'll like and do well on - just give both of you some time to adjust. It can be hard when you don't have a ton of stores to pick from, but I've heard good things as well about the Walmart Maxximum - just remember, there's no perfect diet for every cat - and what works for one cat may not work for yours, regardless of the price point of the food. You'll get good at reading labels and watching his reaction to foods - and amazing how you'll find yourself checking the cat food department of every store you walk into

So glad you took him to the vet and hope he feels much better very soon.
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