How to put weight on an elderly kitty?

My Bernie (calico mix of everything) will be 20 in a few weeks. Last year she was diagnosed with thyroid problems. Despite meds, she is down to a little over 4 lbs as of yesterday. We're increasing her meds and the vet said let her eat ANYTHING she wants. She's somewhat picky (a picky cat? HA!). We had been feeding her Wellness brand or Fancy Feast moist - small cans 2-3x/day. What would you suggest for her to start stacking on the ounces?

Asked by Member 833908 on May 6th 2009 in Pet Food
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Freckles (1993-2011)

You could try adding a high calorie supplement like nutrical to her food. Its got a malty taste that most cats like and she should eat it mixed in her food or even straight from your fingers. If not wipe it on her paws and she'll eat it by washing her paws.

Has Bernie had her blood rechecked recently? Her thyroid still being high is probably why she's losing weight and it makes sense for the vet to increase her meds. Did they also check her kidney values and glucose levels? Sometimes in older cats kidney disease or diabetes can occur too and show up once the thyroid is controlled. Thees can also make cats lose weight and their appetite and would require some additional meds/treatment.

You should get Bernie set up with a Catster account (its free) and come and join Olde Furts, a group for senior cats where you'll be able to get lots of advice for how to help picky eaters/elderly thin cats to gain weight. Its a fun group and everyone over 10 is welcome.

Freckles (1993-2011) answered on 5/6/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


How about some cooked chicken? Or some cooked ground beef? Raw or cooked egg is also very good. Try to stick with foods that are as close to all-natural as possible, because although kitty "junk foods" can make a cat gain weight, it's not healthy weight, so stick to the healthy stuff and you'll be good to go.

Member 409208 answered on 5/6/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


How are Bernie's kidneys? If she does not have any kidney problems, give her kitten chow. Kitten Chow has high calorie, but also lots of protein that is not good for failing kidneys. My 13 year female has hyper thyroid and is on meds and the kitten chow has put on 1/2 pound in a little over a month.

Member 628763 answered on 5/8/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Vets often use Gerber baby food #2 series (yes, it says 2 on the jar). It comes in beef, turkey and chicken. It's basically a puree. They are the very small jars, the smallest, that you see in the baby food section. I feed it to her on a spoon and she laps it right up.

This was the only thing my cat would eat when she got ill. It still works with her when she gets sick.

I also feed her tuna when her appetite wanes. And the water squeezed from the tuna-fish can when I feel like she not getting enough water. (She has dehydration issues.)

She also can't resist being hand-fed bits of turkey that I buy in slices from the deli.

Member 840340 answered on 5/27/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


We just give our cat Molly (she's almost 17) a little bit of everything we eat. We discovered a lot more of what she likes and she is maintaining a healthy weight. the downside is she has become very spoiled (more so than before, as we thought that was possible) and can be rude about begging for her favorite foods.

Mia answered on 5/23/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer