It’s estimated that there are currently over 230 million cats have been taken in by humans all over the world, easily making our furry companions one of the most popular pets to share a household with. Which is why it is perhaps surprising that so many people still abide by outdated nutritional perspectives that result in either malnourished or dramatically-overfed cats. While our feline friends have been blessed with the capacity for cuteness regardless of their weight, every self-respecting owner should aim to have healthy pets that are of optimal weight and build.
The Diet Issue
Ever since the advent of commercially-available pet food, people have often opted to go with the easiest and most affordable of all food types – dry cat food. While this is understandable in theory, in practice it tends to lead to unbalanced diets that are short on water and high on carbohydrates, which may result in serious and even life-threatening medical conditions that are as painful as they are costly to resolve.
Cats are especially sensitive to the food they consume, as their naturally-carnivorous nature lends itself to prey that is high on animal protein and low on carbohydrates and plant-based protein. Unfortunately, much of the commercially-sold dry food on the market fails to take these aspects into consideration. Overwhelmingly, research has shown that canned food is much better suited for meeting a cat’s nutritional needs, and can prevent many of the kidney and bladder diseases that tend to affect older individuals and male cats in particular.
How to Put Weight on a Skinny Cat
If your cat is underweight compared to the normal specifications of her age and breed, be sure to take a proactive approach towards helping your cat gaining weight and reaching its normal weight. This includes:
1. Checking the Cat’s Health on a Regular Basis
First things first, it’s important to rule out any diseases that might be causing your cat to not gain any extra pounds or even lose weight. Weight loss or weight gain can be an indication of a medical issue. Take your cat to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, and look for any tapeworms or roundworms that might be impacting her weight gain. Other medical conditions to check for include hyperthyroidism or anorexia, both of which can be addressed with the help of a trustworthy vet. Bare in mind that any decision you make with regards to your cat’s diet or lifestyle should always be discussed with a licensed professional first.
2. Implementing Dietary Changes
Just like it does in humans, diet plays an essential role in maintaining optimal weight levels in cats. Sometimes people will feed their cats food that contains a lot of non-animal protein, thinking that vegetables and grains may be as healthy for felines as they are for humans. However, cats are obligate carnivores, which means that only healthy quantities of meat can satiate their nutritional needs. Be sure to carefully examine the label of your cat food provider and switch to a different brand if cereals and soy are high on the list. For better results, shift to a raw food diet that’s high in water and animal nutrients, or even consider making your own, but only by following veterinarian-approved recipes.
3. Increasing The Amount and Frequency of Feeding
Of course, giving your cat high-quality food is all for nought unless she actually consumes it in regular-sized portions. Oftentimes, cats will become accustomed to what they’ve been fed for years whether that be human food, kitten foods or wet food and may be reluctant to try out new types of food. When this happens, try mixing their regular food in with the new fare, and don’t be afraid to give your cat the occasional treat as well. If your pet is positively malnourished, even adding dry kibble to the mix can help in the short-term, however unhealthy it may be. Also, keep in mind that many felines are actually lactose-intolerant, so simply adding milk or any other dairy products may result in diarrhea and further loss of nutrients.
All in all, helping your cat regain its health by reaching an optimal weight for its breed and age is one of the most important tasks a cat owner can fulfill. While cats can be just as stubborn as humans with regards to their diet, long-term health considerations should override any short-term discomfort, so that you and your feline friend can enjoy many years of closeness and companionship down the road.