How to fatten up a cat – Simple & safe methods

ginger cat sitting on lap
Ginger Cat House does not aim to replace your Veterinarian. Ginger Cat House offers practical advice but will always advise you to seek Veterinary attention for further information if your cat is unwell.

Looking for advice on how to make your cat fat? Well, as long as you are doing it for the right reasons then you have come to the right place. This post shares simple and safe advice on how to fatten up a skinny cat.

ginger cat sitting on lap

How to fatten up a cat – Simple & safe methods

Why do you want to want to help the cat put on weight?

Firstly, it is important to establish why you want the cat’s weight to increase. If you want to fatten up your cat just because you think it is cute, you are in the wrong place. Just like humans, obesity in cats is extremely bad for their health and can cause diseases such as diabetes in cats.

But, if you want to help your cat put on weight as it is currently underweight, then this post is here to help.

How to tell if your cat is underweight

If you suspect your cat is underweight, the first thing you should do is have them assessed by your Vet. Your Vet will inform you how much weight your cat needs to put on to be a healthy weight as well as investigate any underlying reasons your cat may be underweight to start with.

If your cat is underweight due to an underlying cause, such as Hyperthyroidism or kidney disease, it is important this is stabilised for your cat to be able to get back to a healthy weight. However, if you need to fatten up your cat as they are just a bit on the skinny side with no underlying reasons, you should find it relatively easy.

Cats should naturally have a waist which can be observed when looking at them from above, however, they should not look ‘bony’. When stroking your cat you should be able to lightly feel the top of their spine and ribcage, however, it should not be easily palpated or look obvious.

Below is a ‘body condition scoring’ chart which is used by Vets and was designed by Royal Canin. This chart is a simple and effective way to help you access your cat’s weight. You will want your cat to be in the 4-5 range.

cat body condition scoring is a good way to know if you need to fatten up a cat

Simple ways to help fatten up your cat

Choose a calorie-dense easily digestible diet

The easiest and most obvious way to help increase your cat’s weight is to increase their calorie content. The safest way to do this is to feed cat food with more calories (as opposed to feeding more food). The cheapest way to do this is to feed your cat Kitten food.

Kitten food is high in calories and is designed to meet the needs of a growing body. It is also high in protein levels, which cats need to help them build muscle.

James Wellbeloved is a good quality cat brand and they provide a good range of kitten food:

Aside from kitten food, there are also specially prepared Veterinary diets which are designed to be easily digestible but also high in calorie. We recommend ‘Recovery’ by Royal Canin, this can be fed during the weight gain period, however, it should not be used as a long-term diet.

Alternatively, we also recommend Lily’s Kitchen as a high quality, high protein cat food.

If you are planning on changing your cat’s diet it is important to do so gradually to prevent tummy upsets. 

Encourage eating

If your cat is not very food orientated or is a fussy eater you may need to encourage your cat to eat. The best thing about this is it means bonding with your cat!

If you are trying to fatten up your cat, we never advise force-feeding your cat or even trying to syringe them food. Not only will this break the bond you have with your cat it may also cause them to help food aversions to that particular food.

Nicer, cat-friendly ways to encourage your cat to eat more include:

  • Gently warming food to above room temperature. Cats rely heavily upon their sense of smell, the better the smell the more appetising it is!
  • Make your cat feel good – groom them and stroke them around feeding time. Giving them lots of fuss is a great way to help them feel happy and want to eat. Why not treat them to a new cat brush, here are our favourite brushes for long-haired cats.
  • Separating their food, litter, drinking and playing areas to mimic what they would do in the wild.
  • Separate their meals into smaller portions, remember cats like to graze, they do not like to eat huge meals all at once.
  • Talk to your Vet about appetite-stimulating medications.

Add some additional meat into their diet

You can also try increase your cat’s weight but adding in some additional meat protein to their diet. This can be done by adding in plain chicken breast or white fish (with no bones) to their normal food or to be given as an additional treat.

Meat should not be given as an alternative to complete cat food. Providing just meat will not be providing your cat with a complete diet and therefore they will be lacking certain nutrients they need to stay healthy.

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Dry food

Dry cat food contains more calories per portion than wet food, meaning you have to feed less of it to meet their calorie requirements. This can be good not only for your wallet but also for cats who do not like to eat too much.

There are some arguments that dry foods are not good for cats, but, we recommend a mix of wet and dry food. However, we do recommend dry food which is low in carbohydrates (<10%) but high in protein such as Thrive Dry.

Trying to fatten up your cat and helping a cat to put on weight is not always as easy as it sounds but it is very rewarding to see them looking healthy again with more energy levels. It is important any underlying conditions are at first assessed and stabilised by your Vet, this will help with the process