What You Should Do About Your Cats Unintentional Weight Loss
Lately, youve noticed that your cat continues to lose weight. Your feline friend has been eating regular meals and even enjoying snacks but still seems to be getting lighter and lighter. Youve probably started to wonder whats going on.
It is essential that your cat maintain a healthy weight for their age and breed. Thats why if youve noticed your cat losing weight;unexpectedly, you need to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Why Is My Cat Getting So Thin
Weight loss is a common feline problem, particularly in senior kitties. Figuring out if your kitty is losing weight may be reliant on what you feel . This is because a plush feline hair coat can readily mask how svelte or thin your cat is becoming. Note if your kitty feels bonier during grooming or petting and pay attention if your normally hefty feline friend is feeling light as a feather when you pick her up. Even if your cats appetite and behavior appear completely normal, unexplained weight loss should always be addressed with your veterinarian. The more common causes of feline weight loss are described below. Not enough foodWeight loss occurs when too few calories are being consumed. Some of the more common reasons cats will cut back on their food intake include:
- A painful problem in the mouth such as a growth or dental disease.
- Competition at the food bowl created by other cats or a sneaky dog.
- Inability to get to the food bowl. For example, the kitty that can no longer jump up onto the food counter.
- Disinterest in the type or brand of food being served. Finicky kitties will go for days, if not weeks, without eating a bite.
- Stress or anxiety some cats quit eating in response to environmental stressors such as moving to a new household or the introduction of a new pet or human into their lives.
What Are The Causes Of Feline Weight Loss
Anything and everything. Seriously. Cat weight loss can occur due to:
– hyperthyroidism in cats
– feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus
– upper respiratory infections
– cat dental problems
…..and on and on. There’s almost nothing imaginable that can’t cause weight loss in cats. If you explore our Feline Illnesses index, you will see that weight loss can be and often is a symptom in any condition.
This is another reason feline weight loss is a problem. Not only is it not obvious until too much weight has been lost, but it is so nonspecific as to the cause. One can never say, “my cat lost weight so she has diabetes” or “my cat lost weight so she has dental problems”. There are so many causes that only a good history and physical exam by your veterinarian can narrow the possibilities and even then, blood work is often necessary, as can be more advanced radiography studies.
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What Cats Are At Risk
Weight loss can occur in any kind of cat from Domestic Shorthairs to Calico Cats, but it can be more prevalent in older cats who are more prone illnesses. Older cats may lose weight as their nutritional needs change with age. If you have a senior cat, you should ask your vet for specific dietary recommendations. Your cat might benefit from additional fiber or other nutrients to help maintain a healthy weight.
Why Is My Cat Fat
Put simply, the reason your cat is fat is that its eating more calories than its burning off. This problem is more common among house cats because they tend to be less mobile if not stimulated properly. If your cat is leading a lazy, sedentary lifestyle, it wont lose any weight. Just like us, the best way for cats to overcome obesity is through dieting and exercise.;
By controlling how much and what type of cat food your feline eats, this will help stave off your obese cats ever-increasing calorie count. Then, by introducing natural exercise into your cats lifestyle, your overweight cat will start to gradually become more active and burn calories quicker. It may sound like an obvious answer, but this winning combination is the most effective way to reduce your cats weight.
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How To Tell If My Cat Is Losing Weight
Its not always easy to detect weight loss in pets, especially if they are hairy or overweight. Thats why you need to schedule regular wellness exams and examine them physically.
To check your felines weight status, you need to stand over them and look at their frame. Ideally, there should be a slight dip at the waist. If the dip is very noticeable, then your cats weight has dropped badly.
Also, try to pay attention when you pick them up and shouldnt feel the ribs as strongly since there would typically be a layer over it.
Of course, if you can see your pets ribs when they move around, you need to schedule an urgent appointment with the veterinarian.
Always Discuss Cat Weight Loss With Your Veterinarian
Unintentional weight loss is a nonspecific sign that can have many causes. Anything short of a veterinary visit is just a guess.
If you notice that your cat is losing weight, you need to call the vet. Make the appointment now.
Your vet should have a documented weight from the last visit and can confirm the weight loss.
They will take a thorough history and do a complete physical exam. Based on those findings, your vet might recommend a fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites, and bloodwork to check for clues to get to the bottom of what is causing the weight loss.
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Anxiety Stress Or Depression
Stress affects everybody differently. In cats, stress can cause them to stop eating. A few things that can upset cats include excessive noise, other animals near their feeding area, dirty food dishes, or having the food dish too close to the litter box. Or, if something tragic has happened like a death in the household they may become depressed.
What Are The Reasons For Sudden Weight Loss In Cats
Weight loss is a case of calorie balance either reduced intake, reduced absorption or increased use or loss. Reduced intake can include reduced appetite, pain eating , or a lower calorie diet. Reduced absorption can be due to diarrhoea and diseases affecting the gut or liver, which processes food. Increased use can be increase in growth, healing, exercise or metabolism. Increased metabolism can be due to endocrine diseases, and there are also other calorie-consuming conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. Increased loss can be due to renal disease , vomiting and diarrhoea.
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Kidney Disease And Cat Weight Loss
Its not uncommon for older cats to experience weight loss, and sometimes it can be difficult to find the cause because a cats metabolism changes with age. Kidney disease, or renal insufficiency, becomes more common as cats age, and symptoms include weight loss and increased drinking and urination.
Although cats with kidney disease dont typically eat that well, if you suspect that your cat has this condition, contact your veterinarian.; Blood and urine tests can determine how well your cats kidneys and other organs are functioning, and your veterinarian can recommend ways to keep weight on your cat.
Intestinal Parasites Can Cause Your Cat To Lose Weight
Another possible cause of weight loss in cats who are still eating is intestinal parasites. If your cat is a hunter, or routinely hunts small rodents or rabbits, she may be exposed to GI parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms. Intestinal parasites and worms interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the GI tract, and can cause weight loss.
Although cats with intestinal parasites dont always show symptoms, they may have some vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. If you suspect that your cat has intestinal parasites, contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may ask you to submit a fecal sample so that she can determine if your cat does have parasites, and if so, she can prescribe the appropriate medication for your cat. Many dewormers come in liquid form, and should be easy to administer to your cat.
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Monitor Your Overweight Cats Daily Activity Calories Burned And Weight
Now that you know what to do to get your cat burning calories and excess weight, you might wish there was a way to see how active your cat has been that day. Or how many calories theyve burned. Good news it exists! The;Tractive GPS Cat tracker and activity monitor;lets you do all that, plus set activity goals.
A bonus feature of;Tractive GPS for cats;is that, since its an all-in-one GPS tracker and activity monitor, you can easily find your cat if they get out of your sight while playing or exercising.;Just open the Tractive app on your phone, press LIVE, and voilÃ;! You can follow your cats every step.
Why Is My Cat Eating So Much And Losing Weight
The inner workings of a cats digestive system can be confusing to the everyday cat owner, and its often difficult to identify issues with your cats health based on their weight and size due to the varying ideal bodyweights for each breed. Feline Hyperthyroidism is a common ailment for cats of all ages and breeds, and can be identified clearly if you notice your cat is eating more frequently, or is acting hungry more often, while still losing weight.
According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Cats afflicted with hyperthyroidism usually develop a variety of signs that may be subtle at first but that become more severe as the disease progresses. The most common clinical signs of hyperthyroidism are weight loss, increased appetite, and increased thirst and urination. Hyperthyroidism may also cause;vomiting,;diarrhea, and hyperactivity. The coat of affected cats may appear unkempt, matted, or greasy.
Our expert veterinarians Dr. Barron and Dr. Ellen go into detail about how you can identify Feline Hyperthyroidism in your cats, and what your options are for treatment.
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How Can I Identify Hyperthyroidism In My Cat
The clearest way to identify feline hyperthyroidism is by monitoring your cats weight and eating habits, especially as they get older. According to the Veterinary Centers of America, The most common clinical sign of hyperthyroidism is weight loss due to the increased rate of metabolism despite an increased appetite. Affected cats are often restless, and may become cranky or aggressive. They may have increased water consumption and urination. It is also common for hyperthyroid cats to exhibit increased vocalizing, particularly at night. They may develop periodic vomiting or diarrhea, and fur may appear unkempt. In some cats, anorexia develops as the disease progresses.
Dr. Ellen says, it does take a lot for an owner to recognize the subtle signs and symptoms of it. That, my older cat suddenly is a little bit more talkative during the night, in the evening. He seems a lot more hungrier than usual. They pester you all the time when theyre chronically hungry, and if the cat keeps going back into the kitchen and youre noticing your cat not putting on weight, then thats a problem.
Causes Of Weight Loss In Cats
Weight loss isnt a disease in itself; rather it is a sign of an underlying problem. Weight loss can be quite subtle as the cats coat can make it difficult to see when this is occurring.
Your cats weight should be checked at least once a year, during his annual visit to the veterinarian. He will then have a baseline to go on. Unfortunately, many pet owners put weight loss in senior cats down to old age, but it is extremely common for cats to have underlying medical causes. Weight loss may include loss of fluids , loss of fat, loss of muscle mass or a combination of all three; it can further be divided into the following:
- Impaired intake poor appetite, inadequate diet.
- Malabsorption An impairment of food absorption such as a lack of digestive enzymes.
- Excess nutrient losses Vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal parasites.
- Changed nutritional requirements Organ dysfunction, hyperthyroidism or pregnancy.
The medical term for weight loss due to disease is cachexia.
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What Is Weight Loss And Chronic Disease
A cat that is losing weight, but still consuming food is likely affected by chronic disease. Your veterinarian may refer to this condition as cachexia, the term used to describe the wasting and weakness of ones body due to chronic illness.
Any time a cat loses a significant amount of weight it is a reason to be concerned, as your cats body mass index greatly affects the functions of the body. Cats lose weight for a variety of reasons, and may be related to anorexia, or refusal to eat. Infestation of internal parasites, stress, anxiety, depression, a change in food and even moving to a new home can cause a feline to stop eating, leading to a dramatic decrease in body weight. Nevertheless, any cat that is losing more than 10% total body weight should be thoroughly examined by a veterinarian, especially if it is consuming food and still dropping pounds.
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Measure Out Your Cat’s Daily Food Allowance
A very common cause of cats being overweight is simply them being overfed. A great starting point is to begin by measuring their daily portions with a cup or scales.;
Transition away from free feeding, which is leaving food out all the time, and gradually move towards scheduled feedings.;When theres a bottomless bowl of food you have no way of monitoring how much each cat is eating. It may seem convenient at first, but it is a leading cause of obesity.;;
As you make the transition away from free-feeding start by doing more frequent, scheduled, smaller meals and making a big announcement when its mealtime so the kitties can get used to the new routine. You could also consider using an automatic feeder that dispenses a measured amount of food at pre-programmed times.
Creating individual feeding stations for your cats can be helpful as well. Cats are not big fans of eating together, can have resource guarding issues, and mealtime should not be a stressful experience.
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Common Causes Of Sudden Weight Loss In Cats
Many people want to lose weight and many pets should lose weight. But what can cause your cat to lose weight when you havent changed what or how much you feed them? Should you be concerned? Only the vet can determine the reason for your cats unexpected weight loss, but here are 8 common causes of weight loss in cats.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Overweight
Since images of fat cats in the media are so popular, it might be difficult to tell if your cats body weight can be classified as normal or healthy. On average, domestic cats should weight about;8 10 pounds . Keep in mind though that the ideal weight also depends on your cats;age and breed.
ð If they weigh;10-20% heavier than the ideal weight, a cat may be classified as overweight. If a cats body weight is 20% or more than what is considered normal or healthy, then the cat is classified as obeseÂ².
Talk to your vet to determine the ideal weight of your cat and if they are currently considered underweight, normal, overweight or obese.
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How To Better Control Your Cats Weight
Though obesity in cats is a growing cause for concern among pet parents, theres no reason to wait until a cat is unmistakably overweight in order to address it. Taking a proactive approach to controlling your cats weight now can go a long way toward maintaining their overall health in the long run.;
In addition to measuring their food, dishing out kibble in a single meal and prioritizing exercise, be sure to monitor your cat for changes to their weight, as well as persistent extra pounds that just wont budge. Both are signs that you may be dealing with an underlying cause like a bad gut biome or a medical issue that requires a trip to the veterinarian. Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment planor even an all-clearis key to keeping your cats weight in check and ensuring they will live a long, healthy life.
Consider What Your Are Feeding Your Cat
The quality of over-the-counter cat foods varies dramatically. Some can have unnecessary added sugars, others are particularly high in fat.
Canned food;is lower in calories than dry kibble, contains a large amount of water, is easier for your cat to digest, and many cats enjoy it.;;Some owners choose to switch to feeding a larger proportion of wet food in comparison to dry as part of the programme. There are also over-the-counter weight-loss diets available in pet stores. These are not designed to have a miraculous effect and measuring of quantities is still required, but they can help in a small way.
Take a look at what you are currently feeding your cat and make a gradual change over if you discover it is not as healthy as you thought. Your vet or a qualified pet nutritionist can offer additional advice if needed.
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