Question:

Our 13 year old cat has stopped eating altogether. He has gone from 15 lbs. down to 13 in two weeks. We took him to a local veterinarian and they ran tests and found he only had a small heart murmur so they put him on Clavamox & enalapril. He’s just wasting away before our eyes.

 

Dr. Nichol-

Rapid weight loss in an overweight cat is a bad sign because fatty infiltrates in the liver can cause that organ to fail. Your kitty must take in nutrition immediately. If he is to have any real hope of long term recovery, a reliable diagnosis is also essential. He may have an infection or intestinal foreign body. At his age there is also a risk of kidney failure and cancer. Heart or lung disease could also be responsible.

 

The blood and urine profile was a good start but truly understanding your kitty’s heart disease will require chest x-rays, an electrocardiogram, and possibly cardiac ultrasound. Enalapril is a blood pressure medication that can make a big difference if he’s in heart failure but a poor appetite is a common side effect. He may need a lower dose or a different drug.

 

Any cat who fails to eat for longer than 48 hours can spiral downhill quickly. Force feeding is a bad idea because it’s stressful and many cats develop a permanent aversion to whatever food is being stuffed into them. This boy needs a feeding tube today. It’s a quick procedure that will make it easy for you to keep the calories flowing into your kitty at home. If your regular veterinarian is unavailable in the next few hours I urge you to take your cat to a veterinary emergency facility right away.