Some cats are notoriously picky. No matter what food you put out for them, they turn up their noses and walk away from the food bowl. With hundreds of products available, you may struggle to select the right one for your cat.
It’s incredibly challenging if your pet has a food intolerance or allergy. Then, you have to scrutinize every label, even if you’re buying the same food. In our roundup of the best cat food for weight gain, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
We’ll discuss everything you must know about selecting the right product for your favorite cat. We’ve also included reviews to give you a detailed look at the products so you can determine which brand is ideal for your cat.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024
|Smalls Fresh Cat Food
|Click to Save 40%
|Iams ProActive Health Kitten
|Royal Canin Weight Care
|Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect
|Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight
The 7 Best Cat Foods for Weight Gain
1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food– Best Overall
Smalls crafts high-quality, high-protein cat food to help underweight cats gain a few extra pounds, and it’s our pick for the best overall cat food to gain weight. Their recipes contain wholesome, USDA-certified ingredients and no artificial preservatives or flavors.
The main ingredients in Small’s Cow recipe are ground beef, beef liver, green beans, and beef heart. Since three of the first four ingredients are meat-based, your cat will get plenty of necessary protein from this meal.
The quality ingredients have noticeable effects. Cat owners report that their feline friends were healthier and happier after eating Smalls fresh meals, and they noticed an improvement in their cat’s energy levels, hydration, and quality of fur.
Smalls’ meals do not come in pre-portioned packages, so you must portion the meals yourself. It will likely not be an issue if you are already measuring your cat’s meals to help it gain weight.
There’s no need to visit the grocery store and hope your cat’s favorite meal is in stock; Smalls’ meals are delivered straight to your front door. To hunt for your perfect Smalls recipe, go to their website and fill out a short questionnaire. The questionnaire will help you determine which of Smalls’ recipes is the best fit for your cat so that you can start with fresh meals immediately.
2. Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food – Best Value
Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food is the best cat food for weight gain for the money. The nutritional profile is excellent. It contains 33% protein and 21% fat. The latter makes it a smart choice for a pet that needs to put on a few pounds. It has several additives that up its value, including vitamin A, taurine, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
The calorie count is 416, which the fat probably boosts, and chicken and eggs are the primary meat and fat sources. While it’s labeled as kitten food, the nutrition is more than adequate for pregnant or nursing adults. It comes in 3.5, 7, and 16-pound bags.
3. Royal Canin Weight Care High Calorie Cat Food
Royal Canin Weight Care Dry Cat Food is an excellent choice if you want the best in tailored nutrition. It scores high marks for its protein content at 34%. Chicken provides both protein and fat sources. We liked the fact that it didn’t contain any filler ingredients.; it’s a highly nutritious diet that covers all the bases.
Some pet owners will appreciate its use of rosemary, citric acid, and tocopherols to keep the food fresh. It provides an excellent source of fiber with psyllium seed husk. Royal Canin is more expensive than comparable brands, but we can forgive that if the calories per cup were higher than 255. It comes in 3, 6, and 14-pound bags.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Canned Cat Food
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Canned Cat Food uses chicken and pork as its primary protein sources. It also contains several omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, including coconut oil, which will benefit your pet’s skin and coat. The moisture content is decent at 84% and has 3.5% fiber to keep your pet feeling full.
On the downside, Hill’s Science Diet is expensive, especially with the 2.9-ounce cans. You also have to feed your pet 4 ¼ cans to maintain the weight of a 10-pound cat. That makes the fiber content more important. It has a few unnecessary ingredients, such as spinach and carrots, that give it a stew-like consistency.
5. Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food
Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food taps into several protein sources to reach its impressive 30%. They include chicken, beef, and soy. The diet also exceeds the requirements for vitamins A and B3. It does a superb job of balancing caloric intake and activity, seeing as indoor pets are often less energetic. It comes in four sizes from 3.15–20 pounds. The food is also affordable, whatever one you get.
The cat food contains a decent amount of fiber at 5.5% to help your pet stay sated in between meals. The calorie count is more than adequate at 358 per cup. Your little girl will soon get to a healthy weight on this diet.
6. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Hairball & Weight Control
Purina Cat Chow Naturals Hairball & Weight Control Adult Dry Cat Food is a multi-purpose product that caters to indoor pets. Both turkey and chicken provide the protein at 34%. The fat amount is in line, too, at 9%. This high-calorie formula includes a few unnecessary ingredients, like spinach. While the nutritional profile is more than adequate, we had a few concerns.
The package lists some ingredients without identifying a source, such as “animal fat” and “natural flavor.” We’d prefer it if they were less vague. The other stickler is that there isn’t a small bag. It only comes in 6.3 or 13-pound bags.
7. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is a pate-like formula that relies on turkey and chicken for protein sources. It also includes organ meats, which are excellent choices. However, while these ingredients are desirable, we couldn’t help but notice the conflict with other ones in the recipe, such as cranberries.
The calorie content is respectable at 101 per can. It also has several fatty acid sources, including salmon oil and flaxseed. We liked that you can get it in either 3- or 5.5-ounce cans. However, it is expensive, considering you’re feeding them two per day for an adult.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best High-Calorie Cat Food for Weight Gain
Weight loss is dangerous and life-threatening for your pet. Several factors can cause it, from intestinal parasites to more serious health conditions. The former is one reason that we recommend keeping your cat indoors. Rodents are a major carrier of many parasites, including pinworms.
The average, healthy adult cat needs around 240 calories. Several things can affect the bottom line, including:
- Reproductive status
- Activity levels
It’s vital to know that the feeding guide on the bag or can is only a guide. You and your veterinarian need to make the call on whether your pet needs a calorie boost in their diet. To determine which products are suitable, you should begin with the label. The characteristics you have to find out include:
- Life stage
- Nutrient analysis
- Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional compliance
Let’s discuss each one in detail.
Cat Life Stage
Just as in dogs, the nutritional needs of kittens and cats vary with their age and life stage, but not by a lot. However, it is enough to mean the difference between a healthy pet and one that is not. Therefore, we recommend sticking with the right product to reduce the risk of obesity in pets at the ideal weight.
Cat Food Nutrient Analysis
Cats are obligate carnivores that get the majority of their food from meat. Kittens require at least 30% protein in their diet, while adults need 26%. Of course, your pet may occasionally eat some grass or catnip.
The cat food you provide must be complete in its nutrient content and balanced in the correct proportions. Unlike dogs, felines cannot synthesize vitamins A or B3 (niacin). That must come from what you put in their bowl. In the wild, cats would get these nutrients from their prey, particularly rodents.
You can check the brand’s guaranteed analysis to help you decide on a product. For example, kittens need 9,000 IU/kg for vitamin A and 60 mg/kg for niacin, which is something to remember when searching for high-calorie kitten food. Adults must get 5,000 and 60, respectively. The cat food also has to provide arachidonic fatty acid and taurine. Quality products will give the amounts or percentages of these essential nutrients.
Cat Food Calories
You can assess whether your cat needs food for weight gain based on their body condition. An underweight feline has little fat around their ribs, making it easy to feel them. You may notice them when you stroke their back, too. The Pet Nutrition Alliance provides a handy calculator to estimate your feline’s daily caloric intake, even by the brand of food.
We suggest that you work closely with your vet to ensure that your pet is gaining weight in a healthy manner. Sometimes, less is more. The last thing you need is a cat that is vomiting because she ate too much, too fast. Like weight loss, slow and methodical is the ideal strategy to give their little body time to adjust.
Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is important for keeping them healthy and happy. But it goes beyond the food you choose; the dishes they use also matter. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite for its unique, five-star design that protects from whisker fatigue and promotes good posture which also aids in better digestion. As an added bonus, it’s beautifully crafted and offers a modern take on the traditional cat bowl that fits seamlessly with all home stylings. Learn more about the NomNom by clicking here.
At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Cat Food Ingredients
The ingredients on the bag listed first are more prominent in the recipe. Because of its importance, we prefer products where the protein is first. However, don’t let the term byproducts scare you. According to the AAFCO, they are safe to meet the nutritional needs of your pet. We think it’s also an eco-friendly choice, considering it’s better than wasting food.
Organ meats are an excellent source of nutrition and have higher amounts of protein for a complete diet. You’ll also see some products that contain various types of meals. The manufacturers render the concentrated meats or bones to make them safe for your pet. There are strict regulations regarding the nutritional balance of these ingredients.
Many so-called boutique brands include people foods, such as blueberries and peas, on their ingredient list. You may also see items labeled “human-grade.” These are simply marketing terms. Often, foods far down the list are so small as not to matter. The pet industry is well aware of how some owners view their pets and will advertise their products accordingly.
The best pet foods will have a statement about compliance with the AAFCO’s nutrient profiles for the species and life stage. It’s what you want to see on any product that you buy. That way, you know it contains the right mix in the correct amounts for optimal nutrition. Bear in mind that this information applies to cat food and not treats.
The name of a product is subject to similar standards. If it says “all-chicken,” then it is indeed just that. You may see cat food called something like “Kitty’s Fish Delight.” By AAFCO rules, the fish must be at least 25% of the product’s weight, not including water.
Based on our reviews, Smalls Fresh Cat Food is the best cat food for weight gain. If you are looking to put some weight on your cat, this might be a good choice. The protein is mainly from chicken., and your feline will devour this human-grade dry food.
Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food exceeds on several scores. It can be fed to pets in several life stages, making it an even better value. It’s also easy on your little cat’s digestive system.
Buying the right food for your cat is a serious undertaking, especially if they have an underlying health condition affecting their weight. Finding something your cat likes that provides adequate nutrition is every pet owner’s goal. We hope our guide gave you some insights into choosing the best formula for your feline.
Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock
- A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024
- The 7 Best Cat Foods for Weight Gain
- 1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food– Best Overall
- 2. Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Royal Canin Weight Care High Calorie Cat Food
- 4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Canned Cat Food
- 5. Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food
- 6. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Hairball & Weight Control
- 7. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best High-Calorie Cat Food for Weight Gain