When you have a cat, it might not always be readily apparent when there are health problems present. Cats have a way of being so stoic that they can be suffering, yet they refuse to let anyone know it. Often, you don’t realize that something could potentially be wrong with your cat until he or she begins to lose an excessive amount of weight. Just like virtually any other animal (or human beings, for that matter), excessive weight loss in cats is indicative of a serious medical problem that needs to be dealt with right away. What causes rapid weight loss in cats? It could be any number of different diseases, along with some mental health issues, all of which will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
One of the things that may be potentially responsible for your cat’s weight loss is the presence of parasites. If your cat has contracted worms, he may be losing weight because he’s not able to absorb the nutrients that he would normally get from food. This is especially true if you let him roam outdoors or you allow him to be around other cats and you don’t have him routinely treated for such parasites. Fortunately, this is something that can typically be treated, provided that you don’t allow things to go too far before you step in.
Diabetes can also cause rapid weight loss in cats. Unfortunately, this is typically a lifelong condition that you will have to monitor if your cat is diagnosed with it. In some cases, it’s relatively easy to manage with regular check-ups, special medications and a very specific diet. However, there is a potential for the condition to get worse as your cat ages. Therefore, it’s something that requires very careful monitoring in order to give your cat the best quality of life possible.
If your cat is losing weight rapidly, it could be because he has cancer. This is a devastating diagnosis in any capacity. In some cases, the cancer may be treatable with good veterinary care. In other cases, it may not be feasible to try and treat the disease because it may not curb its progression. The thing you have to consider here is the quality of life that your cat has and what the prognosis is likely to be.
If your cat has problems with his heart, he may be losing weight rapidly. When the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, the body uses more energy. If the majority of his energy is being used simply to survive, there’s not as much energy left to be stored as fat. That’s why both animals and people who get sick tend to lose weight very quickly. The more sick one becomes, the more energy their body starts to use to keep things running as smoothly as possible for as long as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about cats, dogs or human beings, the more weight that is lost very rapidly, the more sick that particular individual is likely to be. In fact, you can make something of a baseline measurement of any living being’s overall health by comparing their weight from week to week. In any case, very rapid weight loss is a sign that something is very wrong. The problem must be dealt with effectively in short order, as the body simply isn’t capable of sustaining that type of stress for an extended period of time.
Health Problems Caused by Rapid Weight Loss
As if all the possible health problems already discussed aren’t frightening enough, your cat may become sick specifically because of the weight loss. If a cat is already sick and loses weight because of it, additional problems can occur. One of the specific problems that you have to look out for is something called fatty liver disease. It occurs when the cat loses so much weight that the liver can no longer process all of the fat that is being passed through the body and becomes diseased itself. Now, you will have to deal with whatever disease caused the weight loss to begin with while simultaneously dealing with the liver problems that are a specific result of said weight loss.
What Can You Do?
As a pet owner, what can you do if your cat is losing weight rapidly? The first thing you should do is make an appointment to have your cat seen by a veterinarian that you trust. Don’t wait, but make the appointment as soon as possible. After that, make a list of any behaviors that your cat seems to be displaying that seem out of character. Think about anything out of the ordinary that he’s done in the last few months. Try to recall places that your cat has been and whether or not there have been any diet changes. Last but not least, think about any major life changes that have occurred recently. Did you move to a new location or change jobs? Is there a new addition to the family? Did you get another pet or lose one that you had for a long time? There are times when cats lose weight because they are depressed or anxious. Putting this list together and presenting it to your veterinarian might help pinpoint the cause. This effort, along with a detailed physical exam, can go a long way toward finding out why your cat is losing weight so you can get ahead of a problem. There is no doubt about it that it’s frightening when something is wrong with a beloved pet and you don’t know what’s going on. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to have the mentality that they will wait it out and see if things get better on their own. Things rarely get better on their own. If your cat is sick enough to lose weight rapidly, he’s probably past the point of being able to deal with the problem on his own. Instead, he should be taken to a veterinarian immediately so that cause can be determined, along with the proper treatment plan.