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Need Cat Advice!

So I had a cat walk into my house on Friday.  I figured it's a sign from God.  I really wanted a cat.  She's sooooo thin.  She's human-friendly, but it looks like if she happened to be owned by other person, they didn't do a good job of taking care of her.  How do I fatten her up?  Especially for these cold Pennsylvania winters.  Someone suggested to me putting olive oil on her kibbles, but I don't know if she would eat that.  I've started her on a kitty vitamin and I'm trying to get her to eat cat treats (which may not be the healthiest way...)  her tummy is flat and I've checked her poop so I don't think it's worms.  If anyone has had experience with strays or underweight kitties, please let me know.

To fatten up cats, you'd want to feed it things that you probably don't eat. Cream, chicken and rice, etc. That's what we fed our cat when he was super sick. And ham baby food. He got all better.


I thought dairy was bad for cats?  Like it gave them the runs or something.

When my cat was underweight people suggested feeding him meat human baby food and cod liver oil.  My cat, Cat, didn't like cod liver oil or baby food, but he was dying so maybe it was his lack of appetite.

Yay for you!  Cat was a stray that moved in with me.  We had an awesome relationship.  I think that it's wonderful that she chose you.  Do you have a picture of her to post?


Maybe it's different for each cat? My man Splash was okay with it. He likes milk. Soymilk too, for that matter.


I also heard that dairy wa bad for cats unless it was cream or something like that.  My friend said cats become lactose-intolerant after weened.  ???  I tried to feed my stray, Coco (after Coco Chanel), butter but she didn't seem to like it.  There is special cat milk I saw at my local  corporate store, but it was expensive.  I think I'll try the meat baby food idea though.  i hope the vitamins help. :)>>>


She is such a cutie. I hope she gets well soon.


If the cat was a stray you should definatley have it check for tape worms! My kitty pooh bear was a stray and she was super skinny no matter how much I feed her.... well, she had tapes worms. The vet can simply give the cat a shot to kill the worm. For fattening up try some kitten milk, you can buy it in the cat food section of any store. (yes, not vegan, but my cats aren't vegan) Or just simply any kitten food. Kitten food is much higher in fat than adult cat food for growing baby kitties. Canned fish also works well, but can be expensive.


ps... any tips on steps to  take when taking in a stray?


I am assuming you don't have any other cats or pets but if you do keep the new cat separate. Take her to the vet and have her checked to see if she has, PHIP, Feline leukemia, distemper or any other major life threatening diseases. You will also want to check out to see if she has any parasites like worms, fleas, mange etc. We took in a kitten who was a stray two years ago and he was under weight they gave us special food for under weight cats. You also will want to know if she is fixed and if she isn't then she may be expecting so that is also something to consider. A trip the vet is really best for you and for her at this point just so all the bases are covered.


yup, i second the advice about going to the vet to make sure everything is fine!

for my cats, the best way to fatten them up is to find a food they really like and let them eat a lot. one of my cats is a touch overweight from eating too much. i try to watch her diet but she's still pudgy. it doesn't help that her sister is a touch underweight. go figure!

some cats are also just small on their own. your new baby looks a little young, and young kitties can be a little on the thinner side. cammers has a little one now who is rail thin. she's been gaining in the couple months he's had her. but my mom has a cat who eats like a pig and is just naturally really thin (no health issues, she takes them to the vet). so as long as kitty is eating and in good spirits, she should be okay after a vet check to rule out other issues.


Courth - Splash has the same glare as Cat.  That's awesome!

Look at Coco all stretched out there.  :) 

My happy advice is to get a check up at the vet.  She's already house broken, so if she needs something she'll let you know. 

My unhappy advice is to watch the amount of phosphorus you feed her and try to feed wet food for the majority of her meals.  I killed Cat by giving him kidney failure with high phosporous foods like tuna and dry cat food.  Even though cats that eat dry food drink more water, they don't make up the balance, so they overall have less fluids.  When a cat gets kidney failure it creates scar tissue, so they can't recover from it.


Your new kitty is beautiful  She looks young but may have already been a mother.  A reason for being thin if she hasn't had proper nutrients.

Cow milk is not good for cats in any form.  Milk, cream, yogurt.  My naturopathic vet says goat products are better.  Goat yogurt, milk etc.  Organic if possible. Exception, cats tend to tolerate cottage cheese (cow) quite well.  Many like it.

Raw or lightly cooked organic beef liver has many important nutrients for cats and dogs.  Make sure it is organic.  Being a filter organ, you don't want to just feed a meal of growth hormones and antibiotics.

Organic baby food. 

Banana.  All my naturopathic vets pets get banana daily.  My cats don't like it and my vet said my two babies from feral moms outside her farm used to like banana. 

Check out Dr. Pitcairn's book:

Also Dr. Goldstein:

Olive oil, flax seed oil and salmon oil are beneficial. 

Try to feed naturally and stay away from a lot of dry kibble.  Stay away from a lot of cats treats as well.  Most are full of crap.  Sugar, salt and other garbage. One treat that may be promoted more for dogs is organic dried liver.  My cats love it.  No chemical, no sugar, no salt.

Good protein sources are chicken, liver, salmon, mackeral, sardines. If canned, make sure they are packed in spring water, not oil.  My naturopathic vet doesn't recommend beef except for the raw organic liver.

Tofu is not a good choice for cats.  I honestly no longer can remember the reason she gave  me.  She is a vegetarian but said soy is not not a great protein choice for animals.  For people yes...for pets, no.

Cats like veggies too.  If I leave a broccoli on the counter, the cats graze. 

Your new kitty probably doesn't need high fat foods, just needs healthfood foods for cats.

I also suggest you take her to a vet.  She could have parasites that you are not aware of.  They are not all visable and they can be silent killers.

My sister & I took in a cat years ago that looked very much like yours.  She only looked about 5 months old.  We found her a home and the people who took her in had never had a cat before.  They loved her to bits.  Little did we know she was pregnant.  Totally thin from being homeless.  Guess she was about 6 months old.  Cats can come in to heat at 5 1/2 months old.  Hence, they can get pregnant.  We were so worried the people would be upset.  Not at all.  The cat had four kittens.  They kept them all.  Spayed momma after the kittens and spayed and neutered all off her babies.

Good luck with your kitty.  Number one is get her to a vet.  Number two, vets are not trained much in nutrition.  As well, I know some vets get kick backs from promoting pet foods. 

Try to get the two books from a library or amazon. 

I have just starting reading this book:

I have home cooked for my pets for over 15 years.  For very many reasons I decided to put my pets on high end pet food for an experiment.  They have been on it for about 4 months.

Last night I started home cooking again.  Emma has gained weight.  Not a good thing as she was perfect before.  I had to put my old cat to sleep and there is no improvement in my dog.  She was doing better on home cooked.  I was worried maybe I wasn't giving them all of the nutrients they needed.  I obviously was.

Hope this helped.

Veg On!
Di and the 9 furred and feathered.

Crap when I get Hannah Rose, my hedgehog in the fall, I will have to say the 10 furred, feathered and quilled!


some cats are also just small on their own. your new baby looks a little young, and young kitties can be a little on the thinner side.

She looks at least 2 to me.  My friend guessed her at 5, but I don't think that's close.  but she's all bones and overtop she looks like she has an hourglass shape.  and right above her hip bones, it's all sunken in.  :(


some cats are also just small on their own. your new baby looks a little young, and young kitties can be a little on the thinner side.

She looks at least 2 to me.  My friend guessed her at 5, but I don't think that's close.  but she's all bones and overtop she looks like she has an hourglass shape.  and right above her hip bones, it's all sunken in.   :(

She probably just needs a vet check, good nutrition and lots of love.  She will return the love to you twofold.  It is better she eats healthy food and she will start to put the weight on.  Checking for parasites is hugely important.

Don't worry, she will fill out when she gets wholesome food.  Starving animals are so pathetic to look at.  The dog I rescued from Mexico looked 10.  She was probably 5 or 6.  She weighed about 35 pounds (totally filled with parasites and heart worm).  When I started cooking for her and getting her healthy, she went up to 51 pounds.  The perfect weight for her.  

You are doing a wonderful thing and will hopefully spend many happy years with her.

I love animal rescue stories.


Definitely get the kitten formula mentioned before--it's called KMR and you can get it at pet stores and vet clinics.  It helps them put on weight pretty quickly.

Also, although not formulated for cats, Natural Balance makes these sausage rolls that my cats LOVE.  We gave them to our foster dog to help her gain weight (she was seriously skin and bones--could see every rib, hip bone, vertebrae, etc.) and they worked great, especially since she didn't have much of an appetite but would gobble up her sausages.  As long as you don't feed them as her primary diet (since they don't contain taurine), grating some of the sausage into her food will help pack on the pounds.  They sell them at PetCo, feed stores, and boutique-type pet stores.

Congrats on the new kitty :)  You might also want to hold off on getting vaccines done until she's gained some weight--her immune system will tolerate the vaccines better if she's healthier.


You might also want to hold off on getting vaccines done until she's gained some weight

...Or just totally skip them.  But that's another topic.

Congrats on the kitty!  Go get Dr. Goldstein's book today so you'll start on the right track.  The one thing I didn't see mentioned yet (and maybe I skimmed) is that you can't neccesarily see worms in cat feces so you should still have her stool tested.  The most common problems I've encountered with my strays/fosters are: earmites, fleas, and worms.


How wonderful of you to take her in.  My advice is to do some good research on pet foods once she is healthy and you can start feeding her a regular diet.  I found really good advice on  Good luck with her and keep us posted!


Yay for rescue!

I work at a cat hospital, and generally for underweight/anorexic cats (unless there is some other health issue affected by diet), we feed them whatever they'll eat. The specially formulated anorexic-cat-food, dry food, fancy feast, whatever. The most important thing is that she eats at this point; if you want to get into natural foods for her, save it for when she's in a more stable condition. Of course, you can always offer whatever human grade/freeze dried business along with other food; the point is just to not restrict her to food she might not immediately be receptive to.

Our hospitalized cats are generally pretty receptive to the anorexic food (Hill's a/d), but even an emaciated cat can be picky... if the "prescribed diet" isn't taking, we feed them cat junk food (Fancy Feast  :D ) Most go for that. Some cats have preferences for chicken/fish/or beef and not the others (I haven't met one yet that likes turkey). But, don't feed her raw meat. It can contain parasites (worst: giardia), though some pet supply stores/health food stores have freeze dried raw cat food that is safe (the freeze drying kills the parasites).

Here's a chart for determing overweight/underweight cats: Not the best but the first I could find.

Most likely, a veterinarian will recommend de-worming medication even if they don't do a fecal test; it's pretty standard for any stray just as a precaution. If she has fleas but seems to be in reasonably stable condition (no weirdo stools, regular appetite/thirst, active), you can give her flea medication. We've had a few stray kittens who were all skin and bones and lethargic because of tons of fleas (--> anemia).

Bottom line, feed feed feed and take her for an exam. The vet won't administer vaccines unless she's healthy and stable and can run tests for feline leukemia/FIV.


Yay for rescue!
Bottom line, feed feed feed and take her for an exam. The vet won't administer vaccines unless she's healthy and stable and can run tests for feline leukemia/FIV.

Sadly, I disagree.  I have known many vets that are money hungry and give vaccines to not healthy animals.  You work for a good one.  I worked for a good one. My vets now are good ones.

Do not allow vaccines at this time if the vet suggests it.

I am not pro vaccination to begin with.  My 14 year old cat hasn't had a vaccination since I got him 7 or 8 years ago.

My two 8 year old's haven't had vaccines since they got their first shots and their booster a month later.

My  dog, gets very few vaccines.  

Let it be known my cats are indoor cats.  Also pets that eat a wholesome homecooked diet have better immune systems so can fight off disease.  Just like healthy vegetarians.

I agree with the feed anything to make them eat.  I hate prescription diets.  But then again, I hate Science Diet and many prescription diets are Hills who make Science Diet.  Not getting in to my reason on Hill's right now but suffice to say, I wouldn't feed it to my pets if you offered me a million dollars.

When I switched to home cooking 15 years or so ago, Harold, my beautiful female cat that I had to put to sleep this summer wouldn't eat it (she was 20).  She lost mega weight and my holistic vet say feed her crap if you must to get her to gain weight.  So I fed her Kal Kan.  She loved it.  

Then I went on vacation and home cooked and froze meals for my dad to thaw and feed the cats.  Harold decided at that time she loved the home cooking.  Maybe the flavour got better after freezing.

What we feed our pets has always been a huge controversy on this board.  Many believe we should feed a carnivore what they should naturally eat.  Many feel their cat or dog should be vegan.  I of course believe we should not put our beliefs on our carnivore pets.  That they should be fed the optimum diet for their species.  Optimum as in not just feeding something that makes them appear healthy but something that should meet their true nutritional needs and give then optimum health.

Right now, getting weight on your kitty is very important.

Although, I would go the natural route if she will eat it.  Wholesome foods.  I hope you check out Pitcairns book and Goldsteins.

As well, a vet visit is very important to rule out parasites (not always visable) and pregnancy.

Good luck!

P.S.  Many people have said I should have become a vet.  Knowing the difference between conventional and holistic, I couldn't be a conventional vet.  I am appalled by pet food and the relationship of conventional vets recommending it (huge kick backs) and drugs, drugs, drugs and over vaccination has jaded my outlook.  Yet conventional vets play their roll and I am thankful I found an amazing one to compliment my naturopathic one.  My conventional vet understands my home cooking, and not wanting to over vaccinate.  As well as my hate of heart worm meds and my reluctance to use them although I have.  Totally another thread! :-)

BTW, my last three cats that have passed all lived past thier 20th birthdays.


For each state, vaccination waiver forms exist and vets are required by law to comply if you complete one, should you encounter any troubles.



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