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Cat needs to gain weight. What to feed?

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by dusty's mom, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. rachel zabler

    rachel zabler TCS Member Kitten

    1
    1
    Dec 31, 2016
    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 water..fresh..at 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.
     

  2. young again

    young again TCS Member Young Cat

    54
    11
    Jan 3, 2017
    Minnesota
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    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.
     
    victorysmom and orange&white purraised this.

  3. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    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. 
     

  4. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    Temptations has by products and corn, none of which are healthy for cats, or anyone, really. 
     

  5. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    I just found it, an it's really helping me! 
     

  6. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    I also just wormed him about a week or so ago. BTW. 
     

  7. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    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. 
     

  8. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    BTW, yes I do plan on getting him to the vet soon. 
     

  9. white shadow

    white shadow TCS Member Top Cat

    1,758
    1,152
    Nov 28, 2010
    CA
    Wet? Did you say WET??

    BRAVO !  [​IMG]

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

  10. abby calico

    abby calico TCS Member Kitten

    15
    1
    Jan 12, 2017
    Washington State
    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!!
     

  11. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    I am trying to find a reputable Holistic vet, since his current vet was the one who said it was allergies.. they said it's flea allergy, despite not seeing any on him, (he's a Bombay, so he's all black). He got some conventional flea drops, and got some to take home, he HATES them, an always gives me the eye after I apply them, making me feel bad. Then, no matter how high I apply, he always attempts to lick it off .. how can I find a reputable vet?? 
     

  12. abby calico

    abby calico TCS Member Kitten

    15
    1
    Jan 12, 2017
    Washington State
    My only tip (besides trial and error) is to check reviews online and check out the vet's website (if they have one) and see what sort of services they provide (nutritional counseling? Ultrasound and xray?). Also peek at what products they sell, are they in contract with certain food/med companies, are they going to inappropriately push specific products on you when it's not exactly what you need? Conduct some of your own research regarding your cat's symptons and keep a log of his behavior so you can express the right concerns at the next appointment. (may want to make sure your kitty is not dehydrated or at risk for fatty liver disease). Your vet should be communicative with you if you're worried about your pet and paying money to be there. I hate the feeling that a vet is trying to rush through the appointment and dodge questions about my pet's health. I love when a vet takes the time to break it down for me and makes a treatment plan.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017

  13. mommakittylover

    mommakittylover TCS Member Kitten

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    0
    Feb 12, 2017
    Ok I got to kitties from petco when they brought them to me they were sick. They got meds and then we're better. Next one of them keeps getting sick took to vet on meds but his twin brother is a little over 8 pounds and he is only 5.46. They are 6 months old now. I feed them kibble but I need to know what is cheap and quick to put weight on him. My husband is working but I'm looking for work and we can't afford to much till I get back to work
     

  14. ravencrone

    ravencrone TCS Member Kitten

    3
    0
    Mar 5, 2017
    It seems the best answer here is by YoungCat and it should be pinned to the top! I knew much of what she says but have happily learned more. My 17 y/o female tabby has CRF and also has hyperthyroidism for which she is medicated for but not for the CRF. She has gone off more foods than I can count. I couldn't bear her eating so little and being so thin so I found she loves Friskies Chicken & Cheese and will eat 2 tins per day. But now I see how very bad for her it is! I have tried natural tinned foods before but they only come in a pâté which she no longer likes. She likes chunks of chicken or turkey and gravy. Of course2 tins per day of the Friskies isn't making her gain and I see why now! I can't do with feeding raw foods as I'm unable to keep up with all that needs doing at my age and ability so I must do my research and start trying other options. Apart from being skinny she is very alert, soft as butter coat, and as curious as a kitten. She still seems to get a stomach upset at least once per week. She was getting them more often til I took her off the laxative her vet said i needed to give her daily! She has had no hard poos since stopping that thankfully. Vets aren't always right. I listen to my cat. She knows her body best. I just need to get some weight ob her now
     

  15. kinipetlady

    kinipetlady TCS Member Kitten

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    0
    Mar 23, 2017

    Ask your vet about using capstar on your cat if it is indeed fleas it will kill them within 30 minutes and it's a very tiny pill given as(if) needed daily so no licking off chemicals.
     

  16. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
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    Jan 30, 2017
    I actually stay away from chemicals, there is an organic shampoo I use for fleas, it's not fleas cause even after I bathe him, I see nothing and he still proceeds to eat himself.. I am starting to wonder of it's not a Yeast infection of the skin, perhaps?? My dog has it, and attacks himself like crazy. :(
     

  17. kinipetlady

    kinipetlady TCS Member Kitten

    2
    0
    Mar 23, 2017
    If your cat / dog is in need of weight gain there are a few options available through a vet and without. I have been working at a vet Clinic as a technician for 6 years if that gives you any confidence in what I am suggesting.

    For the cats that do like to eat wet food ask your vet about adding Hills prescription diet A/D wet food.
    Also ask about adding Fortiflora supplement (which is a little powder packet of probiotics which you can mix with any food which will help with digestion and proper fat absorption.
    Feeding a teaspoon of KMR mixed in with any food could also help pack on some weight.
    You may also find at your local pet store Adult/Mature cat milk or supplement and it's recommended you give roughly 1/3 cup of the liquid per day.
    For those that prefer to cook their furbabies meals a chicken and rice mix would suffice but you will most likely need a probiotic to add. (1 cup of rice 2 cups of boiled chicken, cats like it best if you boil the chicken first and use the chicken water for the rice using chicken broth for flavoring isn't recommended because of the high sodium levels)the protein in chicken is the key. You may also add some shredded cheese to the blend (cats tend to prefer cheddar) but not too much as it can cause acid reflux.
    Cats also tend to lose weight when they 'overgroom' sometimes your cat will start gaining weight after being placed on a hairball reduction supplement especially long haired cats or a good old fashioned bath once every 6-8 weeks.
    One other trick a lot of clients and myself have had luck with is mixing 2 different dry foods (I personally use pro plan focus and 9 lives mixed)

    Before you go out and buy any supplements or otc foods please consult your vet. Some weight loss may be attributed to daily life or an underlying moderate or severe health problem.

    One last note if you plan on switching your pet to a raw diet please keep in mind it will have to be very gradual as your pets body is accustomed to processing the kibble and canned foods you have been feeding them and a sudden change as such can cause multiple complications and shock their systems.
     

  18. victorysmom

    victorysmom TCS Member Young Cat

    20
    1
    Jan 30, 2017
    I feed Wysong, it's the best food for Dogs, Cats, and even Ferrets. They have human products, as well. I got him to start eating again, via wet food and baby food, (Beech Nut brand, turkey and gravy mix is his absolute favorite, btw). I would NEVER feed by products to my cat, (9 Lives and Pro Plan) , and I do not feed any Purina foods. He seems to be fine except for his weight issue, he acts like his normal self otherwise. Will try KMR, and the adult cat milk, I been using (from Wysong) PDG, it's a powder that gets animals back on their food. If for some reason they stopped eating. It worked like a charm. My cat LOVED It, it was how I got him to eat wet. Gave it to the dog, too, since he is a chronic food beggar, and will not eat his own food. The dog loved it as well. My cat eats great now, and I got him the wormer I normally use on him, it's made by HomeoPet, called WRM Clear. It's a Homeopathic blend, no chemicals, nothing that can harm the cat. It is very effective, it works for every kind of intestinal worm. I can prove it is safe, because my separation anxiety dog had gotten ahold of the previous bottle, drank what was left, (15ml bottle) and had 0 ill effects. Not even one. An he is by no means a big dog, he is only 25lbs. (I now put the wormer on the top shelf of the 5 shelf bookcase so he doesn't eat this one.) The Fortiflora, is that organic/holistic, or does it contain chemicals, etc, too??  He is by no means a longhair, he is a Purebred Bombay. I wonder if a Yeast Infection of the skin could cause this?? My dog has it and although he is not skinny, quite the opposite, he constantly chews himself, and my cat has acted like he has what we always thought was allergies for 4 yrs now. Although nothing except monthly steroid injections work. I have since quit the injections, however, because constant steroid injections can cause Liver Failure. That is why I am looking for a reputable Holistic Vet. 
     

  19. orange&white

    orange&white TCS Member Top Cat

    6,765
    7,959
    Aug 22, 2008
    Texas
    I'm glad your kitty is eating again with the Wysong and baby food.  The other natural thing you might add to bulk him up is raw egg yolk (or if you don't like the idea of raw, then gently cooked).  One egg yolk has 55 calories and is 100% bio-available.

    My senior cat went off food for a day and a half recently when I introduced a new kitten to the house.  Cats aren't allowed to stop eating for more than a day and a half at my house (not since I nursed a cat through hepatic lipidosis a few years ago), so I tried syringe feeding him watered down canned food over the next 24 hours.  He was not happy with me, and I was not getting enough calories into him.  Then I remembered nutritious, relatively high calorie, egg yolks.  I syringe fed him nothing but egg yolks for the next day and a half (four per day, total of six).  He perked up and got his full appetite back. (He eats a raw diet.)  Egg yolks alone are not a balanced diet obviously, so not a long-term solution, but they will perk up a kitty with a poor appetite or add healthy calories when fed as part of an overall healthy diet.
     

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