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Unexplained Weight Loss In Cats

Is your once-cuddly cat losing weight, even though they haven’t been on a weight loss diet? Can you feel their bones as you run your hand down their back? Unexplained weight loss in cats is always a cause for concern, whether your cat has actually been eating a lot or their appetite has diminished.

Anorexia and Weight Loss In Cats
Does your cat refuse to eat, even when you offer their favorite foods and snacks?

Sometimes, the reason for a lack of appetite is simple and easy to fix. Make sure your cat’s food bowl is clean, and that it’s placed in a quiet area of your home away from other pets and children. It should be kept separate from their water bowl. Ensure your cat’s bag of food is fresh and has been open for no longer than three weeks.

Parasites, though more common in outdoor cats that eat infected prey, can also affect indoor cats. Worms are only sometimes visible in feces or vomit. Your veterinarian can conduct a fecal test to determine if your cat has worms, and if so, which kind they should be treated against.

Dental disease can make it painful for your cat to chew their food. Dental issues affect over 90% of adult cats and the excess bacteria can put a strain on your cat’s heart, liver, and kidneys.

Diabetes is another common reason cats suffer unexplained weight loss. It’s typically associated with increased water consumption, increased urination, vomiting, and lethargy. Cats with diabetes typically do not need injections, they can often be treated with dietary changes and oral medication. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to seizures, coma, and death.

Unexplained Weight Loss Despite A Good Appetite
Is your cat losing weight even though they polish off their bowl at every meal and keep meowing for more?

Hyperthyroidism might be the culprit. It’s usually caused by a benign tumor on the thyroid that causes the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Cats with hyperthyroidism generally feel high-strung and their metabolism is on overdrive, so they’ll feel hungry all the time no matter how much they eat. Hyperthyroidism is common in cats over 7 years old and it’s treatable with at-home medications, in-office injections, and in some cases, surgery. Left untreated, it can lead to serious heart issues.

Is Unexplained Weight Loss In Cats An Emergency?
With a number of serious possible causes, any time your cat’s weight or appetite suddenly changes, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet as soon as you can.

If your cat has not eaten in more than 24 hours, seek emergency veterinary care. Cats that do not eat for more than a day at a time or that lose weight rapidly are vulnerable to hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, a condition that’s fatal if left untreated.