How you feed your cat will have a huge impact on their overall health. Thus, by merely looking at the current appearance and behavior of your feline, you will know if your cat is getting the right amount of essential nutrients from their Cat food.
Though malnutrition is often observed in stray cats, some domesticated cats can also become malnourished. This can happen especially when the owner does not know (or does not know yet) how to properly care for them. After all, the main cause of malnutrition in cats is giving them insufficient cat food or the wrong type of cat food.
You might, for example, be giving your Cat food that does not contain enough amounts of calcium, minerals like copper and zinc, and vitamins, which are essential for building a strong, healthy mind and body.
As a cat owner, you would want only the best for your feline. The key to ensuring their health and well-being is to properly manage what you feed them. And since they can’t complain to you about the food you give them, you should know how to observe your cat and recognize if his health is deteriorating.
To help you, a trusted cat food delivery service shares some tell-tale signs that your cat is already malnourished.
4 Signs of Cat Malnutrition
1. Scaly and Dry Skin
When it comes to general health, one of the commonly examined features of a cat is their coat and skin condition. Since you often touch and play with your pet, you can easily notice any changes in their coat.
A well-fed cat will have a shiny and lustrous coat without any dandruff. But if one day you feel that your cat’s skin is scaly and dry, this is a sign of possible malnutrition.
Aside from this, you may also notice redness on their skin, a dull-looking coat, flaky dandruff, and itching. Their nails can become caved in as well. In the long run, they may lose their fur.
2. An Abdominal Tuck
Ideally, your cat must have a well-proportioned body, which is characterized by a visible waist behind the ribs and a small paunch of fat on their abdomen. Also, the ribs must be felt, but with a bit of fat covering them.
So if your cat’s ribs are too visible and he doesn’t seem to have any fat, this means that he is malnourished. Most importantly, you will notice an abdominal tuck, or the cat’s tummy appears sucked in. Moreover, his hip bones and spine may be very pronounced.
Also if you run your hands on his rib cage, you will feel minimal to no fat covering all over his body, especially on his tummy.
3. Pink to White Gums
Cats normally have pink colored gums. If the gums appear pale pink to white, this may indicate anemia. Be aware that when your cats become anemic, they will also have low energy, so they can also become lethargic. It is highly recommended to take them to your Vet immediately if they elicit these symptoms for early diagnosis and treatment.
4. Watery and Stinky Poop
Your cat’s fecal output will tell you a lot about your feline’s health. Firm and well-formed feces indicate that your pet is eating the right diet. And generally, he will empty his bowels daily.
But a watery and stinky poop is a sign of poor cat nutrition. A sudden change in diet is usually the culprit. Meat proteins contain plenty of amino acids with sulfur. Once digested, the end product may result in stinky poop. If this persists for two to three weeks, bring the cat to the vet immediately. Laboratory tests like fecal analysis may be performed to determine the exact cause of the problem.
What to do if Your Cat is Malnourished
Be aware that if malnutrition is left unaddressed, your cat will appear skeletal, with his spinal vertebrae and shoulder blades clearly visible and his bones protruding. Eventually, malnutrition can lead to organ failure, and in extreme cases, even death.
So as soon as you suspect that your cat is suffering from poor nutrition, you must bring them immediately to the vet. This is also the best time for to ask about any concerns you may have regarding your Pet’s nutrition. Generally, you will be advised to give your malnourished cat small, frequent feedings of the best cat food, plenty of fluids, and supplements when necessary, until his health is restored.
As a pet owner, giving your cat a healthy and balanced diet is crucial. Make sure that before bringing home a feline, you are fully committed to this responsibility. Most importantly, keep an eye out for these four tell-tale signs of cat malnutrition and consult your vet when necessary.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a BSC in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.