Weight loss is a common problem in senior cats. Mostly, weight loss is an indication that your senior cat could be having an underlying health condition. Therefore, it is important to talk to your veterinarian immediately you notice that your old cat is losing weight. Early diagnosis and treatment help arrest the issue before it becomes serious and probably fatal to your cat.
Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Gravy Lovers Poultry & Beef Feast Collection
Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food
Royal Canin Feline Health Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy
How to help an older cat that is losing weight
1. Feed small portions of food throughout the day
An older cat that is losing weight needs to have access to food throughout the day. Ensure that you provide small portions of food throughout the day. Additionally, place the food in places where the cat can easily access. This is because, if your cat is in pain, they may not move around a lot. Hence, an easily accessible bowl of food may be very helpful for them.
2. Ensure that the food is palatable
Cats can be picky when it comes to food. Some cats are gravy lovers while others prefer certain meat. Therefore, identify what your cat loves and feed it to them to prevent them from losing appetite. Also, since senior cats tend to develop dental issues, choose soft food that is easy to chew and swallow. Additionally, you can slightly warm their food to improve the aroma and encourage them to eat.
3. Feed them a well-balanced diet
Every cat needs a well-balanced and complete diet to meet their nutritional needs. Therefore, ensure that your older cat’s food has a high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient. Cats are obligate carnivores and need animal protein to thrive and develop strong muscles.
Furthermore, the food should have antioxidants to help improve their immunity, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and probiotics to promote a healthy digestive system. Older cats that are losing weight may benefit from high-calorie therapeutic food.
However, it is important that before switching your cat’s diet, you need to consult your veterinarian. It is crucial so that you can address any underlying health condition and start treatment early. Most of the feline’s health conditions are treatable and manageable when caught early. Your cat will start treatment and live a healthy and fulfilling life in their senior years.
Reviews on what to feed an older cat that is losing weight
1. Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Natural Mature Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging cat food has real meat as the first ingredient. The high-quality chicken helps your cat maintain strong and healthy muscles even in their senior years. Also, this food has wholesome grains, vegetables, and fruit to meet all your cat’s nutritional needs.
The wholesome grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates that your old cat needs for their energy needs. Moreover, this food has taurine which helps maintain a healthy heart and eyes in aging cats.
Furthermore, this formula has LifeSource Bits- a specific blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which are carefully selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Thus, these LifeSource Bits supports a healthy immune system for your older cat. Also, it promotes a healthy oxidative balance in your cat’s body.
Moreover, this cat food is prepared with the finest natural ingredients and enhanced with essential vitamins and minerals. Thus, it has no poultry by-product meals, corn, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives which may cause digestive problems to your cat.
2. 9Lives Dry Cat Food
9Lives Dry Cat Food is a complete and balanced diet that is prepared to meet the nutritional needs of adult cats. It is specially formulated to help maintain a healthy urinary tract system by reducing the urinary pH. Thus, it is a perfect choice for senior cats who are prone to getting urinary tract infections.
Additionally, this food has Vitamin E and Selenium which promotes a healthy immune system. Since senior cats may have a weakened immune system, this dry cat food may offer will promote their immunity hence help in fighting infections.
Moreover, this food is prepared to meet the changing nutritional needs of aging cats. It has a delicious tuna flavor that will excite your cat. Also, it is fortified with essential vitamins to promote a healthy life for your kitty.
3. Royal Canin Feline Health Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy
Royal Canin Feline Health is a wet cat food that is prepared with senior cats 12 years and above in mind. This cat food is enhanced with Omega 3 fatty acids to help in maintaining healthy joints, skin, and coat in senior cats. Also, the thin slices in gravy excite even the pickiest eaters and cats who love the gravy only. Also, it is palatable and soft hence perfect for older cats with teeth problems.
Additionally, this food has controlled phosphorous levels to support healthy kidneys for your kitty. Also, being wet cat food, it has enough moisture content that plays a major role in maintaining a healthy urinary tract system. The proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in this diet are highly digestible hence perfect for senior cats with a sensitive digestive system.
4. Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Cat Food Variety Packs (Chicken and Beef)
Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers comes in a variety pack of chicken, turkey, and beef flavor. This food has real meat as the first ingredient to help senior cats maintain healthy and strong muscles. Also, it is complete and balanced nutrition to meet senior cats’ nutritional needs. It has essential vitamins and minerals to support your aging cat’s overall health.
Moreover, this food is tender and has a tempting texture and flavor that will entice even the picky eaters. The different flavors will have your senior cat looking forward to mealtime. It is a perfect choice for senior cats due to its rich flavor too.
5. Meow Mix Tender Favorites Wet Cat Food
Meow Mix Tender Favorites Wet Cat Food has shredded real chicken and beef in a savory sauce. It has a healthy blend of proteins and vitamins that senior cats need to thrive. Also, it is complete and balanced nutrition for adult and senior cats. The high-quality protein in this food helps cats maintain healthy and strong muscles.
Additionally, this food is tender and has a great taste hence perfect for picky cats. The tender shreds are a perfect choice especially for older cats with teeth problems.
Common health problems that would cause weight loss in senior cats
Today, due to the progression in veterinarian care, cats can live a long and healthy life. Even when a cat is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they still have a chance to live a long and fulfilling life. However, this greatly depends on how soon you get your kitty started on treatment.
Most diseases affecting the feline friends are manageable when caught at early stages. Thus, it is important to take your cat for veterinarian check-ups at least once a year. However, as your cat becomes a senior, you will need more checkups per year since senior cats are more susceptible to illnesses.
Here are health problems that affect older cats and cause them to lose weight
Most cats age 12 years and above are at an increased risk of getting arthritis. Arthritis is a condition whereby the cartilage between joints thins. The cartilage works as the shock absorber between your cat’s bones. Therefore, when it thins, the bones come into contact with each causing great pain to your kitty.
Since cats hide their pain as a survival instinct, you need to look out for signs that would indicate that your cat has arthritis. Then, get started on treatment as soon as possible to prevent your cat from suffering the pain that comes with arthritis.
Signs that your cat has arthritis
A cat with arthritis may have decreased mobility. This is because arthritis may cause them immense joint pain especially when moving. Therefore, the cat will be hesitant to move, play, and walk on the stairs. Also, they may spend most of their time sleeping in areas that they can easily access. Thus, your cat may not feed well and end up losing bodyweight.
2. Behavior change
Additionally, arthritis may cause a behavioral change in cats. You may find that your cat is not grooming themselves as they did before. Therefore, they may have matted fur especially in areas that require bending or twisting to reach. Also, some cats may excessively groom their joints. They do this to ease the pain they feel in their joints.
Furthermore, your cat may become irritable especially when you try to handle them. Thus, they may spend a lot of time alone, away from family members of other pets in the household. If you notice that your older cat has these symptoms, take them to your veterinarian to get treatment immediately.
One of the major leading causes of death in old cats is feline cancers. Unfortunately, cancerous growths inhibit the normal functioning of the body organs and systems and the results are fatal.
The most common cancers in cats are lymphoma, leukemia, skin cancer, and fibrosarcoma.
1.Lymphoma in cats
This is the most common cancer in cats. It is a type of blood cancer that occurs when the white blood cells multiply uncontrollably. This cancer mostly affects the intestines, lymph nodes, kidneys, liver, and the nasal cavity.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) was one of the major causes of lymphoma in cats. However, since the development of the FeLV vaccine, cats are now protected from this cancer. Lymphoma is treatable when detected during the early stages through chemotherapy.
2. Skin cancer in cats
The most common skin cancer in cats is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). Usually, this cancer occurs on the exposed skin such as the ears, eyelids, and nose. Mostly, it affects white cats that live in sunny climates. It is preventable by ensuring that cats at a high risk of developing SCC are kept indoors. Although aggressive cancer, when detected and treated at early stages, it is manageable.
3. Fibro sarcoma
Fibrosarcoma is an aggressive tumor that affects the fibrous connective tissue. In most cases, it develops at the site of injection of vaccines and medication. It has been associated with the injections of vaccines, antibiotics, insulin, subcutaneous fluids, and corticosteroids. There have been steps taken to reduce the risk of fibrosarcoma t the injection site. Treatment of this type of cancer involves extensive surgeries, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy.
Signs that your cat has cancer
- Loss of appetite followed by loss of weight
- Lumps that change in size and shapes over time
- Presence of sores that do not heal
- Difficulty and sometimes pain when defecating and urinating
- Difficulty while swallowing
- Bleeding and fluids discharge from nose, mouth, genitals, and anus.
Hyperthyroidism in cats occurs when the thyroid gland overproduces the thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating the metabolism rate, heart rate, muscle control, and the digestive system. Therefore, when there is an overproduction of the thyroid hormone for a long period, most body functions are affected.
Signs that your senior cat has hyperthyroidism
- Weight loss even though the cat seems to have an increase in appetite
- Shortness of breath and increased heart rate
- Frequent urination
- Vomiting and diarrhea
4. Chronic renal disease
Most cats suffer from urinary tract system problems at some point in their lives. The kidneys play an important role in removing waste from the cat’s bloodstream and eliminating them through the urine. Thus, when the kidneys lose their ability to eliminate waste, the harmful toxins accumulate in the cat’s bloodstream.
Unfortunately, kidney disease is not treatable. It is a progressive disease that gets worse when left untreated. However, with early intervention, the condition is manageable and a cat can live a healthy life. Senior cats with chronic renal disease experience weight loss among other symptoms.
Symptoms of kidney disease
- Frequent urination
- Lethargy and body weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
5. Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes is a common condition especially in overweight and senior cats. It occurs when the cat’s body does not produce enough insulin or does not properly utilize the insulin produced. Therefore, the kitty does not get the energy from food intake because insulin plays a major role in the digestion process.
Thus, they start breaking down stored fats and protein to get the energy they need. Hence, you will see that your cat eats more but is still losing weight. Diabetes is a progressive disease and when not controlled, it can become fatal to the cat.
Symptoms of diabetes in cats
- Increased appetite but still losing weight
- Weight loss
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
6. Dental problems
Aging cats are at a higher risk of developing teeth problems than young cats. It is important to start dental care as early as your cat is still a kitten. When a cat feeds, some of the food gets stuck in between their teeth. This forms a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that cause painful infections.
If the cat’s teeth are not cleaned, the bacteria start producing tartar which eventually hardens to form plaque. Plaque is difficult to remove and may spread to cause gum infection and damage to the jaw bone. The common dental diseases in cats include gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth resorption.
A senior cat with dental problems may not feed well due to the pain they experience while chewing food. Thus, they may start losing weight. If you notice that your cat has any of the following symptoms, take them to the veterinarian for treatment.
Symptoms of dental problems in cats
- Bad breath
- Red gums that appear swollen
- Excessive drooling
- Chewing with only one side of their mouth
- Poor feeding habits
Signs that your older cat needs immediate veterinarian attention
- Has lost appetite and is eating less than usual
- He seems thirstier than usual and is drinking too much water
- Has a foul-smelling breath
- Your cat has lost weight
- When he has problems moving and is stiff at the joints. Also, if he is limping and seems hesitant to jump or run
- If your older cat has lumps that keep getting bigger
- When he seems lethargic and less active
- If your cat experiences pain when passing urine or feces.
- He is dull and seems disoriented