How to nurse a starving cat back to health?

How to nurse a starving cat back to health

A starving cat is the biggest nightmare of an animal rescuer. From my 7 years of experience as an animal rescuer, I know how hard it is to save a starving cat. But don’t worry if you are new, because, in this article, I will conduct an in-depth discussion on- how to nurse a starving cat back to health.

It is tough to suggest how to nurse a starving cat without proper inspection of the rescued cat. But here are a few points to consider:

  • Use canned food instead of dry cat food.
  • Use vitamin and mineral supplement like Brewer’s Yeast.
  • If the cat’s condition is bad and not improving, consult a vet as soon as possible

Purina ONE Natural High Protein” is the best canned food for starving or unhealthy cat.

Well, these are some primary suggestion. Now I will discuss the whole process in detail.

Starving Cat Feeding Chart 

To understand a starving cat’s calorie intake. First, we need to look at the suggested healthy diet chart for cats.

Starving Cat feeding Chart By Weight

Cat Weight (lbs.) Daily Calories Dry Food (Oz) Wet Food (Oz)
1 37 0 1
2 64 1 2
3 87 1 3
4 108 1 4
5 128 1 5
6 146 1 5
7 165 2 6
8 184 2 7
9 199 2 7
10 215 2 8
11 231 2 8
12 247 2 9
13 262 3 9
14 277 3 10
15 292 3 10
16 307 3 11
17 321 3 11
18 335 3 12
19 349 4 13
20 363 4 13
21 376 4 13
22 390 4 14
23 403 4 14
24 416 4 15
25 429 4 15

In the above chart, a cat’s daily food intake is given. But a rescued cat or an underweight cat needs more calorie intake than normal cats. According to UW shelter medicine, a rescued or underweight cat needs 230-270 kcal per day.

Not only rescued but a starving cat may suffer from many things. Now let’s find out some of the frequently asked questions and their solutions.

What to feed a malnourished cat?

Wet food and canned food are the best choices for a malnourished cat. Because their stomach condition is not good and if you give them hard food, they may suffer from inflammation and diarrhea.

Purina Friskies Canned Wet Cat Food is our favorite cat food for starving and  malnourished cat.

For a rescued or a starving cat, food consumption is essential. Because rescued cats are mostly stray, lost, or stolen cats, they mostly survive on food waste. So, for the first few days, it is suggested to give high-calorie wet foods. But what kind of foods to give fatten up a stray cat?

  • Wet Food: There is a variety of wet food you can give to your rescued cat. For example, firstly, baby foods like turkey and fish broth are a great source of calories and easy to digest. So, they will be helpful for your rescued cat also. Secondly, you can give homemade beef or pork broth mixed with any regular semi-wet food. This will increase the cat’s digestion power as well as meet its calorie intake. Lastly, you can give an egg yolk. I know it’s not suggested to give cats egg. But organic eggs are a great source of protein and will help the cat gain weight fast.
  • Canned Food: There are varieties of canned food. But not all of them are suitable for cats. So, try to buy canned foods for your rescued cats from a pet store. It will decrease the chance of getting harmful elements for cats in it. Other than that, you can always give your rescued cat’s canned fish. We all know how much they love to fish. You can also mix homemade beef and pork broth with canned foods.

These foods are a must for a malnourished Cats. Moving on, the next frequently asked question is

How to feed an emaciated cat?

To feed an emaciated cat, you must give them wet  foods only for the first few days and use cooked food instead of raw, canned food.

Feeding a starving cat is not an easy task. You need to follow these few steps for a better result.

  • Firstly, follow the wet food diet for the first 4-5 days after rescuing. After this diet, the rescued cat’s stomach will improve and will be able to digest normal foods.
  • Secondly, never give a starving cat too much food at a time. Try dividing the 220-270 calories into 4 meals and give these meals every 6 hours.
  • Thirdly, ignore the white part of the eggs completely because cats can not digest the white part.
  • Lastly, try to boil or heat the canned fish because raw fish is not suggested for rescued cats. Moreover, please check the label of every canned food if that contains any harmful elements or not.

How to fatten up a stray cat? 

To fatten up a rescued stray cat, you must use extra vitamin supplements and fish oil or similar supplements. These will fasten up the growth of the stray cat. 

Use the following supplements for better and faster results.

  • Vitamin SupplementsVitamin supplements are a must to fatten up a stray cat. Because most of the rescued or lost cats lack the necessary vitamins and minerals they need. So, it’s suggested to give them extra supplements until their health condition is good enough. These extra vitamins and minerals will increase their immunity and help, improving their condition at a faster rate.These are our recommended brand:

But which supplements you use starving cat? You can use Brewer’s yeast. It is easily findable in any health store. Moreover, it is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Mix a teaspoon or sprinkle of it with every meal. 

  •  Fish Oil CapsulesFish oil capsules are a great source of fat. It is healthy for cats too. Moreover, it will fasten your rescued cat’s growth. Fish oil capsules are easily findable in pet and health stores. It is easy to use. Just crash the capsule and mix it with regular food.These are our recommended fish oil product:

Cats are one of the most sensitive pets in the world. So you have to be really careful when nursing a starving cat back to health. And most importantly, hat’s off to you for doing the good work. Happy rescuing!

A few things need to keep in mind, do not give a large portion of supplements to your rescued cats. Because they can harm too, give supplements according to your rescued cat’s weight.

These are the frequently asked questions and their answers for nursing a starving cat back to health. To be safe, you can follow these few instructions.

  • Never give too much food to a newly rescued cat. Give foods slowly and increase the diet day by day.
  • Carefully read every ingredient of canned food and determine if they are suitable for cats or not before giving it to your rescued cat.
  • Please inspect the behavior of your rescued cat after food consumption and find out if they can digest the food or not.
  • Keep your rescued cat clean and find out if they are any lice or not.
  • If your rescued cat show any symptom of sickness, consult a vet as soon as possible.

Also read can cat eat kielbasa or sausage 

So did I answer all your concern on how to nurse a starving cat back to health.

Hope now you understand how to nurse a starving cat back to health. Cats are one of the most sensitive pets in the world. So you have to be really careful when nursing a starving cat back to health. And most importantly, hat’s off to you for doing the good work. Happy rescuing!


Alif has years of experience with the hardships and pleasures of owning a cat. He loves everything about cats. His expertise ranges from travel to health and safety with cats, but it doesn't stop there.

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