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Tips for Putting Weight on a Cat

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  • Tips for Putting Weight on a Cat

    I have an elderly cat (17 - 18) who has kidney disease. He refuses to eat the food that the vet has prescribed. He will eat a bit of the dry but will not touch the wet. His food of choice is Whiskas and only the pate style. My vet tells me that is common in cats with kidney issues to become fixated on one type of food. Or they may become very picky.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for putting weight on him? He will only eat so much Whiskas and I'd like to add some variety that might help him gain a bit of weight.

    He is under the vet's care and has a check up coming up. I thought I'd ask here as there are some very knowledgeable cat people here!

    Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    It's pretty difficult to put weight on an elderly cat. Between kidney disease and thyroid issues, they just don't stand much of a chance at weight gain. While the kidney diet is best, I've never had a cat that would eat it.

    If it was me, I'd feed whatever kitty will eat. Sometimes it's the "treat" pouches. A couple of mine really liked the Delectables chicken and tuna bisque in the red pouches for senior cats. Others have preferred chicken or turkey baby food. It can be hit or miss, but pick up some of the treat pouches and see if one will help kitty's appetite.


    • #3
      I can relate. My sweet old fur-ball is 22 this year and is slowing down on all fronts. I’ve had some luck with high calorie gel (Vedco) and some luck with very carefully, just warming his favorite pate in the microwave. It’s easy to get hot spots in the food so I only give it a couple of seconds at a time and then mix it with my finger. Yeah, I know that’s kinda gross but I don’t want to burn the old man. The increased aroma does seem to encourage him to eat more. Also, I tend to offer him food several times per day. It seems smaller more frequent meals are now his thing.

      Best of luck with your kitty Mocha. It can be frustrating to figure out what is going to do the trick when they don’t want to eat.


      • #4
        My vet told me that whatever a kidney kitty will eat is what you feed them, especially if they're older.

        You might try the treat pouches, like someone else mentioned - Natural Balance, I think it is? And Weruva. Pricey, but even my FIV kitty ate that when he felt like crud. I just went to PetCo and grabbed a variety of brands and flavors, and then we'd see what he felt like eating that day.


        • #5
          Tuna, mix it into wet food. But also, have you tried all of the brands of the kidney diet? Mine likes the blue buffalo, chewy has it, your vet just has to call in the prescription, they also told me that if she won't eat it, you can return it (opened) and they will refund your money. She will even eat a little of the wet version, fully mushed with some warm water. She wouldn't touch the science diet or purina wet unless I mixed a bunch of tuna into it, which she's not supposed to have. She's at least back to a healthy body score, though on the thin side.


          • #6
            You might try adding add some Catsure to his food (or feed it plain). I had better success with the canned product than the powder. And as suggested above, a little baby food.

            Jingling my collection of retired cat collars & tags for him. It's so hard to see them decline.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone for the suggestions. He's still bright eyed and pretty active (he has recently taken to jumping on the counter, which a new and naughty habit). I didn't think he could jump that high, but it turns out he can and will do it repetitively.

              I will try your suggestions. I'm trying to get ahead of this as I have noticed he has lost a bit of weight. If anything is really successful I will report back.

              Really appreciate the replies.


              • #8
                Kidney kitties are often nauseous due to their disease, and they don't want to eat because of it. Is he on anything for nausea? Pepcid is pretty commonly used for these guys, but you can also do zofran and/or cerenia. If you can treat them effectively, it becomes much less of an issue. Mirtazipine can be used to stimulate appetite, but not until you have the nausea under control. Subq fluids might also make him feel better in general.

                If you're not able to treat him effectively and get him eating reasonably well, that might be a good indication it's time

                Very sorry your kitty is ill. Kidney kitties are so tough.


                • #9
                  My picky old guy would eat (in the absence of almost anything else) Wellness Kitten canned formula. It's a pate, so it's very smooth (and you can mix water into it to thin it further if necessary.
                  Quick link to their website:
                  Last edited by bdj; Jan. 17, 2020, 02:16 PM. Reason: Forgot to add the link.


                  • #10
                    Ack...I feel your pain. My girl was just diagnosed hyperthyroid and now on methimazole. Her pickiness started when Radcat (prepared raw food) went out of business (about a year ago and before the onset of her thyroid disease). Both my cats have been uber picky. They will eat something for a couple weeks then pow...won’t touch it again. Oscar was equally picky when the RadCat disappeared but I finally have him eating consistently (and getting fatter) then poor Emmy fighting to hold onto any calorie. She has been eating a bit of TikiCat Raw but is tailing off on that. She likes baby food and was eating Sheba fine but this week...not so much. It is such a fight. I don’t know how many different foods I have tried but I have to keep trying, she needs to eat.

                    These 2 cats have been my first....and probably last cats. They can be very frustrating.



                    • Original Poster

                      Today I started with some Weruva. I figured I would try all of your suggestions (I'm in Canada so I probably can't get everything) and keep working through them to see what is enticing. I found the Weruva at PetValu first, so I started with that The Weruva seems to be met with approval. He's just eaten about half a can and keeps revisiting.
                      There is much purring. And he's back on the counter

                      Thank you all for your suggestions.