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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7385
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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Why is my 17 year old cat loosing weight? She has a constant

Customer Question

Why is my 17 year old cat loosing weight? She has a constant supply of food and running water. She is using the litter pan several times a day.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

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

Is she eating well from that constant supply?

Have you noticed her drinking more?

Is she using the box to pass more urine then she used to?

Any diarrhea?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She's eating well and drinking plenty of water. She does not have diarrhea, and what I can tell she is urinating about what she usually has.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She has food and running water available 24-7
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I still haven't received an answer to my question!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

I do apologize that when I did not hear back from you promptly, I did pop away shortly to check on one of my own patients.

Now if Melody is eating normally and does not have abnormal losses like diarrhea, then we do have some serious concerns for her. This is because this is not an uncommon scenario in cats around Melody’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 it would be worth having her checked by her vet (if she is due for a vaccination soon, you could move it up a wee bit early and have her checked out at that time). The vet will be able to have a feel of her and just make sure there are no sinister lumps and bumps to blame for her weight loss. And if you were able to bring in a urine sample at that point, the 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 or if hyperthyroid might be lurking. 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.

If hyperthyroid disease is a potential after your vet has examined her , then a blood sample may be checked to assess her thyroid hormone to determine how severely affected she may be. As well, if you do have a blood sample checked, you can also have her blood sugar,liver and kidney parameters checked at the same time, giving you a good chance of ruling out the above differentials and determining the cause of her abnormal weight loss.

Overall, in her case it would be prudent to have her checked out and at least have a urine sample (or blood sample) checked if she is losing weight despite normal inputs and outputs. 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 possible regain some weight.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

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 how I am credited for assisting you today.Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The answer I received did not help me!!! Anyone could tell me to see a vet!!!!!
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you.

I have to agree completely with everything that Dr B has stated here. As the symptoms you have stated are not unique to one particular disease, it is impossible in veterinary medicine, just as it would be in human medicine to get to a diagnosis without having a physical examination and perform some testing. Anything else would be a waste of time and money and a disservice to Melody.