Carbs for Cats
January 12, 2021 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Here’s me and my BFF Dart. He’s a senior cat, hyperthyroid but on medicine, and having some early kidney disease markers. All numbers are good. I really want him to put on weight. My vet said to experiment with carbs; mashed potato has worked a little. Anyone have ideas for giving a cat carbs? Or other ways to help him gain a little more?

FYI, he currently eats k/d food. His diet is limited because of kidney problems. I’m going to ask the vet about the supplement that reduces phosphorus and hope that brings more possibilities.
posted by mermaidcafe to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So, not at all a Science Diet fan. What your cat needs is fat and muscle to ingest, not carbs. Might be worth looking around for a nutrition nerd vet since you have two complicating factors. A wet cat food that doesn’t have carrageenan in it (which has been linked to cancer) should lead them to a naturally healthy diet. With hyperthyroidism Dart is going to be thinner no matter what.

Tiki cat is amazing (but expensive). They make a food designed for senior cats with phosphorus issues:

Cheaper stuff like Whiskas etc all have carrageenan in it (which is so bad news that it is banned in human food).

Please post another pic of Dart in a different format! When I clicked it wouldn’t let me open without signing up for a google photos account...
posted by arnicae at 9:18 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

My 18 year old girl is very skinny. Blood work shows nothing wrong and I'm not willing to treat anything serious at this point. But, she is still hungry and I feed her everything she likes: most Weruva flavors, particularly Mideast Feast, Tiki Cat, all flavors and for calories and appetite stimulation, watch this classic video and get some Inaba Churu because it is kitty crack. Note: You've got to watch the whole video; at least 4 years old, before Zoom, and honestly should go viral again.
posted by lois1950 at 10:04 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]

Carrageenan, derived from red seaweed has not been linked to cancer. Poligeenan, with can also be derived from seaweed by a different chemical process is a known carcinogen and causes ulceration of the digestive tract. Carrageenan will cause ulcers when injected into animals but not when eaten. Some argue that carrageenan is degraded into poligeenen in the digestive tract but evidence for this is weak and the FDA has not banned carrageenan from human food ( just look at any carton of ice cream) .
posted by morchella at 4:43 AM on January 13 [9 favorites]

Is the problem that he has no appetite, or that he eats a lot but doesn't put on weight?

If appetite is the issue you can try the various food-toppers out there, they're pastes that come in little pouches and you put them on top of wet food. You can also sprinkle on something like chopped up treats, nutritional yeast, fish oil, or fortiflora (most cats think it's delicious plus it's good for their digestion). And try adding some water, warming it up, or feeding in smaller portions more often.

If he's eating a lot but just not gaining, there's a product called Nutrical which is a supplement paste intended to help cats gain weight. It's made of mostly corn syrup so maybe not the greatest for lots of long-term use but could help to give him a boost.

When my cat needed to gain weight the vet told me to try kitten food but I don't think that's kidney-friendly. There are other types of putting-on-weight foods and supplements (royal canin recovery food, for ex) but they might not be kidney friendly so I'm not sure about those, maybe ask your vet.
posted by 100kb at 12:58 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this is an option, but at the end of one of my cat's lives, she would gobble up the chicken flavor of Gerber's baby food. She probably lived on that for a year or more.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:11 PM on January 13

My vet recommended and my cat liked mashed pumpkin mixed in with his food.
posted by b33j at 5:28 PM on January 13

Whoops, here’s a photo of us loving on each other. Aww!

To answer a question upthread, Dart has never been that food-motivated. He’s never eaten treats, for instance. And he’s had some dental problems and is missing teeth. So those things, combined w thyroid and kidney problems, add up to a skinny cat.

I’ll ask my vet about these ideas; thank you so much!
posted by mermaidcafe at 8:39 AM on January 14

One other thing I thought of: my cat is eating more now that I've moved his food into the living room where we spend most of our time. I'm not sure if it's because he likes to have someone nearby when he eats or if it's just more convenient to get a snack rather than walking to the other side of the house. Something you can try maybe!
posted by 100kb at 9:17 PM on January 15

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