› Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Nutrition › Cat needs to gain weight. What to feed?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Cat needs to gain weight. What to feed?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
My kitty Dusty is 8 1/2 years old and has CRF. She has been losing weight. She has had regular vet visits and its my decision not to continue to medicate her. I'm now looking for suggestions on what I can feed her to get her to gain a little. She is long-haired, so it's hard to see how skinny she is, but I can feel every rib and vertibrae. She eats about 1 can of 9 Lives canned per day and I will give her more if she will eat it. Should I try feeding her butter or cream or anything else to fatten her up?
post #2 of 39
First step, I would think, would be to offer her the highest-quality (i.e. grain-free) canned foods you can get your hands on. Nature's Variety Instincts, Evo 95% Meat, some Wellness, Natural Balance, Felidae and Go! Natural are all good choices. A rotation through several of these would be better than a diet of only one or two.

I would also feed her at least three times a day; if you can, four would be even better - cats often consume more in total when they're fed several smaller meals (not to mention, it's just better for them).

Then (looking at this strictly from a nutritional / weight perspective), I'd start adding real meat to her diet. Little bits of chicken, beef, turkey, any non-enhanced meat (which means no deli bits, etc.).

You can add real meat up to 10% of her diet (after that, you'll need to start balancing the raw meat with bone-in meals and organ meats).

One of my girls, Rachel, is also long-haired and has been thin her entire life. It wasn't until I put my cats on a fully raw diet that she gained enough weight to make me happy. She's still thin, but she's no longer scary thin like she used to be. It's a terrible feeling to pet your kitty and feel all her ribs and hip bones jutting out.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

post #3 of 39
This would be my choice This is the highest available protein and fat content, while providing a phosphorous content of 1%. Very palatable as well.

That said, I wouldn't expect any cat to eat anything if, for example, he/she was experiencing severe stomach acid..............
post #4 of 39
To put on weight, I would leave out a rich grain-free dry food 24x7 to nibble on. I'm a big fan of Wilderness Duck, available cheapest in the big bags at Petsmart from what I've seen.

Then I'd have meals of a kitten or all life stages food available 2-3 times a day. This worked great for my two furballs who grew up healthy and are now a good ~ 9 and 10lbs respectively.

Be sure that clean water is available at all times. I recommend a fountain or two.

Basically, the strategies that are recommended for growing kittens are great for any cat to put on weight.
post #5 of 39
It of course depends on what she'll eat. . .is she picky? No food will do any good if she won't eat it. Kibble is fattening. Chicken baby food is a good way to get more protein into them (and most cats like it). Canned kitten food has more calories and fat than regular canned food (Fancy Feast has 2 flavors of kitten food, my mom's skinny elderly cat liked them and it seemed to help her). Natural Balance salmon flavor seems to be a food most cats like.
post #6 of 39
Keep in mind that high protein foods are often high in phosphorus as well, which can accelerate the decline of the kidneys.
post #7 of 39
So true. It's best and safest to avoid high-protein foods and feed good quality canned foods (or fresh foods) that have a relatively moderate protein content. Protein levels in canned foods vary greatly, so it's very necessary to read labels.
Even with this precaution the time comes when it becomes necessary to start using a phosphorus binder.
post #8 of 39
Cats need animal protein to thrive, just like sharks, snakes and birds of prey. This is possibly the biggest reason (although certainly not the only reason) diets become healthier as you move from kibble to canned to raw - the animal protein sources increase in both amount and quality and become more digestible (or bio-available).

The old studies that seemed to show a low protein diet was advantageous for CRF patients have been invalidated by newer studies that identified a low level of phosphorus as being the primary concern. Use a phosphorous binder if you need to / your vet recommends it, but I would most definitely offer your kitty the highest animal-protein diet you can afford.

Best regards!

post #9 of 39
I would be careful with grain free/high protein, phosphorus levels and CRF... She might be skinny, but if her numbers are alright, I rather have that than fatten her up but get her CRF worse. I would turn to my vet for advice, honestly... Since you are not medicating her, this might be tricky. On another note, have you ran a T-4 thyroid test lately?
post #10 of 39
I am moving this thread to Nutrition as I think it really belongs there and I am sure more people will see and reply
post #11 of 39

You can also get food supplements (GNC has one, but you can find them all over).  There are powders you can put in their foods and there is a gel called NutriCal (I think that's the name or very close) and you can give him some of that as well.  It's specifically geared to have high calories and nutrients and is formulated for cats.


You can also add some powdered kitten milk replacement to the wet food as well.

post #12 of 39
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post

I am moving this thread to Nutrition as I think it really belongs there and I am sure more people will see and reply

But the thread is 2 years old. :lol3:

post #13 of 39

if my cat was loosing weight i would give her 1 can and more dry food than what she is getting.i also think that you should give her TREATS like a handful of them, i suggest the brand Temptations treats.i am almost cretin that they will fatten her up,they fatten my cat up big time.

post #14 of 39
Originally Posted by Fhi09 View Post

But the thread is 2 years old. laughing02.gif

Thanks! I did not notice! Well, some people may find it useful.
post #15 of 39

Thks. I found the two year info helpful, so you were correct. ;0)


I have two senior cats. Both went on metabolic diet and lost weight. One lost too much weight, so I'm needng to put some pounds back on.

post #16 of 39
I have a cat I had him since he was 3 month old. I took him to the vet and he was in pain he couldn't go to the bathroom so they unblocked him now he lost alot of weights and he looks like he has arthritis but he don't eat much I have five other cat in my house to put he has parasites in him he don't have worms hardly no fleas he used to be on pro plans Dry cat food but I couldn't afford it so I went and bought him the cheapest price he has a sensitive stomach so I bought him Purina one sensitive cat food but he still not getting fat. please help me. Tammy
post #17 of 39
HELP!! My 6 year old siamese/tabby is in good health per the vet, but I have seen a decrease in weight in the last few months. She seems healthy, but I am concerned when I pick her up of her very thin frame. We added another cat to our household, in the beginning she gained weight, but then quickly loss the weight. I am thinking it is possible that the new cat is more territorial about the food so I also added another food despenser closer to the area she is always in, and still no change. I have tried wet food, but she will not touch it, in fact she turns her nose up to it and walks away. She will only eat dry food. Any suggestions? I thought of adding a kitten formula and mixing it with their regular diet, since the vitamins and nutrition levels are high, but I am not sure if it is a good idea to add that for an older cat. Any suggestions would be greatful.
post #18 of 39

feed the kitten food. and look on the bags. it will say how many calories per cup. often, high protein, grain-free formulas are high in calories. and you can also feed her extra treats. 

post #19 of 39

my cat bellais 2 years old and weighs 4 pounds and skinny what should i feed her

post #20 of 39

LOL It's December of 2016 and I just found this thread... it's been really helpful!

post #21 of 39

My 2 cats were fine weight-wise until I started them on Nutrish by Rachael Ray. They loved it, but they both started losing weight.  Tard ( my special needs cat)  is so skinny I can feel every rib and bone in her body.  Her sister Amy's weight loss isn't as extreme. They get a can of wet food daily.  I give them the wet food so their stools aren't rock hard.  They get iced spring least 3x's a day.  ( I get ice water..they get fresh ice water.  yeah..they're spoiled a  bit   lol)  I went back to a different dry food hoping it will help them gain some weight back.  They do get "people food" sometimes as treats.  I'll keep  everyone posted to see if the change helps.

post #22 of 39

Cat needs to gain weight. What to feed.

Getting most underweight cats to gain weight is much easier if you know why they are losing weight. A trip to the vet is often the best first step. Any number of medical conditions could cause your cat to be underweight. The most common are kidney disease, diabetes, IBS/IBD, bad teeth, skinny old cat syndrome and they just decided to stop eating their normal food.


Kidney disease is a tough one. Appetite suppression caused by kidney disease is your worst enemy. The best rule is, they must eat; feed them as much of any food that they will eat. It would be best if the food was less than 0.06% phosphorus. Low phosphorus is crucial in managing kidney disease and must not be ignored. New research suggests that low protein is not necessary when feeding a kidney disease cat, as long as the protein is derived from highly digestible animal sources. Many older cats are protein deficient and have a higher need for protein including kidney disease cats.


Diabetes is much easier to manage. Once you remove all starch from the diet the vast majority of newly diagnosed cats will go into remission within the first two weeks. The longer they are diabetic, the lower the odds of remission. Once blood glucose levels are under control, either from diet, insulin injections or both; weight will usually return to normal on a carnivore diet.


IBS/IBD is another tough one. A diet containing free Nucleotides is a great choice. Nucleotides will strengthen and elongate the villi of the small intestine. Robust villi can dramatically decrease the incidence of harmful bacteria colonizing the intestinal tract (in healthy cats as well) and will increase the adsorption of nutrients. It’s also best if you stay away from any diet that contains plant proteins. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) is a good nutrient and can help maintain the proper growth of beneficial bacteria living in the large intestine. Often times you will end up trying several different foods until you find one that works for your cat. If a food does not work you will generally know within the first month, if it is working you may not be able to see a difference for 3 months. Positive change happens slowly for an IBS/IBD kitty.


Bad teeth are a common cause for a cat that suddenly stops eating their food. Sometimes a piece of food hits a sore tooth and the cat blames the food and stops eating the food for fear of the pain coming back. Sometimes a cat for some unknown reason will simply decide they are done with a food they have loved for years. Other times a new bag of food will taste slightly different and a cat will become suspicious and think something is wrong with the food and refuse it. Cats are very sensitive to rancidity and can detect it long before you can. Most new foods become rancid because they are placed in an unwashed pet food container. Old oil coats the pet container walls and then contaminates the new food. This is often the reason that cats dig into a food when you first open it and half way through the container they begin refusing it. Rancidity can propagate through a food almost like a bacteria infection; it doesn't take long. Best to keep the food in the bag it arrives in and place that bag in the pet food container. Cats have many reasons and do many odd things and a little detective work can go a long way in helping them with their issues.


Skinny old cat syndrome (SOCS) is very common. In an otherwise healthy cat, SOCS is most commonly seen in cats consuming high starch/carbohydrate, low protein diets. As your cat ages, their need for animal protein increases. This is the complete opposite of what we see in many animals. Your cat is an obligate carnivore and was never meant to eat starch/carbs. They need only protein and fat derived from meat to thrive for their entire life. It does not matter whether that meat is supplied in a raw, canned or dry kibble cat food. Your cat can build muscle from protein, but cannot build muscle from starch/carbs. The average cat food sold today, typically contains 15-30% starch/carbs. For any cat food to be considered low in starch/carbs it must contain less than 10% starch. I personally believe it should be less than 6% starch. This means the protein will range be 52-59% and the fat will be 22-28%. Skinny old cats typically gain muscle weight when they begin consuming a carnivore diet.


Because most diets force our cats to consume diets rich in starch/carbs, we usually end up with fat kitties. However it is not uncommon to have an obese cat that is also deficient in muscle mass. I see many a cat that looks like a football, that will look fit and trim within 3 months of switching to a low carb high protein diet and their weight does not change. In other words, as the cat lost the fat it gained an equal weight of muscle. This is a clear sign that the food he had been eating was not balanced. One of the most common misconceptions out there is that if you feed a cat free choice he will not be able to manage his weight. This is true only when you feed excessive starch/carbs or have a food that is nutritionally not balanced.


What should you be feeding your cat that needs to gain weight?

A carnivore diet that contains only animal protein and fat and contains less than 6% starch/carbs. It’s that simple. Basically you are going back to the carnivore diet that nature has been providing for our cats for thousand of generations.  I would recommend feeding roughly a 54% protein 24% fat and less than 6% starch/carbs kibble free choice (food available at all times) and supplement a starch free canned food as a treat or as you see fit. For the canned food to maintain proper body mass, it should contain roughly 12% protein and 6% fat. It is important that protein to fat ratios be roughly 2 to 1. Balance is key in maintaining a healthy cat. Once you get the nutrition right you will quickly see proper weight, more physical activity, a softer coat and a more social cat. Cats also consume 40-60% less of this type of food vs. the high starch/carb alternative; you will either save money or spend the same amount on your monthly food bill.

post #23 of 39

My Bombay is needing to gain weight, too.. He is crazy thin, despite having food out all day, (free feed). Vet  said it's allergies, Idk how many times I switched his food.. From Rachael Ray to EVO to Science Diet, (until I found out Science Diet was no better), to tractor Supply brand food, (4 Health), to Taste of the Wild to Wysong Epigen canned. He still is loosing his fur and thin. I, also, can feel his spine and bones... I am feeding him extra but still thin.. :( I tried raw, but think he's hooked on dry.. Oh, also tried the Dr's Foster and Smith canned, also. 

post #24 of 39

Temptations has by products and corn, none of which are healthy for cats, or anyone, really. 

post #25 of 39

I just found it, an it's really helping me! 

post #26 of 39

I also just wormed him about a week or so ago. BTW. 

post #27 of 39

I got some wet food, Wysong Epigen, he liked it, an then gotten some Beech-Nut baby food, he LOVED IT!!!!!!! Also gotten some kitten milk replacement, he seems to like it. It was meat and gravy. (The baby food). I gave him the turkey one, first, so far, he (no pun intended), gobbled it up! So, maybe you can try that, if you are having trouble getting your cat to eat. 

post #28 of 39

BTW, yes I do plan on getting him to the vet soon. 

post #29 of 39
Originally Posted by Victorysmom View Post

I got some wet food, Wysong Epigen, he liked it.........


Wet? Did you say WET??


BRAVO !  dance.gif


Oh, and look.......actual, real meat !

¬†Epigen‚ĄĘ Chicken:¬†Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Natural Flavor


Incroyable !

post #30 of 39
Originally Posted by Victorysmom View Post

BTW, yes I do plan on getting him to the vet soon. 

that's good. Maybe try a different vet. There's no way for them to know it's allergies without an allergen test or trial and error with diet. It is a poor decision for your vet to simply dismiss it to allergies. My cat has been experiencing weight loss and my last vet did not care/worry enough, so I went to a new vet who is more concerned and doing tests to figure out why (we are on the track of investigating different intestinal ailments like IBD, lymphoma, bacteria imbalance, etc, but my cat also has diarrhea so that's another clue). Not all parasites can be knocked out by a single dewormer. I don't think major weight loss can be attributed to allergies... maybe look into a blood test!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Nutrition › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Nutrition › Cat needs to gain weight. What to feed?