How to feed a starving cat

A starving cat needs nutrition quickly to prevent illness or death. Because a starving cat is weak, it's easier for it to eat wet food than dry food, since eating wet food requires less chewing energy. While the cat may consume any brand or type of wet food, look for kinds with high amounts of nutrients to help bring the malnourished cat back to health as quickly as possible. You should also give the cat plenty of water, since there's a good chance that it's dehydrated as well.

Open a can of wet cat food.

Scoop the food into a bowl or onto a plate and spread it around.

Add vitamin and mineral supplements to the food. Supplements of vitamins A, B and K, taurine and arachidonic acid are particularly good for cats. Look for supplements that you can sprinkle over food or give to the cat in treat form. Brewer's yeast is a vitamin B-rich supplement that you can sprinkle on top of the cat's food. Read the instructions on the supplement package for the exact dosage amount. Give supplements at each meal.

Place the food in front of the cat. Fill a bowl with water and set it next to the food bowl. Step a couple of feet away from the bowls. If the cat does not start eating or licking the food within a few minutes, crouch down beside the cat, swipe your finger over the food, and wipe your finger on the cat's mouth and paw. This will encourage the cat to eat; cats like to be well groomed, so the cat will lick off the food.

Feed the cat three or four small meals a day, at regular intervals, until it reaches a healthy weight.


When you select mineral and vitamin supplements, read the package labels to see what they contain. Cats need vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K; fibre; amino acids; taurine; and arachidonic acid.

Things You'll Need

  • Canned cat food
  • Can opener (if needed)
  • Plate or bowl
  • Spoon
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Water bowl
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About the Author

Racheal Ambrose started writing professionally in 2007. She has worked for the minority publishing company Elite Media Group Inc., Ball Bearings online magazine, "Ball State Daily News" and "The Herald Bulletin." Her articles focus on minority and women's issues, children, crafts, housekeeping and green living. Ambrose holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ball State University.