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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20908
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I was hoping I could get some help with my cat. She is

Customer Question

Hi, I was hoping I could get some help with my cat. She is about 8 years old, and is about 5 or 6 lbs normally. Recently she has been throwing up regularly, at least once or twice a week, usually right after eating. I thought she was eating too fast because of the other cats, so I started feeding her separately, and that cut down on most of the vomiting but not all. However, she is still losing weight. Just now, she was sleeping and woke her self up coughing. The coughs went on for about 30 to 45 seconds, and they sounded wheezy. This is the first time she has coughed like cat. I haven't noticed any behavior changes, nor has her appetite or her diet changed. I haven't noticed her having any trouble using the litter box normally. She is still playful and energetic. Also, and I don't know if this is in any way relevant, but she smelled a little strange last night, kind of B vitamin multivitamins. She may have just gotten into something, but I thought I would include just in case.
My question is this: does this sound like anything in particular to you, and if so, are there steps like increasing the quality of her I can take to alleviate these symptoms?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.
Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:
Do you think she has been drinking more?
Is she passing larger volumes of urine? Or do you think the litter box is getting wetter/dirtier quicker lately?
The odor you mentioned isn't one we usually associate with any disease but can you confirm that it wasn't a fruity/nail polish remover type smell or ammonia scented?
How often is she vomiting at this point since the separation?
Is she on dry or wet food?
Does she generally eat quickly? Or was it a recent behavior for her?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If anything she is actually drinking less. I've been trying to get her to drink more. Also, I normally give her a mix of wet and dry food but I've been giving her more wet to make up for her drinking less. I haven't noticed any change in the litter box habits. She generally eats extremely quickly and from cleaning up the cat vomit I thinkshe doesn't chew her food unless I sit with her while she eats. She hasn't really had a problem with this before but because of certain events I had to move with her to another with cats that she does not like. This was about a year ago though.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
I have received your reply and will now start typing my thoughts for you.
Speak to you again shortly,
Dr. B.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
First, I would note that the wet food/water intake situation can be a wee bit chicken and egg. By this I means, that it is 35% water (a good sneaky way to get more fluids into our cats), but if the cat isn't suffering from a condition that would increase thirst then its possible to see a decline in drinking because of the fluid intake via the food. So, it is possible she is drinking less if she was having more wet food because she is meeting her daily need with the food. So, we'd want to watch that and her hydration (make sure her gums are moist, her skin tent normal, and her eyes not sunken), but also breathe a sigh of relief that she isn't drinking excessively.
That said, while her vomiting was the initial concern, I have to say that Bella's history does raise other more subtle concerns. Specifically, we have to ask ourselves why she started eating faster (since this is more the trigger and the vomiting the side effect). We can certainly see this with kitty competition but this is usually a lifetime habit or we'd expect the recent stressor coinciding with the behavior. In her case, this just doesn't fit. Therefore, we'd be wary that her increased rate of eating was actually secondary to an internal issue. And this is particularly of concern if she is eating well, yet losing weight. Because that tells us that something is stealing that nutrition before her body can use it.
Now in that case, we do need to think about this from a few different angles. If she had had increased urination or diarrhea; then we’d be suspicious that her signs were related to output losses. Since this is not the case, you and I have to ask ourselves where that nutrition and those calories she is eating is disappearing to. We obviously know there is no issue with her nutritional input and doesn’t appear to be any issue with her outputs either. Therefore, we’d be concerned about an internal issue that is stealing so much nutrition from her that she cannot eat enough to even maintain is own weight.
With that in mind, we have to consider a range of conditions. First, worms could potentially be playing a role here and that is something you can address at home. So, if you have not wormed her recently, do consider doing so now. You will want to use a good quality broad spectrum wormer and this can be picked up OTC at most vet, most pet stores, or even online. Just make sure to have an idea of her recent weight, so you know what dose she needs (most vet practices will let you bring her in for a quick weight for this).
Otherwise, if we worm her but do not see improvement, we have to consider more serious issues behind her weight loss. In that case, we'd have to consider organ issues (ie kidney, liver, heart, etc), pancreatic conditions, IBD, and metabolic disease (ie thyroid, diabetes potentially but less likely without the increased thirst). As well, while not nice to even think about, we can see weight loss despite a great appetite as a sign of cancer (where it steals nutrition but causes little other bother to the cat).
As well, in regards ***** ***** that we can use at home to try and offset this weight loss, I would note that it can be beneficial to feed nutrition dense diets in this situation. Specifically, you could use a calorically dense diet like Hill's A/D, Royal Canin Recovery, or Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet. All of these are critical care diets that have more nutrition per bite, so a little goes a long way. In the same vein, you can start offering her kitten food +/- supplementing with a nutritional supplement (ie Nutrical). These wont’ address the trigger for her weight loss and signs but can help you try to stop the weight pouring off of her.
So, I would advise the above approach for Bella. That said, if you find that she doesn’t start recovering weight, then those worries would become more even more of a concern for her. And at that stage, the most straight forward way to determine which is causing this signs would be to have a check up with her vet +/- a blood sample tested. Your vet can examine her and let you know if there is a suspect cancer present. The blood sample would be our best tool in determining if we have any of those organ or metabolic issues present. And together they would give us a quick answer to what is stealing this weight from her and let us appreciate what we can to slow or stop it.
Overall, your lass's signs are highly suspect of an underlying systemic issue stealing nutrition and weight from her. And the vomiting is more a side effect of this, then a primary issue. Therefore, we'd want to take this in a step by step approach. So, do make sure she is up to date on worming and do consider the increase to her daily nutrition. That said, if she doesn't start to put on weight after you do so, then we'd need to consider getting her vet involved. If she is due a booster soon, consider moving that appointment up. Her vet can again examine her and help start pinpointing which of our concerns is present and advise you on what the best approach would be to manage that for her and get her back to gaining weight.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. I'll try feeding her the other foods you mentioned and if she doesn't gain weight I will take her to our vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome,
That sounds like a fine plan of action for Bella and hopefully we can get some weight back on her.
All the best,
Dr. B.
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