super skinny feline needs feeding up

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exlibris
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super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by exlibris » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:03 pm

Backy is 19 and has lost a hod load of weight (you can feel his spine). We took him to the vet, who did some tests and was flabbergasted at the tip-top condition of his kidneys. So, the general thought was it was gum disease. He's now on metacam and, thank goodness, eating more enthusiastically. However, he's still really skinny. The convalescence food is proving more difficult to get hold of than you'd think. I've heard that sometimes putting a cat on kitten food for a bit helps. Anyone else heard this? Any advice is gladly accepted.

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by Mollycat » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:17 am

Wow that's impressive. Presumably the vet checked him for thyroid function?

At one time it was thought elderly cats needed reduced protein to protect the kidneys but recently it's been thought their nutritional needs are closer to the needs of a kitten than to an adult cat ... so you could be on to a good thing with kitten food or part kitten food and part convalescence food.

On the other hand once they have lost muscle which it sounds like Backy has, it is hard for them to put it back on at an advanced age, and it takes time. I have this issue with both of mine, a 15 year old with digestive issues and a 12 year old recently treated for hyperthyroidism and both with mild kidney failure.

You're looking for a food with 40-50% protein on a dry matter basis, so if the label says 80% water you have to calculate - the rest is 20% dry matter and 40-50% of that should be protein which would show as 8-10% on the label.

Alternatively if he eats meat raw or cooked you can boost the overall protein content of his usual diet with some fresh lean meat. Turkey and pork are both good, but no more than 20% of a cat's calorie intake should be from food that isn't a complete food, to make sure they still get all the calcium, minerals and vitamins they need from the 80% balanced food.

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Ruth B
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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by Ruth B » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:57 am

Like Mollycat says a good high protein normal food is probably as good as anything for him, you might want to look at Felix As Good as it Looks Kitten food, I think it it is one of the highest protein contents found in wet food (just googled it, 25% dry mass, of which 15.4% is protein so well over half). I would also suggest, like a kitten, feed him little and often.

Try and make sure he gets a little exercise as well, I know he isn't likely to run, jump and play like a kitten, but even gentle walking, batting a piece of string etc will help keep his what muscle mass he has left.

Finally don't worry too much if he doesn't put a lot of weight on as long as he isn't showing that he is starving and always hungry, a lot of cats loose weight and condition as they get older. I have a girl who is in her late teens and has lost some weight, her spine is quite pronounced now and her ribs can be felt with just a little pressure, she has some form of ear, nose, or throat problem that means that at some times she is very snotty and can't smell the food, which at times means getting her to eat anything is a struggle. While she is on medication I've decided not to go down the invasive testing route, just to help her as best we can. I do my best to keep an eye on her weight to make sure it doesn't deteriorate too much. When she feels inclined she can still get to the top of a 6' cabinet, although it is in about three steps, so I guess she can't be too bad. As long as your lad is happy and eating reasonably well then I think he is doing very well for his age.

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by Kay » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:01 am

I too have an old girl (17) who has nearly halved her body weight over the past 18 months, and yet no evidence of any medical cause - these are my attempts to at least stop the rot

she won't eat the high protein foods sold on Zooplus, and anything over 3% fat goes through her too quickly, so I have settled for Gourmet Perle in gravy, which is 13.5% protein (though some of that is vegetable protein) and 3% fat, and which she really likes - as she licks off the gravy first I feed in half sachets as that way she is more likely to eat up the 'bits'

I also give her a small portion of cat tuna each day, which she loves, to boost her animal protein -Cosma Nature tuna is a complete food, and a lot cheaper than Thrive

and she will eat a small amount of Taste of the WIld biscuits each day, and that is grain-free and 42% protein - it is usually advised that older cats should not eat dry because of their kidneys, but in my experience if they won't eat fresh meat or fish, and tend to leave the meaty part of wet food, it is going to be difficult to get enough protein into them without feeding dry

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by Mollycat » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:59 am

Kay wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:01 am
it is usually advised that older cats should not eat dry because of their kidneys, but in my experience if they won't eat fresh meat or fish, and tend to leave the meaty part of wet food, it is going to be difficult to get enough protein into them without feeding dry
Yes an important point generally for cats, the food may be complete nutritionally but if they only eat some parts of it ie jelly/gravy then surely they are not getting the benefit of it. From that angle pate type foods must be much better, but a lot of cats won't touch them.

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by exlibris » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:21 am

Backy was variable with the Pate, but now that's what I put the Metacam on every morning, and so he guzzles the lot - turns out Backy has a sweet tooth and can't get enough of the honey taste (he also tries to lick unattended sticky toffee pudding).

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by exlibris » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:23 am

Thank you to everyone - sound feeding advice, and also you've really put my mind at rest because it never occurred to me that it would take a long time for him to regain weight due to his age.

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by booktigger » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:41 am

Some never gain it again, just monitor to make sure they aren't losing. I'm surprised by the logic of putting him on metacam just in case it is his teeth. He's likely got some degree of arthritis at that age, I'd look at some supplements for that

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by exlibris » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:50 pm

booktigger wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:41 am
Some never gain it again, just monitor to make sure they aren't losing. I'm surprised by the logic of putting him on metacam just in case it is his teeth. He's likely got some degree of arthritis at that age, I'd look at some supplements for that
I'm suspicious he has arthritis too - he keeps randomly licking bits of himself very suddenly, which could indicate pain. What supplements would help?
Metacam seems to be perking him up, so it's doing something. I think the logic was he wasn't eating due to sore gums.

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by booktigger » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:53 pm

I normally use seraquin, it's meaty flavour so popular. I understand the logic of him not eating due to pain but I wouldn't want my cat to just be put on anti-inflams without more investigation

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by Mollycat » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:26 pm

exlibris wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:50 pm
I'm suspicious he has arthritis too - he keeps randomly licking bits of himself very suddenly, which could indicate pain. What supplements would help?
Metacam seems to be perking him up, so it's doing something. I think the logic was he wasn't eating due to sore gums.
Could be many things but I'd agree pain could be high on the list. Does he have dandruff or rough fur on his back near the base of his spine? I've found a lot of cats not all seem to get this dandruff when stressed or in pain.

I took Devils Claw for back pain for years, it's as poweful as NSAIDS and is commonly used for arthritic pain in animals, especially horses. Research it though, don't take my word for it!

Sounds like metacam is helping regardless of where the pain is, gums or wherever.

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Re: super skinny feline needs feeding up

Post by lilynmitz » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:12 pm

you don't mention whether he was tested for hyperthyroidism? This is a common cause of weight loss in older cats, particularly when they're not off their food - basically their metabolism is on "full steam ahead" and burning up energy faster than they can replace it by eating. This can stress the internal organs, so it does need treating if that's the case. My old girl Lily had surgery then drug treatment for life, and it kept her going much longer than we thought was likely. She was the sickest cat who ever lived with me, but she outlived all the others, bless her.

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