What Should my 24-Year-Old Cat Eat?


Dear Dr. Barchas,

I have a 24 year old cat who is in excellent health, playful, etc. but I am having a very hard time keeping weight on him. Primarily he eats canned food and is somewhat particular as to what he will eat, he gets a small amount of dry food every day but it’s more a treat than a meal. I am feeding him 3 times a day plus his crunchy treat and supplementing with a high calorie booster but he is still thin. Any ideas?

Phoenix, AZ

There are a number of reasons why your cat may be thin. He could have any number of medical conditions that cause weight loss and poor appetite (as manifested by finickiness). Or, he could have age-related cachexia. (Individuals naturally grow thinner as they become very old. There are no fat centenarians.)

You could take your pet to the vet for a bunch of tests to see if any diagnosable diseases are present. Or, you could feed your cat anything he wants.

My recommendation is the latter. If you want to keep weight on him, let him eat whatever he wants. At his age, he has earned the privelege. If, and its a very big if, I live to be his age, I intend to eat ice cream wrapped with bacon and washed down with several beers for at least one meal each day. Who am I to deny an extremely elderly cat the same pleasure?

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