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Gaining Weight

April 19th, 2012, 02:38 PM
Our little 9 y/o Zoe is a very petite little thing, weighing less than 6lbs. We've only had her for 2 months and she's gained weight already in that time.
Her vet is concerned that her weight is too low and wants her to gain more weight.

She suggests a high-calorie diet of dry food that is at least 400-500cals/cup (she recommended Science Diet). She also recommended trying canned foods as well, as Zoe has always been fed only dry food in her previous home.

We went out and bought Science Diet Adult Optimal Care and some Science Diet canned food (chunks and gravy) as well. She seems really happy with it so far.

But my question is this: did my vet recommend Science Diet just because she's been fed their advertising?

Would I be better off with a more natural brand like Blue Wilderness (which I believe is lower calorie but higher protein)? That is what PetSmart recommended.

Any ideas or suggestions?

April 19th, 2012, 02:55 PM
Cats should be quite thin and only l have a bit of fat covering their bones. Is she lacking muscle mass or fat?

I have found cats fed a kibble diet have significantly less muscle than raw fed cats and that makes them seem skinny when in fact they have adequate fat.

Science Diet, IMHO, is a very low quality food and would not consider feeding it to my cats.

I only feed kibble as a treat as cats should be on a canned or raw diet. Try eating crackers for days on end then getting your fluids by licking up water. That's how dehydrated your cat may be feeling when fed only kibble ;).

Here is a great website for info:

Here are my favourite foods (all canned/grain free):

Nature's Variety Instinct
Fromm's 4 starr
Organics by Nature

I also feed them 50% homemade raw.

I'm guessing if you change her diet to something from the above, you will find her cells will become more hydrated and she will develop more muscle mass.

Good luck!

April 19th, 2012, 03:28 PM
I also have a very small cat that weighs just over 6 pounds.
She (and her brother) are actually doing extremely well on one of Science diet's prescription wet foods for allergies/skin issues. They are both Sphynxes though and quite a few Sphynxes have skin issues. Since the transition their skin is so much better!! They have been on this diet for a good 6 months and have also put on a teeny bit of weight.

April 19th, 2012, 04:50 PM
We went out and bought Science Diet Adult Optimal Care and some Science Diet canned food (chunks and gravy) as well. She seems really happy with it so far.

Here are the main ingredients in Optimal Care kibble:

Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat

Those are not quality ingredients, so even if it is higher calorie, it's mostly carbohydrate and fat calories. More appropriate for a carnivore would be meat-based protein calories. If you have to feed dry food while you transition Zoe over to wet food, there are better options. Innova EVO has a whopping 612 calories per cup and it's much higher in protein, lower in carbs. Wellness CORE has 502 cal/cup and Nature's Variety Instinct Chicken has 491 cal/cup.

Wet food would still be the better choice overall though. One of the issues with the grain-free kibbles is that not only are they moisture-deficient, but they're quite high in phosphorus. For older cats especially, it's a good idea to keep an eye on phosphorus levels as they may have an impact on renal insufficiency.

Some other chunky canned/pouched foods you might want to try with Zoe are Wellness Healthy Indulgences or their new line of minced/cubed/sliced canned foods which have simple ingredients and are gluten-free (unlike the SD ones). Natural Balance Platefuls, Weruva, and Nature's Variety Prairie Homestyle are other "chunky" options.

April 22nd, 2012, 11:51 PM

I feed Oven baked Tradition cat food as far as dry food is concerned. Here is a link to the nutrition value and ingredients.

I also feed soft food/canned food twice daily.
I like to alternate between these brands:

Nature's Variety



I also like to feed my cats raw food.
For this, I go to the butcher and buy livers and hearts that come from free range organic fed animals (the butcher thinks these are for humans).
My cats prefer chicken and turkey hearts and livers (I would not have a clue, as I am a vegetarian!)
I slice these in very thin slices and feed it to them twice per week. Each cat gets about 25-30 gramms per serving. Even the fussiest of my cats enjoy this treat.
I began by cooking them, then cooking them less and less, until by now, they are ''almost'' raw.
As time goes by, I will increase the ''almost raw'' food for them, since it's only been a few months they are eating this.
I am hoping that by late summer/early fall, they will be getting half their nutrition from raw food.
Going slowly in terms of changing the diet is sometimes the key to success...

As for buying the food at the vets... well, my opinion may be biased, but the fact is, the vets get a cut from the profit they make selling the food they sell... I will leave it at that!