3-year-old Cat Losing Weight

by Leona
(Los Angeles, CA)

My three-year-old female has been losing weight (about a pound since December). I brought her to the vet and he ran a blood panel and fecal test. Both came back normal. He thought maybe it's the food, but I feed her Natural Balance, which is a very high-quality food. She eats and behaves normally. I haven't noticed anything "wrong" other than being too thin. Am I worrying needlessly?

Dear Leona,

Weight loss in a cat is always a reason for concern.
I would suggest complete bloodwork, fecal, and a thorough physical exam, which it sounds as though have come back completely normal for your cat. While there are other tests that can be done, there are things you should try to see if your cat is able to gain weight before pursuing further testing because she is so young.

Is your cat more active than she had been previously? An increase in activity could certainly cause some weight loss. Are there stressful things in your cat's environment, such as a new baby, new pet, or food bowls in a different location? Any new changes in a household can disrupt a cat and may reduce his or her eating, even if they do continue to eat.

Try moving the cat food bowls to a very quiet location, if they aren't already, and offer more fresh food more often. I would also suggest offering your cat canned and dry food at all times. And, you may also want to experiment with the types of bowls you're using to feed your cat from. Some cats prefer larger or smaller bowls, some deeper or more shallow. To see some of my favorite feeding bowls, please click here.

The goal would be to see if your cat is able to gain (or at very least maintain) her weight, and after trying all you can to get her to eat as much as you can for about a month or so, she should be brought back to the veterinarian to have her weight rechecked.

If your cat isn't able to gain or maintain her weight after some environmental changes, discussing further testing with your veterinarian to determine the cause of her weight loss would be important.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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