There are many reasons that cats can lose weight and sometimes this is a good thing. If your cat was previously overweight and your vet has recommended that they lose weight to benefit their health, you may have put them on a special diet. In this case, there is a good and explainable reason for your cat to lose weight and it is a positive thing. However, sudden weight loss in a cat can sometimes indicate that there is a problem with their health, so you should keep an eye out for your cat losing weight when they are not following a special diet.
Reasons for Cat Weight Loss
The causes of cat weight loss can depend on many factors, including age. In older cats, some of the most common reasons that a cat will lose weight include hyperthyroidism, lymphoma, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, other organ diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease. Another possible cause is an oral or dental problem as a cat may stop eating if their mouth hurts. Cats that are affected by anxiety may also lose weight as a result of stress if they have experienced a recent change in their circumstances, such as moving a house or the owners having a baby. A further potential cause of weight loss is a parasitic infection.
Watching your cat eating is useful in identifying the cause of weight loss as even cats that are eating more can lose weight. For example, a cat with hyperthyroidism or diabetes would have an increased appetite but still lose weight even if they were eating more. With other conditions, a cat may have a reduced appetite or stop eating altogether and then lose weight. It is important that you can give this information to your vet.
Monitoring Your Cat’s Weight
One of the main problems with identifying cat weight loss is that they have sometimes lost a significant amount before it becomes noticeable as it happens gradually. This is particularly a problem with long-haired breeds of cats as their coat hides their weight loss.
It is important to identify the weight loss as soon as possible so that the cause can be identified and treated. There are several things to take note of that can help you to identify that there may be a problem. Look out for changes to their behavior or routine, such as changes to litterbox habits or sleeping in different areas. These changes can indicate a problem even if you have not yet noticed the weight loss.
A simple way to monitor a cat’s weight regardless of the length of its coat is to feel their body regularly. You can do this during normal petting. If the condition of their body starts to feel different, such as the joints feeling prominent, then it is a clear sign that your cat is losing weight.
Using Technology to Track Weight Loss
Advancements in modern technology have made it even easier to track various aspects of your cat’s health, including their weight. For example, there is a smart scale that fits under your cat’s litter box that weighs your cat and tracks daily elimination before sending the data to your smart device. This can even be used if you have multiple cats living in your home. There is also a similar device that fits under your cat’s bed and sends you data about their weight to your smart device.
What Can You Do About a Cat Losing Weight?
If your cat is losing weight, then it is an issue and is something about which you will need to consult your vet. You should do this as soon as possible because by the time weight loss becomes noticeable, the underlying cause may have been affecting your cat for some time. This means that treatment is urgent to prevent the health of your from deteriorating further.
When you visit the vet, they will conduct a physical examination of your cat and weigh them to compare their current weight with the weight recorded at their last visit to the vet. They will then need to identify the cause of the weight loss and this will usually involve bloodwork to identify specific problems and to check organ function. If the bloodwork does not reveal the cause of the weight loss, then the vet may also conduct an abdominal ultrasound.