The 4 Best Cat Foods for Weight Gain in 2021
Is Fluffy looking a bit thin? If so, you might want to consider finding a high-calorie cat food which will help him go from skinny to trim and healthy. Our cats, like us, have varying metabolisms, but finding the best cat food for weight gain takes some time and research.
Fortunately, we’ve crunched the numbers, fed the kitties, and generally done the research to bring you some of the best high-calorie cat foods around. We’ll show you our favorite and then help you decide which is the best for your cat.
Our Top Pick
Table of Contents
Top 4 High-Calorie Cat Foods
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
The cool part about cat’s needing so much meat in their diet is this: it means that higher-quality cat foods will almost always be exactly what they need to start putting on pounds. The bad part is that those foods need to have more meat in them, which makes them more expensive.
Blue Buffalo makes some of the best cat and dog foods around. Their cat foods are an excellent option for those cats that just can’t seem to put on weight when fed the normal stuff, and the portions can be controlled tightly to make sure the cat doesn’t get obese either.
With a 40:18 percent protein to fat ratio, it’s hard to find a dry food that’s better balanced for cats. It’s also grain-free, which is pretty much a necessity for a healthy feline.
The only real problem is the expense.
While not quite as high-quality as the Blue Wilderness variety of foods, the upper end of the Purina cat food is actually some pretty good stuff. They just take some shortcuts that you’d expect from such a large corporate entity.
It’s not quite as high-calorie as you’d hope, however, especially since the protein to fat ratio is only 35:14%, which is a pretty big step down from Blue Wilderness. It’s still a much better option than the majority of commercial cat chows, however, and it’s definitely worth a look.
The flavoring agents aren’t exactly the same, but if your cat is already on one of the cheaper Purina blends, it may be the way to go as you’ll be able to switch the food out more easily than switching to something like Blue Wilderness.
Still, it’s more expensive than the usual fare, and the lower protein compared to better options may not be worth it. As a long term option, it shines, however, due to the lower price in comparison.
Short Term Option
CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food
Let’s get it out of the way: Crave is an expensive brand, and they only sell smaller bags of food. Their protein to fat ratio, 40:18, is pretty much ideal, but it’s the same as Blue Wilderness, which is cheaper per bag.
However, they offer smaller bags at an excellent price. We don’t suggest it for the long term, it’s simply too expensive for that, but for cats recovering from surgery or illness, a four-pound bag or two is enough to get them back on their feet without having to buy a large bag of Blue Wilderness.
Crave sells foods specifically geared for building muscle mass. That also means quicker healing, and there are a lot of Omega Fatty acids and other ingredients that support muscle tissue and joints, which are just what your cat needs for the short term. Basically, it’s also the best high-calorie food for sick cats as well.
It’s expensive, but apart from that, it’s one of the best cat foods around. Period.
Best High-Calorie Cat Food for Senior Cats
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Mature
Blue Buffalo makes our list again with their excellent Wilderness Mature line of wet foods. They’re some of the best high-calorie wet foods on the market and aimed specifically at those cats which are getting up in their years.
Wet food naturally contains less protein and fat than dry foods, and they have a notoriously high water content, which turns many people off of them. In this case, you’re looking at an 8.5:5.5 percent protein to fat ratio and 78% moisture content.
Still, for elderly kitties, it’s not always possible to choke down kibble, especially if dental health issues have cropped up in the past, and they’re now lacking the teeth to chew properly. For these cats, it’s best to pair excellent wet food with a supplement to keep their weight at healthy levels.
As always, quality doesn’t come cheap, but really this wet food only falls short because of the limitations inherent to this meal type.
How Do I Know When to Use a High-Calorie Cat Food?
Cats can be quite underweight. It’s not always a general health issue, in some instances, you may have just been adopted by a kitten with a lightning-fast metabolism.
The signs are the same whether the cause is a health issue, high metabolism, or even just underfeeding relative to the size of the cat in question.
If you’re wondering if your cat is too thin then you should look for the following signs:
- Short-haired cats will show their ribs when viewed from the side or top, this is the most obvious sign.
- Long-haired cats may need to be inspected; if there’s no noticeable layer of fat over the ribs of the cat when you’re petting them, they may be in trouble.
- A noticeable “waist” underneath the rib cage, a healthy cat, will have very little change between the rib cage and the rest of the torso.
Still, the final word should come from your vet if you’re concerned. They can also help find any issues which may be causing the weight loss, especially if your cat previously held weight quite well.
These can range from tapeworms to more severe ailments like cancer. The good news is that if your cat had a minor issue, you wouldn’t have to use high-calorie cat food for an extended period, so check with your vet if your cat has suddenly lost weight.
They’re particularly handy for those who rescue cats as well. Ferals and injured cats are often severely underweight as a side effect of not being fed regularly.
Basically, they’re useful for the same reasons that a human might be switched to a high-calorie diet: recovery from injury or illness and regulated weight in specimens with abnormal metabolisms.
What Am I Looking for in a Cat Food for Weight Gain?
Cats are hypercarnivores.
That doesn’t just mean that they have a knack for killing anything smaller than them, which they’re not familiar with. It also means that they require a diet that is high in protein and fat. In the wild, over 70% of a cat’s diet will be made of meat.
That also means that they have easier nutritional requirements than dogs. The meatier, the better, and added calories will mostly come in the form of additional fat.
Fats are more calorie-dense than protein, so the fat to protein ratio will likely go up when you’re looking for foods with a higher caloric density.
This will also change the flavor profile of the food overall, which is where the real choices come in. Cats get accustomed to one sort of food in most cases, and encouraging them to change can be a long and tiresome task.
We’ve picked out the foods less on direct caloric density and more on how readily cats seem to take to the flavor. That’s the important part, you can always increase the amount of food within reason provided that it has sufficient caloric density in the first place.
You’ll also need to pick between wet and dry foods. Most cats will take more readily to new wet foods, especially if you mix them up with their regular food. We’ll discuss how to change them over later, but first, let’s delve into our favorite foods and supplements.
Let’s Talk Cat Weight Gain Supplements
While foods are a great option to help get your cat back in shape, there are also weight gain supplements out there that will help.
Finding the best in a market awash with mediocre products is a bit hard, however.
We found the best gel, powder, and treats for weight gain. At least in our estimation.
Best Weight Gain Gel for Cats
Gels are the best way to get some extra calories into a cat’s diet when they’re primarily used to dry foods. Doc Roy’s Forti Cal was the best of those we took a closer look at, but honestly, they’re pretty hard to screw up when they’re being made.
The reason? Most cats will eat it without complaints.
That’s pretty much it. It’s high-calorie, made with good and safe ingredients, and has some extra vitamins. Compared to the others, the main thing it has going for it is that they didn’t try to overthink it.
Just add some to your cat’s new, high-quality, and high-calorie food and watch them stack on pounds.
Best Weight Gain Powder for Cats
Powders are an ideal way to stuff some extra calories into wet food since they’ll dissolve in the gravy, which accompanies all but the cheapest wet foods. Wet foods often tend to be higher in calories anyways, but the addition of a great powder can make them downright weight inducing.
And that’s exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to helping a cat gain weight. In our experience, Lexelium Weight Gainer is exactly what’s needed to help a cat recover after surgery, and we didn’t see any cats that weren’t taking it in.
There’s only one problem with it in our eyes: it contains corn starch, so cats with heavy allergies to grains should skip it.
Best High-Calorie Treat
When looking for treats, the problem is that many of them boast about their lower calorie content. Even Blue Buffalo, our go-to brand for most of this sort of thing, only had 1.5 calories per treat. Purebites boasts a rather impressive 2 calories per treat.
It’s not super high, but it’s enough to add some extra pounds onto your cat if they’re used frequently and occasionally spread in their food.
For severely underweight cats, every little bit helps.
Helping Your Cat Gain Weight
Just switching foods over and hoping for the best isn’t going to be a winning strategy for helping your feline friend put on the pounds.
Instead, you’ll need to make some changes to their life.
First is introducing a new food. Cats are often picky eaters, but switching to a grain-free, high-quality food is actually quite a bit easier than just switching brands around.
Mix the dry food in slowly into your cat’s food. Start with a quarter for a couple of days, move to a half, and then three quarters until the old food has been entirely replaced. You shouldn’t try to add supplements at the same time as you’re switching foods because keeping the taste profile from changing too much at one time is your main goal here.
Afterward, you can begin to add any supplements and give them high calorie treats to help round things out.
Your veterinarian should always be consulted to find the optimal weight of your pet. You can use pretty much any human scale to measure a cat’s weight, and your goal should be to reach the proper weight for your cat’s size and then slowly reduce the calories until they’ve plateaued.
If you’re using expensive food, then you may want to begin to switch back at this point, but if you can afford it, you should go with lesser portions of the food that helped them gain the weight.
This not only makes it easier for you since there’s less to worry about, it’s also important to note that the same foods which are good for weight gain are also great for your cat in general. You probably want to stop any supplements, however, unless your cat is absolutely unable to maintain their weight without them.
It’s important to note that if you have multiple cats, you may need to switch to structured feeding times and keep an eye on them. Your cat most likely isn’t going to be happy about this, but it can help you keep the other cats in the household from gaining too much weight.
You should be careful about things once you hit the target weight. Obesity just brings on a whole host of different issues for your cat, so it’s definitely something to watch out for as time goes on.
Cat Weight Gain FAQ
My cat has lost weight and-
We’re going to stop you right there. Go see a veterinarian, weight loss can be caused by a multitude of different symptoms, and you need a trained professional to take a look at any feline which has gone through sudden weight loss.
What do I do if my cat won’t eat the new food?
Switch things out slower. Most cats can be trained to accept a new food. In all honesty, convincing a cat to go back after you’ve switched to a high-quality food is likely the hardest part of the whole affair.
How long will it take my cat to gain it’s weight back?
That depends largely on the cat, but around a half-pound per week is generally a healthy number to shoot for. Cats have faster metabolisms than humans, so they’ll put on weight and lose it more quickly in proportion than you’d think. Consult with your vet if you think things aren’t going along fast enough.
Why use supplements if I can just use more food?
Ask a naturally thin human how easy it is to jam enough food in to gain weight sometimes. You might be surprised since they often eat more than average-sized folk. There’s a reason protein powders are a mainstay in modern fitness: they work, and they don’t take up as much stomach room per calorie as normal foods.
What do I do if my cat gains too much weight?
Cease any weight, gain supplements, and lower the amount of food that you’ve been feeding them per sitting. The cat may whine for a bit, but obesity can cause just as many problems as being severely underweight, so it’s important to nip it in the bud.
What should I feed an old cat to gain weight?
It really depends on whether they have their teeth still or not. In many cases, senior cats will begin to lose weight as their stomach shrinks, and they simply can’t get enough food in them to maintain weight since wet food is so much less calorie-dense. In that case, you should add a powdered weight gain supplement for cats to their diet, if they’re still capable of taking down kibble, then you’ll want to go with a gel supplement rather than an increased portion of food.