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9 Best High-Calorie Cat Food Options For Underweight Kitties 2023

It’s no secret that most cats have no problem packing on the pounds and may need some high-calorie cat food. Even fussy eaters, once they’ve been served their preferred meals, meow desperately for more cat food.

Most cat owners can’t help but give in to their kitty’s sad cries for just a little bit more to munch on, including cat treats. And then justify any weight gain as ‘winter fluff’.

Despite the stereotypical view of fat cats, some of our furry friends struggle to eat or pick up weight. This is especially true of senior cats who lose muscle mass as they age and are more prone to mouth problems and medical conditions that affect their appetites.

There is so much talk about obesity in cats that it is alarming when our cats are underweight or avoid eating. But there are many reasons why this may be happening.

woman with cat on legs and cat spelt out

And there are amazing food options to help your kitty pick up weight while getting all the nutrition they need.

Providing the best care for our cats is a top priority for any cat parent. I’m here to help you pick the right high-calorie cat food that will provide the sustenance that your cat needs.

Cat tries to steal food from the table


High Calorie Cat Food: Why is My Cat Underweight?

First things first: You are not a bad cat parent. There are a ton of reasons why your cat is losing weight, and luckily, most of them have easy remedies.

Older cats metabolize food less efficiently, so even if they’re eating their usual amount, the food isn’t being processed and stored properly. If your senior fur ball has a tendency of vomiting, try one of these cat foods for older cats that vomit.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is another common affliction of senior cats which causes weight loss.

cat in picnic basket with food

Conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes result in increased thirst, urination, and weight loss. As do diseases such as cancer and gastrointestinal problems.

Mouth problems such as toothache prevent a cat from eating properly. And even competition for food with other cats can hinder a proper diet.

As you can already tell, the above list is just a short list of reasons why your cat may be underweight. It’s not by any means a complete list, and there may be underlying issues that may not even be able to be fixed with the top high-calorie foods for cats. If you’ve given your cat this type of food but see that the problem persists, it’s important to speak to your nearest vet.

Cat eating piece of meat from the kitchen table

What is High-Calorie Cat Food?

It’s common to see ‘weight-control’ labels on cat food designed for those cats needing to shed a few. But you won’t come across a tin with ‘high-calorie’ pasted on the front.

It takes a little more digging, and a good place to start is with high-protein foods, as these often have higher fat content and more calories.

Avoid high-carb foods because cats don’t process carbohydrates well and won’t gain weight effectively unless the calories are from complex sources.

Young cat eating at home from its bowl. Female hand adding food

Food that has animal-sourced fat, a lot of protein, and added micronutrients is the best high-calorie option for your underweight kitty. Ensuring that the calories are nutritional is the best way to guarantee that your cat picks up weight without compromising their health or immunity.

While high-calorie cat food is important for underweight felines, it’s important that you get high-quality goods. Whenever purchasing this type of food, be sure it has met the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for complete and balanced nutrition. If not, it may either not help your cat, or it may lead to it getting overweight.

9 Best High-Calorie Cat Food Options

As mentioned earlier, it’s not so easy to find high-calorie cat food. Luckily, I’ve put in the leg work, and now you can choose the best food according to your kitty’s needs.

Remember, if your cat has underlying health issues, you should always speak to your vet before changing food.

two Scottish kittens lap milk from bowl

1. Hills Prescription Diet Restorative/Urgent Care

This calorie-rich, nutrient-packed food is ideal for fur babies that are recovering from an accident or surgery. Its clinically-proven antioxidants are key in supporting immune function and expediting the healing process.

However, the nutritious ingredients and high-calorie content are also ideal for underweight cats, regardless of the reason.

Both the restorative and urgent care recipes are calorie-dense cat food with almost the exact same ingredients. They are ideal for underweight cats who require urgent attention.

hills restorative high calorie cat food

The soft texture is perfect for kitties with mouth problems or fussy eaters. You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to feeding methods. Cats can enjoy this treat by hand, a bowl and a spoon. In extreme cases, you can stir it into a liquid and feed your kitten via a tube or syringe.

The recipe is high in calories from fat and protein and is loaded with potassium and Omega-3. Not only does this help with muscle healing and recovery, but it also helps with heart health.

Due to its impressive nutritional content, this can be your cat’s primary and sole food source. However, the high fat and sodium levels may not suit all cats.

Closeup of cat eating food from a bowl

As this is a prescription diet, it’s best to check with your vet if this is the best route for your kitty. Even if the vet does prescribe it, note that it’s not recommended for long-term feeding.

⇒ Shop USA Hills Prescription Diet Urgent Care

⇒ Shop UK Hills Prescription Diet Restorative

2. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Paté Canned Cat Food

The best part of this calorie-dense canned food is that the calorie source is nutritious meat rather than empty fillers such as wheat. Laced with salmon oil and flaxseed, the added omegas boost immunity and a healthy coat.

It is 100% grain-free and bursting with nutrients and minerals. The paté is full of moisture from meat broth and is free of any nasty chemicals or artificial additives. It is packed with protein from chicken and turkey and is guaranteed to give your cat all the fuel it needs.

wellness chicken and turkey.png

The soft pate is easy to consume and the moisture will keep your cat hydrated and purring for more. It’s the perfect food for cats with dental issues as well as older cats.

Furthermore, the food comes without any artificial additives, grains and fillers, which helps your cat digest it a lot better. While it is a little more expensive compared to other products on this list, it’s well worth the extra bucks spent.

Note: While grain-free, the product is made in an environment where grains are processed. As such, choose to avoid it if your cat is allergic to grains of any sort.

⇒ Shop USA Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Chicken Turkey & Chicken Liver Paté High-Calorie Canned Cat Food

3. Royal Canin Mother & Babycat

Kitten food is loaded with energy and nutrients to help the little guys get the energy they need to grow strong and healthy. While very young cats should eat only kitten food, it is also suitable for any aged cat needing immunity and a calorie boost.

Tabby coloured kitten sitting up

However, pregnant or nurse cat mothers, along with their newborns, have strict nutritional needs that many of the cat foods on the market can’t meet. That’s why Royal Canin high-calorie cat food exists — it’s focused on supporting both moms and kittens as they recover and grow, respectively.

This recipe is expertly designed to support a couple of months old kitten and/or a nursing or pregnant mom. Of course, this means that it is full of essential nutrients and immune-strengthening antioxidants.

It’s rich in additional calories, including DHA Omega-3 fatty acids that help with brain development for the baby kitten. For those already out of the womb, they’ll benefit from nutrients that help with developing their immune and digestive systems. They also get support for their growing bones and emerging teeth.

royal canin.png

As it is made for little tummies, the proteins and probiotics are easy to digest.

This is available as high-calorie wet cat food, in the form of a soft mousse drenched in sauce, ideal for kitties struggling to eat. Its soft texture also helps young kittens transition from nursing to solid foods.

Unfortunately, it’s only available in one flavor at the moment. This means it could be a waste of money if either the expectant mother or newborn kitten doesn’t fancy it.

It is also available as dry food with the same nutritional content and is even better for older cats needing to put on some weight.

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4. Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Game Bird Recipe Dry Food

Cats need nutritious calories and animal proteins to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight. What could be better than a smorgasbord of chicken and game bird-infused kibble?

Cute cat near bowl with food at home

The completely grain-free, calorie-dense dry food has a strong base of chicken and turkey. For an added kick of protein, raw freeze-dried meat bites are added. The raw items go through Merrick’s strict testing process called High-Pressure Processing, which ensures all inclusions are safe.

Whole, raw food is one of the best sources of nutrition. The mix of animal proteins and antioxidant-rich veggies provides your furry pal with all the vitamins, minerals, omegas, and taurine they need.


Of course, the balanced diet recipe is calorie-rich, making it a perfect option for your kitty.

Apart from helping your furry friend gain weight, there are many more health benefits to this food. The mixture uses glucosamine and chondroitin, which helps with healthy hips and joints. There are also omega fatty acids that will help with a shiny coat and healthy skin.

⇒ Shop USA Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Game Bird Recipe Dry Food

5. Purina Pro Plan Kitten

This is the second kitten product to make the list because these recipes are just bursting with goodness. Purina produces expert-quality cat food and their kitten range is a fantastic pick regardless of the age of your cat.

The high-calorie kitten food is packed with fish oils, animal fats, protein, and a whole bunch of crucial vitamins. This provides healthy calories for your cat and a health boost to assist with any underlying conditions.

It’s also rich in DHA Omega-3 fatty acids that help with brain and vision development for little kittens. The taurine and Vitamin A added to the food are highly digestible and also help with their vision too.


Whether you go for the original formula, rich in chicken protein, or prefer an ocean entree, this is a fail-safe choice for providing healthy calories. You may have to adjust portions according to the age of your cat, but it is completely safe and appropriate for even the most distinguished seniors.

Depending on your cat’s age, you can go with either a wet or dry variety of the product.

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6. IAMS ProActive Health High Protein Food

This dry food packs a huge caloric punch and is served with a massive side of protein and a blueberry on top. Or rather, a host of vitamins and antioxidants from blueberries.


The fat content is slightly lower than the IAMS kitten food, at 18%, which is a good amount for picking up weight without compromising health. The protein source comes from chicken and salmon with no artificial additives. The addition of potassium and other minerals also helps kitties maintain heart health.

The unique fiber blend with prebiotics is beneficial for digestion and nutrient absorption. This is a great recipe for active cats that require complex calories to create and maintain muscle mass. Not to mention, the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids will keep your furry friend’s coat shiny and their skin healthy.

⇒ Shop USA IAMS ProActive Health High Protein Food

cat with multiple fish on plate

7. Tiki Cat Luau Wet Food

Looking around, there aren’t many options better than Tiki Cat Luau Wet Food for high-calorie senior cat food. This product comes in a variety of flavors, including ahi tuna & chicken, wild salmon & chicken, wild salmon, chicken & egg, and more. With this many options, even the pickiest of eaters will have a hard time turning their noses up at something.

As with many of these protein-rich foods, chicken is the first ingredient, helping meet the cat’s nutritional needs.

With each bite, your kitten will be met with a punch of flavor thanks to tender meat, and the soft texture will make enjoying their food easy. Since it comes in chunks, it may be hard to eat for cats with dental issues, to enjoy. However, you can turn into a wet pate that just about every kitty can eat by squishing it with a fork or spoon.

The recipe is grain-free, made with non-GMO ingredients, and contains no fillers or byproducts. Each serving comes packed in broth, which adds moisture and additional nutrition.

The food is loaded with ingredients like taurine and omegas, which assist with digestion, urinary tract health, and the like.

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8. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food

Sometimes, your cat may eat less and less because they have a sensitive stomach, thus leading to weight loss. In comes Hill’s Science’s high-calorie dry cat food, which is the perfect recipe for helping your furry friend indulge without the worry of stomach sensitivity.

And while a number of Hill’s Science foods are meant to be prescribed, this option doesn’t need a vet’s prescription. You can get it over the counter, but it won’t hurt to discuss it with your vet if you believe your kitty has some digestive issues.

Chicken is the first ingredient, meaning your kitty will have a protein-rich diet that’s also fit for their carnivore lifestyle. Just do note that it does come with grains, so steer clear if you’re a pet parent to a cat with a grain allergy.

The food comes with added FOS, a nourishing prebiotic fiber that will lead the fight against the sensitive stomach. The recipe’s also easily digestible, which helps the cat to process nutrients really quickly.

Apart from assistance with their stomachs, there are plenty of non-stomach-related health benefits associated with the food. It comes loaded with vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids, which will help your furball develop good skin and a healthy coat.

You, as a parent, will also have an easier time picking up their stool as the food is known to improve stool quality.

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9. Fancy Feast Tender Feast Variety Pack Canned Kitten Food

How about giving your little kittens something fancy for their system? That’s exactly what they’ll get with this Fancy Feast canned offering, a high-calorie kitten food for weight gain.

It comes in several flavors, including chicken, salmon, turkey and ocean white fish. Depending on which you pick, they’ll get to enjoy poultry or fish as the first ingredient.

The food is a soft, pate mixture with real milk that makes eating the food as easy as it could ever be for kittens. That also means your kitty will get plenty of calcium, which helps with bone development.

However, it’s important to note that some cats are lactose intolerant, so this may not be the best option for your cat. If you’re unsure of your kitten’s status here, approach a vet and find out so you don’t get a nasty surprise.

Perhaps the best sell is how affordable these are when bought in grouped packs of canned food.

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Precautions While Giving Your Cat High-Calorie Food for Cats

Before you give your furry friend high-calorie food, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Taking these into consideration will help feed them as best as possible.

Firstly, you’ll need to consult with your cat’s vet before giving them any type of high-calorie treats for cats. Ensure that it’s safe for your kitty to consume and how long they should be on it, especially if it’s prescribed by the vet.

Secondly, given that your cat is underweight, it can be easy to overfeed them. This isn’t good, especially with the highest calorie cat food, even if they’re trying to gain weight. Stick to the feeding portions described in the packaging and your cat will gain weight without risk of being overweight.

Spoil Your Kitten With High-Calorie Cat Treats and Food

Choosing the correct food for your cat can be tough. Simply deciding between wet or dry food is a conundrum that most cat owners constantly struggle with.

It is especially intimidating if your fur-child is dealing with health issues or dietary problems which affect their weight.

British cat and toy fish

If your kitty needs to pick up some weight, always remember to look for nutritious calorie-rich food. Stick to foods that have a high-calorie content because of animal proteins and fat. There is high-calorie cat food for senior cats and kittens, which means no feline’s left behind.

Avoid foods that are carb-dense as they do not provide the correct fuel or energy for cats as you might think.

Please Note: This high calorie cat food post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on most of the links and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. This will not affect the price that you pay. I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.

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Saturday 26th of March 2022

This was super helpful in tracking down high calorie cat food for our older cat who is so skinny. Likely a kidney issue. waiting to hear but want to get her more nutrition while we wait! Thank you!!

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