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How to Increase Appetite in an Aging Cat

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Telephone

  • Tuna or sardines

  • Organic chicken baby food

  • Catnip

  • Caro syrup

Senior cats often experience a loss of appetite. A health problem is often to blame, but the aging process itself may cause appetite loss. In either case, cat owners must carefully observe aging cats to ensure that they eat regularly. A cat that does not eat for even a day or two is at risk for serious health problems, including liver failure. The feline appetite may be stimulated with appealing foods or through pharmaceuticals.

Stimulating an Aging Cat's Appetite

Schedule an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as you notice that your cat is not eating or is not eating enough. Many health problems can cause appetite loss in cats. Only a veterinarian can determine which of these problems, if any, is to blame for your cat's reluctance to eat.

Offer catnip to your cat. This herb can be given fresh or dried as a natural appetite stimulant and digestive aid.

Place a drop of Caro syrup on your cat's tongue. This will help to increase blood sugar levels, which may stimulate the cat's appetite.

Tempt your cat with tuna, sardines or organic chicken baby food. Most cats will eat one of these three items if the appetite is stimulated with catnip and Caro syrup first. Once you discover a favorite snack that always pleases your cat, you can add a small amount to his regular food in order to encourage him to eat more.

Attend your appointment with your veterinarian and continue treatment as directed by the veterinarian. Treat both the appetite loss and any underlying conditions uncovered by the veterinarian.


  • Good-quality canned food is often more appealing than dry food to older cats.

    You can grow catnip on a window ledge at home and allow your cat to sample it freely in order to continually stimulate her appetite.

    Nutri-cal is a dietary supplement that is very calorie-dense and is designed for older cats who have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. This supplement can help put weight back on a thin older cat, but it is not very nutritious and so shouldn't be a part of the cat's regular diet.


  • If your cat refuses food entirely for more than 24 hours, don't wait for an appointment to see your vet. Take the cat in as an emergency case.

    Avoid offering table scraps as anything but a very occasional snack to tempt a cat that is refusing food. Regular consumption of table scraps is hazardous to your pet's health.

    Before offering baby food to your cat, check the ingredients label to make sure there's no onion powder in the baby food. It's often added for flavor, but can cause anemia in pets.