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Getting thin cats to chubby up

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, there's all the threads about cat dieting, and fat cats, but what do you do about the cats who won't put on weight?

Both of my cats have, at one time or another, been normal weight, or even a bit chubby. Rowan was skin and bones when he found me, and he gained just a little, and lost it after he was neutered (he was bilaterally cryptorchid, so it was invasive like a spay), and he's stayed all skinny for the past few months. Bella was cute with her chubby kitten belly, but when we switched from Eukanoba kitten to Felidae Kitten/Cat formula, she slimmed down, and I can feel her bones when I pet her now.

It's not unhealthy skinny, and my vet tells me that it's ok for them to be skinny, but I'd rather not feel vertibrae, ribs, and hips when I'm petting them. I leave out dry food all day long, and I give treats. Should I add more wet food into their diets? Maybe the wet food as an every day thing instead of special occasions? When I take them for walks in the courtyard on their leashes, I feel bad that all the strays are twice their weight or more. Granted, some of the strays are beyond obese, but still... Mine look like strays with shiny coats, and the strays look like housecats with ratty coats.
post #2 of 13
You are actually meant to be able to feel their ribs (feel them but not see them) and if your vet feels their weight is ok I wouldn't worry too much. If you're leaving food down all day and they're eating as much as they want it sounds like they are just slender cats. My Jaffa's quite skinny, esp at the back, but that's just his build. I'd rather see a sleek and slender cat than an overweight one, tbh (so long as not underweight or being starved to be that way!). You can get foods designed to help cats gain weight - hills do one (a/d?)- which might help if you want to get a bit more weight on them. I'd guess royal canin do a similar food.
post #3 of 13
It is normal to feel bones, pelvis, and ribs when you pet a normal weight cat. If you feel individualribs, the cat is too thin.

You might just have naturally thin cats. They will eat when they are hungry, and if the vet says they are all right, I'd live with it.

Most cats are overweight so we come to take that as normal. Gizmo was, to my intense surprise, one pound overweight after living with me for four months; she is now at her ideal weight after a change in diet.
(The California Natural food caused her to pack on the pound, in case you still want to try this out on your kids--but it turned out that Gizmo was allergic to chicken and was simply retaining water.)

I am a little careful picking her up now because the obvious bone structure gives an impression of fragility (compared to the very overweight cats upstairs, who are like well padded boulders) but she is healthy and I'm relieved. You are lucky to have normal weight cats!
post #4 of 13
i was kinda worried about the same thing. heyu looks so skinny. i know she is tiny cat long but small. the scale says she is l over 8 pounds allmost 9 which is 3 pound more then when i got her at around 6 months old(she is a little over a year now)

but it is the smallest 8 pounds i have have seen, there is always food left over dry food,(not alot, but some) when i go to feed her again, and she eats all the wet food i give her.
plus the cheese she steals sometimes

vet said she is fine, but still looks skinny to me.
post #5 of 13
It's a sad statement that we're so used to overweight animals that when our pets are healthy we think they're deathly thin. I see this all the time, with both cats and dogs. You're definatley not alone.

I also had to reprogram my brain with my two cats. They're both slender, Nya, without all the fur practically dissapears (she's just 7lbs, but on a very long frame). Buddy is a healthy 9lbs, but still LOOKS thin to me (he has a pronounced waist and I can feel his ribs). But the vet insists they're both healthy weights and actually pleaded with me to not "fatten them up" as it was such a relief for her to see cats at the proper weight, not grossly obese.

I still worry from time to time that they're too little (usually after visiting my parents 16 and 18lb cats), but I just remind myself that it's MUCH better for their health this way.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlieQ View Post
Should I add more wet food into their diets? Maybe the wet food as an every day thing instead of special occasions?
My Scarlett has the same problem - she is 7 pounds and you can feel her ribs and hips very clearly. We do give her wet food daily in the hopes to put on a little weight but she simply doesn't gain. I've adjusted my thinking about her that she is just a small cat. My vet isn't worried about here.

If your vet isn't worried, you shouldn't be.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanillasugar View Post
But the vet insists they're both healthy weights and actually pleaded with me to not "fatten them up" as it was such a relief for her to see cats at the proper weight, not grossly obese.
I agree - it's so hard to get cats to lose weight that it's much better to make sure they don't gain excess weight in the first place. When people see Jaffa for the first time they tend to comment on how skinny he is as his fur is very close lying so doesn't give him any extra size. He is, actually, a perfect weight for his build, and over the past few years my vets have commented on how nice it is to see a cat of his age (he's 9 now) that's not overweight.
post #8 of 13
Apparently, I'm very good at fattening up cats, so send your kitty to me!! My vet asked me how I did it, but I don't free feed and my cats only get 1/2 C of food a day (Royal Canin). so I don't know. So evidently, all peeps trying to fatten their cats up need to come see how I do it! LOL
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlieQ View Post
So, there's all the threads about cat dieting, and fat cats, but what do you do about the cats who won't put on weight?

Both of my cats have, at one time or another, been normal weight, or even a bit chubby. Rowan was skin and bones when he found me, and he gained just a little, and lost it after he was neutered (he was bilaterally cryptorchid, so it was invasive like a spay), and he's stayed all skinny for the past few months. Bella was cute with her chubby kitten belly, but when we switched from Eukanoba kitten to Felidae Kitten/Cat formula, she slimmed down, and I can feel her bones when I pet her now.

It's not unhealthy skinny, and my vet tells me that it's ok for them to be skinny, but I'd rather not feel vertibrae, ribs, and hips when I'm petting them. I leave out dry food all day long, and I give treats. Should I add more wet food into their diets? Maybe the wet food as an every day thing instead of special occasions? When I take them for walks in the courtyard on their leashes, I feel bad that all the strays are twice their weight or more. Granted, some of the strays are beyond obese, but still... Mine look like strays with shiny coats, and the strays look like housecats with ratty coats.
I don't understand why you want to fatten your cats up if the vet said they are at a healthy weight? Isn't their health more important then if you can feel their ribs when you pet them? I also don't see what switching to wet food will do. Dry food is more fattening but wet is healthier. Unless you mean in addition. But I wouldn't feed them over the recommended amount. It is easy for them to suddenly start overeating and become really large. If they are a healthy weight and eating just fine, you don't want to fatten them up. Getting fat or even a little chubbier then normal can lead to all sorts of health issues. Just let them be.
post #10 of 13
Gizmo has a very slender waist, a pronounced hip area, and ribs that are coated with muscle, not fat. Her belly tucks up (you can only see this when she stands on her hind legs since her fur is a bit droopy under the belly due to spaying.)
This is normal. Do not worry about your cats! You've seen so many fat ones that they LOOk normal but they are not healthy. Yours are. A telltale sign is the coat: if it is shiny and not shedding overmuch, the cat is healthy.

Incidentally my vet told me that healthy animals DO shed. In which case my cat and my late dog were VERY healthy.
Don't worry, and don't change what you are doing--a cat of normal weight is a rarity. Gizmo is the first one I've seen in thirty years that was NOT overweight so she takes a little getting used to!
post #11 of 13
this chart might help some evaluate if their cat is overweight:
http://placervillevet.com/feline%20body%20condition.htm

i like the feel of bones. i'd rather feel bones than fat. my cats have the 'droop' around the hind legs like gizmos cats. i was wondering if this was fat or not? it feels just like thin folds of skin. and they are just 6months old so i'm thinking they may grow into it. and you can feel the individual ribs and easily see the bone shape when looking above the cats. maybe they're just 'skin-ny.'

i think as long as they have lots of energy and the vets okays them then it's all good. i think it would be an honour to have a healthy cat that prefers to eat less.

and i find i hear so many dangers of overweightness and not much about the being underweight, which i think rarely happens anyways. if the cat is underweight you can actually SEE the individual ribs. the normal weight simply looks skinny.

so many cats owners just throw a huge bowl of food down because they don't wanna take the few minutes to feed on schedule or hear meowing. and i've heard owners say "my cat is so fat and healthy..." sounds like contradiction to me.

a cat that is above its normal weight is 'weighed down.' it cannot jump as high. play as easily/freely. groom itself properly. and because it has such load to carry, it may not bother to even move as much. i've seen a severly obese cat that spent its life laying near the food bowl. and once in a while it went to the washroom. what kind of a life is that for a cat?

yes, sometimes skinny looking cats can be a little hungry. it's the payoff for being flexible, healthy, well groomed, playful and fun.

that's my take on it anyways. and i'm no expert at all.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've seen that chart before... they're somewhere in the 3-4 region. Nothing terribly skinny, but I can feel individual ribs. And I don't want them to be fat, because fat cats never seem to have fun, and I wouldn't make them unhealthy. I'd just like them in the region of 5 on that chart again.

They've obviously got muscles covering the bones, and it's not like I don't want to feel anything but fat when I pet them, because that's not the issue at all. The issue is that they are a bit on the skinny side, and that's not good for them either. I was terrified at how much weight Rowan lost after his neuter, because he was just starting to gain some weight beforehand. If something like that happened now, a surgery or illness, neither of them have anything to lose.
post #13 of 13
dry food has helped Pebbles more, we have always had weight issues with her, again the vets weren't overly concerned, but I was. The vet did end up telling me I was over worrying as the boys are both overweight, so I was thinking they are skinnier than they actually are cos i am too used to them. I do seem to end up with small females and large males!! And Hills a/d once a week would be good. I dont like feeling bones on mine, but knowing health risks of being overweight, I would prefer it.
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