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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20743
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My 14 year old female cat has stopped eating. My vet has done

Customer Question

My 14 year old female cat has stopped eating. My vet has done alot of tests: blood, urine, stool, x-ray and ultra sound. Nothing abnormal shows up. The cat is getting very thin and weak. I have been force feeding her baby food but can't get her to eat anything on her own. There is no vomiting or diarrea. Prednizone hasn't helped and she won't take NutriCal or most medicines. My vet suspects lymphoma but we have not done a biopsy. Is there any thing to be done?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the questionCustomer

Sorry to hear about your cat ...

While I cannot diagnose this over the internet I have to agree with your vet.

An older cat which is losing weight, and not eating is always a cause for concern and actually is quite a common scenario in a vet's consulting rooms. While occasionally it can be something simple and so easily corrected there is always the possibility it might be something more serious. There is usually a reason other than just old age. The tests your vet has done were exactly what I would have done myself and as they have drawn a blank you need to test a bit more.

Another way to look at this is that as your cat is slowly losing weight you could say it is wasting, and we all know what the wasting diseases are, I have known such cats have lymphoma for example where in the early stages the only symptom was weight loss and it can be tricky to see on X-ray.

I am sorry I cannot suggest anything more positive than running further tests such as biopsy, I have to say though that many of these cases end badly in my experience.

If I have not answered your question fully enough or if you would like to ask more I will be on line for the next hour or so and I will be pleased to discuss your question further.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS

Dr Scott Nimmo and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

So even though there hasn't been vomiting or diarrea, and her behavior is pretty normal other than being weak (still plays a little bit and grooms a little) chances are very good that it is Lymphoma?


I have not wanted to put her through a biopsy since she is weak and becomes very aggressive during trips to the Vet. Having a definate diagnosis of cancer doesn't cure the problem, but what if it isn't cancer. Any reasonable chance it may not be that? Also I realize the baby food is low in calories and won't help her to gain weight. Am I just postponing the inevitable?

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Hello again,

1. From your description the chances are that this could be something very serious and lymphoma would be high on the list.

2. In the early stages all you might see is very marked weight loss and non specific signs such as loss of appetite.

3. If we are dealing with a serious situation then weight loss would occur no matter what food you try to give. { baby food }

4. As you do not have a diagnosis we cannot be certain but in many such cases yes you would be just postponing the inevitable.

The way forward is difficult, on one hand to get a diagnosis you need to put your cat through a biopsy and perhaps find little can be done. If you do not have a biopsy you will be uncertain about the diagnosis. If you have a good relationship with your vet it may be best just to trust his or her judgment in this matter.

It is not easy I know ....


Dr Scott Nimmo and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your time. I needed a second opinion. I feel that the weight loss has put her on the road of no return and the biopsy would just be further trauma with the same outcome. I guess I am just not ready to let her go yet, maybe a few more days.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
I have kept a number of very well loved cats myself over the years ....

Good luck.