Meet Marta, our temporary foster cat from the local no-kill shelter. As you can tell from the picture, Marta is very thin right now. She recently started losing weight, and has been to the vet a few times, but they’re not sure what’s causing the weight loss. Her blood work came back with good results and her appetite is decent, though she could definitely stand to eat more. She has also been de-wormed, though there was no sign of worms, as a precautionary measure. She doesn’t have fleas. Yet she continues to lose weight.
I met Marta last summer when the shelter asked for temporary cat fosters during some construction. Marta is a small cat, but definitely wasn’t boney at that point, and had a voracious appetite. She actually tried to eat the other foster cat’s share of the wet food as well as her own. She was also lively and playful. We took Marta back to the shelter after the construction, but I’ve continued to stop in the cat room and visit her any time I’m there for anything.
I went to the shelter Monday afternoon to drop some things off and saw Marta. She was being housed in a separate area to be sure she has access to plenty of food she wouldn’t have to share with the other cats, but hasn’t made much improvement. In fact, she has lost three more ounces during the past week. They asked if I might be interested in fostering Marta again for a week or two at least, to see if she might be able to put some weight back on in a home environment away from the stress and noise of the shelter. My husband agreed to temporarily fostering her, so I went back and picked her up yesterday afternoon. All of our fur kids are a bit on the rotund side, so our house seems like a good place for a cat to put on a few pounds. I also seem to the designated person in our family to try to coax pets who aren’t eating into eating something, so I’m hoping I can get her to eat more.
I set Marta up in what we call “the big room”; it’s an addition that’s the biggest room in the house, and has a sliding glass door so she can look outside. It’s also the easiest room to keep our quirky quartet of cats out of. We are currently keeping Marta separated from them, in part to protect them in case it turns out to be something contagious that is causing Marta to lose weight, and also to ensure that she gets plenty of food and a chance to rest and relax. The quirky quartet isn’t always big on leaving you in peace.
Marta is doing fairly well. She seems to have perked up a bit, and is responding well to attention. She is eating, though definitely not as much as I’d like her to. She really liked the Fancy Feast Appetizers last year when we fostered her, so I bought her several of those and gave her one last night. She ate very little of it though. I’m not sure if it was that particular flavor, or possibly the texture. I gave her a can of Friskies later last night that was a pate style and she finished that up. I sat next to her while she ate and petted her when she took breaks from eating. She seems to really thrive on the one on one attention. I’m also leaving dry kitten chow out for her, though she doesn’t seem to be eating any of that. I’d feel better if she would eat some of the dry food, since it’s supposed to help them gain weight.
This morning I used a food chopper to reduce some the kitten chow to crumbs. People use it to chop vegetables to hide in their kids’ food, so why not? I mixed some of the crumbs in with another can of the pate style food. Marta ate about a quarter of that this morning. I’m hoping that she’ll continue to snack on it for the rest of the morning. She actually left the food because there was a bird on the porch outside the sliding glass door that she was watching. I’d like to think that’s a positive sign, that she’s alert enough and feels well enough to go across the room to watch a bird she heard chirping.
I will mix more kitten chow crumbs in with another can of pate food today and also offer her a different flavor of the appetizers. I’m also going to continue sitting next to her while she eats since right now she seems more likely to eat with attention. I really want to put some weight on her soon! It’s just so sad to see her as skin and bones. Please feel free to leave any suggestions you may have for putting weight on a cat in the comments.