If my cat is skinny, should I feed him more?

I hope this question isn’t as stupid as it sounds.

I have two cats, both are old (14 and 20) and both are on the thin side. One is pretty normal (Schatzi), and one is downright skinny(Taz).

They have dry food out all the time to munch on. In addition, in the morning and evening I put out wet food - half of a medium sized can - 1/4 in each dish. (It’s Special Kitty Senior - the vet said it was fine).

Typically Schatzi will have a few bites and then leave the rest - Taz then finishes the remainder. The same thing happens in the evening. FWIW, I sprinkle a 1/4 pill of Pepcid AC on their food at night to help them digest, as per their vet.

Both of them have a clean bill of health, except Taz is skinny.

So basically Taz gets an entire tin of wet food to himself each day plus as much dry food as he likes.

However, every time I’m in the kitchen he acts as though he’s starving to death.

So, should I give Taz more food? A whole additional can? He does get lots of kitty treats as well.

I await elucidation. (And Taz awaits more food…)

Are you sure that they are both healthy? When was the last time they had bloodwork done at the vet?

The three most common diseases in older kitties are hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and cancer. Any of those can cause them to lose weight (though kidney disease kitties tend to vomit too). Then there’s the more mundane things, like intestinal worms and tooth problems.

In short, weight loss without loss of appetite is cause for serious concern and warrants a trip to the vet.

They were both checked and had Geri panels done in July - no problems at all.

Taz, FWIW, has always been skinny - i.e. he’s not losing weight. So really the question isn’t ‘Is my cat sick?’ because I know he’s not.

It’s ’ Should I let my shwanky cat with no weight problem pig out?’

Personally, I would still be suspicious that something icky simply isn’t rearing it’s head on the tests yet.

But, yeah, lacking evidence otherwise, I would up my kitty’s food allowance. And I’d make sure that skinny kitty was given space to eat his food at his pace where the other kitty can’t snatch it from him (ie, put skinny kitty with his food in another room for a few hours).

I would also plan on rechecking the bloodwork in 6 months (January). I would research the costs on chest x-rays and an abdominal ultrasound. The chest x-rays can help make sure that kitty doesn’t have cardiomegaly or tumors in the chest. Most clinics have an ultrasound machine, and, although the day-to-day vet is not usually a board certified expert, she generally has enough skill to spot tumors in the gut or other big changes. These kinds of things might be outside your price range, but you should look into them.

ETA: Goddamn it, how do I keep my sig from showing when I use the quick post button? If I go advanced, the “show my sig” box is unchecked, and my sig won’t show. But, if I use the quick post button, it turns up. It’s really not appropriate for 80% of my posts

Animals are smart, they are able to regulate their food intake. As long as your cats are healthy, moving about normally and have no bowel problems, leave them alone.

Put out the dry cat food and if they are hungry they’ll eat.

If they were hungry trust me, they’d let you know it. Then only suggestion I have is play with them more. Older cats especially need exercise. Get out the yarn, buy some catnip, move your fingers under a blanket (so they’ll attack). Older cats get bored and sleep too much. A little activity may stimulate the appetite, but don’t force food.

Also remember cat’s usually like what they’re brought up on. Cats that start out with dry food, often get a taste for it and that is what they like.

You’re doing fine by giving them unlimted access to dry food and water.

Are you sure it is really skinny? As in, have you asked the vet to compare the weight of the cat, or taken time to do a Body Condition Score (ie, look at the pictures in a chart, check the places asked, and compare the cat to it)?

Some people look at animals and think they’re way skinny, when in reality we’ve been warped and think overweight or obese animals are fine and anything not looking plump is too skinny.

Here is a 5 point BCS.

Here is another one from Purina, a 9 points BCS

my nod the naughty was a tall lean 7 pounder, it was just the way she was. she was built like a supermodel.

winken the wonderful was also tall and lean, but hovered in the high 9 pound range.

when you compared the 2 wink looked like a well muscled panther and noddy looked like a ballerina.

just genetics and build type.

if taz’s weight has remained within a few ounces of his normal, it is just the way he is.

Good point :smack:

You’d think, after getting burned so many times, I wouldn’t jump into answering before I have all the info. Practice, practice, practice. :frowning:

Hey, a few things:

  1. It happens to me after reading vetbridge. And I think the same thing of myself. :smack:

  2. I posted that because you posted. My first thought was the same as yours, after reading things were normal so far, I picked the other options.

  3. You’re the same class as I, don’t forget that.

Maybe experiment with different dry foods until you find one your cat likes better. I did this with my perpetually thin cat Rex. The vet wanted him to gain weight to be a “normal” body type. I noticed that Rex just wasn’t that interested in his food. He would eat just enough to stave off hunger pangs before running off to do other things. So I tried samples of a bunch of different foods until I tried Pet Promise. He gobbled that down. So I started buying that though it is pretty expensive. Rex is just more interested in eating now and has achieved and maintained a “normal” body weight for six months now.

Humm - well Taz is not a 1 on either scale - probably a 2 on the BCS or a 3 on the Purina scale. (Schatzi is probably a 3 and a 4-5 for comparison)

I think his weight is ok - I’m not really trying to make him fatter. I’m just wondering if it’s ok to feed him every time he asks. FWIW, Taz eats pretty well all of the wet food - Schatzi is much more into the dry.

I guess I’m just wondering if it’s ok for me to give him more ('cus he’s old and not super fat) or if I should stick with what he’s getting now. He is kind of a mooch - he’ll meow at any new person who walks in the place as though he hasn’t eaten for a week when he actually finished 5 minutes before.

Here’s a picture of them both for reference (also because it’s a kitty thread):


Taz is the black one.