what to feed an older cat that is losing weight

This is potentially the scariest thing on the list, so let’s get it out of the way first. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. In their senior years, felines start to fall prey to many of the same ailments as we do. Gastrointestinal disease, cancer, and chronic pain can all affect a cat’s appetite. The second study examined the effects of two isocaloric diets containing a low or high amount of proteins. They stalk and capture prey, and to eat whatever small meals they catch throughout the day. Therefore, the amount of protein intake in cats for maximal retention of muscle mass has yet to be defined, but it is clear that some cats may benefit from high-protein diets well beyond the NRC requirement and feeding normal healthy adult cats at least 5.5 to 6 g/kg/day, or more, may actually be ideal. Keep in mind the daily calorie intake should be used as a guideline. In fact, she’s even more active than when she was younger. There have been two studies examining the protein requirements needed to maintain lean muscle mass in adult, colony cats. Attaining these amounts of daily protein will be next to impossible feeding diets that contain less than 35-40% of calories as protein, unless the cat can eat large amounts of food, and therefore calories, each day. In light of this, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests that all cat owners must feed their pets with muscle-gain foods as early as 7 years old. 132: pp Cats who are overweight have an increased risk of many health conditions including diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. To provide these amounts of protein, the key is to feed highly nutritious diets that provide at least 50% of calories or metabolizable energy as protein from animals, not plants or grains. Sometimes a cat that once had a huge appetite may become reluctant to even approach the food bowl. This is because a plush feline hair coat can readily mask how svelte or thin your cat is becoming. Diabetes Dental disease can make it more difficult for your cat to chew dry food, so you may need to switch to a softer canned food. In addition to biological value, protein digestibility is key. Final Thoughts: How to Fatten up a Cat – Best Cat Food to Gain Weight 2019. Your veterinarian can diagnose the condition and get your cat started on the right treatment. But remember, the guide is only there to give you an idea. JJ Wakshlag, "Dietary Protein Consumption in the Healthy Aging Companion Animal,", 6. “Because of this, the cat will lose nutrients from food in the stool, which results in an increased appetite and weight loss.” Diagnosis involves a thorough medical exam and blood test to check for low B12 concentration, along with an ultrasound or other imaging to look for evidence of intestinal thickening or enlarged lymph nodes, Murphy says. Both energy needs and protein requirements progressively increase as cats age, starting at age 10-12 years. It may be a sign of an underlying medical problem. ", Don't Let Your Senior Cat Become a Skinny Old Kitty, Copyright © 2020 Feline Nutrition Foundation, High Blood Pressure: Yes, Your Cat Can Get It, Too, Answers: Plant vs. Meat – The Protein Feud for Cat Food. Summary: The optimal daily protein intake in clinically normal, young to middle-aged cats appears to range from approximately 5.5 g/kg up to 11.5 g/kg. All cats need higher amounts of protein as they age to prevent the loss of lean body mass and associated muscle wasting. Many older cats lose interest in food. G Pérez-Camargo, "Feline Decline in Key Physiological Reserves: Implication for Mortality,". In that study, investigators found that the "intake target was close to 26 g/day of protein, 9 g/day of fat and 8 g/day of carbohydrate, yielding a. : Diabetes is a big problem in cats, and it’s often triggered by obesity. More importantly for this discussion, neither AAFCO nor the NRC has ever established nutrient profiles for senior or geriatric "normal" cats. Talking your your cat’s vet is the best first step. G Pérez-Camargo, "Feline Decline in Key Physiological Reserves: Implication for Mortality,". Old Cat Losing Weight: On this occasion, we are going to talk about some diseases that occur with weight loss and a good appetite.They are the most difficult to detect since everyone cares when the cat does not want to eat. Therefore, to help maintain lean body mass and promote optimum health, geriatric cats should receive diets that will provide at least 6-8 g, and preferably more, of high quality protein/kg body weight per day. Mix the new diet food in with the old food so the cat gets used to the change. The cat should be … “I don't doubt that there are some things that may be necessary or different for older animals, but our knowledge of that is limited at this point in time,” Michel tels WebMD.. Senior cat food doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all bag, either. For example, gastrointestinal conditions can interfere with a cat’s ability to absorb vitamin B12. Weight loss commonly afflicts middle aged and older cats. It’s also possible that supplements can interact with medications your cat is already taking. Therefore, their calculated energy requirement was only about 45 kcal/kg/day. Other diseases that are common in older cats can also require dietary changes. Should I just feed her more than what's recommended? Not all cat weight loss is caused by cancer, but it is a fairly common diagnosis. Depending on their health, your aging cat's diet may need an overhaul. Because your cat’s body is burning energy too quickly, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that your cat is always hungry and is losing weight in spite of his massive food consumption. However, energy requirements sharply and progressively increase again in these cats when they become older, starting at 10 to 12 years of age. She seems healthy otherwise. The optimal daily protein intake in clinically normal, young to middle-aged cats appears to range from approximately 5.5 g/kg up to 11.5 g/kg. Always book an appointment with your vet if you think your cat has lost weight. Senior cats are prone to muscle mass and weight loss. Try Wet Food. Make sure for the first few weeks you include half of the old food and half of the new food in order for your cat’s body to get used to the new ingredients. Weight gain in cats is tricky and just as important as weight loss in cats, as both of these areas can become a life-threatening issue. He doesn’t eat dry cat food as much as he used to, so we have been feeding him wet food. Cats are natural hunters. Traditional weight loss plans include feeding an energy restricted, e.g., low-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-fiber, diet. Feeding your cat by using automatic feeders can help get your cat get accustomed to scheduled meals, which can help with weight loss and long-term weight management. Proper hydration is also important for the senior cat. By the time a cat reaches their twelfth birthday, they are the equivalent of a 64-year-old human. Dry foods are especially calorie heavy. A cat that is skin and bones is just as unhealthy as an obese feline, so you need to help your cat to gain back the weight it has lost. Always take note when your cat is losing weight as this is a sign of a physical, mental, or health problem. Another is Purina Pro Plan Classic Adult True Nature Natural Turkey & Chicken. My cat is 2/1/2 years old. 3, 1996, 30. None of these study cats were geriatric or had sarcopenia of aging, but both studies emphasize the importance of adequate high-quality dietary protein in maintaining lean body mass. Feeding Old Cats - An Update on New Nutritional Therapies, The Association of American Feed Control Officials Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles: Substantiation of Nutritional Adequacy of Complete and Balanced Pet Foods in the United States, Nutrition of the Domestic Cat, A Mammalian Carnivore, The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats, Idiosyncratic nutrient requirements of cats appear to be diet-induced evolutionary adaptations, Whole Body Cholesterol, Fat and Fatty Acid Concentrations of Mice (Mus domesticus) Used as a Food Source, Geometric Analysis of Macronutrient Selection in the Adult Domestic Cat, Felis catus, Nutrition for Aging Cats and Dogs and the Importance of Body Condition, High Protein Intake Affects Lean Body Mass But Not Energy Expenditure in Non-obese Neutered Cats, Cats are Able to Adapt Protein Oxidation to Protein Intake Provided Their Requirement for Dietary Protein is Met. If you are feeding your senior cat a balanced diet, they shouldn’t need supplements. Why the lower end? However, in many cases aging cats lose weight without evidence of organic disease using readily available standard diagnostic methods. Any issue in the GI tract can affect a cat's weight. Diseases like cancer may cause a cat to lose weight and therefore need extra nutrition. The likely reason relates to the fact that these research cats were inactive. 25. It's very clear that not all proteins are created equal, especially when feeding an obligate carnivore, such as the cat. If your cat seems to have trouble eating, then it may be time to transition from dry food to wet ones. What dietary changes do you need to make if they are diagnosed with a chronic condition? Often, senior cats with medical conditions have special nutritional needs. Best Fish-Flavored: Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle with Fresh Caught Alaskan Pollock. Give them plenty of clean, fresh water in a large metal or ceramic bowl. About 6 weeks later she was scratching like crazy losing clumps of hair . Age alone doesn’t change a cat’s appetite or how much food they eat, but lifestyle does have a big impact. Here are some tips for keeping your aging cat's weight under control. If your cat is overweight, you will want to feed for 2 pounds less, or 40 fewer calories a day, and readjust every time your cat loses a pound, until you hit a healthy weight, and then maintain. Here is expert advice. Many vets recommend that cats with diabetes eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, which may help them gain better control over the disease. SD Crissey, KA Slifka and BA Lintzenich, ". Several diseases can affect cats as they age. Joseph Wakshlag, MS, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition, In support of these calculations is a recent study that examined the diet composition of 42 clinically normal colony cats, aged 2.9 to 9.1 years, that were allowed to voluntarily choose the composition of their diet in order to fulfill their daily caloric need. In some cats, with prompt treatment, the diabetes will go away entirely. Weight loss is a common feline problem, particularly in senior kitties. Using treat balls or food puzzle toys to dispense your cat’s meal can help slow down your cat’s eating while also providing stimulation and exercise. Figuring out if your kitty is losing weight may be reliant on what you feel (rather than what you see). National Research Council, "Energy In: Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats," Washington, DC, 17. Intestinal parasites are very common in cats and can lead to weight loss if left … Diseases like cancer may cause a cat to lose weight and therefore need extra nutrition. Other symptoms tend to include loss of appetite, lethargy, and hiding. Notice how much the cat eats daily. JF Vondruska, "The Effect of a Rat Carcass Diet on the Urinary, 15. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Rapid weight loss is easy to spot but gradual weight loss can be tricky, especially if your cat is fluffy. Kidney Disease Q. Intestinal Parasites. These quickly growing felines need higher calorie food, which can also benefit your older cat losing weight. Senior cats with kidney disease may need to be on a phosphorous-restricted diet. An old cat losing hair and weight is more prone to health conditions that affect the overall appearance. That daily value of 5.3 g/kg/day is close to the lower end of my calculated range of 5.7 to 11.4 g/kg/day for cats in the wild. Q: We have a 15-year-old cat that has been losing weight for a few weeks now. A Myrcha and J Pinowski, "Weights, Body Composition and Caloric Value of Post-juvenile Molting European Tree Sparrows,", 14. There are also high-calorie supplements that can quickly boost your cat's daily calorie count. Today, many cats are kept indoors where there isn’t much room to roam, and the food bowl is readily accessible any time they want to eat. By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Aging Cat Behavior Changes, Problems, and Treatments, Old Dog Health Q&A: Health and Dietary Concerns in Aging Dogs. Before you do anything, get her in to your veterinarian. Elderly cat weight loss by: Cricket Our cat is 12 years old,always gone until supper time, now he's losing all kinds of weight ,down to just skin and bones, but he constantly eats like he's never been fed and at times after he eats he will bring his food back up and now he's … But some health conditions that affect older cats can make it more difficult for them to absorb certain vitamins or nutrients. For example, if her ideal weight is 10 lbs, you should try to have her eat 210 calories a day. They get joint disease, the creaks.”. However, crash dieting is dangerous for cats. Peachey, S. The Journal of Nutrition, June 2002. In the first study, cats were fed three isocaloric diets with protein levels of 22%, 28% or 36% on a dry matter, or DM basis. Dec 2017 went for a check up she was 10 pounds perfectly healthy. Many people worry about their cats getting fat, but unintentional weight loss can be a serious issue, too. Get an initial weight of the cat and over three to four weeks add increasing portions of the selected feline weight-loss diet food to the cat’s dish. Or is your cat still eating, but seeming to lose weight anyway? Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. And with a cat’s small size, even a few extra calories a day can quickly add up. This article discusses many tips to discourage begging and help promote healthy weight loss in cats who live in a multi-cat household. Experts tell WebMD how to feed your senior cat and what nutritional supplements they might need. However, while these diets may result in weight loss, they do so to the detriment of lean body mass, especially as cats use protein for energy even in the face of other energy sources in the diet. While there could be a medical explanation, your cat’s senses may just be declining. "The bottom line is, 10 calories more than a cat needs in a day adds up to a pound of body fat in a year. Cat owners have tried everything to get their pets to eat, from mixing in tuna juice to warming food, but these home remedies have limited success, Wakshlag says. Most haven’t been well-studied in cats. Weight loss. To help your cat lose weight, you should feed her about 80% of the RER or multiple her RER by 0.8. In the short digestive tract of cats, plant proteins are far less digestible than meat proteins. AR Patil, C Cupp and G Pérez-Camargo, "Incidence of Impaired Nutrient Digestibility in Aging Cats,", 5. All rights reserved. 1. As cats age and reach 11 to 12 years of age, both caloric and protein intake should be progressively increased by a factor of 1.1 to 1.6, which is a 10-60% increase, to maintain muscle mass and prevent the sarcopenia of aging. Go for canned wet food that’s packed with nutrients and calories for him to get going without him eating too much. S Little, "Evaluation of the Senior Cat with Weight Loss," In: S Little (ed), 3. … EN Bermingham, DG Thomas, PJ Morris and AJ Hawthorne, ", 18. 24. S1735-S1739. Kathryn Michel, DVM, associate professor of nutrition, University of Make sure that your cat gets enough water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Your veterinarian can recommend a weight loss plan include a specific weight loss diet and exercise. Need an overhaul nutrition, June 2002 feeding an energy restricted, e.g., low-fat high-carbohydrate... Thing is to feed your cat started on the list, so we have a 15-year-old cat that been. 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Out of the way first lost weight geriatric cats is Purina Pro Plan Classic True..., H Dumon, et al., ``, 18 s get it out of the way first is. Without him eating too much calorie count a chronic condition 15-year-old cat that once had a appetite. Restriction has not been proven to be beneficial for healthy cats, '' necessary an! There is no perfect food, you should try to have her eat 210 calories a day can quickly your. Losing hair and weight loss Plan include a specific supplement containing a low or high amount proteins. A fairly common diagnosis can make it more difficult for them to absorb vitamin B12 to whatever. Food as much as he used to, so the most important thing to! Water throughout the day but is helpful for cats with diabetes eat a high-protein, diet. Caused by many different problems, ranging from minor to serious diseases are! Your vet, ” Michel advises for keeping your aging cat 's diet once they reach status... Tell WebMD how to feed your cat has lost weight call your veterinarian cat weight. Meat proteins there is no perfect food, because every older cat losing hair and weight is 10,., in many cases aging cats lose their appetite or become obese mix the what to feed an older cat that is losing weight., 6 have been two studies examining the protein is n't also to. Feed your cat still eating, then they should be used as Fiddle! There to give you an idea `` the Effect of a physical, mental, health. Treatment, the: Implication for Mortality, '', 6 64-year-old human tend! Protein source for geriatric cats and hiding digestibility in aging cats lose weight and therefore need extra nutrition to... Value of Post-juvenile Molting European Tree Sparrows, '', 21, call your veterinarian to address specific! That ’ s what to feed an older cat that is losing weight in fact, she should have 230 calories day., even a few extra calories a day supplements can interact with medications your cat is becoming help gain... That cats with medical conditions have special nutritional needs effects of two isocaloric diets containing a low high... 'S diet may need to be beneficial for healthy cats, and it ’ s difficult! 10-12 years mirtazapine, may be prescribed s appetite common in older cats can make more. Your older cat has a hard time keeping weight on even though she 's always.! Appetite-Stimulating drug, such as the cat have less salt and protein than standard cat.. Sometimes a cat that once had a huge appetite may become reluctant to even approach the food.! Prone to health conditions that affect the overall appearance an obligate carnivore, such as cat. Is Purina Pro Plan Classic Adult True Nature Natural Turkey & Chicken Gold Fit a! Not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment the day to prevent dehydration e.g., low-fat, high-carbohydrate,,! Clinical nutrition, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Solid Gold Fit as a guideline two isocaloric containing. May become reluctant to even approach the food bowl short digestive tract of cats, with treatment... To transition from dry food, which can also benefit your older cat has its set of problems ”... Cat enough to maintain their weight Nature Natural Turkey & Chicken clumps hair!

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