Older animals and weight loss

Rosie1

I don't know what to put here.
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Reaction score
1,196
Location
u.s.
My oldest cat, Callie, is going to be 13 in September. For a long time all 4 cats were on Innova cat food, but I had noticed that since the newest cat showed up in October that they were all putting on a little bit of weight. Plus there was some hairball puke every now and then. So I decided to put them on a weight control/hairball formula (also trying to find something a little less expensive). The only thing I could find was Iams hairball/WC.

I went through one bag of that and noticed that Callie was losing some weight so I thought the food was working well. But lately I've noticed that she's been kinda bony in her lower body - could feel the backbone and she was skinny back there. So I've been checking with people here if they've seen her eating the food at all (there are two bowls in opposite ends of the house, one of the cats sleeps in my room at night so I have a bowl in here for her). Callie seems to have turned her nose up at the weight control food, but she'll eat things like tiny pieces of chicken or even the cat treats that I give them every now and then.

So I stopped the weight control food and picked up some Nutro Natural Choice. Any time I have had to switch foods, I make sure to mix them for about 5 days or so so they can get used to the new stuff. But I just wanted to see if she would actually eat, get something in her. I opened the bag and she ate a bit of what I put in front of her, but she's largely been ignoring the food bowls.

Am calling the vet tomorrow to probably get her in on Thursday. She still grooms herself a bit, and she climbs up (slowly) to some of her favorite sleep spots, as long as she has a way to step up to them. She's snoozing on my bed right now.

So, I did wonder at first if maybe her teeth were bothering her, but she's eaten some things and when she lets me stroke her face or chin, she doesn't act like anything bothers her. I was also wondering about thyroid issues. Of course I am also worried that maybe she's "winding down" or something. :( She's a little spitfire, and fighter, though. She went through a few years of battling rabies-related cancer. But I never gave up on her and she completely recovered from that; the vet is still amazed at her.

Does anyone have any thoughts on all of this? I love the vet that I've been going to for years now, so I'm sure he'll do a great job, but is there anything in particular people think I should ask about? Or any kinds of tests I should see about for her?
 

Scorpius

The Lizard Queen
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Reaction score
4,132
Location
Massachusetts, U.S.
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
You're doing the right thing by taking her to the vet! Honestly, there are countless reasons why an older kitty would be loosing weight like that (you named a few popular ones: teeth and thyroid). Most likely, the veterinarian will want to do a work-up on her that should include bloodwork and urine tests (sometimes called a Senior Screening) to make sure her organs are all functioning properly and to detect any possible infection (which could be caused by yucky teeth). Also, she might have a touch of arthritis if she's getting up slower that normal, but that's pretty common in older pets as well.

Good luck and I hope that Callie is in tip-top shape soon! :kitty:
 

KLS52

Forum Legend
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
32,858
Age
70
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I don't really have anything to add. It's good that you like your vet and that you have confidence in him. The only thing I noticed with my Mandi in regards to the overactive thryroid, was that she ate like a fiend and was still very thin, even on the medication. I hope it doesn't turn out to be anything serious. :hug:
 

Freesia

not my business.
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
7,611
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I think it is kind of normal for older cats to have a tendency to lose weight. Hobbes has been thin of late, I go to a lot of trouble to keep him fed up. Gypsy though, the opposite situation, she has put on quite a bit of weight. I had been feeding her too much, Hobbes's meal size seems to be too big for her, she is a little cat.
 
OP
OP
Rosie1

Rosie1

I don't know what to put here.
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Reaction score
1,196
Location
u.s.
It has been quite a while since I had a senior kitty. My last one had kidney problems.

If Callie does have a thyroid problem, it's definitely not overactive because she's pretty much turning her nose up at eating. I really want to say "I hope it's something small like teeth" but even teeth problems can be MAJOR problems.
I am anxious to get her in but they close pretty early on Wednesdays so that's why I'll have to wait until Thursday.
 
OP
OP
Rosie1

Rosie1

I don't know what to put here.
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Reaction score
1,196
Location
u.s.
I still can't really get her to eat. She was on my bed last night and I brought some food to her but she was "meh" at it and wouldn't eat it. So I opened up the cat treats, and with a bit of encouragement she ate a few pieces. Then she got up from the crumbs and moved to the other side of the bed.
She slept mostly on my bed all night, and then moved to another favorite spot in here. She left earlier and wandered into the living room and drank water from the giant water bowl in there, then laid down on the cardboard scratching post.
When I got up today, I did notice a very tiny amount of throw up on the floor, though. Just food/saliva. She seems to do that whenever she does manage to eat.
The vet was closed today so I wasn't able to make an appointment for tomorrow. Hopefully we can call early enough that they'll be able to see her tomorrow anyway.
 

KLS52

Forum Legend
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
32,858
Age
70
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
:(

Does sound like she's feeling poorly. I hope you can get her to the vet soon.

Did you ever try baby food? Mandi used to go on hunger strikes periodically and the only thing that got her going again was jarred meat. She would eat a tablespoon or two straight and I would mix some in her regular food. Worked most times unless she was really ill. Then nothing helped except a few days with the vet and some IV fluids.

Hugs for Callie ( and you!)
 
OP
OP
Rosie1

Rosie1

I don't know what to put here.
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Reaction score
1,196
Location
u.s.
She has an appointment today at 4:30. It's 3:12 now. So not much longer.
*fingers crossed that it's nothing (too) serious*

I didn't think about baby food. I will talk to the vet about that.
Thank you for the hugs :)
 
M

mlp

Guest
In addition to what's already been listed, things I would suspect are kidney issues and/or diabetes. It's not unusual to have onsets of those in the mid to late teens. If you have a competent vet, he'll be checking for those.

ETA: Also, if she's having heart problems, that would also account for her lack of appetite and general listlessness.
 
OP
OP
Rosie1

Rosie1

I don't know what to put here.
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Reaction score
1,196
Location
u.s.
We were there a long time but most of it was waiting - in the waiting room, in the room waiting for the doctor after the tech came in, waiting on the bloodwork, etc.
Here is a copy of her bloodwork:
Screenshot2012-08-02at72242PM.png


She has liver problems. He said the main thing right now was getting her to eat...just have her eat anything. I mentioned the baby food, he said that was good and he also gave me some royal canin wet food. It's a high calorie food. She's eaten some already. But I wanted to wait a while before giving her more as I didn't want her to throw up or anything. If she holds this food down well, then tomorrow I will start her on the medicine he gave. It's to help cleanse the liver. I hope she will keep on eating, as he said that if I could not get her to eat at all, then that was pretty much it. She is also a bit dehydrated so along with the wet food, I'm gonna try using a syringe to get some water in her.

She goes back Monday for a follow-up and to see where we go from there. Oh, she also weighs 10 pounds. The last time she was weighed was a little over a year ago, at 15 pounds. I'm not sure how quickly she lost those 5 pounds. I hope she'll continue to be enthusiastic about this wet food. Because I thought she was with the dry food before, she ate well once but then showed no interest after that. We're still up against a wall with all of this, so I'll just have to see how it goes.
 
M

mlp

Guest
Well, the good news is that the liver, unlike the kidneys, can recover.

If you end up trying the baby food, go for the Gerbers. No cat of mine has ever touched the Beechnut. Try each kind of meat - some like one kind, others a different kind. And the same flavor doesn't necessarily appeal all the time.

Some cats prefer different types of cat food rather than baby food. When I have a sick cat, I go and buy one of each of each flavor of canned food that Petsmart or Petco carries.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KLS52

KLS52

Forum Legend
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
32,858
Age
70
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I hope she continues to eat...I will continue to send good wishes your way. I hope she will be ok.
 

~Wonder

Forum Novice
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Reaction score
20
Hopefully you caught this early enough. Do whatever you can to get her to eat, even if you have to give her people food. If she has a treat she likes, give her as many as you can. When cats stop eating their body converts stored fat into energy. Fat cells build up in the liver and can eventually cause the liver to fail. You basically need to make her get her energy from food instead of stored fat, otherwise she could develop a serious condition called fatty liver disease:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feline_hepatic_lipidosis
Make sure you watch her ears, gums, and eye membranes. If they start turning yellow, even slightly, get her to the vet ASAP, an emergency vet if necessary. Seriously, don't be afraid to give her anything you'll think she'll eat. If you think she'll eat butter, give it to her. Get as many calories in her as you can as fast as you cat.
 

sallyomally

Forum Legend
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
1,341
Location
Houston,TX
Baby food worked well with my Abby(who is also a senior at age 12),when we having issue with her diabetes. My vet also suggested sardines and a bit of canned tuna or salmon. I have found with most cats, the stinkier the better when it comes to feeding time. Good luck. Keep us posted. Lots of healing thoughts and love for Callie cat.
 

KLS52

Forum Legend
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
32,858
Age
70
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
How is Callie doing?

Edit: just saw your post in the happy thread. :)

I hope she continues to improve.
 
OP
OP
Rosie1

Rosie1

I don't know what to put here.
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Reaction score
1,196
Location
u.s.
She was at the vet yesterday for her second round of sub-q fluids. The first definitely seemed to help pick her up. I was failing in the wet cat food/baby food area (which is weird because the first couple times she tried the baby food, she ate a good serving), so I tried some of the turkey sandwich thin slices that my family eats and she's eaten some of that, twice now. So I'm going to keep going with that and hopefully her regular appetite will come back soon.

From the initial 10 pound weight she had, she weighed in 9.6 last time and yesterday. So her weight seems to have stabilized. She is still getting her liquid liver meds every day, it's called HBA. Didn't give her any after the vet visit because she was too P.O'd about it all to be held and get meds. But she did eat some.

She goes back on Monday for another round of sub-q. They said they wanna treat her with that twice a week for a little while. I hope she can kick this thing in the shins HARD, and then gain some weight back and be 100%. She's definitely used some of her 9-lives with all the crazy medical things she's had wrong with her. I wouldn't put it past her to completely outlive everyone, either! ha
 
  • Like
Reactions: KLS52