Your once plump and healthy looking cat has suddenly been reduced to skin and bones. She looks frail and sickly. You’re worried about her health and we say you should be. Unexplained weight loss is as serious an issue as sudden weight gain. In most cases it is a signal of an undiagnosed, medical condition.
In this article, we shall discuss the causes of sudden and rapid weight loss in cats. We will also elaborate on the severity of the condition.
Medical Causes for Weight loss in cats
Diabetes is as common in cats as in humans. Diabetes interrupts insulin production in the body. It also impairs the body’s response to this hormone. Diabetes is one of the primary reasons for weight loss in cats as it results in loss of appetite. Other symptoms of diabetes in cats include frequent urination, urinary tract infections, sluggishness and sweetly scented breath.
2. Gastrointestinal problems
A cat suffering from gastrointestinal problems may experience weight loss too. These include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Food allergies and inflammation or blockage of the digestive tract. These gastrointestinal problems give rise to vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite which eventually leads to decreased weight.
3. Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites also called worms thrive in the cat’s intestine and bring about weight loss. Thus, many a times you may observe that though your cat eats a complete, nutritious meal it never puts on weight or continues to lose weight. Intestinal parasites may also cause vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and difficulty in breathing.
Cancer indirectly induces weight loss in cats. Feline leukemia, mammary cancer and sarcomas are the most commonly detected cancers in cats. Symptoms of feline cancer manifest in the form of loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy and troubled breathing.
Hyperthyroidism as a feline disease is mainly observed in older cats. It is caused due to the excess production of the thyroid hormone by a benign tumor on the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism may boost your cat’s appetite, but simultaneously it could result in muscle wasting, diarrhea and vomiting.
6. Tooth and Gum Diseases
A tooth ache or a gum disease qualifies as another cause for weight loss in cats. In this type of weight loss, you will notice that though your cat loses weight, it looks health. The cat mainly loses weight because the pain and discomfort discourages eating. So, weight drops because of reduced food intake.
7. Psychological problems: Anxiety, stress or Depression
Anxiety, stress and Depression take a toll on your pet’s eating habits too. Your cat maybe stressed or depressed if there is a new pet in the house, if there is excessive noise around, if they do not like a particular food brand or food dish or maybe because the food dish looks a lot like its litter dish. Pet cats may also display behavioral changes if there is a change in the environments or if new members come home such as a baby or guests. Cats may also go into depression if owner or another pet in the house has passed away.
8. Feline Infectious Peritonitis
Feline Infectious Peritonitis is caused by a virus and is often diagnosed in cats bred in catteries. FIP results in muscle wasting. Besides, the cat is always sickly and suffers from fever. It also does not respond to medication.
9. Old Age
Finally old age may result in weight loss in cats. Old age makes cats vulnerable to various chronic illnesses such as renal problems, heart diseases, feline hypertension, diabetes, Hepatic Lipidosis (fatty liver disease). These illnesses interrupt the normal functioning of the body. Great impact is observed on metabolic processes and appetite of the cat thus resulting in weight loss.
So, if you observe sudden, rapid weight loss in your cat, you should contact your vet immediately. He will perform a comprehensive physical examination, urinalysis and blood tests to rule out the exact cause of weight loss. Timely diagnosis and treatment will protect your cat from fatal illness and disorders.