In the short digestive tract of cats, plant proteins are far less digestible than meat proteins. When it comes to older cat diets, follow the feeding guide on the back of the pack. How do you keep your cat from getting fat? 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. Talk to your vet. … ML MacDonald, QR Rogers and JG Morris, ", 13. Weight loss. In addition to biological value, protein digestibility is key. G Perez-Camargo, "Cat Nutrition: What is New in the Old?,", 21. Q. But some health conditions that affect older cats can make it more difficult for them to absorb certain vitamins or nutrients. Proper hydration is also important for the senior cat. Not all cat weight loss is caused by cancer, but it is a fairly common diagnosis. Try Wet Food. Therefore, their calculated energy requirement was only about 45 kcal/kg/day. Joseph Wakshlag, MS, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition, 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 … Any time your cat won’t eat (unless you’ve just switched their food), call your veterinarian. National Research Council, "Energy In: Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats," Washington, DC, 17. Always book an appointment with your vet if you think your cat has lost weight. Give them plenty of clean, fresh water in a large metal or ceramic bowl. Senior Cat.”. “They’re not as big as us or as dogs, but they undergo all the same aging phenomena,” says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. JF Vondruska, "The Effect of a Rat Carcass Diet on the Urinary, 15. Gastrointestinal disease, cancer, and chronic pain can all affect a cat’s appetite. Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Before you do anything, get her in to your veterinarian. It may be a sign of a developing heath problem, or the progression of a pre-existing condition if your cat begins to lose weight. RR Wolfe, "Sarcopenia of Aging: Implications of the Age-related Loss of Lean Body Mass,", 4. Mix the new diet food in with the old food so the cat gets used to the change. Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, "Nutrition for the Adult Cat. Why the lower end? Q: We have a 15-year-old cat that has been losing weight for a few weeks now. 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. S1735-S1739. If you are feeding your senior cat a balanced diet, they shouldn’t need supplements. She seems healthy otherwise. First, GI problems can … There are also high-calorie supplements that can quickly boost your cat's daily calorie count. If her ideal weight is 12 lbs, she should have 230 calories a day. Experts tell WebMD how to feed your senior cat and what nutritional supplements they might need. Every cat is individual, so the most important thing is to feed your cat enough to maintain a lean, healthy body condition. Suitable diets for cats with kidney problems often have less salt and protein than standard cat foods. ", 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. Therefore, grain-based proteins should never be used as the primary protein source for geriatric cats. About 6 weeks later she was scratching like crazy losing clumps of hair . For example, if her ideal weight is 10 lbs, you should try to have her eat 210 calories a day. 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. All rights reserved. 6 Best Cat Foods for Weight Loss in 2020 | Reviews & Analysis AS Green, JJ Ramsey, C Villaverde, et al., ", 27. Many people worry about their cats getting fat, but unintentional weight loss can be a serious issue, too. These quickly growing felines need higher calorie food, which can also benefit your older cat losing weight. 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. Senior cats are prone to muscle mass and weight loss. The cat should be … Here is expert advice. Other symptoms tend to include loss of appetite, lethargy, and hiding. It may be a sign of an underlying medical problem. 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. 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. If they weigh 15 pounds, then they should be eating approximately 300 calories per day to maintain their weight. But remember, the guide is only there to give you an idea. Often, senior cats with medical conditions have special nutritional needs. Intestinal parasites are very common in cats and can lead to weight loss if left … Your veterinarian can recommend a weight loss plan include a specific weight loss diet and exercise. Should you adjust your cat's diet once they reach senior status? S Little, "Evaluation of the Senior Cat with Weight Loss," In: S Little (ed), 3. Talking your your cat’s vet is the best first step. Go for canned wet food that’s packed with nutrients and calories for him to get going without him eating too much. Answers: Why Did My Cat's Fur Get So Silky? In their senior years, felines start to fall prey to many of the same ailments as we do. If necessary, an appetite-stimulating drug, such as cyproheptadine or mirtazapine, may be prescribed. AR Patil, C Cupp and G Pérez-Camargo, "Incidence of Impaired Nutrient Digestibility in Aging Cats,", 5. 25. CD Thatcher, MS Hand and TL Remillard, "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition: An Iterative Process," In: MS Hand, CD Thatcher, RL Remillard, R Roudebush and BJ Novotny (eds), 10. Your senior cat may still look and act young, but that doesn't mean you should fill their food bowl with the same food they have always eaten. G Pérez-Camargo, "Feline Decline in Key Physiological Reserves: Implication for Mortality,". “Their activity level changes. If you watch your cat’s diet and weight and give them insulin regularly, there’s a good chance the blood sugar levels will stabilize. Protein restriction has not been proven to be beneficial for healthy cats, but is helpful for cats with kidney problems. If your cat seems to have trouble eating, then it may be time to transition from dry food to wet ones. It's very clear that not all proteins are created equal, especially when feeding an obligate carnivore, such as the cat. 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. 16. Cats who are overweight have an increased risk of many health conditions including diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. Most haven’t been well-studied in cats. In the case of a nutritional deficiency, your vet may recommend a specific supplement. Any issue in the GI tract can affect a cat's weight. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. There have been two studies examining the protein requirements needed to maintain lean muscle mass in adult, colony cats. For example, gastrointestinal conditions can interfere with a cat’s ability to absorb vitamin B12. Many vets recommend that cats with diabetes eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, which may help them gain better control over the disease. Peachey, S. The Journal of Nutrition, June 2002. While there could be a medical explanation, your cat’s senses may just be declining. This article discusses many tips to discourage begging and help promote healthy weight loss in cats who live in a multi-cat household. 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. It is important to monitor your senior cat's weight, as even the slightest change in weight can be significant. It’s also possible that supplements can interact with medications your cat is already taking. 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. Dec 2017 went for a check up she was 10 pounds perfectly healthy. A. 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. It may be better to follow one of the many senior diets, as they are lower in calories and reduce the likelihood of weight gain. 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. Diseases like cancer may cause a cat to lose weight and therefore need extra nutrition. 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. He eats as much as he likes, but he still seems to be losing weight. 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. 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. Several diseases can affect cats as they age. The likely reason relates to the fact that these research cats were inactive. They get joint disease, the creaks.”. 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. SS Hannah and DP LaFlamme, "Effect of Dietary Protein on Nitrogen Balance and Lean Body Mass in Cats," Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, no. In some cats, with prompt treatment, the diabetes will go away entirely. Feeding a senior cat requires tailoring the diet with the help of your veterinarian to address any specific health problems your pet may have. “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. Change of Food. Gastrointestinal Problems. Keep in mind the daily calorie intake should be used as a guideline. 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. Weight loss in cats between the ages of 12 and 16 is usually a sign of illness. Senior cats with kidney disease may need to be on a phosphorous-restricted diet. 24. What dietary changes do you need to make if they are diagnosed with a chronic condition? However, crash dieting is dangerous for cats. AK Hewson-Hughes, VL Hewson-Hughes, AT Miller, et al., ", 19. EN Bermingham, DG Thomas, PJ Morris and AJ Hawthorne, ", 18. Appetite loss is usually a sign of an underlying condition. Best Fish-Flavored: Solid Gold Fit as a Fiddle with Fresh Caught Alaskan Pollock. On top of cats’ more sedentary lifestyle, they often eat calorie-dense foods. Make sure that your cat gets enough water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. "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. Intestinal Parasites. But not everyone believes that a cat can be sick if it is weight … He doesn’t eat dry cat food as much as he used to, so we have been feeding him wet food. Weight loss in cats is usually a sign of a problem. Always take note when your cat is losing weight as this is a sign of a physical, mental, or health problem. Many older cats lose interest in food. : Diabetes is a big problem in cats, and it’s often triggered by obesity. If your cat has stopped eating his dry food, you may want to try incorporating some wet food into his diet. It’s not difficult for an animal to overeat and gain weight,” Michel says. 132: pp They can help you assess your cat’s … However, energy requirements sharply and progressively increase again in these cats when they become older, starting at 10 to 12 years of age. Final Thoughts: How to Fatten up a Cat – Best Cat Food to Gain Weight 2019. However, in many cases aging cats lose weight without evidence of organic disease using readily available standard diagnostic methods. “Some supplements that have been shown to be just fine in dogs or humans can be detrimental in a cat because their metabolisms are very different,” Wakshlag says. 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. 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. Kidney Disease Weight loss is a common feline problem, particularly in senior kitties. Depending on their health, your aging cat's diet may need an overhaul. Diseases like cancer may cause a cat to lose weight and therefore need extra nutrition. Rapid weight loss is easy to spot but gradual weight loss can be tricky, especially if your cat is fluffy. JJ Wakshlag, "Dietary Protein Consumption in the Healthy Aging Companion Animal,", 6. These issues are important when selecting a food for any cat, but they become of utmost importance when selecting a diet for the geriatric cat. Should I just feed her more than what's recommended? 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. Here are some tips for keeping your aging cat's weight under control. P Nguyen, V Lerray, H Dumon, et al., ", 26. 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. This is because a plush feline hair coat can readily mask how svelte or thin your cat is becoming. Weight loss commonly afflicts middle aged and older cats. A Myrcha and J Pinowski, "Weights, Body Composition and Caloric Value of Post-juvenile Molting European Tree Sparrows,", 14. Be careful when using over-the-counter nutritional supplements. 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. "There is no perfect food, because every older cat has its set of problems,” Wakshlag says. 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. To help your cat lose weight, you should feed her about 80% of the RER or multiple her RER by 0.8. 3, 1996, 30. Recent evidence has indicated that some 30 to 40 percent of cats aged 10 to 12 years have low fat and protein digestibility and subnormal serum cobalamin (vitamin B-12) and tocopherol (vitamin E). 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. My 8-year-old cat has a hard time keeping weight on even though she's always hungry. Sometimes a cat that once had a huge appetite may become reluctant to even approach the food bowl. Another is Purina Pro Plan Classic Adult True Nature Natural Turkey & Chicken. 1. 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. 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. All cats need higher amounts of protein as they age to prevent the loss of lean body mass and associated muscle wasting. Hill's Science Diet Adult 11+ Chicken Recipe Dry Senior Cat Food They stalk and capture prey, and to eat whatever small meals they catch throughout the day. 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. My cat is 2/1/2 years old. In the United States, the primary sources for minimum nutritional requirements in healthy cats are the National Research Council , the. An old cat losing hair and weight is more prone to health conditions that affect the overall appearance. Age alone doesn’t change a cat’s appetite or how much food they eat, but lifestyle does have a big impact. Other diseases that are common in older cats can also require dietary changes. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: “The Special Needs of the SD Crissey, KA Slifka and BA Lintzenich, ". Both energy needs and protein requirements progressively increase as cats age, starting at age 10-12 years. “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. Dry foods are especially calorie heavy. Or is your cat still eating, but seeming to lose weight anyway? The second study examined the effects of two isocaloric diets containing a low or high amount of proteins. Some aging cats lose their appetite or become obese. Notice how much the cat eats daily. Cats are natural hunters. 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. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. And with a cat’s small size, even a few extra calories a day can quickly add up. Diet is a major part of managing the disease. Kathryn Michel, DVM, associate professor of nutrition, University of : Many cats develop kidney failure as they age. More importantly for this discussion, neither AAFCO nor the NRC has ever established nutrient profiles for senior or geriatric "normal" cats. Diabetes By the time a cat reaches their twelfth birthday, they are the equivalent of a 64-year-old human. G Pérez-Camargo, "Feline Decline in Key Physiological Reserves: Implication for Mortality,". 8. “Check with your vet,” Michel advises. 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. This is potentially the scariest thing on the list, so let’s get it out of the way first. Your veterinarian can diagnose the condition and get your cat started on the right treatment. Buy on Amazon. Figuring out if your kitty is losing weight may be reliant on what you feel (rather than what you see). Weight loss can be caused by many different problems, ranging from minor to serious. Although many older cats are put on a lower-protein diet , there really isn’t any research to prove that the nutritional needs of healthy senior cats are any different from those of younger adult cats, says Kathryn Michel, DVM, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Another option is to feed your cat a food formulated for kittens. What good is a food with a higher protein content if the protein isn't also easy to digest? In fact, she’s even more active than when she was younger. Traditional weight loss plans include feeding an energy restricted, e.g., low-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-fiber, diet. For him to get going without him eating too much geriatric cats evidence... 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Boost your cat is already taking ar Patil, C Villaverde, et al. ``... Thomas, PJ Morris and AJ Hawthorne, `` Feline Decline in Key Physiological Reserves: Implication for Mortality ''! Dumon, et al., `` energy in: s Little ( ed ), 3 experts tell how. Easy to digest requirements needed to maintain their weight the list, we... Symptoms tend to include loss of what to feed an older cat that is losing weight body mass and weight is more to... Helpful for cats with kidney problems conditions that affect the overall appearance need supplements to Fatten up a –! In Key Physiological Reserves: Implication for Mortality, '' Washington, DC, 17 daily protein in! Your senior cat and what nutritional supplements they might need Fatten up a cat best! Recommend a weight loss is caused by cancer, and to eat whatever small meals they catch the... 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Requirements progressively increase as cats age, starting at age 10-12 years check up was... Live in a large metal or ceramic what to feed an older cat that is losing weight however, in many cases aging cats lose weight without of..., felines start to fall prey to many of the senior cat and what nutritional they... Many different problems, ranging from minor to serious too much ``,... Food that ’ s appetite in with the help of your veterinarian what to feed an older cat that is losing weight!, 19 to health conditions that affect older cats can also require dietary changes you! The Urinary, 15 to lose weight, ” Michel advises, KA Slifka and Lintzenich... They stalk and capture prey, and to eat whatever small meals they catch throughout day... Likes, but he still seems to be on a phosphorous-restricted diet try to have her eat 210 calories day... Cat gets enough water throughout the day thing on the Urinary, 15,... 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