M.P. asks from Raleigh, NC on August 22, 2011
How to Fatten up a Cat
My 14 year old cat was really sick recently with an infection. The vet put him on two rounds of antibiotics, which took care of the infection. However, he lost a lot of weight and just hasn't been himself lately, which is understandable. What can I give him to fatten him back up? I have heard someone say put olive oil in his food and others say cheese. I have heard that kitten food works too. If he were a younger cat, I would just let him fatten back up on his own, but the weight gain seems slow for him now that he's older. His teeth are bad and many have been pulled, so dry food is difficult for him. Advice on getting him fat and happy again?
K.D. answers from Raleigh on August 23, 2011
Classic Fancy Feast is about the safest cat food, I have found, for my cat who has a reduced immune system. There are 3 fish flavors she tolerates quite well. Also, you might want to consider some probiotics since he has had antibiotics, to repopulate the good bacteria. There are cat versions, but if they are expensive you can see if you can find a human version with the same ingredients and use that instead. Are his bowel movements good, do you think he has trapped gas? If so, he would be in pain and won't eat much because of that. A few drops of mylicon (or non-name brand of simethicone) into his mouth would help him to release any trapped gas. Good luck!
C.R. answers from Dallas on August 22, 2011
I'll give you my vet tech advice. You really need to be careful in what you feed an older guy like this. Kitten food is higher in some things that could cause him some other health issues and table food is not something you want to go tinkering with. Some diarrhea would be awful for you and cause dehydration in your cat. Not a biggie in a young healthy cat but something that can turn quite serious quickly in an older kitty. Always irritates me when I see cats on TV drinking milk in a bowl or playing with string. You'd be surprised how many sick kitties I've seen that can not process the protein in cow products or have swallowed string and required emergency surgery. Alot of myths out there is my point. Older cats do tend to be on the light weight side and some can look quite unthrifty and thin but are fine as long as they are not losing too much too quickly. Also sometimes it takes a lot out of a cat this age when he's been sick and they can go downhill fast. I would suggest having his weight monitored by your vet every few weeks so to know he's not losing and have them advise you on if and what you would need to give him for his weight loss.
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K.U. answers from Detroit on August 22, 2011
Most veterinarians carry special diets (usually canned) that are "nutritional recovery" diets, so they are higher in calories, fat, etc. and very soft and easy to eat or mix with water if necessary. I would discuss this with your veterinarian though first, to make sure it's the right thing to do and there isn't something else going on. At that age, it is common for them to start having other health issues, like kidney failure, that cause weight loss and other diagnostics, like bloodwork, may be indicated.
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M.L. answers from Houston on August 22, 2011
Diary is bad for cats, do not give cheese. Your vet can prescribe a good food for him that is calorie packed, Science Diets offer a variety of prescription foods for this very purpose. Dry food is fine, just a little water and heat it up for a few seconds and stir. It will make it moist and a little soggy. Kitten food can work if your cat does not have impaired kidney function, although kitten food has higher calorie content, seniors like yours require reduced levels of heavy metals as this can ruin their kidney function. Kitten food can cause renal failure and the link in an older cat.
Choose cat food that list a recognizable protein source as first ingredient ie chicken, beef, lamb, fish, etc and never settle for by products (corn, wheat, hooves).
A little bit of tuna a few times a week mixed in is food may help, but do not give too much due to it being harder to digest and it's metallic content.
An older cat that has a propensity to lose weight probably isn't a candidate for a senior diet (b/c those have reduced calories for overweight cats). Rather, a more rational switch may be from a maintenance food to one even higher in calories and nutrients such as an all life stages product.
Lots of great advice here on caring for senior cats:
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M.S. answers from Chicago on August 22, 2011
Kitten food. We got a kitten and our older cat LOVED the kitten food. We left out the dry food for the kitten. Our older cat ate it, and I noticed a weight gain!!
K.K. answers from Dallas on August 23, 2011
This is really something a vet should be giving advice for. Kitten food can be terribly unhealthy for an older cat and cause a host of medical problems and cam be hard on renal function, not to mention loose stools. There are many prescription foods for specific dietary needs. Have they checked his thryroid? And if you vet is not working with you on dietary advice then you need to find a new one. The weight may not be easy to get back at that age and in his condition.
Good luck I know it is hard watching them age.
C.W. answers from Santa Barbara on August 22, 2011
Jo is totally right...kitten food! It is meant for growing bodies. Good luck!
J.L. answers from Los Angeles on August 22, 2011
Sorry, i'm being silly, but when I read the title of your post, the first thoughts into my head were, 'for Christmas Dinner?'. Yes, juvenile aren't I?
My cat is older and loves sloppy tinned food, prawns and fresh fish. He will eat it all day long.
J.C. answers from Cleveland on August 22, 2011
Sorry about your cat. How about tuna? Most cats love it, and maybe even putting the water from the can on his regular food would help.
Unfortunately, we have the opposite problem, and our cat is on a diet. We have to get him to lose 4 lbs! So far, he's only lost 4 ounces! : ) Oh, dear.......