Old Cat: Weight Loss & A Growing Appetite

Most Causes can be Treated at Home


Our old cat Spunky (13 years) is a disagreeable animal but I hate to see him decline. Two years ago we let the vet clean his teeth. I decided then I would not subject him to any more tests or treatments. He’s very thin but eats at least 6 times a day. He’s always been an outdoor/indoor cat as we live in a rodent habitat (the North valley). I haven’t seen him with a mouse in ages so what can we do to give him a comfortable retirement?


Dr. Nichol:

Spunky’s weight loss and growing appetite are serious business. There are several possible causes including hyperthyroidism (benign thyroid tumors), which are found in about 30% of older cats. Another important, and potentially fatal, consideration is kidney failure, especially if Spunky has eaten any of the recently recalled diets. Diabetes could also be responsible.


If Spunky has any of these problems he can be cared for at home. You can help him feel better and live longer. Treatment can be tailored to what works for you and your kitty. Oral medications and special diets will help most cats with kidney and thyroid disease. Some diabetics do well without injections of insulin.


You’re right about the stress cats feel when they have medical procedures. They can’t understand that we’re trying to help, so we do our best to make their ordeal as short and sweet as possible. Our pets rely on us. The only way for you to help Spunky will be to have your veterinarian find out what’s wrong.


Providing a comfortable retirement for the little grouch is kind of you, considering that the local mouse population doesn’t seem to care. Still, I’m glad he no longer consorts with rodents. Hanta virus and plague are not diseases you and Spunky want to share.