How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15607
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat is 17 years old and female. She is skin and bones in

Customer Question

My cat is 17 years old and female. She is skin and bones in just the last 7 months. She still eats twice a day two cans and 2 cups of hard food. She still uses the litter box and she still runs up the stairs, follows me around, sits on my lap at night, watches the birds out all of our windows. She has never been outside the house or to the vet. Even as a kitten she would not warm up to just anyone. She still plays when we are home. I feel bumps on her ribs and in her neck along her neck bones. She does not vomit, cough, and her eyes are good, her ears are clear. I don't want to stress her out by taking her into a vet to be poked prodded. She is afraid of the vaccum cleaner, so I can imagine how upset this would make her to go into a cat carrier, be among strangers. She would be so upset. She is 17 and very tempermental. I don't know if I should wait until I see her show me that she can't eat, can't use the litter box and just wants to sleep. I tried to call a vet to get a prescription for the special food for older cats that is high in fat, but they want me to bring her in to be tested for everything. I just can't put her through that. What should I do.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

This isn't an uncommon scenario in cats Cala's age. We can see older cats start struggle to keep weight on despite a good to great appetite for a range of reasons. Issues that can manifest this way at her age will include conditions like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney troubles. As well, while it isn't nice to think about, we must keep in mind that cancer in cats her age can manifest as weight loss with little other signs (just as it doesn't impinge on the body, only to steal nutrients from her ).

To get to the bottom of what is going on and see if we can address this, it'd truly be best to have a check up and basic geriatric blood test. This would help us pinpoint the cause for her and give us a chance to help manage this underlying issue for her. And if she is a stressy cat, you could request her vet come to her for a home visit or even get a local mobile vet to come to her. It would remove any stress of travel, cars, other animals, or strange places.

Otherwise, you could consider at least taking in a urine sample at that point. Her vet could check it for signs of diabetes (ie. sugar in the urine) as well as check its specific gravity (how concentrated it is) that can tell us if there are problems with her kidneys might be lurking. They don't even need to see her for this and it would give us a few more answers here. Urine samples can often be collected by placing the cat in a carpet-less room with an empty (or with non-absorbable litter) litter box overnight.

Finally, most calorie rich diets (ie Hills A/D, Royal Canin Recovery diet, etc) are OTC at the vets, so you can decline having her seen and they should still dispense this for you. Otherwise, they can be purchased online without a prescription. Alternatively, there are OTC liquid diet (ie Clinicare, Catsure), nutrient pastes (ie Nutrical), and you can even use kitten food for Cala. All are effective at getting more nutrition in per bite and can help us at least slow her weight loss here.

Overall, in her case it would be ideal to have her checked out by a vet that can come to her or at least have a urine sample checked. Because if you are able to the bottom of the exact cause sooner rather then later, it will give you the best chance to deal with it and help support her in a way to make her more comfortable and possibly regain some weight.

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. B.