Cats can be fat, skinny, long-legged, or short-legged. Commonly their actual figure is masked due to their fur. How often do you notice a fluffy cat looking skinny? Because of this, it is not until you feel the cat, or less frequency, witness it being drenched, that you realize the poor kitty’s lack of condition!
Fat cats tend to be looked upon as cute and healthy (although perhaps not the case in reality).
Skinny cats tend to be looked upon as unhealthy and uncared for, even if natural to a particular breed.
But what do you do if your cat is just the usual old moggy and needs to gain a bit of weight? How do you fatten up a cat? And, more importantly, how do you fatten up a cat in a healthy way?
How Do I Fatten Up My Cat
Why Is My Cat Skinny?
Some breeds of cats are genetically skinny, such as the Siamese cat. If you have a cat that isn’t a Siamese or similar species, and you are wondering why he so thin, this will be because of one of two reasons:
- Not eating enough, or eating less than the energy the cat is burning;
- Little or no access to food.
The latter will not be the reason if this is a loved pet who gets fed daily. Therefore the cat is not eating enough, so we have to ask why are they not eating enough?
Causes of Weight Loss In a Cat
Sore teeth or mouth can stop your cat from eating or from eating hard foods. Dental diseases are not uncommon in cats. They can also get growths or abscesses in their mouths. Dental conditions generally occur in our older feline friends. If the catfights with other cats could have an abscess in its mouth, leaving it not wanting to eat.
Illness can make the cat feel off-color and, therefore, a reduction in appetite. Conditions can include a Gastrointestinal tract disease which prevents normal digestion and absorption of nutrients. This can be caused by intestinal parasites (worms), bowel disease, or cancer.
Diabetes in cats can cause the cat to lose weight, despite eating a lot. Diabetes prevents the cat from being able to consume the calories in its food. Tumors are another cause of weight loss as cancer cells consume calories.
Old age can cause issues, including organ failure, which in turn decreases the cats’ appetite. Hyperthyroidism is common in older aged cats. This is where the thyroid glands produce excess thyroid hormones, which amps up the metabolic rate causing more calories to be burned.
If you suspect any of these issues with your cat, you must seek advice from a veterinarian.
Stress can cause your cat to eat less. Mealtimes for your cat need to be quiet and uninterrupted. They may not like where they are being fed or sharing dinner time with the dog. Another pet could be eating its share. Ensure your cat is happy in its home environment and has space to eat alone in a peaceful place; this can rule out any stress-related condition.
If your cat is a particularly fussy eater, then the food needs to be ‘right .’ The dish needs to be clean without traces of the previous meal. If you use dry cat food, ensure it is stored in an airtight container to retain its freshness. The water dish will also need to be refreshed regularly.
What Can I Give My Cat to Gain Weight?
Once you have ruled out any underlying medical condition, you need to look at your cat’s diet.
High-calorie foods which are easily digestible are the best solution to fatten up your cat.
Cats like to graze, feed your cat several times a day, or leave food out for it, so it can eat whenever it wants to.
If you have more than one cat, perhaps separate them at feeding time to ensure they are eating appropriate amounts. Space needs to be non-threatening and comfortable for them.
What can I feed a malnourished cat?
If the cat is malnourished, it is best to consult a veterinarian or animal nutritional expert for the best dietary advice. If the cat has not eaten or been underfed for some time, it may not be able to keep any food down.
In this case, the cat will need a fundamental diet, and it is suggested natural food such as rice and poached chicken breast (so it is soft and moist and therefore easily digestible) is a good option.
Any food intake will need to be kept to a minimum but at a steady rate, so better for the stomach to process. A constant supply of water is also a priority as dehydration is often coupled with malnutrition.
Why is my cat always hungry but skinny?
Several factors can cause your cats to become extra hungry suddenly. Some reasons may be colder weather, and the cat needs more fuel to keep warm, or being fed a less nutritional diet, a new medication, pregnancy, or just old age.
More severe reasons could be the cat developing diabetes mellitus, where they cannot regulate their blood sugar levels. With this condition, the cat will want to eat more but still lose weight, urinate more and drink more water.
Parasites, such as worms, will make the cat want to eat more, as the worms are stealing the nutrients from the food being digested.
Hyperthyroidism, Hypertension, and Inflammatory bowel disease are other conditions that can cause cats to overeat and not put on weight. To be sure of the cause, a visit to the veterinarian is always the best option.
Sometimes a cat may be considered to be skinny when he is just a healthy weight. With over half of cats in the US being overweight, it is an easy misconception that a healthy cat is underweight.
Giving your cat structured mealtimes can help determine how much they are eating, and then if they are putting on weight or losing weight, the volume of food can be easily adjusted. Cats do like to graze, and there is no problem with this, but if there is more than one cat or other pets in the household, it can be harder to gauge each cat’s food consumption.
When your cat first joins your family, and you get them a vet check, keep a diary of the vaccinations and deworming medications they have had and are due for, and that can alleviate any uncertainties of what they have had and when and what treatments they need to have a long healthy life.