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