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What Do I Feed My Old Cat To Help Them Gain Weight? 10 Great Options

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By Nicole Cosgrove

white pluffy cat eating

Aging can be difficult for cats. It can come with many health complications, such as arthritis, digestive problems, urinary issues, and more. A common issue among aging pets is weight control.

Significant weight loss can be a scary thing to deal with as a pet owner. If you are concerned that the weight loss is a symptom of a severe medical condition, reach out to your veterinarian immediately. Otherwise, some cats tend to lose weight as they age naturally. Still, it is crucial to help your cat maintain a healthy weight, and one way to do that is through their food.

Helping your cat regain weight can be as simple as feeding them the proper meal. You can examine the options below and decide if they sound right for your cat.

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The 10 Options To Feed Your Old Cat To Help Them Gain Weight

1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Recovery Ultra Soft Mousse in Sauce Wet Dog & Cat Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Recovery

Protein Content 9.4% min
Fat Content 5.2% min
Main Ingredients Water, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Gelatin

Royal Canin could be the perfect fit if your cat is in recovery from surgery, an illness, or other medical issues. Royal Canin’s Veterinary Diet Recovery wet food is a specialized diet that targets weight recovery. It is designed to entice your cat’s appetite, making even the pickiest eaters eager to dig in. It provides high protein content and the nutrition cats need to regain a healthy weight.

For cats that have undergone some medical difficulties, this recipe can be fed through a tube if needed. Just one more thing you won’t have to worry about! Since it is a veterinarian diet, it requires a vet’s authorization before purchasing. Keep that in mind if you plan on making this your cat’s newest meal.

Pros
  • Special veterinary diet
  • Nutritional boost for cats in recovery
  • Can be fed through a tube
Cons
  • Requires vet authorization

2. Hill’s Prescription Diet a/d Urgent Care with Chicken Wet Dog & Cat Food

Hill's Prescription Diet ad Urgent Care

Protein Content 8.5% min
Fat Content 5.2% min
Main Ingredients Water, Turkey Giblets, Pork Liver, Chicken

Hill’s Prescription Diet a/d Urgent Care is another veterinary diet. That means it will require a vet’s authorization before you can feed it to your pet, but it also has plenty of health benefits.

This blend is highly digestible and packed with calories. It helps cats with difficult stomachs get the nutrients they need. The proteins boost the immune system and work to sustain a healthy body mass. Plus, Hill’s can be fed through a tube if required.

Pros
  • Special veterinary diet
  • Can be fed through a tube
Cons
  • Requires vet authorization

3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets CN Critical Nutrition Wet Dog & Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets

Protein Content 9.5% min
Fat Content 7.5% min
Main Ingredients Water, Meat By-products, Beef, Liver, Poultry Giblets

Purina’s Pro Plan Veterinary CN Critical Nutrition is once again a veterinarian diet, so plan on getting a vet’s authorization if you pick this out for your cat. You can also feed this formula through a tube if that is something your cat needs help with.

Purina Pro is appetizing for cats, encouraging them to eat without hesitation. Likewise, it is easily digested. The essential amino acids provide tissue repair to injured cats and keep them healthy.

Pros
  • Special veterinary diet
  • Can be fed through a tube
  • Provides essential amino acids
Cons
  • Requires vet authorization

4. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Chicken Pate Canned Cat Food

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Chicken Pate Canned Cat Food

Protein Content 10.0% min
Fat Content 5.0% min
Main Ingredients Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver

The first three ingredients in Merrick’s Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Chicken Pate are protein sources, ensuring that your cat will be able to regain and sustain their weight through healthy means.

This recipe has organic ingredients, such as the alfalfa and cranberries, meaning your cat is getting nutrients from quality sources. Other nutritional benefits to this blend include vitamins, minerals, and taurine, which are key to your cat’s health. Taurine is essential for cats.

With the abundance of quality ingredients in this blend, it is only natural that it might lean on the expensive side. If the price of the recipe concerns you, look to the others on this list, as they are all excellent choices.

Pros
  • First three ingredients are protein sources
  • Protein-packed recipe
  • Contains vitamins, minerals, and taurine
  • Includes organic ingredients
Cons
  • Somewhat expensive

5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Mature Chicken Recipe

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Mature Chicken Recipe

Protein Content 8.0% min
Fat Content 5.5% min
Main Ingredients Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Potatoes

This blend is packed full of healthy protein because the first three ingredients are high-quality sources. There are no by-products in this recipe, ensuring your cat only eats the best quality ingredients.

This pate is crafted with taurine and DHA, improving brain and heart health. The chicken ingredients support muscle growth and weight maintenance to keep your older cat healthy and strong.

Unfortunately, some pet owners reported a foul smell from the food. Blue Buffalo could be a great option for you and your cat if the benefits are more important to you than the smell.

Pros
  • First three ingredients are protein sources
  • No by-products
  • Provides omega fatty acids
Cons
  • Bad smell

6. Wellness Complete Health Salmon Adult Dry Cat Food

Wellness Complete Health Salmon Adult Dry Cat Food

Protein Content 36.0% min
Fat Content 18.0% min
Main Ingredients Salmon, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Rice

With animal sources as the first four ingredients and a protein content of 36.0%, this recipe provides your cat with the fuel they need to be active and regain body mass. The salmon flavor helps to draw in picky cats and make your cat excited for mealtime.

This kibble provides plenty of health benefits, such as nourishing the skin and coat, promoting healthy digestion, supporting dental health, and boosting the immune system.

If you think this option is the one for you and your cat, make sure you are prepared to pay the price because this formula is a bit pricier than others.

Pros
  • First four ingredients are protein sources
  • Promotes dental health
  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves digestion
Cons
  • Somewhat expensive

7. Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food

Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food

Protein Content 10.0% min
Fat Content 7.5% min
Main Ingredients Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Egg Product

Instinct’s Original Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken recipe is another great option for cats who need to regain some weight. The first three ingredients are derived from animal sources, giving this blend plenty of protein to support your feline. The high-quality ingredients give your cat the excellent nutrients needed to recover a healthy weight.

The main downside to this option is that some pet owners complain of a less than desirable consistency with this blend

Pros
  • First three ingredients are protein sources
  • High protein content
  • Quality ingredients
Cons
  • Consistency could be improved

8. Purina ONE True Instinct Natural Grain-Free with Ocean Whitefish

Purina ONE True Instinct Natural Grain-Free with Ocean Whitefish Dry Cat Food

Protein Content 35.0% min
Fat Content 14.0% min
Main Ingredients Ocean Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Pea Starch, Cassava Root Flour

Purina ONE True Instinct is packed with healthy proteins that help your cat regain and sustain body mass, with ocean whitefish and chicken meal as the first two ingredients.

Purina’s ONE is highly digestible, helping cats with sensitive stomachs to finish their food without difficulty. It supports the immune system as well as the health of the coat and gives your cat a plentiful supply of energy.

Pros
  • First two ingredients are protein sources
  • High protein content
  • Highly digestible
Cons
  • Somewhat expensive

9. Purina Cat Chow Indoor Hairball & Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food

Purina Cat Chow Indoor Hairball and Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food (1)

Protein Content 30.0% min
Fat Content 9.5% min
Main Ingredients Chicken By-product Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Soy Flour, Whole Grain Wheat

If you are looking for a cheaper recipe that still provides excellent health benefits for your cat, then the Cat Chow Indoor Hairball & Healthy Weight recipe by Purina could be a great fit for you.

This formula promotes a healthy weight for your cat at an affordable price, plus various other health benefits, including controlling hairballs and supporting digestion. Twenty-five vitamins and minerals are packed into this recipe, giving your cat plenty of extra nutrients to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The first few ingredients are less ideal than others on this list, and be sure to review them before deciding whether or not this is right for your cat.

Pros
  • Packed with essential vitamins and minerals
  • Supports digestion
  • Controls hairballs
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Fewer quality ingredients

10. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate Canned Cat Food

Protein Content 12.0% min
Fat Content 7.0% min
Main Ingredients Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken Meal

The Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate is a great and healthy option for cats that need to regain weight. The high protein content helps cats recover and sustain weight, and the quality ingredients ensure a healthy weight.

The first six ingredients are protein sources, giving this blend an enticing flavor that will tempt your cat’s appetite. Other health benefits of this choice include support for urinary health and support for the skin and coat. The benefits of this blend are reflected in the price, as it is rather expensive.

Pros
  • First six ingredients are protein sources
  • High protein content
  • Nourishes the skin and coat
  • Supports urinary health
Cons
  • Expensive

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Picking the Right Food for Your Cat

Choosing the right food for your cat can feel overwhelming, especially when a health concern is involved. There is so much information and many options to choose from that it can feel like you are drowning in it all!

No need to panic. At the end of the day, picking out the right food for your cat can be rather simple. The most important things to consider are 1) why your cat is losing weight and 2) what your vet thinks.

Why Is Your Cat Losing Weight?

Figuring out why your cat is losing weight will be the key to picking out the proper diet for them. If there is a medical condition behind the weight loss, then you will want a diet that can target the specific disease or complication.

Once you have a diet that will support your cat’s needs, you can begin working on a plan to help them regain the weight. Some suggestions for your feeding routine are to warm up wet food, give small yet frequent portions, and provide healthy snacks between meals.

Talk to Your Vet

The most efficient way to ensure that you provide for your cat’s needs is to talk to your vet.

Your vet will be familiar with your cat and have the professional expertise to diagnose an illness if one is present. With your vet as a guide, you can help your cat recover their weight with a carefully structured feeding schedule and guidelines.

Regardless of the type of food your feline companion prefers, finding a bowl that is sure to keep the mess contained can be tough. Our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl features a wide tray designed to ensure that all food stays exactly where it should—inside the bowl and off the floor. The whisker-friendly bowls fit securely into the PP plastic base and are low and wide to prevent whisker fatigue. Its contemporary style will fit seamlessly into any home and it is completely dishwasher safe. 

Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
  • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
  • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...

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Conclusion

No pet owner likes to see their cat unhealthy. Significant weight loss can be a scary issue to deal with, especially when caused by serious medical complications. Since your cat’s diet will impact their ability to regain weight, it’s essential to consult your vet to create a dietary plan.

The brands we reviewed can help your feline gain weight, but it is up to you to decide which one will be the best choice to help your elder cat live a healthy, happy life.


Featured Photo Credit: vlad_bil, Shutterstock

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