Cat foods that help gain weight? This begs questions.

Sometimes people search the Internet for cat foods which might help their cat gain weight. This is entirely understandable but it is fraught with dangers because in conducting this research it’s clear that their cats are underweight. If a domestic cat is underweight, there are numerous reasons. Being underweight is a very common sign of illness. Cats lose their appetite because they feel ill. If they don’t eat, they lose weight.

Another question is whether a cat is genuinely underweight. Some owners have weight misconceptions and have normalised overweight cats. This box needs to be ticked at the outset. And some cats are naturally skinny. Some breeds are such as the contemporary Siamese and Oriental SH.

Skinny cat
Skinny cat. Underweight or just slender? Image in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
Ideal weight cat
Ideal weight cat. Photo: MikeB

The obvious conclusion, therefore, is that if a cat genuinely needs to put on weight the first thing that the owner should search for is reasons why they have lost weight. Perhaps the major reason will be loss of appetite. There will be other reasons such as diseases including intestinal parasites (endoparasites) which take away the nutrition that the cat is ingesting. So, if a domestic cat has a good appetite but is losing weight, they may have a very bad infestation of endoparasites.

Hyperthyroidism commonly affects elderly cats. It’s the most common endocrine disease in the domestic cat population and a symptom is weight loss and increased appetite combined with an unkempt appearance. Another very common feline disease is poor oral health which makes it painful for a cat to eat. And speaking of pain, any sort of chronic pain is going to drive down a domestic cat’s appetite.

RELATED: Refusal to Eat and Weight Loss

Lung disease and cancer are another couple of diseases which can cause weight loss. The advice must be that if your cat is losing weight you need to check whether they are eating normally. If they’ve lost their appetite, it is likely that they are feeling ill and/or in pain, which means an immediate trip to a veterinarian to get to the bottom of the reason for feeling ill.

If they are eating well and still losing weight then you would have to go for endoparasites or hyperthyroidism. The early symptoms of feline diabetes also include weight loss despite a good appetite. Later on, in the development of this disease, appetite decreases. Other symptoms of Type II diabetes are increased urination and water consumption plus lethargy and vomiting.

RELATED: Is your cat losing weight? 40 reasons why and how to tell

If after a veterinary check a cat is found to be well and if their appetite is a little bit low because they are that way inclined, the course of action would be to provide food which is as tasty and as attractive as possible and which is highly calorific and nutritious. This should encourage eating and the extra calories might help drive up weight.

RELATED: Is your cat genetically predisposed to putting on weight?

One such food is Hill’s Prescription Diet Urgent Care a/d. This is a cat food designed for cats recovering from a serious illness, injury or surgery. Cats under these circumstances need extra energy and nutrients in an appetising form. That’s the objective of this food. There are other commercially available foods designed for this purpose. One example would be Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Recovery RS canned cat food.

And what about treats? It is unusual for a healthy cat to lose weight. My cat is unusual in that he can be on the slender side despite having a decent appetite. Sometimes I can feel his spine which is okay but you don’t want the spine to be feel pronounced. It’s because he is very active. I guess, you might think about reducing your domestic cat’s activity levels if you feel that putting on weight is more important than exercising. What about keeping your cat indoors for a while? I think that you will find that there is agreement on the fact that full-time indoor cats are more likely to be overweight than indoor/outdoor cat because of the greater difficulty in exercising. The problem here is that indoor/outdoor cats hate to be confined and it’ll probably almost impossible to achieve with a lot of complaining.


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