It can be difficult to know how to help your cat gain weight safely and healthily after having suffered trauma or illness or having undergone surgery; Here are some tips.
After having undergone surgery, or having suffered a disease or other traumatic event, the cat may be below its ideal weight. Getting them to regain a healthy weight is important for their well-being and for the vital functioning of their organs, and requires the right combination of diet and eating habits.
The ideal weight of your cat
Before starting with a weight gain diet it is key to know what weight is ideal for your cat, since it can be easy to overfeed it and become overweight, with the health complications that would entail. Specify with the veterinarian what the ideal weight for your cat should be, and for how long you should follow the weight gain diet.
Care of cat digestion during weight gain
If your cat has lost weight due to illness, it is essential not to overload his digestive system during weight gain. The digestion of cats is more sensitive than that of a human, and cats are more sensitive to variations in the diet, which can cause digestive disorders and even greater weight loss.
It is also important to provide the correct balance of nutrients in a weight gain diet so that your system does not worsen. For example, while fat content can help the cat gain weight, it can also cause diarrhea. Similarly, the protein, necessary for cell growth, should be of high quality and highly digestible to reduce the workload in your system.
Your cat’s diet during weight-gain
To help your cat gain weight, it’s not a good idea to just give them more of their current food. Their system may not be able to cope with large portions, and their appetite is likely to be low so they may not eat it at all. Extra portions of food also may not provide the specific nutrient balance your cat needs to gain weight or recover post-sickness. For example, they may benefit instead from a specific diet with added prebiotics to help rebalance their gastric microflora and strengthen their digestive health.
Your cat’s weight-gain food should have a high energy density. This allows your cat to eat less but still get everything they need from their diet. It should also be highly palatable to stimulate their appetite, and easy to eat; correctly-sized kibble or softer textured food can encourage your cat to eat their food.
How to feed a cat to help them gain weight
It’s important your cat feels stress-free and comfortable during meal time so it starts to eat regularly and gain weight. Some of the ways you can do that include:
- Splitting their daily portion into smaller meals you put down regularly
- Heating up their food to release the aromas and encourage their appetite
- Avoiding watching your cat eating, as they can find this stressful
- Considering what they like to eat from (like a favorite bowl) and making it easily accessible
- Separating their food, litter, drinking and playing areas to mimic what they would do in the wild
- Talking to your vet about appetite-stimulating drugs for your cat
Your vet will be able to advise you on the best ways to make sure your cat gains the right amount of weight and maintains a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to book an appointment with them if you’re unsure of the best course of action.