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Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10146
Experience:  12 year of veterinary experience in surgery, medicine and behavior
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My 12 year old female cat has not seemed like herself for the

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My 12 year old female cat has not seemed like herself for the past week - somewhat lethargic, some weight loss (although she's always been on the thin side), and just seeming kind of older and frail, but at times seeming more energetic. Tonight I got home and shook the "treat bag," which brought both cats running, including my female cat. Once I put the treats down, though, she sniffed at them but wouldn't eat. I put down a bowl of water, which she drank quite a bit of. It looks like she's been urinating OK, and there doesn't seem to be blood in her urine. I have a call in to her vet, but I'm wondering if this sounds more like a kidney infection, kidney failure, or something else? Thank you!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Christian K. replied 6 years ago.
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Dr. Christian K. :


This is Dr. Christian. Welcome to JustAnswer.

Dr. Christian K. :

Has she had any vomiting? Do you think she is drinking or urinating more than usual?

Customer :

I haven't seen any vomiting, although both cats vomit from time to time, I haven't seen anything unusual. I definitely thinks she's drinking more. Since she shares a litter box with my male cat, it's hard to tell who is who, but I have seen more urine in the litterbox lately.

Dr. Christian K. :

Thank you for that information. There are several medical conditions in older cats that will cause increased thirst and urination. Some will also cause vomiting as well. Here are some possibilities:

Hyperthyroidism- This is caused by a tumor in the thyroid gland that causes overproduction of thyroid hormone. It causes a cat to have a very high metabolism. The tumor does not spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms are eating with weight loss, vomiting, increased thirst and urination, diarrhea, fast heart rate and heart diseases. It is a very treatable condition with medication or radiation treatment. Diagnosis is by bloodwork. Here’s a link:

Diabetes- Diabetes is a lack of control of blood sugar. The blood sugar becomes very high. The symptoms are weight loss, increased urination and thirst, more prone to infections, occasional vomiting and eventually loss of appetite and weakness. Treatment is usually a diet change and insulin injections. It is diagnosed with bloodwork and sometimes a urinalysis. Here’s a link:

Kidney Disease- Kidney failure is very common in cats and is a condition that is not curable but certainly can be treated to improve a cat’s quality of life. Symptoms include weight loss, vomiting, increased urination and thirst, and lack of appetite. Diagnosis requires bloodwork. Treatment usually includes diet changes, fluids and sometimes medications to improve anemia or lower phosphorous levels. Here’s a link:

Cancer- Cancer is a common condition as well and can cause a varied list of symptoms including weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite. Some cancers are more treatable than others depending on the type.
Liver Disease- Liver disease can be caused by cancer, infection or inflammation (hepatitis). The symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes a yellow appearance to the skin called icterus or jaundice. Diagnosis usually starts with bloodwork but final diagnosis of the cause usually requires ultrasound and a biopsy. Treatment includes diet changes, possibly antibiotics, and liver medications to help improve its health and function. Treatment is also specific to the cause of the liver dysfunction.

The first step would be blood work and possibly a urinalysis. I think kidney disease is probably the most likely possibility but is easy to get tunnel vision and be fooled in these situations.

Customer :

That's really helpful - thank you! Do you think it's safe to wait and see the vet tomorrow, or is this an emergency situation?

Dr. Christian K. :

You are welcome. I think its safe to wait until tomorrow.

Customer :

Thank you for your help! I appreciate the information, and that will help me go to the vet's with an educated plan...

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