Its no secret that most cats have no problem packing on the pounds and may need some high calorie cat food. Even fussy eaters, once theyve been served their preferred meals, meow desperately for more cat food.
This is especially true of senior cats who lose muscle mass as they age and are more prone to mouth problems and medical conditions that affect their appetites. Conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes, resulting in increased thirst and urination, causes weight loss.
Its imperative that your kitty has a visit to the vet to determine if there is something more sinister behind the weight loss or changed eating habits. It takes a little more digging, and a good place to start is with high-protein foods as these often have higher fat content and more calories. Avoid high-carb foods because cats dont process carbohydrates well and wont gain weight effectively unless the calories are from complex sources.
Ensuring that the calories are nutritional is the best way to guarantee that your cat picks up weight without compromising their health or immunity. Luckily, Ive put in the leg work and now you can choose the best food according to your kittys needs. The soft texture is perfect for kitties that have mouth problems or are fussy eaters and can be administered through a syringe in extreme cases.
The best part of this calorie-dense canned food is that the calorie source is nutritious meat rather than empty fillers such as wheat. Laced with salmon oil and flaxseed, the added omegas contribute to boosting immunity and a healthy coat. The pat is full of moisture from meat broth and is free of any nasty chemicals or artificial additives.
This is available as wet cat food, in the form of a soft mousse drenched in sauce, ideal for kitties struggling to eat. Cats need nutritious calories and animal proteins to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight. The mix of animal proteins and antioxidant-rich veggies provides your furry pal with all the vitamins, minerals, omegas, and taurine that they need.
Purina produces expert-quality kitty food and their kitten range is a fantastic pick regardless of the age of your cat. The kitten food is packed with fish oils, animal fats, protein, and a whole bunch of crucial vitamins. Whether you go for the original formula, rich in chicken protein, or prefer an ocean entree, this is a fail-safe choice for providing healthy calories.
This dry food packs a huge caloric punch served with a massive side of protein and a blueberry on top. The fat content is slightly lower than the IAMS kitten food , at 18%, which is a good amount for picking up weight without compromising health. This is a great recipe for active cats that require complex calories to create and maintain muscle mass.
What can I feed my cat to gain weight?
Cat Food Options for Weight Gain. Good quality kitten food is an excellent choice for weight gain in healthy cats. And most cats enjoy eating kitten food. Royal Canin Feline Health nutrition dry cat food for young kittens is nutrient- and calorie-dense and tends to be highly palatable to most cats.
What is the best high calorie food for cats?
Wellness CORE Pâté Beef, Venison & Lamb wet food..Wellness CORE Hearty Cuts Chicken & Turkey wet food..Wellness CORE 95% Turkey wet food..Wellness CORE 95% Beef & Chicken wet food..Wellness CORE Kitten Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Deboned Chicken dry food..Wellness CORE Pâté Kitten Chicken & Turkey wet food.
How can I get my indoor cat to gain weight?
To combat boredom and weight gain in indoor cats, find some fun toys, set aside play time, and make it a priority. Outdoor leash walking is another option – you and your cat will both benefit! Switch to wet food. It has fewer calories than dry food.
If you have a skinny cat who needs to gain some weight, a senior cat, or a cat with a mouth injury, it can be important to find the best high–calorie cat food to make sure she gets enough nutrition to stay at a healthy weight.
Before we jump into the actual reviews, its important to note that what matters here is not the number of calories in a certain food, but the amount of calories your cat actually eats. That will give you a good idea of your cats actual caloric needs.
However, we understand there are some circumstances where you might need to feed a high–calorie cat food, which well cover below. Dry food lacks sufficient moisture, and prolonged eating of dry kibble can lead to dangerous dehydration, kidney disease, and urinary tract issues. That means that your cat could eat the same amount of food as she currently does, but start to gain weight.
Weight loss would only occur if she still couldnt get enough calories, and you may need your vets help at that point. There are a few types of cats that might need a higher-calorie diet than normal. This is because their body kicks into high gear and starts to process the food they at more rapidly.
When your cat is sick, he may not have the same hunger drive that he usually exhibits. If this is the case, and youre trying to nurture him back to health, a high–calorie food can be a lifesaver. If your cat has a mouth injury or dental issues, it can be incredibly hard for her to get enough to eat.
Feeding a brand that is higher in calories than usual is one way to make sure she doesnt starve or lose too much weight. Again, soft food is likely the best option, as it is much easier to eat than a hard, dry, crunchy kibble. Kittens can eat up to 2.5 times as much as adult cats!
Thats because theyre growing, and pack on a TON of weight for their little bodies in the first year of their lives. If your adult cat is otherwise healthy but underweight, you may want to consider one of the options on our list below. Of course, as we mentioned, the most important thing is ensuring she has enough calories coming in every day, and that could mean all you need to do is increase the amount of food you feed her at mealtime.
But its important to mention what criteria we used when creating this list of the best foods with a high–calorie count. The average calorie count for wet food across our entire database is 98 calories/100 grams, or 0.98 calories/gram. The average calorie count for dry food across our entire database is 377 calories/100 grams, or 3.7 calories/gram.
Protein: 52-63% Fat: 22-36% Carbohydrate: 2.8-12% (with wild cats on the very low end of this range) What we believe this shows is that cats have evolved to thrive on a high protein, moderate fat, and low carb diet. AAFCO Rating Ingredient list Macronutrient profiles (Guaranteed Analysis, Dry-Matter Basis, and Caloric Basis) Price and price per pound Calories per 100 grams Whether meat is the first ingredient How each food compares to the average of all foods on a macronutrient basis Whether the recipe uses more than 4 controversial ingredients
The final available point is a discretionary point that we award based on things like carbohydrate content, inclusion of probiotics and vitamins, and other points, and is our judgement call on a foods quality and biological appropriateness for your cat. We think that this system provides a fair, transparent system by which we can compare all foods on an equal footing, and give you the easiest possible time when choosing the best of the best. The Wilderness line from Blue Buffalo is one of the best big-brand cat foods out there.
Other than potato, which obviously is hardly present according to the macronutrient analysis, theres nothing in there except meat, thickening agents like guar gum, and added vitamins and minerals. Its a well-priced food, too, which is excellent, considering its very high in calories (almost 60% higher than the average! This is a basic, yet nutritious food that would be great for any cat needing to gain a little weight.
While we normally recommend feeding a more natural prey diet to your cat, like chicken, rabbit, or turkey, this is a great food from a great company, and it is one of the top few highest calorie wet foods on the market. 170 calories in wet food is absolutely amazing and means your kitty wont need to eat quite so much to gain weight. Organ meat isnt our favorite here in North America, but cats love it and eat it happily in the wild.
It is very protein-rich, but also contains important vitamins and minerals not otherwise found in muscle meat. Beef is a novel protein for cats, which means that if theyre allergic or sensitive to the usual animal proteins as mentioned above, they can likely eat this without having an upset stomach. The only thing we dont love is the addition of brewers dried yeast as a little bit of a filler, but theres hardly any in here judging by where it sits on the label of ingredients.
Otherwise, its a clean, natural food that packs enough protein and fat to go along with super high calories. First 4 Ingredients : Rabbit, Water Sufficient For Processing, Pork Liver, Dried Egg Product One of the things that is amazing about this food is the fact that it has no added synthetic vitamins or minerals.
Usually, the ingredients they use are so cooked down, so rendered, that they lose so much of their good micronutrients. Plus, cats eat rabbit more than any other animal in the wild, so theyll love the flavor and the taste. Youve got a bunch of healthy meats, including organ meat in the liver, natural anti-caking with the Montmorillonite clay, blood (which cats love and is super healthy for them), and a bit of whole food fruits and vegetables to provide additional roughage and vitamins.
There are whole food vegetables and fruits once again for fiber and for a little bit extra minerals and vitamins. With high protein and high fat, this is excellent in terms of being close to the ideal feline diet (this is what your cats diet should look like, in other words). The ingredients paint a similar picture, showing multiple cuts of meat (turkey, chicken, and duckincluding chicken liver, which as weve discussed, is important for vital nutrients).
The only things that stand out are the addition of guar gum (really not that bad, and used in most pet foods), carrageenan (probably not that bad, but some people think its a carcinogen, even though the form used in pet food has never been shown to be that), and tapioca starch (which is an added carb, likely meant to bind the food a bit so its not so sloppy). But those are so minimal that even the tapioca doesnt register on the macronutrient profiles (zero carbs). Plus, it scores a perfect 5/5 in our rating system, making it a rare breed of food!
Honestly, I was excited when I saw this in my filtered list of highest calorie cat foods. It uses gelatin as a binding agent, which is a great animal-sourced ingredient that is much more biologically appropriate than anything typically used in kibbles. It also includes probiotics to support gut health and digestion and has an insane amount of calories in it.
Its full of meat, has a bunch of other good whole food ingredients, and just LOOK at that protein! If your cat eats dry and needs to up his protein and calorie intake, this is the way to do it. I hope the other manufacturers are taking notes, because this is just off the charts good, with one of our only perfect 5 star ratings given to dry foods.
Its dehydrated, so you just pour some into your cats bowl and then reanimate it with water. Other than a couple of minerals and vitamins, the only ingredients are turkey, eggs, pumpkin, potatoes, parsley, chard, and cranberries. And it has so few added vitamins and minerals that we can be sure that the quality of the ingredients is excellent because they have retained much of their nutrition.
This is what can happen when you dehydrate the food, since its not being cooked to death like most kibbles would be. Its got decent protein, fat, and carb levels, and will be super easy for your cat to eat, making it perfect for any kitty who struggles to chew even wet food. Just add a bit more water and it can be as runny as you like to get some energy into your furry friend!
Those are great additions, and they make this food worthy of this list. It also includes whey protein, which we dont love, since cats are typically lactose intolerant, but there likely isnt enough in here to bother your kittys stomach. Its very well rounded, and Instinct makes a variety of great foods, so the brand is a trusted one as well.
This is the kitten version of our top canned food choice above. Kittens need to eat up to 2.5 times as many calories as when theyre adults, so the 148/100 grams is a big bonus here, meaning your baby cat wont have to eat quite so much to meet her requirements, which should help her belly feel settled. There is just a tiny bit of potato and thickening agents in here, which means its mostly made up of high-quality meat.
A great, well-rounded choice to start your cats life on the right foot, gaining weight! If you must feed your kitten dry food (which we dont necessarily recommend), this is about the best you can hope for. Its very nutritious with great protein, fat, and carb amounts, and of course its sky-high in calories.
First things first: before you find the best food to help your cat gain weight, make sure you know why they lost it, to begin with. The reasons why your cat may lose weight are many and varied. Until you deal with any underlying condition, the best high–calorie cat food money can buy wont help your cat gain weight.
Royal Canin Recovery RS Canned Diet Specifically formulated for weight gain Easy texture to chew and swallow Check Latest Price Best Value Hills Prescription a/d Diet Urgent Care High in essential nutrients Soft enough to use in feeding tubes Most cats love the taste Check Latest Price Nutri-Cal Gel High–Calorie Supplement A quick source of calories for kittens Easy to feed High in vitamins Check Latest Price Solid Gold Indigo Moon With Chicken And Eggs High-Protein Nutrient-dense Made with cage-free chicken Grain-free Check Latest Price
This is a prescription, veterinary diet designed to provide extra nutritional support to cats who are recovering from illness or who need added calories and protein for other reasons. Recovery RS packs a high–calorie content into each can, ensuring that even if your cat only eats a small amount, they get as much nutrition as possible. But this diet was literally created to help cats gain weight and we think its worth the money.
Specifically formulated for weight gain Easy texture to chew and swallow If you need a high protein and calorie count in more affordable food, this Iams diet is a worthwhile option to consider. It contains two different protein sources and is highly digestible, helping to make sure your cat absorbs as much nutrition as possible.
Because its a lower-cost option, this food does contain corn and chicken by-products, which arent necessarily unhealthy ingredients but some owners prefer to avoid them. The texture is soft and the odor and taste are strong to entice cats with picky appetites. Organ meats such as the liver are high in many essential nutrients that can benefit cats trying to gain weight.
High in essential nutrients Soft enough to use in feeding tubes Most cats love the taste Kittens, especially sick or underweight ones, can have trouble keeping their blood sugar at a safe level. Small amounts of Nutri-Cal can give a kitten whos not eating well a quick shot of calories and energy, helping keep their blood sugar normal.
Nutri-Cal can also provide extra calories and fat to older cats trying to gain weight. Protein: 42% Fat: 20% Calories: 475 kcal/cup Top ingredients: Chicken meal, potatoes, canola oil This Solid Gold Chicken and Egg dry food offers one of the highest protein, fat, and calories per cup of any kibble diet.
Protein: 12% Fat: 6% Calories: 112 kcal/3-ounce can Top ingredients: Chicken, liver, water sufficient for processing When it comes to non-prescription diets for weight gain, kitten food is often recommended because its designed with higher calories and protein to boost growth. Purina ProPlan Savor Classic Chicken food is a strong choice thanks to its extra high protein and fat.
Like Hills a/d, it uses liver as a protein source but the price of this diet is much more affordable. That and the lack of grains, by-products, and any artificial ingredients are the major selling points of this high–calorie food option. This food has a higher fat content, but a lower calorie per can than the Purina ProPlan diet we just reviewed.
Purina One True Instinct has lower protein and fat than the other dry foods we reviewed but still a decent calorie per cup count. Again, cats that need to gain weight but also dont have much of an appetite are probably better off eating a canned diet. Protein: 12% Fat: 2% Calories: 121 kcal/5.5 -ounce can Top ingredients: Fish broth, skipjack tuna, mackerel
Cats who dont feel up to chewing yet may enjoy licking the fishy broth, which will help keep them hydrated as well as provide nutrition. In addition, some cats dont handle fish-based diets well and may develop digestive issues, such as diarrhea. Blue Buffalo Wilderness is made with real meat as the first ingredient but has lower protein than some other canned foods we reviewed.
Reportedly, the quality of the food is inconsistent and some cats dont care for the slimier texture. If your cat is underweight due to a health condition, consult your veterinarian as you decide on what food to feed for weight gain. Your vet can help you balance out your cats needs to determine the best food to eat.
This can lead many of them to rely on buzzwords like real meat or grain-free that make you buy their food but dont necessarily equal better nutrition for your cat. Canned food is usually more nutrient-dense and helps keep your cat hydrated as they try to get back to a healthy weight. Try soaking dry food in water to soften it if your cat is having a hard time chewing.
Image Credit: 279photo Studio, Shutterstock If your cat successfully gains weight on the high–calorie food you choose, at some point youll need to transition them back to a regular diet or you may end up with a cat whose weight has swung too far in the other direction! Always remember to seek veterinary care first to find out why your cat is losing weight before jumping straight to helping them gain it back.
What is High-Calorie Cat Food?
It’s common to see ‘weight-control’ labels on cat food designed for those cats needing to shed a few. But you won’t come across a tin with ‘high–calorie’ pasted on the front.It takes a little more digging, and a good place to start is with high-protein foods as these often have higher fat content and more calories.Avoid high-carb foods because cats don’t process carbohydrates well and won’t gain weight effectively unless the calories are from complex sources.⇒ Thinking about getting your favourite feline a new collar? Check out my posts onFood that has animal-sourced fat, a lot of protein and added micronutrients are the best high–calorie options for your underweight kitty. Ensuring that the calories are nutritional is the best way to guarantee that your cat picks up weight without compromising their health or immunity.
Best High-Calorie Cat Food Options
As mentioned earlier, it’s not so easy to find high–calorie cat food. Luckily, I’ve put in the leg work and now you can choose the best food according to your kitty’s needs.Remember, if your cat has underlying health issues, you should always speak to your vet before changing food.
Hills Prescription Diet Restorative/Urgent Care
This calorie-rich, nutrient-packed food is ideal for fur babies that are recovering from an accident or surgery. But the nutritious ingredients and high–calorie content are ideal for underweight cats, regardless of the reason.Both the restorative and urgent care recipes have almost the exact same ingredients and are calorie-dense and ideal for underweight cats who require urgent attention.The soft texture is perfect for kitties that have mouth problems or are fussy eaters and can be administered through a syringe in extreme cases. The recipe is high in calories from fat and protein and is loaded with potassium and Omega-3.Due to its impressive nutritional content, this can be your cat’s primary and sole food source. However, the high fat and sodium levels may not be suitable for all cats.As this is a prescription diet, it’s best to check with your vet if this is the best route for your kitty.⇒ Shop
Royal Canin Mother & Babycat
Kitten food is loaded with energy and nutrients to help the little guys get the energy they need to grow strong and healthy. While very young cats should eat only kitten food, it is also suitable for any aged cat needing immunity and a calorie boost.This recipe is expertly designed to support a couple of months old kitten and/or a nursing or pregnant mom. Of course, this means that it is full of essential nutrients and immune-strengthening antioxidants.As it is made for little tummies, the proteins and probiotics are easy to digest.This is available as wet cat food, in the form of a soft mousse drenched in sauce, ideal for kitties struggling to eat.It is also available as dry food which has the same nutritional content and is even better for older cats needing to put on some weight.⇒ Shop
Purina Pro Plan Kitten
This is the second kitten product to make the list because these recipes are just bursting with goodness. Purina produces expert-quality kitty food and their kitten range is a fantastic pick regardless of the age of your cat.The kitten food is packed with fish oils, animal fats, protein, and a whole bunch of crucial vitamins. This provides healthy calories for your cat and a health boost to assist with any underlying conditions.Whether you go for the original formula, rich in chicken protein, or prefer an ocean entree, this is a fail-safe choice for providing healthy calories.You may have to adjust portions according to the age of your cat, but it is completely safe and appropriate for even the most distinguished seniors.⇒ Shop
IAMS ProActive Health High Protein Food
This dry food packs a huge caloric punch served with a massive side of protein and a blueberry on top. Or rather, a host of vitamins and antioxidants from blueberries.The fat content is slightly lower than the IAMS kitten food, at 18%, which is a good amount for picking up weight without compromising health. The protein source comes from chicken and salmon with no artificial additives.The unique fibre blend with prebiotics is beneficial for digestion and nutrient absorption. This is a great recipe for active cats that require complex calories to create and maintain muscle mass.⇒ Shop
When cats get to be about 10 to 12 years old, they enter into their senior years, and their bodies actually need 1.1 to 1.6 times more calories and protein. This is because their body kicks into high gear and starts to process the food they at more rapidly.You might find one on this list that helps, but we recommend looking at our article on the best foods for older cats here.
Sick Cats With A Low Appetite
When your cat is sick, he may not have the same hunger drive that he usually exhibits.If this is the case, and you’re trying to nurture him back to health, a high–calorie food can be a lifesaver.Typically wet foods will be better for these cats (as with all cats), mostly because they are easier to eat and usually taste better to your kitty.
Cats With Mouth/Teeth Problems
If your cat has a mouth injury or dental issues, it can be incredibly hard for her to get enough to eat.Feeding a brand that is higher in calories than usual is one way to make sure she doesn’t starve or lose too much weight.Again, soft food is likely the best option, as it is much easier to eat than a hard, dry, crunchy kibble.
Kittens can eat up to 2.5 times as much as adult cats!That’s because they’re growing, and pack on a TON of weight for their little bodies in the first year of their lives.We have covered specific kitten foods in our best kitten food article here.
If your adult cat is otherwise healthy but underweight, you may want to consider one of the options on our list below.Of course, as we mentioned, the most important thing is ensuring she has enough calories coming in every day, and that could mean all you need to do is increase the amount of food you feed her at mealtime.However, if your cat is finicky, or for some other reason just won’t eat much food, then the list below should be a great way to find your next food option.
How We Rate Foods
Studies on both indoor, commercially-fed cats, and feral and stray cats show that cats will self-select food sources that result in a macronutrient profile in this range (dry-matter basis used):What we believe this shows is that cats have evolved to thrive on a high protein, moderate fat, and low carb diet.
Instinct Original Lamb Canned Cat Food
Protein: 40.9%This is another food that should be good for cats with sensitive stomachs, since it uses another protein that is not often served to cats, in lamb.It also includes turkey (including the all-important liver for additional organ nutrition), which is of course a fantastic protein for cats.This is another one that uses montmorillonite clay as an anti-caking agent instead of a gum or something artificial. It’s totally natural.There are whole food vegetables and fruits once again for fiber and for a little bit extra minerals and vitamins.The fat content is a bit higher than we’d like, but it does have good protein, and at 130 calories/100 grams, is quite good to help bulk up cats.
Your Cat’s Health Conditions
Blue Buffalo Wilderness is made with real meat as the first ingredient but has lower protein than some other canned foods we reviewed. On the other hand, it is nutrient-dense, grain-free, and contains nutritious liver. This food is a reasonable choice to help your cat gain weight. Reportedly, the quality of the food is inconsistent and some cats don’t care for the slimier texture. It’s only available in small cans and is a bit more expensive than some other foods we reviewed. This flavor seems to either be a hit or a miss with cats so consider picking up a can or two to see if your cat likes it rather than buying a full case.
Nutritional Content of The Food
With so many different cat foods to choose from, the pet food companies are all competing for your hard-earned dollars. This can lead many of them to rely on buzzwords like “real meat” or “grain-free” that make you buy their food but don’t necessarily equal better nutrition for your cat. Learn how to read and compare pet food labels and ingredients to help you make the right choice of high–calorie cat food.
Canned Or Dry?
Canned food is usually more nutrient-dense and helps keep your cat hydrated as they try to get back to a healthy weight. However, especially if your cat has only ever eaten dry food, they may refuse canned food. If your cat won’t eat, they won’t gain weight no matter how many calories the food contains. Try soaking dry food in water to soften it if your cat is having a hard time chewing. You can also mix in some canned food or even Nutri-Cal to get more calories into your diehard kibble eater.
Transitioning Back To Regular Food
If your cat successfully gains weight on the high–calorie food you choose, at some point you’ll need to transition them back to a regular diet or you may end up with a cat whose weight has swung too far in the other direction! Changing a cat’s diet should be done slowly to avoid any digestive upset. As you choose a high–calorie diet, check to see if the brand also has a similar diet without high calories but the same protein sources that you could transition to. This could make the change easier on your cat especially if you finally get your picky cat to eat a certain food.