Can I give my cat Sustagen?
January 3, 2013 5:19 PM   Subscribe

Can I give my cat Sustagen?

My cat is at least twenty years old, and is obviously slowly getting towards the end of her life. Over the last few months she has been eating much less and has lost a lot of weight and muscle tone. Apart from this she is very happy.

Is it safe to give her a nutritional supplement like Sustagen to give her a bit of a boost?
posted by mule to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cats have different nutritional needs from humans. Perhaps you should ask your vet if kitten food (high in calories) is more appropriate for your cat.
posted by jeather at 5:28 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

When my cat was at the end of her life and not eating like she should, my vet gave me some sort of nutritional suppliment gel goo stuff that was formulated for cats. I don't remember what it was called, but it came in a toothpaste shaped tube and smelled awful to me but apperantly awsome to cats. You would put some on their paws and they would like it off. Maybe ask your vet for something like that?
posted by Weeping_angel at 5:54 PM on January 3, 2013

Ol' man Haggis is my elderly cat (obligatory glamourshot) and when he needed to regain the weight he lost during some thyroid shenanigans, I got the green light from my vet to give him liquid meal replacement stuff that is specifically formulated for cats. I'm not sure the products meant for humans would have the stuff they need, like taurine. There are a few different brands, and I'm not sure what's available in your country, but CatSure is pretty much his favorite thing in the world. He is almost his normal burly old self again!

I hope you find something that works for your cat!
posted by kittyb at 6:08 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nutri-Cal is probably the supplement Weeping_angel is thinking of. Any pet supply store or vet clinic ought to carry it or an equivalent. Be careful you don't buy hairball remedy goo instead, they are very similarly-packaged products.

Just as a heads-up - we have a 16 year old cat who was losing muscle tone and weight - it turns out his kidneys are in decline. He's on prescription food when he eats it and Wellness food when he wants that, and we give him a subcutaneous fluid injection every few days, which my vet calls "Poor Man's Dialysis". You might have your vet do a blood panel on your kitty, because if she's got a kidney issue (which is common in old cats) throwing high-protein food into her might make her kidneys have to work harder. But if it IS her kidneys, the fluid injections really do help and are easy.
posted by Lou Stuells at 10:11 PM on January 3, 2013

Over the last few months she has been eating much less and has lost a lot of weight and muscle tone.

What does your vet say? Given this is pretty clearly something your vet should be looking at I assume that's either been done or will be asap (and yes, blood tests are probably appropriate).

Metabolic disorders and other problems are, unfortunately, not uncommon in old cats and there are things you can do to help, but correct diagnosis is necessary first. In the meantime, it's not safe to give her dietary supplements, for humans or for cats, without your vets input. For example, if she has liver problems rather than kidney ones then protein rich supplements or things like kitten food will make it a lot worse. As another example, for my last old cat loss of muscle tone ended up being related to arthritis which was both painful when untreated and not fixed by diet anyway, so food supplements would have been a waste of time.
posted by shelleycat at 5:19 AM on January 4, 2013

Actually, maybe liver disease needs high protein food rather than low, I don't remember. It's different than kidney disease and even then varies depending on what type of liver disease. Either way, the correct diet is critical and often a major part of the treatment. You definitely need your vet's involvement here.
posted by shelleycat at 5:24 AM on January 4, 2013

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