Weigh Loss In Cat

by Linda


I have a 5-year-old cat that in the last couple of weeks has become sluggish, with weight loss, decreased appetite, decreased thirst, and not acting his normal self. He doesn't even run for his turkey treats.

It has happened since returning from vacation. He stayed at home along with my 2 other cats. A relative came in daily to take care of them.

He is a mixture of a simease and persian with beautiful blue eyes (that look weak now.) He has never been outside; neither have the other two cats.(since they were kittens--prior to me getting them.)

The other ones are 14 and 3. No health problems from any of them in the past.

I do not know what could be wrong with him. Could you give me some insight?

I plan on taking him to the vet, but I am worried they will charge me so much. I don't have that kind of money. I am very sad right now.

Thanks, LINDA

Dear Linda,

I am so sorry about your cat and the way you are feeling. I understand completely having been there myself so many times.

I certainly understand financial difficulties also. In these difficult economic times, I'm sure many of us can sympathize with you.

Unfortunately, his condition really necessitates a visit to the vet. The longer you wait, the more expensive it will become.

This is just an educated guess, but frequently cats miss their owners very much when they are away. They feel stressed by your absence and the appearance of someone else in the house. This causes them to eat less or not at all.

Even though the owner returns, there may be a condition that has set in called hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver). This condition occurs all too frequently in cats that stop eating or lose weight too fast.

Unfortunately, the cause of the disease is losing weight too rapidly and the treatment for the disease is to gain weight quickly. However, the disease causes greatly decreased appetite so the cat is not likely to gain back the weight on its own.

This is not necessarily what your cat has, but is possible and certainly it is possible he will develop it if he is not treated quickly.

If he was overweight to begin with, then it is even more likely this could be his problem.

Of course, there can be other things bothering him...the list is a mile long. Without a physical exam, I couldn't come close to telling you what is wrong. I would be concerned, however, about fatty liver syndrome having either already developed or developing in the very near future.

There are different levels of diagnostics and care a cat can receive at a vet hospital. If you are honest from the start about your financial situation and can estimate just what you can spend, then the vet should be able to spend your money in the best ways to achieve a diagnosis.

For example, your cat may need bloodwork, x-rays, fluids, medications, hospitalization.....which, yes, can add up quickly.

However, there are different priced blood panels that can be run. If your vet runs the most basic blood chemistry checking first just the major organs, it will be cheaper than running every single blood test there is to run. Likewise, one x-ray can sometimes be very revealing without having to do 3 or 4.

Sometimes hospitalization can be avoided by having a vet tech teach you how to give subcutaneous fluids and oral medications and how to force feed so you can avoid the cost of hospitalization.

Nothing can be determined, however, if your kitty is not thoroughly examined by a vet. Do you have a relative or friend that can help you? Do you know about the CareCredit card that is basically a charge card for animal care with small monthly payments and often NO interest?

These are my suggestions. Feel free to write back if you need to.

Also, I would be very curious to know if he was overweight to begin with and whether his skin inside his ears or his gums looks at all yellow. These findings, if present, would also point toward hepatic lipidosis.

Good luck and please let me know how you make out.


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