Everybody knows someone with a cat that seems to pack on pounds, and keep them on. Of course, if you’re struggling with the opposite problem, it’s harder to find ways to help.
While we, as people, may not notice any difference if we lose a pound, it’s a lot different for cats. If a ten pound cat loses a single pound, that’s 10% of their body weight!
You should always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your cat's weight. However, if you’ve decided that special foods for weight gain are the way to go, here are high calorie cat foods to try.
Questions About Cat Weight Loss
When should I be concerned about my cat losing weight?
As we mentioned, when cats lose what we think of as ‘a little weight’ it’s actually a lot more to them. Sometimes a little fluctuating weight is normal. However, if your cat is losing more than 10% of their total body weight, it signals a larger problem.
What causes cat weight loss?
Sometimes cats lose weight as they get older. Much like humans, their metabolic activity slows with age. However, older cats may also experience weight gain because of other serious issues, like kidney problems, thyroid issues, and more.
If it seems like your cat simply isn’t eating, it can be a result of stress or anxiety. Or, perhaps it’s uncomfortable for them to eat, which can indicate dental issues. Diabetes is another common cause for weight loss, as are infections or parasites.
In some cases, weight loss may be caused by problems with the nervous system, or other neurological problems.
One often overlooked cause for weight loss is actually the cat’s diet. Food that doesn’t provide enough calories or nutrition may be causing your kitty to drop weight.
How can I help my cat gain weight?
First, look at the food they’re eating. Make sure it’s balanced with plenty of nutrition for their life stage. If not, try switching to another food.
If your cat seems to have their appetite, it’s a little trickier. There are several things you can try, but what works ultimately comes down to your cat and their preferences.
If you have a good quality cat food brand already, try a different flavor. Humans get sick of the same food all the time, and your cat might too.
If you don’t have much variety for flavor, you can also add some wet food or a topper to their regular food.
Using softer food, like a wet cat food might also help. You can also use a healthy, cat friendly broth to add to food and soften it up. It’ll also add some extra flavor to entice your cat.
Next, try switching up (or slightly altering) how you do meals. If you feed your cat in the morning and evening only, try splitting it up to three or four times a day, with smaller portions. Even if you switch to more, smaller meals, keep the time consistent. Try not to leave food out too long, even if it sounds counter intuitive. Ten to twenty minutes is enough.
It’s always worrisome when your cat loses too much weight. However, a high calorie food can give them the support they need.
Here are the top high calorie cat foods for weight gain, that we’ve reviewed.
Canned High Calorie: Evanger’s Heritage Classic Beef-it-Up Canned Cat Food
This pate cat food is a big winner with cats. Of course, if you need to pack in serious calories with every bite, it’ll be a big winner with you too.
Of the grain free cat foods on the market today, this is one of the top foods for high calories. You might find some cat foods with more calories, but you won’t find many.
We’re always relieved to find good grain free foods for our cats, so that was really the cherry on top.
There aren’t any peas, soy, or gluten either, which is a pretty big deal. It’s not just calories though, this food packs in a ton of protein to keep muscles strong.
As the pet parents we’re more than satisfied with this food. It’s easy, simple, and gives your cat everything they need to stop losing weight. Of course, cats can’t seem to get enough of it either, which is a nice bonus.
You can’t always find beef flavored cat food, and cats really seem to love the change in taste profile.
- Unique flavor cats love
- Higher calories than most cat foods for weight gain
- Contains a lot of protein
- Grain free- ideal for sensitive cats
- Full of vitamins and minerals
- Contains brewer’s yeast
Best Dehydrated Food: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Dehydrated Cat Food
Sometimes cats lose weight because their digestive system simply struggles to absorb their food properly.
Using foods that are easier to digest helps a ton, and that’s one of the top reasons we had to include this in our review.
Dehydrated foods are typically easier for cats to digest once they’re rehydrated, but this food is even better.
You can tell just from the texture that it’s a lot easier for cats to process, so cats with stomach problems can get all their calories and protein.
We really love how much care goes into creating this food. It’s even made to conform to FDA standards for human grade food! It’s another grain free option (we’re rather partial to them!), with plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
With turkey and eggs as the first ingredients, you can trust there’s plenty of protein. Even finicky cats take to it pretty quickly, so we’re assuming the flavor’s good!
- Grain free, minimally processed
- Conforms to human grade standards for food
- Very easy to chew and digest
- High protein content
- Calorie dense formula
- Needs a little preparation (rehydrating)
Best Carb Free: Nutro Wild Frontier Pate Turkey & Duck Wet Cat Food
What do you do if your cat really needs to put on weight, but can’t really tolerate carbs? You find a food just like this one! It’s rich in calories, with a good amount of fat (though not too much), and there aren’t any carbs.
To be fair, there is a little added tapioca starch, often used as a binding in food. That said, the amount is so small it doesn’t even show on the nutritional stats.
This is another of the highest calorie cat foods on the market today. In fact, it contains 131 calories per 100 grams.
With Nutro Wild Frontier, your cat gets to enjoy a diet that caters more to their instincts, and fuels their energy with balanced protein and fat.
- High fat and calorie content
- Closer to natural feline diet
- Carb free and grain free
- Cat friendly flavor
- Contains guar gum
Most Calorie Dense: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Chicken Wet Cat Food
Granted, our main criteria for any food we reviewed to help cats gain weight was calorie content.
That said, of all those on our list, this Blue Buffalo wet cat food packs in the most calories per gram. How much? A whopping 155 calories per gram. That alone was enough to impress us.
This brand is well known for their stringent quality standards, this cat food certainly lives up to expectations.
There are never any animal byproducts, just high quality protein and veggies. This is the ideal cat food for adult or aging cats that can’t seem to keep their weight up.
Since it contains so many calories, even finicky eaters can take in a lot of calories, even if they don’t eat much.
Another thing we loved: the price. Considering how much nutritional content each can contains, it’s a great value.
- Very high calorie content
- No byproducts
- Good for aging cats
- Formulated for older cats, not kittens
Starch Free: Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free Dry Cat Food
You’ve probably seen plenty of grain free cat foods. However, just because they’re grain free doesn’t mean there aren’t any starches.
Some cats simply don’t tolerate starches well, and it can be hard to find a good food for weight gain.
While it is a dry kibble type food, it provides the fatty acids, protein, and other nutrients cats need. In fact, it contains so much protein, it’s often used as a protein supplement for cats’ regular food!
It’s packed with probiotics and prebiotics too, which is a bonus for cats with digestive issues.
- Starch free
- Very calorie and protein dense
- Contains fatty acids
- Made with pro/prebiotics
- Comes as kibbles
Our Top Pick
The first thing we looked at for these cat foods was calorie and protein content. Next, we looked at value, nutrients, and how easy it is to feed to cats overall.
These are all great foods to help cats gain weight, but one really stood out: The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Cat Food. It’s high calorie, very natural, and even cats with dental problems can easily eat it.