I have a 20 year old cat and she needs to gain weight. She has always been petite, barely 9 lbs at her max, but now she only weighs 4lbs 6 oz. she was holding her weight at 5 lb 3 oz for some time. She has gotten so picky on what she will eat, it is making me crazy. I have tried changing her food, (she has had the Science Diet prescription stuff, she does not like it) and I am looking for other ideas to get some weight back on this cat.
I tried the weight gain supplement at the pet store (it looks like petromalt), no go. I buy her a variety of canned food but she never eats even a 1/4 of it. ( Fancy Feast size) She usually just licks off the sauce and is done. Heaven forbid if I try to feed her a can that has already been opened. She will not touch it if it is not fresh out of the can. That is if I can get her to eat it at all. I'll open a can, put it down and she will sniff at it and look up at me and wait to see if there is something better.
I have no problem making her food from scratch. I just need safe recipes. I just want her to eat. My vet is amazed by how healthy she is. Except for the thyroid stuff there are no problems. Any suggestions?
Congrats on having such a healthy cat for so long! It shows your care and dedication to her health over the years. Good for you, too, doing some research into the benefits and risks of providing a home made diet for your cat.
It sounds like you're struggling with a very common problem in elderly cats, especially those with Hyperthyroidism. It's very difficult to keep weight on these guys, and they get to be feather-light over time. There is a diet made by the Science Diet company (Hill's) called a/d that I've used for some of these cases. It's tasty, and very calorie dense so not much food provides a large amount of nutrition. The big drawback of that food is that it can cause diarrhea which can be counter-productive to your goal of weight gain.
You might also try warming up the canned food just a bit (and I mean just a tiny little bit! that stuff gets fire-hot in a few seconds, so be careful!) in the microwave. Cats' appetitie is stimulated by smell, and the warmed food will have a much stronger odor than room temp or out of the fridge. If it's good and stinky to you, it might smell better to your cat, and she might be more tempted by it. It also may help you not to throw away so much pre-opened food.
Adequate nutrition is the biggest difficulty that I see in making your own food for cats. They aren't little dogs, nor are they little people, and their dietary needs are unique. Many websites and advocates claim that they should be fed, essentially, the same diet as us humans, and that simply isn't true. There's nothing wrong with making your own food, just be sure that you've consulted your veterinarian about your diet plan.
This is a common and frustrating issue with many elderly cats. Your veterinarian should have some thoughts and suggestions as well. I'd recommend speaking with him or her first, before you make ANY diet changes, to be sure that all of your needs are adequately addressed, and to be sure that you aren't feeding something that will be working against you.
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