We have a two cat household which includes a 16 year old skinny, spayed female and a 6 year old porky, spayed female. The older cat is a grazer, the younger eats everything in sight.

The old cat is healthy, but has gradually gone from about 7 1/2 lbs (her average adult weight) to 6 lbs. over the last 3 years. I am currently feeding her wet cat food every time she asks, about 9/10 times a day. She eats pretty much all I put down for her, leaving a crumb or two for "porky". Even with this feeding on demand, she continues to lose weight.

Is there a high calorie cat food that would be advisable for an older cat? Or any other advice for me to help her maintain, or even gain some weight?

3 Answers 3


At 16 years old I highly recommend doing blood work as hyperthyroidism and kidney disease are ridiculously common in our senior cats. Once she is clear then talk to your vet about a diet, most senior cats should be on a senior diet.

Mhwonbat mentioned kitten food, I highly recommend you do NOT use this as it is also high in protein which can cause a lot of damage if she has any kind of kidney disease.

Vet check first :)


You say that the older cat is healthy, so I assume you've been to the vet to verify that. (If not, you should go to the vet because there are several health problems that elder cats are prone to and that can cause weight loss.)

Many well-known cat food brands have high-calorie versions of their food, as well as special versions for other needs. You can probably get these from your vet, or order them online. Kitten food is higher-calorie than cat food, and is easy to find, so that may be all you need.

Although the cat has lost weight, and you describe it as skinny, I don't know if that means the cat is just a bit thin, or if it is emaciated. That's another reason to visit the vet. If the cat needs to put on some weight quickly, there are high-calorie pastes and stuff that you can use. Your vet can advise you. Again, you can usually buy these things from a vet, or online.

  • Not emaciated. But I'm worried that if this continues for another year she will be. I was thinking kitten food too, but was worried that the protein might not be right for an older cat.
    – Debbie M.
    Sep 4, 2016 at 2:35

Assuming your (elderly) cat is in relatively good health, you might consider serving the cat food at slightly above room temperature.

I'm not quite sure if a cat's sense of smell diminishes with age, but I found that giving a portion of (wet) cat food 2-3 seconds in the microwave before serving (to 'stimulate the aroma') made my elderly cat more interested in the food.

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