CAT HEALTH Weight Loss

by Melissa




Cleo, my 13-year-old tabby, has been gradually losing hair on her belly and legs, as well as losing weight. She is an indoor cat and her eating, drinking, urinating/defecating and sleeping habits seem to be the same. She is still her playful, talkative self. Is this a normal process of getting older? I am very worried.

Thank you in advance for any advice you can give.

Hi, Melissa,

Age alone is not a disease. Cleo is aging and more likely to develop certain disorders that are common in older cats. Aging should not bring hair loss such as you describe. It also should not cause weight loss unless there is some underlying disorder.

I know you wrote that Cleo is eating, drinking, urinating, defecating, and acting normally. I would encourage you to re-evaluate all of those bodily functions closely.

I see another cat in the photo. If you have more than one cat, it is often difficult to know exactly who is doing what. Separating them for a day or so each with their own food, water, and litter box would give you a more definite idea of how much Cleo is eating and drinking and what she is doing in the litter box.

I often find that when I ask a client if their cat is eating and drinking, they emphatically say "Oh, yes, she eats and drinks very well." They think that means she is doing well. Actually, it's often the case that the ones that are so sure everything is fine actually have a cat that is eating or drinking or urinating MORE than usual. Because they see their cat doing those things often, they assume all is well.

In all actuality, those same cats are often the ones that are drinking too much and urinating too much and sometimes have ravenous appetites that they didn't have before.

Those are hallmark signs of the three most common diseases arising in older cats. Diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism.

Bottom line, Cleo needs to go to the vet and also have bloodwork. Having very accurate answers to the above questions is going to be very helpful.

Good Luck. Thank you for writing. And thanks for the photo!!!!!

Dr. Neely

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