What Should I Feed My Underweight Cat?

What should I feed my underweight cat

Whether your cat is a new member of your family and coming from a difficult circumstance, or your long-time feline friend suddenly seems skinny, it can be worrisome to see your pal lose too much weight all of a sudden.

Underweight kitties can be at risk

Underweight kitties can be undernourished, sluggish, and are possibly at risk for more dangerous health concerns if their bodies do not get enough nutrients.

You should feed your underweight cat, food that has some of these signs. It is either cat food formulated for kittens, cat food high in calories and fat and it is cat food with as many animal sources as possible, and thereby also with as little plant material as possible.

Here are more details you need to know about how to feed your underweight cat and get them the right nutrition to gain healthy weight.

Check out our list of best cat food for indoor cats here.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Skinny

When you look at a very skinny kitty, you might suspect that he’s malnourished. It is unfortunate to have your cat feel and look sick due to lack of weight, most especially if he does not have an appetite too. You are probably wondering why your feline friend looks very skinny yet refuses any food you give, despite how he likes it before. Below are some of the most common reasons why.

Picky Eating

Your cat may just be picky with food right now. Many cats are very picky eaters, most especially if they are not used to a new variety of food you offer them. Some cats also tend to either choose to leave the food behind during mealtime or pick at the cat food. 


 Lack of proper nutrition is also one of the major reasons why your cat is underweight. While his food intake is okay, chances are his meal lacks the right nourishment his body needs. Some cat owners only feed their feline friend human food or junk, which can be the reason why he does not get enough nutrients and calories to sustain his weight.

Suffering from Illness

Drastic weight loss or lack of appetite is considered as one of the most common signs of any disease, not only in cats but also in humans. If your kitty is suffering from a certain condition which makes him unable to eat or has him feeling low and uncomfortable, then it’s best to take him to your veterinarian. If your senior cat suffers from several health problems, then he may start to lose weight and appetite as well.

How to Fatten Up Your Cat

  • Make sure your skinny kitty is healthy
  • Find out if your kitty is underweight
  • Make food more palatable and appetizing
  • Try a different food
  • Offer supplements and snacks

How to Help Your Cat Gain More Weight by Offering A Different Food

Changes in your cat’s diet could be the best way to make him gain weight. In order to encourage him to eat more, consider offering him new food that’s tastier and has a different texture. However, when doing this, make sure that the food has the right nutritional content too since it is important for your cat’s weight gain process.

The best foods that can help your cat gain weight tend to be:

  • Formulated for kittens
  • High in calories and fat
  • Made with as many animal sources as possible 
  • Made with just a few amounts of products from plant sources

You should check with your veterinarian first before you make a big change in the diet of your skinny cat. It’s also very important that any diet changes for your cat are made slowly in order to avoid any gastrointestinal distress.


Common Questions About What to Feed Your Underweight Cat

What Do You Feed A Cat that Refuses to Eat?

While there are lots of potential reasons why your cat refuses to eat, here are some tricks you can try in order to boost their appetite:

  • Give them meat kitten food
  • Give them some wet or canned food
  • Add some tuna or anchovies water to their usual food
  •  Add some low-sodium and warmed chicken broth to their food, whether it’s canned or kibbled
  • Warm the food gently by using warm water or heating it a bit in the microwave
  • Give them probiotics

How Can I Fatten My Cat Up?

If your cat still does not like his meal, then you can try topper or gravy that is specially made for cats. Aside from that, giving them protein-rich and calorie-rich treats in between meals is great too. Experts also recommend some human food like yogurt, egg whites, and cottage cheese since they have more calories and most cats find these treats yummy.

What Can I Feed My Underweight Cat?

Cats that are underweight must eat dry foods or kibble that contain 20% fat and 30% protein. If you are feeding them wet food, make sure it contains 5% fat and 7% protein, or higher. You can alternatively offer your cat some small amounts of supplement canned products or canned food that are high in calorie content and made of one 100% pure meat.


Appetite loss is often a sign of an underlying health condition. Cancer, gastrointestinal disease, as well as chronic pain can all affect the appetite of your cat. Any time your kitty refuses to eat (unless you switched his food), it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian. Your trusted vet can be able to diagnose your cat’s condition and help your cat start the right treatment. Whenever necessary, your vet may prescribe an appetite stimulant drug, like mirtazapine or cyproheptadine to aid your cat to regain his normal weight.

What should I feed my underweight cat

Recent Content