The vet may suggest special foods and, if appetite is poor, it may help to feed little and often, warm the food or add a small quantity of pilchards or sardines. Adding vegetable oil or margarine (in small quantities at first) may help weight gain, provided that the extra fat does not cause diarrhoea.
Raw or “gently cooked” fresh food is an excellent diet for elderly cats. Dr. Becker recommends that if it is impossible to feed raw that dehydrated or freeze-dried balanced food reconstituted with plenty of water is good second choice. However, feeding an all dry-food diet in the long run will cause problems.
What’s going on? Well-recognized causes of weight loss in old cats include chronic renal disease, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and dental problems, to name a few.
Most cats simply need more meals per day and/or free access to dry food in order to gain weight. Cats prefer to ‘graze’ or eat small meals throughout the day so having food available all day long can make all the difference. Be sure to check with your vet to see if this would be a good option for your cat.
Why is my cat thin at the back end? While a cat’s rear end is usually slightly narrower, muscle water on the hind end can be caused by age, lack of eating, specific illnesses, or even depression. If you notice a change in the condition of your cat it’s important to consult your veterinarian.
Weight loss can be an early sign of illness, so check with your vet. It is common for older cats to develop medical conditions that cause them to lose weight, such as kidney and thyroid disease. If your cat is losing weight, it is important to consult your vet as soon as possible.
As they age, cats are not able to digest their food as well resulting in increased nutrition requirements. If their nutrition does not meet their requirements, they will lose muscle mass resulting in the ability to easily feel the bones of their spine and hips when petting them.
Signs Your Cat Could Be Dying
Weight loss occurs when too few calories are being consumed. Some of the more common reasons cats will cut back on their food intake include: A painful problem in the mouth such as a growth or dental disease. Competition at the food bowl created by other cats or a sneaky dog.
Parasitic worms (tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms) can mean that your cat eats a lot yet loses weight. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and inflammatory bowel disease can interfere with food absorption. So, your cat may eat voraciously yet lose weight. Also, make sure that another pet isn’t eating your cat’s food.
If Your Cat Is Underweight Consult your vet; they may recommend a specialized diet higher in protein and fat to help your underweight cat reach an optimal weight, and will also have advice on whether to free feed your cat or feed multiple servings per day to encourage weight gain.
Cats can be addicted to tuna, whether it’s packed for cats or for humans. Some tuna now and then probably won’t hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won’t have all the nutrients a cat needs. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning.
Here are our top picks for the best cat food for weight gain:
When running your hand down the length of your cat’s back, you should be able to feel the cat’s spine. However, you should not be able to feel each vertebra. There is a layer of muscle/fat between the spine and the skin, and if this layer is sufficient, the cat’s spine should not be knobby.
Actual weight may not change, but a cat can begin to lose muscle mass and tone. Their skin can become thinner, or their hair coat dulls. These are not “normal” changes and should not be dismissed because the cat is aging.
Signs that your cat is in pain include: Agitation (unsettled, trembling) Cat crying, growling, hissing. Limping or difficulty jumping.