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Health & nutrition

10 High Calorie Cat Food Options To Help With Weight Gain

High Calorie Cat Foods

There are many reasons a cat or kitten could be severely under-nourished and need a high calorie cat food to help gain weight and boost general feline health and wellbeing. Fortunately, there’s a great selection of both wet and dry recipes, all readily available off the shelf, that can be a nutritious fix.

A high calorie cat food offers cats a well-balanced diet that features protein – meat, fish or poultry — as first ingredient and contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Because cats often have preferences when it comes to taste and textures, under such special circumstances, it’s a good idea to cater to a feline’s favorites, particularly, if the cat needs encouragement to eat or is a fussy eater.

Measuring dry cat food calories

Dry food recipes show the calorie content of a cup of food in Kcals. For example, a recipe that has 497 kcal/cup ME (metabolizable energy) means that one cup = 8 oz of that food = 497 calories.

Measuring wet cat food calories

Cans and pouches show the kcal content in terms of the weight of the food, for example 96 kcal/3oz can or 177 kcal/5.5oz can.

When to feed a high calorie cat food:

  • When a cat or kitten that has just been rescued and is severely malnourished.
  • For a frail or elderly feline.
  • For a sick cat that has lost weight as a result and now needs to regain weight.
  • Post-surgery to boost a quicker recovery.
  • For very picky eaters who are not getting enough proper nourishment.
  • For a cat that may have run away in a storm, been trapped in a natural disaster or, displaced over a holiday period, and not eaten for a several days.
  • When a cat is suffering from stress and anxiety as a result of a change of circumstances in a household.
  • For cats with dental issues (once they have had veterinary help to resolve the issue and quell any pain).

How to feed an under-nourished cat

Selecting a high-quality natural food rich in meat proteins is a great way of helping finicky eaters find a food they will love and eat. A texture your cat most enjoys will matter too, confirms Wellness Pet Company Global veterinarian Danielle Bernal DVM.

“A frail or ill cat may prefer to eat multiple smaller meals rather than being fed one big meal.”

But given that cats generally are nibblers and prefer to eat on demand, Bernal suggests that the main focus is ensuring that the cat gets the required number of calories needed in a diet to meet its nutrient requirements.

Young kittens generally require more meals in a day. However, if you are trying to boost the health of a severely under-nourished kitten, Bernal advises more frequent feeding.

“A very young kitten will need to eat more frequently than just key meals,” confirms Bernal. “I usually suggest just ad-libbing it until eight weeks of age, dividing out their calorie requirements. Then four meals a day until 12 weeks of age before moving to an easier routine of twice daily. Given cats tend to eat multiple meals throughout a day however, and if you feed a wet and dry combo, I suggest leaving the allocated dry food amount out all the time so that a kitten can eat on its own schedule.”

If you are feeding a cat a high-calorie cat food because of a special situation, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your pet’s veterinarian or call the Wellness consumer hotline for advice regarding feeding the correct amounts to meet such specific needs. We’re available Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm ET at 800-225-0904.

10 high-calorie cat food recipes

1. Wellness Complete Health with Wholesome Grains dry food

Calorie content: 3,873 kcal/kg or 472 kcal/cup ME

Wellness Complete Health with Wholesome Grains in Salmon is a well-rounded diet that features salmon as the first ingredient and focuses on supporting the 5 signs of Wellbeing which include skin and coat health with guaranteed levels of omega fatty acids from salmon, flaxseed and immune health with added antioxidant vitamins A & E. The right balance of protein and fat will help with muscle tone and optimal energy for all day play.

2. Wellness CORE Original dry food

Calorie content: 3,977 kcal/kg or 497 kcal/cup ME

This grain-free, high protein, nutrient-dense recipe is made with deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal and Chicken Meal for a meat rich cats crave. With moderate fats, wholesome carbohydrates and dietary fiber, this recipe supports the 5 signs of Wellbeing and with added prebiotics and probiotics it further help optimal digestion and microbiome balance.

3. Wellness CORE RawRev Indoor + 100% Raw Turkey

Calorie content: 3,627 kcal/kg or 453 kcal/cup ME

This high-protein, grain-free kibble that supports the 5 Signs of Wellbeing is combined with 100% pure bites of freeze-dried turkey liver. These raw pieces are incredibly tasty and provide a boost of protein, fats, vitamins and minerals in their most natural state. This combination boosts good health supporting lean muscle, healthy weight and a shiny, healthy coat.

4. Wellness Complete Health Pâté Beef & Salmon wet food

Calorie content:

  • 1,133 kcal/kg ME 96 kcal/3oz can
  • 177 kcal/5.5oz can
  • 401 kcal/12.5oz can

Pâté recipes are very easy for cats to both eat and digest and due to their dense format, often deliver the most calorie dense nutrition in the wet recipe range. This formula is an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. And with a taste that 9 in 10 cats love*, this pate recipe makes for not only a great higher calorie wet offering but also a great way to entice even the fussiest felines.

5. Wellness CORE Whitefish, Salmon & Herring Recipe

Calorie content:

  • 157 kcal/5.5 oz. can
  • 85 kcal/3 oz. can

Another protein rich pâté recipe, this fish protein recipe contains no added poultry ingredients making it a great option for cats seeking a more limited ingredient diet for sensitivities. Free from carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, Wellness CORE Whitefish, Salmon & Herring delivers a taste 9 in 10 cats love* and supports the 5 signs of Wellbeing so every cat can share a life of Wellbeing with their pet parent.

6. Wellness CORE Hearty Cuts Chicken & Turkey wet food

Calorie content:

  • 991 kcal/kg ME
  • 154 kcal/5.5oz can

Make mealtime meatier with thick hearty cuts of chicken and turkey in a rich, delicious gravy mixed with superfoods such as carrots and spinach to support inner wellness. Slightly lower in total calories than pate recipes, this tasty meal is a perfect for those cats who prefer a sliced format with gravy for their nutrient rich meal.

7. Wellness CORE 95% Turkey wet food

Calorie content:

  • 1,389 kcal/kg ME
  • 217 kcal/5.5oz can

This 95% animal protein recipe is ideal for cats that need a nutritional boost for any lifestyle issue from a single protein source, Turkey. Because cats are obligate carnivores, this smooth pâté recipe will win on taste and in fact deliver a taste that 9 in 10 cats love*. Catisfaction Guaranteed.

For Kittens:

8. Wellness CORE Kitten Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Deboned Chicken dry food

Calorie content: 3,977 kcal/kg or 497 kcal/cup ME

This specially formulated kitten kibble recipe is nutrient-dense, protein rich and supports optimal growth and development. With the 5 Signs of Wellbeing, added DHA from salmon oil for brain and nerve development and a taste that 9 in 10 cats love*, this recipe helps give all kittens the best start in life.

9. Wellness CORE Pâté Kitten Chicken & Turkey wet food

Calorie content:

  • 1,273 kcal/kg ME
  • 108 kcal/3oz can
  • 199 kcal/5.5oz can

This protein focused diet is specially formulated to give kittens the energy needed to thrive and grow.

Fortunately, there are many more options offered by Wellness. In fact with over 70 different wet recipes and a tailored dry kibble life stage offering, you can be assured of finding a delicious meal that your cat will love. Be sure to check the ingredients list to select the ones that have the highest metabolic energy (ME) values to guarantee your feline is getting the calories she needs for good health.
Do you have a cat or kitten that enjoys one of the Wellness Complete Health or Wellness CORE recipes?

Please share your photos with us by tagging #wellnesspetfood and @wellnesspetfood for a chance to be featured on our website or social pages!

* Based on Studies of Wellness Cat at an Independent Kennel. Data on File. 

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