Nursing your best furry buddy back to health takes some time, but you can do several things to get him to eat more. Sneaking a few extra calories into his meals helps him gain weight over time. Before making any changes on your own, check with your veterinarian.
Heat His Dinner
Changing the temperature of his food can make it seem more enticing. If he isn't eating his traditional can of food for breakfast, pour it on a plate and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. Warming food makes the aroma stronger and your fuzzy friend may get his appetite back. Wet food heats up rather quickly, so you need to check it with your finger before giving it to Felix. You don't want to scorch his nose.
Add Some Moisture
Adding a touch of moisture to crunchy food can also make it more tasty for your purring pal, increasing the odds that he'll eat more. If your veterinarian has him on a strict prescription diet, simply add a small amount of water to his food and allow it to soften. At this point you can also heat it up slightly. As long as your vet approves, add calorie-rich ingredients to your kitty's dry food to soften it. You shouldn't give him cow's milk, but kitten milk—available at any pet store—is high in calories and is safe for cats. Stirring in a spoonful of canned kitten food is another way to boost calories, while making his traditional food softer and more smelly.
Try Baby Food
If your cat is older, is missing teeth or has a hard time chewing, add some baby food to his diet, suggests Dr. Lisa A. Pierson, a California-based veterinarian. Baby foods are mild and made from simple ingredients. Often even the pickiest of kitties enjoys a change in flavor. Opt for baby foods that are meat-based, but do not contain onions or garlic, which are not good for felines. While baby food can help add calories to your cuddly companion's diet, it should not be his only source of nutrition, since it can be lacking in certain nutrients. Instead, stir it into his normal food to enhance the aroma so your finicky pal wants to eat his meal.
If your furry feline doesn't eat his food and continues to lose weight, it might be time to take him back to see the vet. Even though weight loss might be a natural part of aging or a side effect of a known illness, if your cuddly companion continues to drop weight, he'll become malnourished. Cats who don't eat for more than 48 hours can develop fatty liver disease, according to the Animal Planet website. This serious and sometimes fatal condition occurs when his digestive system turns to stored fat as a source of energy. Toxins that are a natural byproduct of fat metabolism build up in his bloodstream, causing permanent damage to his fragile liver.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.