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Hello Again
08-27-2005, 01:30 PM
My cat Smokie has gotten a bit thin in the past year. When you stroke his back you can clearly feel his spine and hips. I took him to the vet where he had a full blood workup and his liver, kidney, blood glucose and thyroid are all fine (They did both thyroid tests). He is getting on in years -- he'll be 11 or 12 this year -- and the vet just thinks he isn't digesting as well as he used to. I switched him to Senior food (Purina ONE) in June o the vet's suggestion and over the past 3 months he hasn't lost any more weight, but he hasn't gained any more either.

I'd like to see him put on 1-2 more pounds. What can I feed him?

I've tried the following:
Vegetable oil - he licked some off my finger but refused it when added to his (dry) food.
Butter - not interested

I've considered the following but haven't tried them yet:
-Full fat plain yogurt
-tuna packed in oil (could be an expensive habit)
-kitten food mixed in with his Senior food

What do you think?

Joey P
08-27-2005, 01:36 PM
I have no advice for you, but from the forum list page, this showed up as "What can I feed my cat to..."

pinkfreud
08-27-2005, 01:43 PM
We have several thin, elderly kitties. One fattening supplemental food that they all seem to enjoy is braunschweiger. It isn't suitable as a sole source of nutrition, of course, but it is quite aromatic, and is likely to be enjoyed, and, in my experience, it is well tolerated, even though it's rich and fatty.

SnakesCatLady
08-27-2005, 02:02 PM
Tuna or jack mackerel mixed with kitten food is a nasty-smelling concoction I have had good results with. Baby food as a mixer is good - make sure it had no onion powder - just meat and broth. Take a magnifying glass to read the label.

ioioio
08-27-2005, 06:17 PM
I had an older cat that was having trouble digesting protein, and the vet suggested I feed her chicken fat. What I did was to cook a piece of chicken in a dish in the microwave and then drain off the fat for the cat. Make sure it's completely cooled off. Cover the leftover chicken with barbeque sauce, and you have a nice low fat dinner for yourself as well.

Lissa
08-27-2005, 11:47 PM
My mother, who sells animal products, highly recommends this product. (http://www.lonestarchinchilla.com/nutristat.htm) Her cat became very sick and refused to eat. She kept the cat alive on this supplement alone for a little while. That's what it's designed for, but it can also be used to "fatten up" your pets.

Every cat and dog I've ever seen goes nuts for the taste of this stuff. My dog will only take pills if they're coated in it. For her, I usually just sqeeze out some onto her dry food, or put a dab on a plate for her to lick. Mom said she put it on the tip of her finger for the cat.

Meeko
08-28-2005, 02:10 AM
Lasagna? Works for Garfield.

MizGrand
08-28-2005, 06:13 AM
He is getting on in years -- he'll be 11 or 12 this year -- and the vet just thinks he isn't digesting as well as he used to.

I also have a skinny cat that's getting on in years. She's probably lost about a pound in the last year, and she's never been big, only 9 pounds at height of adulthood. She turned 13 this year and is falling apart. Her fur is matted and she's having a hard time with her litterbox. Should I be supplementing her? She eats whatever I dump in her bowl, which is usually an "indoor" or "senior" formula of cat food. She's still as affectionate as ever though, in fact, more so these days. Always wants to be rubbing up against anybody who ventures into her domain, the garage.

A hijack here...we recently installed new garage doors that I know she hates, but it seems like in response to the hated doors, she's now peeing on them. Could she really just be mad at the doors or could it be a medical issue? She hasn't been to the vet for about 2 years. Any advice?

jsgoddess
08-28-2005, 08:18 AM
She hasn't been to the vet for about 2 years. Any advice?

Take her to the vet.

SnakesCatLady
08-28-2005, 10:07 AM
Take her to the vet.

Now. All pets should see the vet at least once a year, and checkups are recommended every 6 months for elderly pets. 13 isn't ancient, but she is getting up there in cat years.

SnakesCatLady
08-28-2005, 10:08 AM
Sorry for the hijack, Hello Again. Have you had any luck getting Smokie to eat a little more, or are you having to eat tuna, chicken, baby food, etc?

Hello Again
08-28-2005, 10:33 AM
Thanks everyone for the tips. I think I'm going to try the braunschweiger first -- fairly economical and if he doesn't want it, I can have it for lunch! :) I appreciate having lots of fallback suggestions! So far his appetite is fine -- he free feeds and nibbles throughout the day -- but this is great help for getting a few extra calories in.

RSSchen -- I would suggest a trip to the vet for bloodwork -- after all, its no use guessing. The blood tests are suprisingly inexpensive for what you get (I think I spent less than $150 on the visit + 5 blood tests + a follow up chat with the vet). Then you'll know what you're dealing with.

However, I wouldn't feed "indoor" formula to a skinny cat -- it is specifically low calorie for indolent overweight housecats.

TimeWinder
08-28-2005, 01:25 PM
You can also get weight-gain food from your vet. We had a cat that had cancer, and maintaining weight was always a problem. The vet sold us "Hill's Prescription Diet" in cans. It costs about a buck a can, and our sick cat ate about 1/2 a can a day. A healthy cat would probably eat twice that.

There are several varieties, the "weight gain" one is called "a/d" - I don't know what the letters stand for. I'm sure there are other brands, as well. Since the sick cat died, we've fed the leftover cans to our remaining cats occasionally as a treat -- they love the stuff more than tuna (or for that matter, anything else).

Our vet has also recommended (dry) kitten food for weight gain; it's higher in protein and calories, supposedly, but our sick cat wouldn't eat it.

I was under the impression that senior cat food was LOWER in calories (to compensate for the reduced activity of middle-aged felines), which makes it a strange choice for weight gain.

missbunny
08-29-2005, 01:26 PM
I switched him to Senior food (Purina ONE) in June o the vet's suggestion

I would not think that Senior food is the best choice to use for the purpose of gaining weight, but your vet might know something I don't. If the vet says it's okay, I would try giving your cat kitten food - perhaps mixed with the Senior - and I'd also give him a supplement of Nutri-cal. Nutri-cal is a high-calorie supplement in a tube - looks like Marmite - and is often recommended for cats that are underweight or who have poor appetites. I forget how much you give each day - perhaps an inch or two 3x per day? The directions are on the tube. You can get it at the vet or at Petsmart/Petco.

She's probably lost about a pound in the last year, and she's never been big, only 9 pounds at height of adulthood. She turned 13 this year and is falling apart. Her fur is matted and she's having a hard time with her litterbox.

Your cat sounds like she really needs to see a vet. Soon.

spingears
08-29-2005, 03:49 PM
WAG

Cat Fish?

"Fancy Feast?" @ 3 or 4 cans per day. Caveat: He may demand that for the rest of his life!

Long Time First Time
08-29-2005, 04:08 PM
Did your vet. test your cat for FLV? If not, that might be worth checking out.

Senior foods are supposed to be easier to digest (a plus) but are less calorically dense (big minus) when trying to get an animal to gain or keep on weight. Adding fat to the diet should help.

Stranger On A Train
08-29-2005, 05:31 PM
I've considered the following but haven't tried them yet:
-Full fat plain yogurtDon't feed your cat yogurt or any dairy products. They can't properly digest them and won't make good use of the fat.

Stranger

Toxiquae
08-29-2005, 07:09 PM
Hill's Prescription Diet also seemed to be working well for one of my elderly cats when he began losing weight.

My other old guy had a gum infection in the back of his mouth a few years ago - he had a tooth removed and a good cleaning and began gaining weight almost immediately. If your vet didn't look over that in a routine checkup, it might be worth going back for.

Good luck to you and your kitty!

vetbridge
08-30-2005, 10:37 AM
There are several varieties, the "weight gain" one is called "a/d" - I don't know what the letters stand for.

I would second the advice to ask your veterinarian about Hill's Science Diet a/d. I have always assumed the "a" is for alimentary. It is a nutrient/calorie dense food that is very palatable.

You might also try increasing the palatability of other foods using the liquid that your tuna is packed in. Also, kitten food is usually higher in calories, although protein levels as well as many nutrients might not be perfect for an older cat.

The Chao Goes Mu
08-30-2005, 12:32 PM
When my kitty Bean was sick with thyroid issues and pancreatic cancer I gave him anything he wanted to eat. He got Nutri-Cal which he loved and I would cook hamburger for him (I would put it in a strainer afterwards and spray off some of the fat though) I cooked chicken, pork, liver and gave him cheese sometimes. My cat was a rare one that handled milk just fine but I still kept it to a minimum. The yogurt was a favorite of his.

He was also on the A/D prescription weight gain diet but he didn't care for it so I would by kitten food for him. My vet told me tuna is good but not to feed it to any cat daily. He said just a few times a week because the protein is so high it could cause crystals in the urine (which could be deadly)

In my cat's case, he wasn't really gaining weight but it helped prevent him from losing more and kept him alive. He was so sick that I gave him anything and everything he wanted anytime he wanted it. In your case, since the cat is healthy and just getting on in years, you may want to be a little more judicious abou what you give him. You wouldn't want to load him up on fat and damage his cardiovascular system.

Hope Smokie does well!

Lissa
08-30-2005, 01:56 PM
When my kitty Bean was sick with thyroid issues and pancreatic cancer I gave him anything he wanted to eat. He got Nutri-Cal which he loved . . .

My dog's name is Bean! She's got thyroid/adrenal gland issues, too, and Nutri-Stat is the only way I can get her to take her pills.

Nutri-Cal and Nutri-Stat are the same thing, made by the same company, Tomlyn.

The main difference (besides price) is that Nutri-Cal is sold through vets and Nutri-Stat is commonly available at pet stores. I actually compared the two less than an hour ago at the store where my mom works, and saw no difference in ingredients or in caloric/vitamin/fat values. Nutri-Stat is cheaper, and probably a better option for most people.

CrankyAsAnOldMan
08-30-2005, 02:00 PM
I second the meat baby food suggestion. I used that for a sick cat once. I mean, if Smokie doesn't dig braunschweiger.

But lord is meat baby food nasty. I don't think I could ever stand to feed it to my human baby.

I was devastated when Chris told me you were off in Virginia again! Mrs. Sneaky! But you have your kitties back?

Hello Again
10-21-2005, 08:42 PM
Just an update:

Smokie has done well on a diet of Kitten food + Pro Plan Senior (with Hairball Control) food mixed 1/2 and 1/2, plus 1/4 oz of liverwurst every other day or so.

My friend K stopped by last week. She watched my cats over the summer while I had to be away for an extended period, and she is a (large animal) vet herself. She said that she was *certain* Smokie had gained some weight, and that his spine wasn't as prominent as before. He certainly seems "softer" and less angular to me. He's still quite on the lean side of course. And, as usual, is a very happy and friendly kitty.

Thanks for all the tips and good wishes! Smokie says "brrt?"* to all who offered suggestions.



*This is all Smokie ever says. He hardly meows, preferring to communicate though variations on "brrt?"

Diceman
10-21-2005, 09:04 PM
Kitten food worked for George, our family cat who's been lording over my parent's house for what must be close to 20 years now. The old geezer was getting quite skinny, and we were all worried about him, but Purina Kitten Chow fattened him up a bit, and he's doing fine again.

Seven
10-22-2005, 03:52 AM
My kitty is getting up in years as well. 13 years or so. Several months ago we noticed he lost a deal of weight. Nothing else about the cat was different. He still bought us mice treats and stalked birdies. His attitude is great.

Figuring he wasn't digesting food due to his age, we decided to just feed him more. We bought those little envelopes of cat food. I think they're designed to be single serving. They normally cost about $1 for two.

In the morning he and the other cat get a regular sized can between them. Around 3-4pm he gets half an envelope of food; the rest in the evening. All the time both cats have access to dry food all day.

This worked wonders and he gained much of his weight back within a few weeks.

Now if we can just do something about the other cat. Same age but twice the size. :D

AskNott
10-22-2005, 12:52 PM
My vet said extra yummy "premium" dry foods and especially canned cat food will tend to lead a cat to overeat. He told me that when my cat was getting a little porky on Iams cat food. When I switched to Cat Chow, he got trim again. Now, he's on Purina One Special Care for Urinary Tract Health, and he's still lean.

By the way, you should be able to feel your cat's ribs. Many cats are too chubby, so a healthy cat looks skinny by comparison.

DrDeth
10-22-2005, 01:45 PM
Nutrimalt- by the same company that makes Petromalt- the anti-hariball stuff. It;s in a VERY similar looking tube.
Not only will it help the cat put on a #, it leads to a healthier coat, less shedding and less hairballs.

Hello Again
10-22-2005, 02:46 PM
By the way, you should be able to feel your cat's ribs. Many cats are too chubby, so a healthy cat looks skinny by comparison.

Just to be clear: a vet confirmed my assessment that my cat was too skinny (He had a full blood workup -- see OP). You could feel his spine and hips very clearly. My other cat, The Bandit, is pleasantly slim but by no means under weight. You can feel his ribs but NOT his spine.

dwyr
10-23-2005, 09:44 PM
Don't feed your cat yogurt or any dairy products. They can't properly digest them and won't make good use of the fat.

Stranger


Many cats (and people for that matter) that can't digest dairy handle yogurt very well. The Lactobacillus in active yogurt culture breaks down the majority of lactose present in the milk. A dab of yogurt mixed in with wet food is just the thing for kittens with diarrhea (in the absence of parasitic infection, etc.) as I've found with numerous foster kitties.


'Scuse the lateness of the hour and post.

Hello Again
10-24-2005, 08:33 PM
Actually I wondered about that because I see any number of cat and kitten foods that say: now with yogurt! And I was under the impression that the yogurt cultures offered beneficial effects.

QuarkChild
10-24-2005, 09:24 PM
My cat enjoys soy yogurt as a treat occasionally. It doesn't contain lactose.

She's 15 years old and has been slowly losing weight as she gets older. Just recently my mother managed to reverse her weight loss by switching her food to Fancy Feast. She just loves that stuff. (The cat, not my mother.)