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Weight loss. When to worry?

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  • Weight loss. When to worry?

    We lost an old cat in January. Remaining kitty was on the plump side then, but had been eating his leftovers. An ounce or two a day, at the most. She got 2 ounces twice a day as regular meals and I upped her to 2.5 once he was gone. Eight pounds is ideal and I’m having a hard time getting her on the scale without freaking right now but I’d say she’s 7.5, down from 8.5 or 9 lbs. She’s a tiny little thing with feet the size of pencil erasers.

    The two cats were not BFF but got along fine and she’s always done her own thing, but I could tell she missed having another cat. We fostered and adopted one after a few weeks and they have virtually the same relationship, except he will occasionally zoom around the house with her for up to 30 seconds. He is also a fantastic eater and will sometimes “stare her down” to leave meals but never pushes.

    It’s been 2 months and her “visual” weight has dropped from almost fat to almost thin but has been steady for a couple weeks. (upped her to 3 ounces but she doesn't always finish) Only changes have been the loss of her old friend/adding a new one, not eating leftovers 3-4 times a day and switching her back to a mostly raw diet. She’d eaten raw exclusively (until it got too hard to manage with the old guy’s health issues) and did very well on it. If anything, she eats better now because the new guy sweats her to use it or lose it. No vomiting, litterbox issues, her coat is gorgeous and she appears to be the happiest she’s ever been. At what point should I quit giving her time to adjust and be concerned about health issues? Routine vet appt. coming up in May.

  • #2
    how old is the cat? hyperthyroidism is quite common in cats, usually sets in after age 10, and often the only symptom is weight loss even though eating well with a hearty appetite. Unchecked hyperthyroidism causes heart and kidney damage, so it might be worth going in for a blood test.

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    • #3
      You haven't said how old your cat might be but weight loss can be an early sign of Hyperthyroid or Diabetes. Both common ailments in geriatric cats.

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      • #4
        see your vet. Weight loss like this needs a doctor involved.

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        • #5
          I agree with everyone else, time to see the vet. Hyperthyroidism is one candidate that needs to be ruled out.
          If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
          Desmond Tutu

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            She is 5 at the oldest and most likely younger. I noticed she lost some of the “puffiness” when the extra food was gone. Went crazy when she figured out the new cat was fun to blindside and spent a couple weeks racing all over the house but has recently settled back down. That’s when I realized she was thinner but it was also when I started introducing raw again. It’s been my experience they thin out when switching to raw but it comes right back as muscle.

            One thing throwing me off is that she was the fat cat before (Simon was really hard to keep weight on) and new cat is a total porker with no exercise goals, other than running to the food dish. She’s not bony at all, I just notice more of an hourglass shape than she used to have.

            I have a postal scale but no success in getting her to do anything but launch off it the second her feet touch. Might try the crate method when she’s agreeable about being picked up again.

            Does this sound like something that can wait until next week or even a month if she doesn't continue to lose weight? I use a home vet for the basics and she’s out of town.

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            • #7
              You could weigh yourself, then hold the cat and step on the scales again and check the difference. Now that we know she's a young cat, hyperthyroidism may not be such a concern and your further description of her antics makes it possible that she did lose some weight ramming around the house.

              I'd say you could wait, but, keep a close eye on her and do monitor that weight.
              If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
              Desmond Tutu

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CrazyGuineaPigLady View Post
                Does this sound like something that can wait until next week or even a month if she doesn't continue to lose weight? I use a home vet for the basics and she’s out of town.
                Next week, maybe. A month? No.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Well, 2 different scales and 2 ways of checking say 8+ pounds still. The last time she looked this thin was right before I took her in for a re-spay and she'd dropped to just over 7 lbs.

                  I'm guessing with a slightly more active cat in the house to play with, she's burning more calories and getting fitter. Maybe there's some stress related to the change of cats, too.

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                  • #10
                    She is young if only 5....................How is her water intake? If she is drinking more than she used to it could be she has become diabetic. This could be stress induced from the loss of her buddy. I would get her into a vet for a blood test. Weight loss with increased drinking are tell tale signs. Next week will be fine, but I wouln't wait until next month.

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                    • #11
                      considering her age and the multiple changes to her life- dietary and exercise- it's probably ok to hold off and just keep an eye on her. The diet changes are enough to explain the weight loss. Inexplicable weight loss is something else entirely.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Technically, she hasn’t lost weight (still at her ideal of 8 lbs) and just changed body shape. The only time I’ve ever seen her drink was when the fountain was a novelty last year and thirst definitely hasn’t increased lately.

                        I’m going to hold off for now and ASSume she ate more than I realized/looked chubby next to the old cat and now she’s the one being squeezed out of extra calories/compared to a real Tub-O-Lard. She’s a shy, panicky cat who won’t come back to her plate if there's any commotion so I try to put food down and leave. Maybe the new cat is pushing her away more than I thought because he’s certainly not getting any more svelte.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CrazyGuineaPigLady View Post
                          Technically, she hasn’t lost weight (still at her ideal of 8 lbs) and just changed body shape. The only time I’ve ever seen her drink was when the fountain was a novelty last year and thirst definitely hasn’t increased lately.

                          I’m going to hold off for now and ASSume she ate more than I realized/looked chubby next to the old cat and now she’s the one being squeezed out of extra calories/compared to a real Tub-O-Lard. She’s a shy, panicky cat who won’t come back to her plate if there's any commotion so I try to put food down and leave. Maybe the new cat is pushing her away more than I thought because he’s certainly not getting any more svelte.
                          You can very easily test your cat's blood glucose at home instead of waiting for the vet. It's quite easy to do and all you need is an inexpensive testing kit from the drugstore.

                          The easiest way is to just get a tiny droplet of blood from the cat's ear. They are not particularly sensitive there so most don't mind it a bit. This video shows how easy it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zE12-4fVn8

                          Basically if you get a reading below about 130 or so, you can pretty much assume you are not dealing with diabetes - which is a typical cause of weight loss in cats.
                          **********
                          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                          -PaulaEdwina

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