Many people are concerned about their cats becoming overweight, but inadvertent weight loss can also be a severe problem. It could be a symptom of a more serious medical condition.
You may notice that your cat’s hunger is reduced or completely gone, a condition known as anorexia, depending on the cause of your cat’s weight loss. This is harmful for cats because they are prone to hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver syndrome, which is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the liver is forced to digest huge amounts of stored fat in order to supply energy to the body.
If you find your cat is losing weight, regardless of whether it is eating or not, you should visit your veterinarian. If you’re not sure what your cat’s optimal weight should be, your veterinarian can assist you and recommend a feeding program that will suit your cat’s nutritional requirements.
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Causes of Cat Weight Loss
Anxiety, stress, or depression are all possibilities. Cats who are psychologically stressed may refuse to eat, resulting in weight loss. Excessive noise, other animals in the feeding area, dirty food dishes, and proximity of the food dish to the litter box are all things that can annoy your cat. A cat’s mood might also be affected by the loss of another pet or a change in routine.
Cancer: Although cancer is not the cause of all cat weight loss, it is a common one. Loss of appetite, lethargy, and hiding are some of the most typical symptoms.
Diabetes: Weight loss and appetite changes are typical in cats with this disease, which is caused by a failure to produce the hormone insulin or a reduced capacity to respond to it. Diabetes can cause cats to consume large amounts of water, urinate more frequently than usual, act incredibly slowly, develop urinary tract infections, and have cute breath.
Feline infectious peritonitis: This virus, which is most typically found in cats raised in catteries, has been linked to wasting in the past. FIP causes cats to appear sick, with a fever that does not respond to antibiotics.
Gastrointestinal problems: Weight loss in cats can be caused by a variety of gastrointestinal problems. Other symptoms may include diarrhea, a loss of appetite, and vomiting if this is the case. Inflammatory bowel illness, dietary allergies, and infections are all common GI issues that cause weight loss in cats.
Intestinal parasites: Intestinal parasites, sometimes known as worms, could be the reason of your cat’s unexpected weight loss. These parasites can cause diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, and problems breathing, however symptoms aren’t always present.
Organ failure: Many senior cats lose weight, and determining the exact reason of the problem can be difficult, especially because metabolism alters with age. Kidney illness, for example, becomes more common as cats age. Simple blood and urine tests can help your veterinarian identify these issues.
Hyperthyroidism: Your cat may have a healthy appetite and be eating more than normal, but he or she is still losing weight. Hyperthyroidism is caused by a benign hormone-producing tumor on the thyroid gland that causes thyroid hormone levels to rise. Hyperthyroidism can induce increased drinking and urination, increased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle atrophy, in addition to weight loss. It can also lead to heart difficulties or death in later stages. This illness affects cats of all ages, but it is more common in older cats.
Toothache: If your cat suddenly stops eating and begins to lose weight despite appearing to be generally healthy, the reason could be as simple as a sore tooth. Other signs of a dental problem include drooling and pawing at the mouth. Ulcers in the mouth or severe gingivitis can exacerbate the problem.
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Treatment and Home Care for Underweight Cats
Your veterinarian will likely perform a comprehensive physical exam, blood tests, and urinalysis to determine what is causing your cat’s weight loss and to design the best treatment plan for you and your pet.
Various treatments and dietary changes to treat the underlying problem and restore weight may be advised depending on the cause of your cat’s weight loss. Weight loss in senior cats, fortunately, may often be treated, if not cured.
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Weight loss caused by some gastrointestinal problems can be treated, either whole or partially, by making appropriate dietary changes for your cat. An easily digestible diet may be recommended if your cat has inflammatory bowel disease or other disorders that make food absorption difficult. When the offending foods are removed from the diet, cats that have lost weight due to food allergies may be able to regain their weight completely.
Appetite-stimulating drugs or feeding tubes may be utilized to maintain appropriate nutrition while the cause of anorexia is treated in cases when a lack of appetite is contributing to weight loss.
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