Cat Weight Loss

Deborah S
by Deborah S
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QuestionI have given my cat Bootsy purina one for sensitive systems for years. He tends to throw up about once a month and it seemed to help. I always gave him hard food, but occasionally I would give him the purina one canned food as a treat. He never liked other solid treats. I noticed that he started to not eat as much of his dry food and started to lose weight. In all, he lost a whole pound. He would beg for his soft food treat though. I was only giving him maybe 2 teaspoons of it as a treat. I would sometimes forget to give it to him and he might only get it every other day. So because he was losing weight I started giving him a little more of the canned food. He goes crazy for the stuff. Cries and cries till I give it to him. I really didn't want to change him over to soft food because sometimes we go away for the weekend and I can't just leave the wet food out. I don't want him to get sick from it. He is very active. Crazy even. Plays and runs all over the house. I'm not sure what to do. If I start giving him soft food all the time, what do I do when we leave town for a few days? We don't have anyone who can take care of him. Any suggestions? (Kathy Amorosi - Maryland)

Answer

Some cats that begin to lose weight and act strangely in their middle to older years may be suffering from a variety of medical problems.

If your cat has lost a lot of weight in a short period of time, it is necessary to have him examined by your veterinarian as soon as you can, before you change his diet. The vet can run blood tests to check the thyroid levels and for other organ function, as there are many causes for change in appetite and weight loss. Some middle-aged to older cats suffer from severe dental disease and the pain of eating hard food can prevent them from wanting to eat dry food, even if they are really hungry. Your vet can check his oral health at the time of the exam.

It would be unusual for your cat to be acting this way simply because he has become a picky eater, but it is possible. One disease that comes to mind that may fit your description is a disease called hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the cat’s thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This in turn speeds up the cat’s metabolism and heart rate. Common symptoms include weight loss, change in appetite (usually the cat becomes a voracious eater but keeps losing weight, while others stop eating), heart murmurs, high heart rate, and excessive vocalization (crying). Many of these cats are described as ‘hyperactive’ racing around the house for no apparent reason.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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