Weigh Your Cat To Ensure A Healthy Rate Of Weight
Regardless of diet, limiting access is the key. And a scale to accurately weigh the cat on is handy. Peoples digital scales can be used by weighing the person with and without holding the kitty. Monthly weights at the same time of day are sufficient.
We want about a pound a month of weight loss, not more. Sudden weight loss in a cat can result in serious health issues. Weight loss is hard to accomplish in a cat, no short cuts exist, and it takes an active process to achieve.
Just like people, it is an individualized program for each kitty and dealing with the behavioral consequences of a hungry cat can be one of the largest challenges. The hardest thing for people to accept is that a hungry cat is okay and healthy, it does not require fixing despite what the kitty may think.
Dr. Matt McCormick, DVM
Companion Animal Clinic has been serving Blacksburg, Virginia and surrounding Montgomery and Christiansburg communities since 1974. We are an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital and provide quality, professional care for dogs, cats, exotics, and small mammals. Learn more about our amazing team.
How To Let Your Pet Gain Weight
Underweight pets should be eating foods that are around 30% protein and 20% fat if they’re eating dry kibble, or 7% protein and 5% fat, or higher, if you’re feeding a wet food. Intersperse your pet’s diet with small amounts of high-calorie supplemental canned food or canned products made of 100% meat sources.
What Should I Do If My Cat Is Losing Weight
It does not hurt to give your cat the best quality pet food available. If the weight loss problem is due to a sensitive stomach, changing his diet may give him the help he needs. Look for signs of stress in your cats life and try to eliminate situations that can make your cat uncomfortable.
The internet is a great place to get information, but you always want to consult your vet for a diagnoses and treatment. Losing a lot of weight can be serious and the longer you delay diagnosis, the more limited your options may be if your cat needs treatment.
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How To Help Skinny Cats Put On Some Pounds
Is your kitty too skinny? Cats may be underweight for a number of reasons, including anxiety, medical problems, age, and picky eating habits. Whatever the issue is, its important to help your cat become healthier and increase their weight. If youre wondering how to get a cat to gain weight, keep reading below!
Looking Into Therapeutic Diets
Science has provided us with incredible new diet formulations that are specifically designed to help overweight dogs and overweight cats lose excess body fat and build muscle. Muscle is the largest metabolic organ in the body, and the stronger and healthier muscle is, the higher the calorie burn and metabolic rate. Veterinary diets like the Hills Metabolic Diet is an excellent product. If you switch your pet to a therapeutic diet, follow the feeding instructions from your veterinarian, as pets can still gain weight on a weight loss diet if they eat too much of it.
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Other Reasons Your Cat Is Losing Weight While Still Eating
There are also less dramatic reasons your cat might be losing weight, yet eating more or the same as they did before the weight loss. One of these reasons is stress. Stress in cats can be caused for different reasons, but it can do with a sudden change in the cats environment, such as a death in the family , a new baby, a roommate moving in, etc.
It can also be due to the food bowl being too close to the litter box, loud noises when theyre trying to eat, other animals in their feeding area, and dirty food dishes.
Another reason is arthritis and loss of muscle mass in older cats. Arthritic pain can be controlled by medication.
Lastly, did you know that there is a reason that one may see a difference in the same pet food in a pet store . This is because kittens need more protein in their food, as theyre more active, so cat food has less protein. Its important to note this because, if purchasing the wrong food, you may accidentally be making your kitten lose weight because he/she isnt getting as much nutrients as he/she needs.
Looking After Your Cats Digestion During Weight Gain
If your cat has lost weight through illness, its essential you dont overwhelm their digestive system during weight gain. A cats digestion is more sensitive than a humans, and unable to cope with a varied diet these lead to stomach upset and even further weight loss.
Its also important to get the right balance of nutrients in a weight-gain diet so their system doesnt become aggravated. For example, while energy-dense fat can help your cat gain weight, it can also cause diarrhoea. Similarly, protein needed for cell growth should be high quality and highly digestible to reduce the workload on their system.
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Why Gaining Weight Occurs In Cats
There are two main reasons why obesity occurs in cats: availability of excess food and inadequate exercise. Either one of these situations, or a combination of both, will cause your cat to put on an excessive amount of weight. It will be difficult to determine what the cause of the obesity is just by sight alone, so it is best to get your feline into a vet for regular checkups in order to resolve the issue efficiently.
One of the most common reasons is the availability of food. More often than not, owners will leave a bowl of dry food within reach for their cat to consume at any time of the day. This is known as free feeding and it contributes highly to obesity in cats. Just like humans, if there is delicious food setting out, the temptation to eat our feel is quite hard to resist. Even if the cat is not hungry, boredom may be cause enough to approach the available food.
The second reason cats can be prone to obesity is a failure to burn calories. This can occur when a cat is kept inside and not interacted with enough. Difficulty in moving around caused by issues like osteoarthritis or spondylosis can also lead to a cat gaining weight.
Organ Failure In Cats
Organ failure can be especially common in older cats, since metabolism changes as a cat ages. Remember to help prevent this by brushing your cats teeth regularly, as tartar and plaque can dislodge from the teeth and clog up the heart, kidneys, or liver!
A veterinarian can determine if organ failure, such as kidney disease, is happening by performing a blood test.
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How Can I Identify Hyperthyroidism In My Cat
The clearest way to identify feline hyperthyroidism is by monitoring your cats weight and eating habits, especially as they get older. According to the Veterinary Centers of America, The most common clinical sign of hyperthyroidism is weight loss due to the increased rate of metabolism despite an increased appetite. Affected cats are often restless, and may become cranky or aggressive. They may have increased water consumption and urination. It is also common for hyperthyroid cats to exhibit increased vocalizing, particularly at night. They may develop periodic vomiting or diarrhea, and fur may appear unkempt. In some cats, anorexia develops as the disease progresses.
Dr. Ellen says, it does take a lot for an owner to recognize the subtle signs and symptoms of it. That, my older cat suddenly is a little bit more talkative during the night, in the evening. He seems a lot more hungrier than usual. They pester you all the time when theyre chronically hungry, and if the cat keeps going back into the kitchen and youre noticing your cat not putting on weight, then thats a problem.
My Kitten Is Not Growing
See files for Cats
The first months of a kittens life are characterized by rapid growth. For this kitten this is a time of discovery and awakenings. For their human guardian it is a time for both joy at this new life and concern that they get the best start they can. In cases where we think the kitten is not growing as fast as they should, this concern can become acute. A kitten’s vulnerability makes them particularly susceptible to parasites and disease. Improper feeding can also interfere with their development. However, there are various reasons to explain why a kitten is not growing.
This AnimalWised article addresses these reasons in our article on why my kitten is not growing. We explain why a cat may not seem to be developing and what we should do about it.
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What Happens If Your Cat Wont Eat
If your cat is rapidly losing weight and refuses to eat for more than 24 hours then its time to be alarmed. A pet who doesnt eat for a prolonged period may develop feline hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease. Clinical signs of this illness include dehydration, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. An affected cat may develop jaundice or yellowish skin and mucus membranes.
Why Is Obesity So Widespread In Cats
Many factors of our modern life with cats contribute to the increased prevalence of feline obesity. Cats now live predominantly indoors. They no longer must roam and hunt for their food. That means fewer calories expended. In addition, when cats are permitted to eat free choice , it is easy for cats to eat more calories than they need. The bottom line is that when calories taken in exceed calories expended, weight gain is inevitable, leading to obesity and overweight cats.
Overfeeding Overeating And Poor Quality Food
Do you leave a big bowl of food out for your cat to graze on throughout the day? Are his begging eyes so powerful that you end up giving him a handful of treats even when he hasnt earned them?
If so, he could be gaining weight simply because hes eating too much.
A healthy 10-pound cat needs around 280 calories a day to maintain his body weight . Any more than that and hell start to pack on the pounds and when youre a cat, even a few ounces of extra weight can make a big difference.
Take a look at the label on your cats food to find out how many calories are in it. The figure will usually be given in kcal/kg if the label says 1,000 kcal/kg, that means that there are 1,000 calories in one kilogram of food.
Then figure out how much food your cat eats per day. Measure out his daily food and weigh it on a kitchen scale, then use the information on the label to find out the caloric content.
If the number seems high, chances are your cat is eating more food than he needs to. But if it seems in line with the guidelines, your next step is to check the rest of the nutritional facts on the food label.
Cats need high-protein, low-carb food. Their bodies arent able to make proper use of carbohydrates, so high-carb food tends to make them gain weight without providing much nutritional value.
Solution: Reduce Feedings or Switch Foods
If your cat is eating too much, youll need to reduce the amount you feed him and/or change the way he gets his meals.
Why Do Cats Lose Weight
While weight gain in cats is a frequent concern due to related health problems like heart disease and arthritis, its equally alarming when your fur baby suddenly begins to lose weight. Youll want to keep tabs on her diet if you notice unexpected weight loss so you can make a note of whether your cat is eating the same amount as always or shes lost their appetite. From minor issues with digestion to more serious ailments, theres a variety of reasons why your cat might lose weight.
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Overweight Cat: Understanding When A Cat Is Considered Overweight
Just like people, cats come in all shapes and sizes, and the number on the scale isnt the only factor in determining whether your cat is overweight. Thats why many veterinarians use a more qualitative approach called a body condition score.
Based on the amount of body fat the veterinarian can see and feel, theyll assign a score ranging from one to nine. A body condition score of five means the cat is at their ideal weight, but a ranking between six and nine indicates that its time to help your cat slim down.
A low score isnt necessarily a reason to panic, either. Some veterinarians use a five-point body condition scale, in which a score of three is just right. Be sure to ask which scale your veterinarian uses.
Parr recommends using a similar visual assessment to help you determine whether its time to start a feline fitness plan.
Looking at your cat from above, you should see an hourglass figure, says Parr. There should be a taper behind the ribs where they have a little waist. If pet parents dont see a waist on their cats, its a sign that theyre already starting to carry a little bit too much extra weight.
If your cat needs to lose weight, your veterinarian can recommend strategies such as cutting back on calories, initiating an exercise plan, or testing for certain medical conditions to get the needle on the scale moving in the right direction.
Genetic And Pathological Reasons A Kitten Isn’t Growing
While poor nutrition or the presence of parasites may explain why a kitten isn’t growing, there are some rare reasons for their small stature. It is possible for a kitten to be born looking healthy. Since they are yet to develop yet, it can be difficult to determine whether they are underdeveloped. As the weeks pass, we can get a better idea of whether their growth is actually stunted.
It is also easier to determine a kitten’s growth rate if they remain with their littermates. By comparing a kitten to their siblings, we can tell if there is a problem with their growth. If so, it is possible they have one of the following conditions:
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Calorie Requirements For Cats
A good owner would never willingly underfeed a cat, but it can happen.
A cat may go hungry if the following apply:
- Its assumed that someone else has fed the cat.
- Another pet is stealing food from the cats bowl, but it goes unnoticed.
- First-time owners dont always know how much food is appropriate, and some cat food labels arent clear about portion sizes.
- Kibble is more calorie-dense than wet food. If owners switch from a mixed diet to a wet food-only diet, they may not increase the quantity of wet food sufficiently to satisfy the cats energy needs.
- Energy requirements change due to pregnancy/nursing, or recovery from injury/surgery/trauma.
According to NAS, an average domestic cat has the following daily kilocalorie requirements:
It varies, but one pouch/sachet of wet cat food usually contains 70-120 kcal. It varies, but dry kibble usually provides more calories than wet food per portion.
How Much Should You Feed Your Cat To Help Them Gain Weight
Your veterinarian may recommend a specific diet to help your cat gain weight. “In general, diets designed for weight gain are calorie dense, meaning that a smaller volume of food is required to get in the necessary calories for weight gain. Calorie dense foods tend to be high in fat because fat contains more calories per gram versus protein or carbohydrate,” Lenox explains. You should also ask your vet which is the best diet for your cats weight gain as some medical conditions require a more specific type of diet.
In some cases, a temporary or long-term feeding tube may be called for to help the cat gain weight. This type of feeding can also be used to “help reduce a pet owner’s stress about whether or not their cat will eat and can also be used to administer some medications,” Lenox explains.
Once you and your vet determine how much food your cat needs, determining how often you feed your cat is the next step. Herrick recommends instead of feeding once or twice a day, feed your feline small meals several times a day and provide them with a clean source of fresh water to drink throughout the day.
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Feed Small Frequent Meals
A cats stomach is only about the size of a ping-pong ball. So its normal that your cat wont eat a lot all at once.
Whether your cat prefers wet food, dry food or both, try feeding one tablespoon of food every few hours.
These small, regular meals are better tolerated than large meals and can reduce the risk of vomiting after a meal.
Have More Than One Option
Just like us some cats just dont like certain recipes, choose more than one kind of high-quality cat food and by trial and error, land on one your cat likes and accepts the best. An easy way to know is by offering different kinds of food all at once and seeing if your cat has any particular preference.
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