Thanks for your reply, very helpful!
So, clearly, there is *something* going on with your cat to cause her to have lost her appetite. She is a senior citizen and a bit of a puzzle since she is giving us so few clues. The things that I would consider would be chronic renal insufficiency (CRI, kidney failure), hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid gland), or a combination of the two, diabetes and unfortunately we also have to consider neoplasia (cancer). These are the most common problems that I see in senior cats.
With chronic renal insufficiency cats tend to drink more, lose weight and have a diminished appetite. Some have vomiting. Many have dry hair coats and hair loss.
With hyperthyroidism, however, they tend to drink more, lose weight and have an INCREASED appetite. Some have vomiting, many have diarrhea.
With diabetes, cats also tend to eat and drink more, and have dry hair coats and hair loss as well.
With neoplasia, they may eat more or eat less, and lose weight.
As you can see, many of the symptoms overlap and with your kitty I don't know which of these descriptions fits best. All are treatable, to different degrees.
Your vet would need to do some blood tests to determine if it is one of these common disorders that is affecting your cat.
Now, I understand you want to know what you can do at home to help. What you can do is try to get some calories into her in liquid form - that way she is getting nutrition at the same time as fluids. Quite often, once a cat is better hydrated by taking in lots of fluids, she will start to eat again.
I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering her the liquid.
Also, you can pick up Clam Juice in most grocery stores (sold in with the V8 or with the canned tuna in my grocery store) and mix that with some water.
You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand).
Offer her some canned cat food, and mix it with water to make a slurry if she won't eat it.
Things you can do to encourage a cat to drink are:
- offer water from a very wide flat bowl as cats don't like their whiskers to touch the edges when they drink (which is why lots of cats like the toilet bowl).
- If she likes dripping water, leave a tap dripping for her.
- Offer bottled water and see if she prefers it.
- Offer chicken broth, diluted 50:50.
- See if she likes water with an ice cube in it.
- See if she likes it out of a cup or martini glass.
- Offer Whiskas Kitty Milk
- Offer her canned food as the first ingredient in water
- You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that, or syringe it in little bits into your cat's mouth. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.
If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.
Try to get her to drink small amounts frequently. If you can, try syringe 1 teaspoon (5 mL) or liquids per half hour into her mouth.
For cats that I have examined who are feeling nauseated, I will sometimes suggest that their owner pick up some Pepcid AC from their local (human) pharmacy.
I will give you a link to more information:
Legally I cannot prescribe drugs for a cat I have not examined. I can tell you, however, that I often suggest people purchase Pepcid AC for cats with upset stomachs and give 1/4 of a 10mg tablet twice daily.
I would recommend you talk to your vet about whether this may be appropriate for your kitty.
Appetite stimulants prescribed by your vet can be very helpful to get her eating again.
Cyproheptadine is one that I have used for years, but more recently I have started using a new appetite stimulant in cats that I have had great success with. You could ask your veterinarian if he or she can get ahold of an antidepressant for humans called Mirtazapine (Remeron is the trade name in Canada).
Here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirtazapine
It has been used as an appetite stimulant in cats and dogs for the last couple of years with great results. You would use it instead of the Periactin (cyproheptadine).
And here is a link to cyproheptadine:
I do hope that these ideas help you to help your cat!
If this has been helpful, please "Accept" my answer and provide feedback.
If you need more information, just click on reply and I will try to provide it!
The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.