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: 21471
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

A seemingly cat has shown up in our yard. Cat does not act

Customer Question

A seemingly young cat has shown up in our yard. Cat does not act sick, but is super skinny. I can feel it's entire skeleton, including skull. I have been feeding her several times per day, smaller portions. The cat seems to drink for a long time. The meow sounds raspy. I fear taking her to vet will cause a big bill for a cat that is not mine.
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 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 situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

Does this cat look old or young?

Does it ever appear to have diarrhea?

Does it have a ravenous appetite or struggle to eat?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think it is young, although I have never had a cat before. I suspect diarrhea because it has a smell and some fur around tail is kind of stiff, like maybe she/he was unable to fully clean. The cat does not appear to have trouble eating. It meows a lot for food, but doesn't rush through a meal. I also feel that its hind legs may be a bit weak, as I've noticed she doesn't jump up on things as easily as other cats I've seen. She jumps on the couch, but it seems odd because she once didn't quite make it. I thought maybe she is just weak. My mom tells me this cat has been around for many months. January 2nd is first time I started feeding it. I haven't noticed any weight gain, but maybe it's too soon. It also seems very needy. It doesn't really settle down in the house. Last night was the first time it took a very brief cat nap. It is always looking to be pet, or meowing (raspy). It played with a string, chasing it. This cat would stand outside the door looking in the house for hours to be let in. It does not give up like most animals. It is sweet and doesn't act in distress, although I know something is up. Is it possible the cat was simply starving from no food or home? Someone moved in neighborhood and my mom thinks they left their cat behind. I'm sure advice will be to have it seen by vet, but any suggestions to keep it most comfortable would help too. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

First, if the cat appears very tame and needy, then it is likely an abandoned cat as opposed to a true stray or feral.

Now if it looks young, then we’d be most suspicious of either a case of starvation (which it is early days with your feeding just yet) but this thin body could also be related to underlying worm/parasite issues +/- diarrhea stripping nutrition from it.

With these in mind, it would be ideal to take a few steps here to help this little one. To start, if you not have already, it’d be ideal to worm her. As long as you have an idea of her weight you can use an OTC food based or spot on (if she will let you apply anything to the back of her neck) wormer. Panacur would be a good food based one to try as the granules tend to easy to hide in food and it also has effects against some protozoal concerns.

Furthermore, since diarrhea can be related to GI microflora (good bacteria) imbalance, we could also add an OTC feline probiotic (ie Fortiflora) to her food. As well, as long as there is no blood in that dried feces around her rectum, you could use a Kaolin/probiotic paste (ie Propectalin, Fast Balance, Protexin Prokolin, etc). These are OTC at vets, pet stores, and even online sites like Amazon.

Finally, since we are trying to put weight on this poor wasted kitty I would suggest using nutrient dense diets for her. Examples of these would be Hills A/D, Royal Canin Recovery diet or you could even feed her kitten food. Each is balanced but has more nutrients per bite to help get more into her and hopefully more weight onto her.

Finally, since vet costs are a concerns for this poor lass, I do want to note some options we could consider if we did want her checked. First,if you have a VCA or Banfield veterinary hospital near you, then you might consider taking advantage of their free first consult offers. You can find vouchers for this via:

VCA: (

Banfield : (

This could just offset any treatment costs for her and at least get her checked out. Otherwise, you could consider checking out the Humane Society's database ( or ASPCA’s ( Both have a lot of branches nationwide, along with ties to other assistance organizations that surely will be willing to help since you are caring for a stay kitty.

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 receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is great advice to start with!! I am ordering on Amazon right now if some of the items are there. I will take a trip to pet store for anything else. I will try all 3 suggestions and know that I could also do free consult if necessary. Thanks so much for these great suggestions. I'm off to go shop for this kitty!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome, my dear.

I am glad that I could give you a plan of action for her. :)

Best wishes to you both,

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 receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )