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What to Give Older Cats for Weight Gain

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What to Give Older Cats for Weight Gain
What to Give Older Cats for Weight Gain | Innovet Pet

Taking care of an old and underweight cat is often a trying and difficult experience. In general, cats are choosy eaters. The behavior that cats exhibit is more demanding towards their owners than dogs. The demanding behavior is especially true as the cats get old.

What to feed an old cat to gain weight is something that most cat owners find difficult to figure out. The article will discuss in detail and there are many useful tips that will help cat gain weight in a healthy manner.

When learning how to help cat gain weight, the most important thing a cat owner needs to remember is that they will have to exercise flexibility and patience when dealing with an old cat. Each cat has a different personality and the strategy that works successfully for one cat may not work for the other.

Gain knowledge about the individual needs of your cat. Pay adequate attention to its body language. This will help you understand how the cat expresses pleasure or displeasure when you encourage it to eat.

Loss of Appetite and Health Complications 

How to make a cat gain weight? Loss of appetite is often considered dangerous for cats. In some cases, it can have disastrous side effects. Quick onset of dehydration usually accompanies the loss of appetite. This is especially true for cats that prefer a wet food diet. Loss of appetite often indicates an underlying health condition.

If the cat is not keeping well due to any reason, the first thing that a cat owner notices is the loss of appetite. One of the important things you need to understand is that a missed meal doesn’t mean a loss of appetite. Pay attention if the cat exhibits a complete disinterest in food even after it misses the second and third meal.

Loss of appetite in cats is serious. In such a scenario, cat owners should opt for immediate evaluation by a veterinarian. Most cats tend to hide their discomfort even if they are suffering. Cat owners are often unaware of the extent of suffering of their cats.

Loss of appetite is often the first visible sign of an underlying medical condition. Early detection of the exact cause of the cat losing weight is beneficial for the overall health of the pet in the long run.

Why Isn't My Cat Eating?

Most cats are choosy when it comes to eating food. Your furry companion could be very particular about what they put in their mouth and bodies. This can often be a big problem...

So, what should you do when a kitty that refuses to eat?

What’s the Big Deal With Loss of Appetite in Cats?

When a cat stops eating, the body starts using fat reserves to get energy. The problem with this is that the body requires a lot of protein. When the protein reserves get over, the excess fat will put a big strain on the liver. The strain can lead to hepatic lipidosis and cause liver failure.

Reasons Your Cat Won’t Eat

In most cases, loss of appetite in a cat is temporary. Cat owners should be concerned if the cat doesn’t eat for more than 12 hours. There are many factors (mild and serious) that can cause loss of appetite in your cat.

Here is a list of causes that will help you understand the lack of appetite in your pet cat.

Change of Scenery

Change can be scary for cats as they are creatures of habit. Lack of familiar surroundings will have an effect on the well-being of the cat. This is especially true when the cat owner is traveling, moving to a new location, or introducing a cat into a dog's home.


Most pet owners assume that their pet is afflicted with some illness whenever there is a health issue. Quick weight loss is dangerous for the health of the cat. It is advisable to take your cat to the veterinarian for a checkup.

The vet will help determine if there is an underlying health problem that may be causing a decrease in the cat’s appetite. If any illness is ruled out, the pet owners can try other simple ways to get the cat eating again.

Psychological Issues

The brains of cats are complex. This makes them prone to depression and many other psychological issues. New household members, any changes in schedule, and other such factors may upset your pet cat. These factors are often difficult to diagnose.

If the veterinarian is unable to find any physical ailment for the loss of appetite, the cause is often diagnosed as due to psychological issues. 

Recent Shots

Vaccinations make cats uneasy. One of the mild side effects of the shots is lack of appetite. This doesn’t last very long and is usually temporary. Ensure that the cat stays hydrated and gets adequate rest.

What You Can Do

The good news is that if there is no illness, it is not difficult to stimulate the appetite of your pet cat. You can try any one or a combination of the following tips to get your cat eating again.

Keep It Fresh 

Cats are often bored with a commercial diet. Fresh meat (boiled chicken) can be mixed with cat food. Even a small change will go a long way. Ensure that the meat is cut small. This will help prevent any kind of choking hazard.

Mix It Up 

Cats are often set in their ways. At times they need to change their ways too. Change the type of food you feed your cat. If your pet cat eats only dry food, you can mix it canned food. The strong smell of canned food may be enough to initiate your cat to start eating again.

Kitty Massage

Lazy cats are often not in the mood to eat. A quick rubdown will boost its blood supply. This will make them hungry. If the cat was ill recently and is still recovering, a good massage will get them moving and eating.

Heat It Up

Cats don’t prefer cold mushy or food at room temperature. A small change in temperature will help the cat eat the food without any kind of fuss. Heat food in a microwave (10 seconds) before you serve it to the cat. Stir well to help avoid any kind of hot spots.

Pamper Your Pet

If the cat is not grooming itself, it means it doesn’t have the energy to do so. Pamper your pet with nail trimming, extra brushing, and cleaning of their ears. A clean cat is a happy cat. All the attention and stimulation they get from you will make them hungry again.

Make Them Comfortable

If your home has been more chaotic than usual, ensure that the mealtime of your cat is as stress-free as possible. Feed the cat in a place with few people and little noise. The cat will be able to eat better in a quiet place.

Top It Off

Provide a special treat for your cat by adding other goodies to her food. The other tasty goodies can include chicken broth, crumbled bacon, and fish oil. This will not just make the food taste delicious, but your cat will also be able to explore new tastes. 

Don’t panic if the cat isn’t eating properly. If the visit to the veterinarian reveals nothing wrong with its overall health, the above-specified tips will help your cat get its appetite back.

Encouraging Eating

What to Give Older Cats for Weight Gain | Innovet Pet

How to get a cat to gain weight? Begin the process of encouraging the cat to get back to a healthy level of eating after you get the results that eliminate any underlying health conditions. The tips pertaining to how to put weight on a cat can be used as a starting point that encourages the cat to eat again. Apart from this, you can also explore other options on how to feed an older cat.

Cats are choosy pets. It is not uncommon for cats to suddenly decide that they longer like the food they have been eating their whole life. As a pet owner, you will have to approach such a situation with an open mind. The goal should be to meet the nutritional checklist of the cat.

How to Switch Cat Foods: Quick Tips

Cats as pets are mysterious and can be difficult and fussy.

If you have ever owned a cat you will know that it is often difficult to understand these furry felines. Most cat owners feel that their cat owns them and not the other way around.

If you want to change your cat’s behavior, you need to understand that it is not going to be easy. Cats resist even a small change in their routine. Changing to a new cat food will not be easy.

If you understand your cat’s behavior well, maybe it is possible to switch their preference for certain types of food without alienating or angering your furry friends.

How to Switch Your Cats Food

It is often quite challenging to switch your cat’s food. Take heart, as it doesn’t have to be way too difficult. Even cats that are fussy and stubborn will be able to gradually adapt to new food. You do need to remember that cats love food and want to eat well.

Here is a list of helpful tips that will ensure a smooth switch to a new food:

Start the change by slowly mixing the food your cat loves having with the new cat food. Lower the amount of food that your cat is currently having and replace it with new cat food. The change from the current food to new food should be done in a gradual manner. Do this over a seven day or one-week period. Don’t try to force anything on your pet cat.

If you try changing cat food and eating habits of the cat all of a sudden, it might result in diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive issues. Apart from this, any sudden change will also affect the cat on a psychological level.

If the transition from current food to new food goes smoothly and successfully, you can start feeding the cat only new food within a week.

Patience is a Virtue

If the cat has been diagnosed with any gastrointestinal or digestive issue, it is best to start with the new food at the earliest. A quicker transition to new food will help avoid digestive issues. It is best to consult the vet in such cases. Remember that your pet’s life and health could be at risk.

Be patient when you want to initiate any change in your cat’s food. Depending on how old the cat is, it may take longer for the food change to be accepted. In most cases, you will be able to successfully make the switch within a week. In some cases, it may take longer than 10 days.

From Dry Food to Wet Food 

Making the transition from dry to wet food can be quite tricky. The texture and taste of dry and wet food are different. A sudden change will confuse your pet cat.

How do you make a successful switch from dry to wet food without facing too many setbacks and hurdles? Here are a few tricks that will ensure that the change is successful.

Start by sprinkling the usual dry cat food on top of the new wet food. This will help the cat get used to the new smell of wet food. The next trick is to mix the dry food with wet food. Grind the dry food into a powder. Mix the powder well into the wet food before you serve it to the cat.

Warm the wet food as it will help improve the texture and taste. This will help cats successfully make the transition from dry to wet food. 

Watch Your Cat Closely

No pet owner wants an obese cat. Ensure that the cat doesn’t eat and sleep all day. This should be done irrespective of the type of food they have.

Get the cat to indulge in some kind of play or exercise for at least 10 - 15 minutes. This can be done before each meal to ensure that the cat stays healthy.

Watch the weight and the activity level of the cat during the transition process. If the cat refuses to eat to loses weight during the transition, it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian.

Change Their Food

How to get my cat to gain weight? Most cat owners tend to change their pet’s food only as a last resort. Most often your cat will clearly indicate the food they like and dislike. If the cat is refusing to eat and turning up its nose even at the regular food it eats, it is their way of telling that they want something new.

Cats often respond positively to a new food flavor. A change from a chicken flavor to a beef or tuna flavor is mostly welcomed by cats. Before you attempt to switch your pet’s food, you should know how to make the switch successful.

During the first few weeks of the transition, you can choose to feed half of the old food and half of the new food to the cat. This will ensure that your cat’s body gets used to the new food and its taste.

Try Wet Food

Incorporate wet food into the diet of your cat if it has stopped eating dry food. Wet foods provide a tantalizing smell. This will excite the palate of the cat. The texture of wet food is also easy on aging teeth. Set up wet food next to dry food and observe whether your cat responds in a positive manner. The cat may become curious about the new food and this will encourage it to eat.

Don’t Leave Food Out

Avoid leaving food outside all day if you want to encourage healthy eating habits in your pet cat. Have structured feeding times. The feeding time can last 10 – 20 minutes. This will encourage the cat to eat food when it is available instead of ignoring it completely. It will also help the cat understand that food will not be available all day.

Consult a veterinarian if your cat is severely underweight. The vet will be able to determine the best feeding time and pattern for your cat. The veterinarian will also tell you whether you need to leave food outside all day.

Try it Warm

Place warm milk or water on the wet food and mix it well. This will warm the wet food above room temperature. It will also increase moisture for the cat and make it easy to eat. The smell of warm food is appealing, and this will make the taste palatable. Any unused portion of food should not be refrigerated as cats don’t like cold food.

When you follow the tips on how cat needs to gain weight, you will be able to encourage your old cat to eat in a healthy manner. If your pet cat is still having problems adjusting to the new food, it is best to seek guidance from the veterinarian on helping your cat gain weight.

Wrapping Up

A diet rich in protein will enable your cat to stay healthy. Apart from protein, the diet should also include carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water in every meal. Dry and wet food are the two types of cat food available in the market. Both dry and wet foods are good for your cat. Before you choose any kind of food for your cat, it is best to check the ingredients list to ensure that the food you feed your cat is nutritious.

If your cat doesn’t like drinking water, you can choose to feed it wet food. This will help increase its moisture. Talk to the veterinarian if you still have any doubts about the health and diet of your cat. The vet will be able to provide you suggestions and recommendations that are suitable for your pet’s diet. This will help them stay healthy.

For more information contact Innovet Pet Products today!



Approved by:
Dr. Sara Ochoa
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University

Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.

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The Innovet Team

Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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