Written by Dr. Sam Parker, DVM
So, you noticed that your cat is losing weight and seeming slimmer or lighter on your lap. From food type, dental health, a medical condition, even bowl placement, there are a lot of reasons why your cat is losing weight. Let’s break down some reasons why to get your cat back on the right track.
Reasons Your Cat is Losing Weight
Let’s start with cat food and food placement. First, did you recently change cat food? Or did you start changing volumes of food offered? Did you move your cat’s food bowl? Does it seem like your cat can find the food and chew it?
My Cat is Losing Weight but Eating Well
If your cat is eating normally and none of these things are happening, it could be a medical reason why your cat is losing weight. Here are some of the most common medical reasons why your cat could be losing weight.
Hyperthyroidism in Cats
Sometimes as cats age they can get abnormal thyroid tissue which cause an over production in thyroid hormone expediting metabolism. Cats who still eat ravenously but are losing weight may have hyperthyroidism. A blood test to check the thyroid levels can help determine if this is the cause.
Diabetes in Cats
Cats who are overweight for a majority of their lives often start to lose weight suddenly as they age. These cats seem to still eat fairly regularly and in normal amounts.
A way to tell if your cat is diabetic is you may see them standing in a “plantigrade stance,” or down on their hocks where their hind limbs are positioned at a flatter angle.
Cats with Intestinal Disease
Lymphoma or irritable bowel disease may cause ongoing vomiting or diarrhea on an occasional or consistent basis. There also may be changes in appetite or generalized picky behavior. This often requires first a gastrointestinal blood profile run while fasted, then an intestinal ultrasound to check the thickness of the walls of the intestine.
In order to determine if it is lymphoma or IBD, fill thickness biopsies need to be performed. Chemotherapy or steroid therapy can be used to manage the condition. Often steroids are started to help treat without knowing which of these two diseases it is.
Cats with Dental Disease
If you notice your cat chewing on only one side or has difficulty apprehending food it could mean that dental disease or stomatitis is causing eating to become painful. A veterinarian can look at your pet’s teeth and make an assessment to see if there is a need for a dental procedure. Routine dental care is important in pets to prevent getting to this point. Medications or a tooth extraction may be needed.