Weight Loss In Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Stress, lifestyle change, wrong food bowl position - everything can lead to weight loss in cats. Read on to discover the top seven reasons for weight loss in cats.
In recent years, obesity in pets is one of the burning issues. It comes as no surprise that cat owners are focused on obesity. With such a focus on cat gaining weight, people tend to miss when the cat actually starts losing weight, unless it’s too late.
Weight loss in cats may appear for countless reasons, and the reason is usually related to specific medical issues or underlying medical problems.
Weight Loss In Cats
When it comes to pets, people are used that dogs are real foodies. For that common belief, people tend to neglect to realize just how much cats east actually.
Little is known, but when it comes to missing a meal, no animal has hard times like cats do. Without food on reach easily, your feline will suffer – a lot. So, when you notice that your cat actually refuses her raw food or that her bowl with dry food is full the whole day, be sure that there is a problem arriving.
It’s also good to know that your cat might eat normally, but she still might be losing weight. In both cases, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Causes of Weight Loss in Cats
Weight loss in cats may appear due to various reasons. The range can be from simple lifestyle change – such as moving to a new apartment, to serious illness.
Still, just like in humans, weight change in cats can lead to various underlying medical issues. Whether your cat loses only a pound or more, you should contact your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian is the only one who can tell you for sure what’s wrong with your feline. Also, your veterinarian is the only one who can run proper tests. Here are the most common causes of weight loss in cats:
Cats are creatures of habits, and as such, they don’t like it when something in their routine is different if you expose your feline to different habits, rules, or places, every day you can expect significantly different behavior.
Moreover, you can expect your cat to develop anxiety, depression, or stress. Other situation may stress your cat such as:
- High and excessive noise
- Other pets
- Dirty food bowls
- Dirty litter box
Any change in cats’ routine can stress your feline, so make sure that you make any lifestyle transition as easy as possible, if not stress-free completely.
Diabetes is a serious condition that can seriously harm everyone’s health. In general, diabetes is caused by a failure to produce insulin or an impaired ability to respond to it.
As a result, weight loss in cats appears frequently. Cats with diabetes can:
- Drink excessive amount of water
- Urinate more
- Develop urinary tract infections
- Have sweetly scented breath
- Act sluggish
3. Feline Infectious Peritonitis
This is a serious virus that usually occurs in cats raised in catteries. Cats with this condition will seem sick, experience a fever. As a general rule, fever can’t be treated with antibiotics.
This is not something that cat owners love to hear, but weight loss in cats can be a sign that your feline suffers from cancer. Other cancer symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
4. Not Getting Enough Food
Sometimes the biggest issues are solved with the simplest solutions. It may be that your cat simply doesn’t get enough food.
Do you have another pet in your household? Do you have a dog as well, who can easily reach cats’ food bowl? This can be a reason why your cat is eating less.
Did you recently change the food brand? The calorie count matters. Every brand is different, so one brand might offer more proteins, while others might provide more fat.
As you probably know already, cats are carnivores, and they need a lot of proteins, so food high in protein should always be your first choice.
If your cat suffers from some health conditions, such as arthritis, that can keep her from moving around quickly, you should rethink cats bowl location. Maybe she cant reach her bowl easily. Think about potential obstacles within your home that can prevent your cat from getting enough food.
5. Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites are common in cats and can lead to weight loss if left untreated. Did you know that pregnant mothers can give kittens parasites while nursing?
Cats can also get parasites from hunting and eating food in the wild, or outdoors. Moreover, they can get parasites from simply walking through contaminated grass and dirt.
Further, they can get parasites while grooming. That’s why it’s important to treat your cat for parasites regularly; otherwise, you can expect a long list of problems. If the cause is parasites, a simple dewormer might help, and your feline will restore her weight in no time.
6. Dental Disease
Cats are sensitive beings. However, they are not fond of exposing themselves to others when they are in pain. The same philosophy applies to tooth and gum disease.
These diseases can often appear, and you need to oversee your cat’s behavior to notice any change. If your cat suddenly becomes picky about her food, she might be experiencing some dental issues. It’s known that felines with dental disease often lose weight gradually.
7. Feline Hyperthyroidism
Older cats are more prone to specific conditions than kittens are. Therefore, cats over 8 years are always at risk for hyperthyroidism.
In a nutshell, explained, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the throat. This organ is responsible for various functions, including regulating the body’s metabolism.
So, when a feline becomes hyperthyroid, their metabolism goes into overdrive, and they tend to lose weight, but yet to be hungry all the time. They may often produce strange sounds, meow often at night, and have difficulties sleeping.
Your feline may also urinate large amounts and drink a lot of water. If your feline demonstrates any of these symptoms, your veterinarian will do bloodwork to see if this is the cause of the weight loss.
Multiple conditions can cause weight loss in cats, including:
- Viral infections
- Liver disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Treatment for Weight Loss in Cats
The right treatment will always depend on the cause. If you notice that your cat is losing weight, your first step should be to talk with a professional, so seeking veterinarian help is a must. Your veterinarian will first do a physical exam.
After that, an adequate test will be asked to determine the problem. Once the testing is done, your veterinarian will recommend appropriate medication, surgery, diet change, or any other treatment.
Always ask your veterinarian about the right advice on feeding and the environment.
If you can determine a source of stress, your cat should be fine in a short period.
Start by working on that stress and have a goal – to eliminate it entirely. This should help your vet gain weight. If you provide changes and your cat still continues losing weight, follow up with your veterinarian about it.
The Bottom Line
Prevention is the best thing when it comes to weight loss. If you want your cat to be healthy, you should prevent any type of weight loss by providing the right food, proper amount, and monitoring body condition.
Also, veterinarian check-ups and follow up on the check are the great preventing solution. Always contact your veterinarian if you think that your cat acts strange, or that she is not eating as usual.
As a general rule, it’s always easier to treat a health problem in the early stages.
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