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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20608
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My 16 year old cat is not eating. She drinks a little and is

Customer Question

Customer: my 16 year old cat is not eating. She drinks a little and is acting weird. She has not eaten for 5 days
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: She is an indoor cat and always is upstairs. She is now downstairs. Very Skinny, dry heaving a lot. We had a cat last year at this time do the same thing and she died and it was hard to watch
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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.

How is she acting weird? Just by changing her location? Is she hiding?

Any retching, gagging, lip licking, drooling, or vomiting?

Can she keep the water down?

Are her gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, does she have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Could she have eaten anything she should not have (ie bones, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

Any diarrhea?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She has acted like this for over a week does not keep the water down make these horrific howling sounds she is hiding do not know about her gums
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

The poor love!

Now the behaviour signs are not that abnormal and instead are common in cats that feel unwell. They are instinctually driven to withdraw and hide when they cannot pretend all is well (since not doing so would make them a target for predation). So, your lass is telling us that she feels very poorly. And in regards ***** ***** howling, if she is retching or vomiting, that can be painful and cause vocalization. As well, pain in general and even blood pressure issues (something we see in older cats) can cause odd cries in our cats.

Now in regards ***** ***** root cause for her appetite loss, I am very concerned that this is related to nausea. Often cats that are nauseous stop eating instead of risking vomiting as a dog might. And I have to note that while that does have a bit of logic to it, its faulty logic since cats are not designed to be off food for extended periods of time. In fact, if she hasn't eaten in 5 days, there is a real risk of secondary liver issues that could make getting well even more difficult. So, we need to act fast and be proactive here.

In regards ***** ***** could trigger her initial signs, this is something that can be caused by a wide range of agents. This includes GI infections, pancreatitis, metabolic diseases (secondary to diabetes or thyroid issues), organ troubles (kidney, liver),IBD, and even cancer. We can also see these signs linked to dietary indiscretion, but at her age we'd not assume this was to blame.

With this all in mind and with how long she has been letting herself waste away, it'd be ideal to have her examined by the local vet at this point. We'd want them to rule out masses, infections, and pancreatitis on exam +/- check bloods to ensure she has no metabolic or organ issues behind this. Furthermore, at the very least, we'd want her on symptomatic care like injectable anti-nausea treatment, fluids if she is dehydrated, appetite stimulants +/- antibiotics. As well, since she has been starving herself, once the nausea is under control we can feed or syringe feed calorie rich diets (ie A/D, Royal Canin Recovery, Clinicare, Catsure, etc) to get food into her and weight back onto her.

Overall, your lass's situation is very worrying with how long it has gone on. Therefore, we really need to act quick before we have liver issues on top of the rest of her signs. Therefore, a check and bloods would be ideal here so you know what you are fighting. Otherwise, we'd want the vet to treat symptomatically to get her hydrated, settle her stomach, and give her that push to eat for us before she wastes away.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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