Cats that lose weight needs to be taken seriously. Usually when a cat loses weight, especially a significant amount of weight, is usually an indication of a disease and a consultation with a veterinarian would be required for a proper diagnosis.
Possible Causes of Your Cat’s Weight Loss
Cat hyperthyroidism is a hyper-active thyroid gland. This gland secretes hormones that regulate the metabolic process helping the growth process and the overall health of the cat. If this gland is out of balance, it will cause her to have a rapid heartbeat and cause her to lose weight. This also goes hand in hand with kidney disease. It can be controlled by removing the gland or treated with the proper medication.
Cat diabetes can cause weight loss. There are two types of diabetes each one caused by the improper function of the endocrine gland. Diabetes 1 happens when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Diabetes 2 happens when the body does not react properly to the insulin. Both forms of diabetes can be managed by giving daily insulin shots obtained from your veterinarian.
Time is critical when it comes to cancer. Cancer can either be of the blood, bone or tumors though out the body. The cancer cells will attack the healthy cells and tissue and cause weight loss, vomiting and anemia. If your cat suddenly loses weight, go in for a check-up right away. The faster the diagnosis of cancer, the better the outcome.
In the early stages of pregnancy, a cat may have a lack of appetite and may be vomiting causing it to lose weight. This is common and usually goes away as the pregnancy progresses. She may also lose some weight during lactation, but this is normal as well.
Cat Irritable Bowel Disease
This is caused by inflamed cells located in the upper and lower intestinal tract. The result is chronic diarrhea and vomiting causing weight loss. It is caused by bacteria, food allergies, or genetic problems. It can be treated by a special diet recommended by your veterinarian.
Cat Gastrointestinal Problems
Gastrointestinal problems can cause cat weight loss. This may include internal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis. It could be as simple as deworming the cat or something more serious the veterinarian would have to treat.
Cat Dental Problems
Cat dental problems are very painful, and the cat will usually refrain from eating to avoid the pain. Just like humans, cats can get cavities, infections, gum disease or have a rotten tooth that needs to be pulled. Dental issues can include bad breath, drooling, pawing at the mouth, meowing or oral bleeding, most people will not brush a cat’s teeth, but your veterinarian can recommend good dental hygiene to prevent tooth decay. There are even some treats you can purchase that promote good dental hygiene for cats. If you suspect your cat is in mouth discomfort, see your veterinarian.
Cat Food Intake
Your cat can lose weight if its diet is not supplying the right nutrients. Make sure the diet is right in proteins, fatty acids and vitamins. Have you ever seen a cat outdoors eating grass? They do that as there is something lacking in the diet they are not getting. Greens are important. If you are unsure of what the proper diet is for cat, consult your veterinarian. Many cats don’t need wet food, but they do love it. It depends on the age, size and activity of the cat. Many cats are lazy and do not exercise. Especially if they are indoor only cats. Sometimes if you add wet food, you will see a very lazy cat become very overweight in a short period of time. However, if a cat is losing weight or nursing, wet food is a good idea to pack on those extra pounds. Wet food is high in calories and offers a palette most cats gravitate towards. Especially if they have been on a dry food only diet.
How Do You Tell What is a Healthy Weight for Your Cat?
If your cat has extremely long hair it might be hard to tell. However, at an ideal weight, there should be a slight tuck at the waist that is noticeable but not extreme. Run your hands along your cat’s sides. You should be able to feel the ribs but not see them. If the ribs are clearly visible, your cat is probably under-weight.
Stress in the Home Can Also Cause a Cat to Lose Weight
Cats are sensitive to noise and stress in the home. If a cat becomes stressed, they will either eat less, cover up their food, or simply stop eating. Eliminating stress is not always a simple solution but beware that a cat might sense it.
Consult Your Veterinarian
The best way to diagnosis the reason your cat is losing weight is to consult your veterinarian. The vet will most likely do an exam, run bloodwork, x-rays and recommend things such as medication, diet changes, surgery or other treatment. Your vet may simply recommend a diet right in nutrients and calories to help your cat gain weight. Call your Birch Lake Animal Hospital veterinarian at (651) 426-2246 or make an appointment online!
Cats can be experts on hiding illnesses and injuries so sometimes it takes a little detective work to figure out the right diagnosis. Just remember there is a reason your cat is losing weight. The diagnosis may be simple or serious but getting to the root of the problem will ensure you have a happy and healthy cat.
About Birch Lake Animal Hospital
The staff at Birch Lake Animal Hospital seeks to provide the best possible medical care for our highly-valued patients and clients.