Cat Weight Loss
Cat weight loss is a broad subject which covers two diametrically opposite problems, one problem is when a cat is losing too much weight and needs to gain weight and stop the cause of the weight loss, and the other problem is when a cat is overweight and needs to lose weight. Both of these are a potential worry for cat owners and any cat owner will know the worry they have if their cat is ill or could potentially have a health problem. This article discusses only the problem of underweight cats.
Underweight cat problems are difficult to deal with and can cause a lot of anxiety for cat owners. The easiest and quickest thing you can do is take your cat down to the local veterinarian and ask for a complete check-up, but this will mean an immediate extra expense (sometimes quite high) which may not have been necessary; firstly you could do some of the basic checks that the vet would do:
- Feel the cat along its spine and ribs. If you can't easily feel the spine then your cat is probably not seriously under-weight.
- What age is the cat? Cats, like Humans, often tend to lose some weight as they get older.
- Has she recently lost weight or is she naturally thin? Recent weight loss is a cause for concern.
- Is she very active or is she sluggish? If she is very active then it is unlikely there is much cause for concern.
- Maybe she just can't cope with one-a-day large meals. Perhaps try putting her on to 2 small meals a day and see if that shows any improvement.
- Has she recently been put on new medication which may not be agreeing with her?
- Have you recently acquired your cat as a kitten? Is it possible that you have changed her diet too quickly from what she had been used to before she came to your home? It is necessary to gradually change the diet to what you think is the best diet, as otherwise a kitten could easily get diarrhea and become weak and emaciated very quickly.
- Have you tried feeding your cat jars of baby food which contain chicken? If so, be sure to check that it does not contain onion which is poisonous to cats.
- Has she one or more bad teeth that are causing her problems with eating?
Try examining your cat's teeth as best as you can just to get a feel for what sort of condition they appear to be in. If they are poor or look very bad, then that is most likely the cause of the problem and she will need your help to cope with this. You can mix some wet kitten food with her ordinary food and pick up powder with nutrients from a pet store and then mix water with it. Also try taking dry cat food, and add a can of tuna which is stored in mineral water, making sure to leave quite a lot of the tuna water in it.
Talk to a Vet
If it is not immediately apparent what is causing the problem then it is advisable to talk to your vet. There is some prescription cat food that the vet might recommend called Hills Prescription A/D which is very good but a bit pricey. There is also a high calorie paste obtainable from the vet that will help your cat gain back some weight. Your vet might also recommend powdered kitten milk.
There is a condition called Vestibular Syndrome which can act up periodically whereby a cat becomes dizzy and may vomit almost continuously; if this happens, the vet may recommend Dramamine, which is generally used to control motion sickness, and to feed her a milk replacement formula via syringe to give her the required nutrients until the vomiting subsides.
Other possible causes of bad weight loss in cats are hyperthyroidism, intestinal parasites, diabetes, and kidney failure in older cats; the vet will, for sure, also check your cat's teeth.
If you have difficulty in paying the vet's high fees, you might find that there is some charitable organization in your country that might be able to help out somewhat. In the UK, there is the RSPCA, Cats Protection League, PDSA, Blue Cross, etc.