While obesity is a common problem in many cats, some have the exact opposite issue of being underweight. And if this is the case, the best way that you are going to get them back up to normal weight is with the best cat food for weight gain.

If your cat is underweight, they face a number of health risks including anemia, so it is important that you take action. Providing a high-calorie cat food is one of the best and easiest ways that you can help them put on some weight, but it should never be a cover-up for any underlying health concerns, so always work in conjunction with your vet to find out if anything else is negatively affecting your kitty.

In this article, we have compiled a selection of 10 of the best high-calorie cat foods out there, plus an overview of all the key features that make them so special.

13 Top Rated High-Calorie Cat Food to Buy Today

Editor's PicksProduct NamePriceRating
Best for KittensBlue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & RiceCheck Price on Chewy4.8
Best Limited IngredientsNatural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat FoodCheck Price on PetSmart4.8
Best High-ProteinIams ProActive Health Chicken & Salmon Dry Cat FoodCheck Price on Chewy4.6
Best Canned Cat FoodZiwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Cat FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.2
Best for Healthy Immune SystemWellness CORE Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver PateCheck Price on Amazon4.8
Best for Adult CatsBlue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Canned Cat FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.3
Best for Picky EatersInstinct Original Grain-Free PateCheck Price on Chewy4.0
Best for Kidney IssuesDr. Elsey's cleanprotein Salmon FormulaCheck Price on Chewy4.0
Best Freeze-DriedInstinct Raw Boost Duck & Freeze-Dried Raw Cat FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.6
Premium ChoiceWysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula Dry Cat FoodCheck Price on Amazon4.5
Best Gluten-FreeSolid Gold Indigo Moon High ProteinCheck Price on Chewy4.4
Best for AllergiesInstinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free RecipeCheck Price on Chewy4.3
Also Consider Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod RecipeCheck Price on Chewy4.3
*Ratings are from Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart at the time of publication and can change

1 Best for Kittens: Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Rice

Best for Kittens: Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Rice
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Barley
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Barley
  • Calories: 439 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Life Stage: Kitten

Formulated especially for kittens, this cat food for weight gain features real meat as its number one ingredient. Protein is especially important as it is designed to support the healthy growth of your young cat. Supplementing this is a range of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. 

Another feature is the LifeSource bits, which contain a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These all help to give the immune system of your little kitty a boost. But you can also rest assured that there are no by-product meals, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives. For more options head over to our guide on the Best Kitten Foods.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Protein, Peas, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Fish Oil (Source Of ARA-Arachidonic Acid And DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Powdered Cellulose, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), DL-Methionine, Calcium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Oil Of Rosemary.

What others say about it:
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My little kitten was given to me a bit too early, around 5 weeks. He was very small, only weighed a pound. I gave him this, 1/4 cup twice a day and after a little over a month he is 3 pounds, full of energy and is healthy. The quality is great and the size of the food is perfect. Ive read a lot of schety reviews about buying animal food off amazon and it being terrible (fake, not actual product) but this is it. All legit. I recommend it for sure.

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2 Best Limited Ingredients: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food

Best Limited Ingredients: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Natural Balance
  • First 5 ingredients: Green Peas, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Chicken Fat, Pea Protein
  • Primary Proteins: Peas, Chicken
  • Calories: 410 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Green Pea & Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

Second on the list, we have this dry cat food which follows the limited ingredient philosophy of not packing recipe with unnecessary fillers. The number one ingredient is real poultry – in this case chicken with green peas. 

Many people believe that one of the main advantages of this limited ingredient food is that it offers digestive support to your four-legged friend. Plus, it also helps your pooch to look their very best with a beautiful shiny coat and healthy skin. 

Take a look at our detailed guide on Natural Balance Cat Food.  

Ingredients:

Green Peas, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Protein, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Calcium Carbonate, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

What others say about it:
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We have a multi cat household and two of the cats have food allergies. We tried this food and all of my cats like it, are eating it, seem to be enjoying it, and are not having any issues with it. What more can I say. I think that speaks for itself. It is working for my family. Hope it works for yours too.

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3 Best High-Protein: Iams ProActive Health Chicken & Salmon Dry Cat Food

Best High-Protein: Iams ProActive Health Chicken & Salmon Dry Cat Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Iams
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Byproduct Meal, Corn Grits, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Salmon
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Salmon
  • Calories: 439 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Salmon
  • Life Stage: Adult

You will already be well aware just how important protein is in a cat’s diet, and this high calorie cat food sources 84% of it from chicken and salmon. Protein from meat is so essential to your cat in providing their daily energy source and supporting their heart health.

Many cats can suffer from some sort of digestive issues, so this food aims to help with its blend of prebiotics and beet pulp. And there are none of the things that your cat doesn’t need like artificial dyes and preservatives.

Check out our review of Iams Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Byproduct Meal, Corn Grits, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Salmon, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Sodium Bisulfate, Caramel Color, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), L-Carnitine.

What others say about it:
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This is the only bland my picky cat eats and loves. She goes in and out the house all day and pretty active and this cat food seems to give her enough energy to move around. Her coat is shiny and no hairball problem. I highly recommend this!

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4 Best Canned Cat Food: Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food

Best Canned Cat Food: Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Ziwi
  • First 5 ingredients: Venison, Water Sufficient for Processing, Venison Tripe, Venison Liver, Chickpeas
  • Primary Proteins: Venison
  • Calories: 222 kcal/6.5-oz can
  • Flavor: Venison
  • Life Stage: All

Moisture rich and packed with taste, this venison canned food recipe from Ziwi Peak will provide the essential calories your kit needs as it entices them back to their food bowl and help your cat gain weight. Designed to mirror the ‘whole prey’ diet your feline would have in the wide, it is full of nutritious quality animal protein, and is grain free to help keep their digestion happy. 

Add in ‘superfood’ ingredients such as green tripe, organic kelp and green mussels, and not only will this nutrient dense wet food help underweight cats boost their body condition but also support their all-round good health. ideal as a standalone meal, or as a calorie-rich topper for your pet’s normal dry cat foods. One of the best canned cat food products in our review.

Ingredients:

Venison, Water Sufficient for Processing, Venison Tripe, Venison Liver, Chickpeas, Venison Lung, Venison Heart, Venison Kidney, New Zealand Green Mussel, Venison Bone, DL-Methionine, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex), Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).

What others say about it:
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My cat is quite the talker but nothing gets her going like meal time when Ziwi is involved. She finishes her bowl every time I set this down (she used to eat half of her old food and then go back for the rest later). Can’t get her to quiet down about how much she loves this! And the ingredients are so much better than so many other cat food options out there.

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5 Best for Healthy Immune System: Wellness CORE Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate

Best for Healthy Immune System: Wellness CORE Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate
Key features:
  • Brand: Wellness
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken Meal
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Turkey
  • Calories: 101 kcal/can
  • Flavor: Chicken, Turkey & Chicken Liver
  • Life Stage: All

You kit won’t be able to resist this delicious chicken, turkey and chicken liver pate recipe which also has a smooth, easily digestible formula that makes it a delight to eat. Wellness CORE have also packed this grain free wet cat food with a host of essential nutrients to keep your cat’s health and vitality on track.

With essential omega fatty acids and antioxidants, you also have taurine for their immune system and heart health. Protein rich, you also get carefully selected fruits, veggies and carbs such as cranberries, potatoes and flaxseed to ensure the recipe is nutritionally balanced. And as it is free from any artificial ingredients or fillers, this is a wet cat food you can feed your kit at all its life stages, especially if they have a poor appetite.  

Read here our detailed review of Wellness Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken Meal, Turkey Liver, Dried Ground Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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My old girl, Sammie , is 15 now. She’s been losing weight, not due to any serious health issues, just goes with getting older Vet said. Since I’ve used the Core canned foods for my pit bull for two years, which he loves, I decided to go on Amazon to see if Core made Cat Foods. Luckily, they did. I bought two cases to see if this brand with wholesome foods would get her back to being the ‘Sammie’ we once knew, and truly, it did! She’s feeling spunkier and I can tell her body mass has improved. She loves this food and I love it too for giving Sammie back her life and to us.

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6 Best for Adult Cats: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Canned Cat Food

Best for Adult Cats: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Canned Cat Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Potatoes, Natural Flavor
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken
  • Calories: 551 kcal/can
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

If you prefer to give your kitty a high calorie wet cat food, this is a good possible option for you. As always with Blue Wilderness, real meat is the primary source of protein. In this case, it is from chicken – without any by-products. 

It is also important to talk about the things that it doesn’t contain. In this case, it is corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Oh, and it is also 100% grain-free as well.

You may also like our article on Blue Buffalo Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Flaxseed, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Salt, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).

What others say about it:
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I like the size of the can. I have seven (7) kitties and the big can is so much more economical for our household. I wish more flavors actually came in this size. The can is easy to open and does not require a can opener. The kitties, age ranging from kitten to mature, all like the flavor. I highly recommend the product.

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7 Best for Picky Eaters: Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate

Best for Picky Eaters: Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate
Key features:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Turkey
  • Calories: 105 kcal/3 oz can
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: All

Based on Instinct’s raw food principles, this grain free pate will be in tune with your cat’s natural nutrition and provides a delicious animal protein hit. With cage free chicken and turkey, you also get nutrient rich chicken liver flavor as well as selected fruits and vegetables to sustain their energy and health. Plus, there’s no grain, potato, soy, by-product meal or artificial preservatives that could upset their digestion.

Omegas are also packed into this natural recipe, including ground flaxseed which helps to maintain healthy coat and skin. And the moisture-rich pate formula is easy to eat and digest, as well as tasting great with its natural meat flavor – a big draw for more picky eaters or fussy cats!

Take a look at our guide on Nature’s Variety Instinct Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Egg Product, Peas, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.

What others say about it:
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Bailo, our 19 year old cat was on the last leg with failing kidneys, a urine infection, sensitive stomach and continuous throwing up. A cure with antibiotics & this feed was part of her coming back and now being able to eat without throwing up anymore. Older cats are more sensitive.
She is even back playing now. Her kidney condition will not go away but she is happy and better, that is what matter to me at this point. Thanks!

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8 Best for Kidney Issues: Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Salmon Formula

Best for Kidney Issues: Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Salmon Formula
Key features:
  • Brand: Dr. Elsey’s
  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Dried Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Gelatin, Salmon Hydrolysate
  • Primary Proteins: Salmon, Salmon
  • Calories: 554 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Salmon
  • Life Stage: All

Your kit was designed to thrive on real animal protein and with Dr Elsey’s CleanProtein formula you get some of the best. This recipe is made with whole salmon boosted by chicken and egg for all the essential amino acids your cat needs for lean muscles and general health. It also has a lower glycemic formula so your cat gets most of its energy levels from the protein, as it would out in the wild.

This is a good dry cat food for felines who are prone to bladder stones or kidney disease, as it is low oxalate to prevent the crystals forming. But it doesn’t skimp on essential nutrients and is packed with vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and omegas, all in a meaty kibble formula most cats will love. One of the best cat food for weight gain options in out review.

Ingredients:

Salmon, Dried Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Gelatin, Salmon Hydrolysate, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Chickpeas, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Pork Protein Isolate, Potassium Citrate, Fructooligosaccharide, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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Our four cats had no problem switching to this food. We followed the direction and slowly incorporated this with their old brand. After about a week, we fully transitioned to this new food and all four ate it! I think the key to this is the slow transition so they get used to it. I’m super happy because I feel like this is much higher quality with more protein and less carbohydrates than other options out there! I’d definitely recommend trying it out if you’re also looking to switch to a higher protein, low carb diet for your fur babies!

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9 Best Freeze-Dried: Instinct Raw Boost Duck & Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Best Freeze-Dried: Instinct Raw Boost Duck & Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • First 5 ingredients: Duck, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, White Fish Meal
  • Primary Proteins: Duck, Turkey & Chicken
  • Calories: 503 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Duck
  • Life Stage: All

Providing a rich diet and core nutrition for cats are just two of the underlying principles of this grain-free cat food manufacturer. All the ingredients are natural, but there are also some added vitamins and minerals to support various areas of your cat’s body. The omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids help to ensure a coat that is luxurious, soft, and shiny.

Ingredients:

Duck, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), White Fish Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Natural Flavor, Freeze Dried Duck (including Freeze Dried Ground Duck Bone), Freeze Dried Chicken, Freeze Dried Chicken Liver, Herring Meal, Duck Meal, Pumpkinseeds, Dried Tomato Pomace, Freeze Dried Chicken Heart, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Montmorillonite Clay, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Salt, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Dried Kelp, Salmon Oil, Blueberries, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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After treating my cat with medication for hyperthyroidism for the past couple years with no improvement of symptoms, I decided to see if there was anything dietary that could be done to help him gain weight and reduce diarrhea. This food has done both! Within the first few days I noticed that his stool was indistinguishable from our younger cat’s. It’s now been a couple months and he’s definitely gaining weight. I don’t have exactly numbers yet (can update after the next appointment), but the feeling of bones along his spine has reduced significantly and he feels heavier when I pick him up. There has also been a marked reduction in the frequency of stomach upset/vomiting. This poor guy has had a rough go of it since developing hyperthyroidism and has had a couple close calls, so these small improvements over the past couple months have been huge!

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10 Premium Choice: Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula Dry Cat Food

Premium Choice: Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula Dry Cat Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Wysong
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken, Meat Protein Isolate, Chicken Fat, Gelatin
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken
  • Calories: 435 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

Last up on our list, we have this pet food that contains no starch ingredients. The high meat content is supposed to mimic the kind of diet that your cat would have done in the wild. Flavor is obviously important in a cat food as well, and this one aims to recreate the natural flavor that cats desire so strongly. Plus, it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.

Ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken, Meat Protein Isolate, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil, Chia Seeds, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Propionate (a preservative), Choline Chloride, Apple Pectin, Fish Oil, Yeast Extract, Citric Acid (a preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Rosemary Extract, Inulin, Yeast Culture, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [source of Vitamin C], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Lactis Fermentation Product.

What others say about it:
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I thought this was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen and was super skeptical, but my cat and dog love it!! My cat liked it so much he thought they were treats and was super confused when we gave him a full bowl of it. It took about a month to transition my cat to it. We feed him 1/8 cup of it a day with the blue wilderness canned cat food. He did gain some weight at first, only 2 pounds, but then he got all of this energy to play like he was s kitten again. I was so glad to see him have so much energy and so far he’s lost 4 lbs, which is all he needed to loose. Overall, this is amazing, and works very well for my pup and my cat. Highly recommend!!

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11 Best Gluten-Free: Solid Gold Indigo Moon High Protein

Best Gluten-Free: Solid Gold Indigo Moon High Protein
Key features:
  • Brand: Solid Gold
  • First 5 ingredients: Ocean Fish Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat, Pollock
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Peas & Egg
  • Calories: 485 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Alaskan Pollock & Egg
  • Life Stage: Adult

If you cat is a reluctant eater, then try tempting them back to their food bowl with this delicious high protein recipe which features real wild Alaskan pollock, boosted by eggs. The result is an easy to chew and digest dry cat food that is packed with goodness and flavor. Plus, the oily pollock means it is a superfood for your kit when it comes to those essential omega fatty acids. 

Grain and gluten free, Indigo Moon also contains live probiotics to support your pet’s gut health and boost their immune support. Add in essential vitamins and minerals, and this dry cat food is also a good choice for felines who need extra calories to sustain their active lifestyle.

For more information on the brand, check out our review of Solid Gold Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Ocean Fish Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pollock, Potato Protein, Tapioca, Dried Eggs, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Carrots, Pumpkin, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid), Taurine, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Blueberries, Cranberries, Dried Chicory Root, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

What others say about it:
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have seen other people talk about how a product made their cats fur feel different. After several weeks of Solid Gold my indoor-only cats’ fur feels healthier. The bag did not have a lot of dust at the bottom which I appreciate. My cats have never been picky eaters and they eat this brand without complaint. I am halfway through my second bag. 🙂

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12 Best for Allergies: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe

Best for Allergies: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • First 5 ingredients: Rabbit Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Canola Oil, Rabbit
  • Primary Proteins: Rabbit
  • Calories: 457 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Rabbit
  • Life Stage: Adult

With real rabbit as its main protein source, this grain-free dry cat food from Instinct contains a freeze-dried raw layer for a super-nutrition hit. Ideal for cats who are more sensitive when it comes to their diet and digestion, the recipe is also grain free and also contains no dairy, eggs, wheat, soy or artificial flavors or preservatives.

The ingredient list is short – there’s just one vegetable, peas in the recipe – but it is carefully balanced to ensure your cat gets all the nutrition, energy and taste they need. As an easily digestible protein, the rabbit is farm raised so you can be assured of the quality. And with this diet your cat gets sufficient omegas, vitamins and minerals to support their general all-round health. We think the taste, texture and mealtime satisfaction makes this an excellent choice if your cat needs a higher calorie diet. 

Ingredients:

Rabbit Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Rabbit, Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), DL-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Rabbit, Salt, Pumpkinseeds, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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My cat started having allergy issues to food before he was 6 months old. His lips and chin would start to swell and after several trips to the vet for steroid shots we put him on a prescription food trial. That food was very expensive and very low calorie, so with him being a growing kitten I needed something cheaper and more nutritious. I’m so happy for this limited ingredient recipe!! It seems he has issues with chicken and some fish, but this rabbit formula hasn’t given him any issues at all! It DOES make his poo smelly, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay for no allergy flare ups!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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13 Also Consider: Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Recipe

Also Consider:	 Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: Nulo
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Deboned Cod, Whole Peas
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Peas & Turkey
  • Calories: 486 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Cod
  • Life Stage: All

Suitable for kittens as well as adult cats, Nulo’s chicken and cod recipe is both tasty and nutritious. And, free from grains, as well as potatoes, this dry cat food formula is also kind on more sensitive kitty tums. The kibble has a texture and shape that makes it easy and enjoyable to eat and the animal protein flavor is boosted by chicken and turkey meal. The result is a nutritious dry cat food that is well-balanced and helps to keep your pet’s muscles healthy and lean. 

As well as supporting the nutritional needs of underweight or fussy eaters, Nulo also includes pure probiotics for a healthy digestion as well as balanced omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to help keep their coat and skin in tip-top condition. 

Read our in-depth Nulo Cat Food Review.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Deboned Cod, Whole Peas, Lentils, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid), Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Kelp, Dried Sweet Potato, Dried Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Iron Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Pyridoxidine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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My cat was scratching like crazy and pulling out fur in chunks. I treated him for fleas, vet gave hormones etc but any relief was temporary. I started feeding him this food and he has stopped scratching, hair has grown back and both of my cats are more playful and energetic.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

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Best Cat Food For Weight Gain Buying Guide

How to Tell if Your Cat is Underweight

Depending on your cat’s breed and fur type, it can be initially a little difficult to see if they are actually underweight. However, there are some key signs to check for if you are concerned your kit is lighter than they should be.

  • Body fat
    A healthy weight cat should have a minimal covering of fat on their body and have a slight waist when your look down on them from above. You should not be able to see their ribs through their fur.
  • Their ribs
    To check further, gently run your hand over your cat’s side and if you can feel prominent ribs, then they are underweight. You should also be able to feel flesh between the skin and ribs on a healthy cat.
  • Their spine
    Again, you should gently run your hand down the length of your kit’s spine. You should be able to feel the bones and the spurs of vertebrae but not too much. If their spine feels very knobbly and you get a sense that there is very little flesh under the skin over their spine, this could be a sign your cat is too thin or underweight.

If, after these simple visual and physical checks, you are concerned about your cat’s body condition – especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, sudden loss of appetite or nausea which can indicate a sick cat– then it is important to take your pet to the veterinarian so that they can be fully checked out. Once any underlying health issues have been ruled out, your vet can then work with you on a suitable weight gain plan for your pet.

Common Causes of Weight Loss in Cats

Now, you may be returning to the question of what causes cats to lose weight in the first place. Being underweight is often a sign that something more serious is occurring here, so you should certainly ensure that they have a full health check-up. If you are able to address these issues, this will put you in a better place to help your cat pile on the pounds once again. So, here are some common causes of weight loss in cats.

Dental Issues

Most cat owners don’t do enough to take care of their kitty’s oral health, which is bound to increase the number of dental issues that occur. So, if your cat is losing weight, it could simply be the case that it is too painful for them to eat. They may need to have a tooth taken out or some other dental work. Take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. To prevent this from becoming an issue, you can get into the habit of brushing your cat’s teeth on a regular basis.

Check out our guides on the Best Cat Toothbrush and Best Cat Toothpaste.

Hyperthyroidism

This is a common complaint amongst cats – particularly older felines. If your cat’s thyroid is working at hyper speed, it will not be producing enough thyroxine, which will speed up its metabolism. As you would expect, this makes it very challenging for your cat to keep on weight, so you will need help from your veterinary professional as soon as you can get it.

Read here our guide on the best senior cat food.

Cat from above

Parasites

Worms are the most common form of parasite that cats can suffer from. They live inside your dog’s digestive tract and will digest their food before your kitty can experience the benefits. The tapeworm is the most common of these parasites, and you will need some deworming medicine prescribed or bought over the counter to clear the issue and allow your cat to eat unencumbered once again. And you want to deal with this issue as soon as you can to stop the parasites from taking vital nutrients from your kitty.

Burning Off Too Many Calories

It could simply be the case that your cat is taking on fewer calories than they are burning off. This is a particular problem in kittens and younger cats who seem to have a boundless source of energy. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should discourage your cat from getting the exercise that they need. It can help if you switch to food specially formulated for kittens and/or younger cats as this is higher in protein and fat content. Also, if you decide to spay or neuter your cat, this also plays a role in slowing down their metabolism.

How to Put Weight on a Cat

So, you have selected the right food to encourage your cat to gain weight, but you’re not sure of the actual steps of how you are going to go about this. Never fear; we are here with a few helpful tips and hints.

Know Their Ideal Weight

If you know your cat’s ideal weight, you have a very clear target that you are aiming at. This will also reduce the risk that you are going to go overboard, feed them too much, and risk them becoming obese. Consult with your vet about the ideal weight of your cat and a timescale of how quickly you can get them there.

Implement Structured Feeding Times

If you have not been feeding your cat at a structured time every day, now is the time to get into this routine. Rather than leaving food down all day – which becomes somewhat disinteresting over time – you can turn feeding time into an event, which helps to build excitement levels. If you have a very malnourished cat, you may need to start off with smaller portions and build these up over time.

Make the Food More Appetizing

If your cat simply doesn’t seem to get excited at mealtimes, you could try making their food more appealing and appetizing. Try heating up their meals as this will release their aromas and should have your cat salivating.

Weight Gain Supplements and Treats

If you have a severely malnourished cat who needs to put on weight quickly, you should consider what sort of cat weight gain supplements are available to speed up the process. These can be especially useful to cats who struggle to keep their food down. While you don’t want to overdo it with the treats, these can be a useful way of helping your cat pile on the pounds. Try feeding them 100% meat treats such as cooked chicken or turkey. Talk to your vet about any specific recommendations that they can offer.

Make the Eating Experience Comfortable

If you want your cat to enjoy eating, you can help to make the experience especially comfortable for them. Avoid watching your cat eat, as this is something that they don’t enjoy. Consider whether their food is easily accessible and whether you can make any improvements to the bowl they eat from. Keep their food, drinking, and playing areas separate – as this is closer to what they would do in the wild.

You may also like our reviews of the cat food bowl, cat water bowl, and cat water fountain.

What to Look for in a High-Calorie Cat Food

If you have an underweight cat who needs to put on a few pounds, you need to look out for certain elements of their weight management cat food that are going to help them do this. However, you don’t want them to just put on fat – they also need to build their muscle mass. So, we have broken down a few of the main features that can be useful.

High-Calorie Content

The first and most obvious element of high-calorie cat food that you should be on the lookout for is a high-calorie content. This is the only way that you are going to help your furry friend to start putting on weight. If you choose a food that is higher in calories than your current batch, it means that you won’t have to drastically change their feeding schedule and the portion sizes that you offer. If you have recently adopted a cat who is malnourished, this is particularly important as it can be very difficult to get them to eat on a regular basis.

Limited Ingredients

While you may think that it is counterintuitive to offer your cat a limited ingredient food if you are trying to help your cat gain weight, there is a logic to this approach. It follows that many underweight cats are suffering from some sort of digestive issues or malnourishment. Limited ingredient foods are particular about ingredients they choose to include, so there is less likelihood that there is anything in there that is going to negatively affect their digestion and therefore their weight gain efforts. You may also be able to put your finger on what is causing their allergic reactions.

Find out more about Limited Ingredient Cat Food.

Premium Proteins

Cats need a high amount of protein to function properly, and the best source of this is real animal meat. So, always look for this as the number one ingredient. Premium proteins have a number of positive effects including helping your cat to both gain weight and build muscle. The protein sources that come from meat by-products are likely to be less helpful in their weight gaining efforts.

Cat eats

High-Fat Content

On average, cats need around 9% fat in their diet, so this should be a minimum requirement. But cats who need to put on weight can benefit from consuming more fat. Aim to look for food that contains 20% or more fat. Of course, make sure that it doesn’t neglect all the other essential ingredients in proper cat nutrition. You don’t want your kitty to only put on fat and risk going too far the other way.

Flavor

If you want your cat to put on a few pounds, you are never going to be able to do it with a food that they simply don’t enjoy! If there is a specific ingredient that you know your cat enjoys, this is a good starting point. But if you are looking in more general terms, you should go for a food that is high in both flavor and moisture.

No Artificial Additives

The best cat food manufacturers don’t stock their products with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. And many of them make a point of not including these ingredients, so this is certainly worth looking out for. Instead, you should focus on the type of high-quality, natural ingredients that are going to provide them with nice, balanced nutrition.

Ingredients to Avoid in a Cat Food For Weight Gain

While there are plenty of ingredients that can be beneficial, there are also one or two to avoid – particularly in high quantities. So, let’s look closer at a few ingredients to avoid cat weight gain.

Too Much Fat

While we talked earlier about giving your cat a portion of food with higher fat content, this doesn’t mean that you should risk going overboard. Too much fat can lead to its health issues – particularly if obesity set in. So, as your cat is gaining weight, you should keep track of whether it is muscle or fat they are putting on. You may need to take corrective steps if it is too much of the latter.

Too Many Carbohydrates

Cats don’t gain calories from a lot of carbohydrates – particularly if you feed them on a dry food diet. Many cats don’t process carbs properly, so they are not an efficient use of space in their food. Some people make the mistake of thinking that because we gain weight from things like pasta and bread, our cats are going to do the same. But you should always bear in mind that your cat’s digestive system is very different from your own.

Why You Should Feed Your Cat High-Calorie Cat Food

There are plenty of reasons why a high-calorie cat food cat is beneficial to your kitty. Let’s look at a few of these in the following section.

An Easy Weight Gain Method

If your cat has a normal appetite, it can feel difficult to give them enough food to pile on the pounds. But if you switch to high-calorie cat food, you are giving them more calories without having to feed them more often. Also, it doesn’t involve having to give them any additional supplements or switch them onto a radical diet.

Battles Weight Loss Through Illness

Many cats lose weight due to some underlying health conditions and need to put the pounds back on once again. Often, this is due to hyperthyroidism or parasitic infection of some description. If this is the case, your cat may continue eating normally but they are simply unable to put on weight. This type of food can be invaluable in helping them to maintain their good health.

Good for Cats with Plenty of Energy

Though it is a less common reason why cats lose weight, some of them simply have too much energy and are burning off the calories quicker than they can put it on again. So, the switch to a high-calorie cat food can be beneficial as it helps them to maintain a healthy weight without needing to switch up their diet in a big way

Our Top Pick – Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Rice

If your kitten needs to gain some weight, this is certainly a great option for them. Since smaller cats have so much energy, they need plenty of calories from real animal protein, and this is exactly what this food will provide. It is supplemented with plenty of fruit and vegetables which help to offer the nutrients that your cat badly requires. Also, there are the trademark LifeSource bits, which are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Hundreds of customers have ranked it highly, and we also think that it does everything needed of it in terms of weight gain for cats effectively.

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