Appetite in Cats
How to increase your cats appetite.
Do keep in mind that different diseases cause loss of appetite for different reasons.
The following information is to given to help you encourage your cat to eat.
Things to try at home to increase appetite
- Try different diets. Like people, as a disease progresses your cat's tastes change. Start by trying different brands and textures ( kibble, moist and meaty, canned ) of diets. Do try to stick to major brands that have a high calorie content. Most cats with illness will not eat as much as healthy pets, so diets with higher calorie content will help your cat maintain their weight.
- Try mixing wet food with dry food or chicken broth with dry food. Try adding extra flavor to the dry food will often encourage your cat to eat better. When using chicken broth buy low salt and low fat products.
- Try canned food. Many people do not feed canned food because they believe it does not help their cat's teeth. During hospice our goal is to keep your cat comfortable. So feed canned food if that is your cat prefers.
- Try warming canned food in the microwave to increase aroma. Some cats with age and illness have a decreased sense of smell. Warming the food will help increase the aroma. Just be careful not to overheat the food.
Medical options to help increase appetite
- Treat underlying disease - Treating your cat's underlying disease state will often help with your cat's appetite.
- Appetite stimulants - Mirtazapine or Cyproheptadine may be options available to increase your cat's appitite.
- Steroids are not technically appetite stimulants, but through different mechanisms they can increase the appetite. Steroids may help increase your cat's appetite depending on your cats underlying disease.
- Increase hydration - Cats that are dehydrated do not feel well. Cats that do not feel well do not eat. Re-hydrating a dehydrated cat will make that cat feel better and may help increase your cat's appetite. SubQ fluids given at a clinic or at home can help re-hydrate your cat.
- Manage nausea - Like you, cats that feel nauseous do not want to eat. There are several different medications that help with nausea. Depending on your pets underlying disease process your vet will prescribe an appropriate medication.
- Feeding tube - A feeding tube is recommended for diseases that make it difficult for your pet to eat. Cats with cancers in the mouth or nose often have a great appetite, but as the disease progresses they might have difficulty eating. A feeding tube bypasses the mouth and allows you to feed your pet with a special gruel through the tube.
Talk with your Veterinarian about which of the above treatments or medications can help treat your cat's symptoms.