Weight Loss in a Geriatric Cat

Kidney Failure & Hyperthyroidism are Major Concerns


My 18 year old cat, Milo, is shrinking. She had a geriatric checkup 6 months ago and all tests were normal, just some hip joint wear. She eats (less than she used to), drinks, talks, walks, bathroom and cleaning behavior are all normal. Is there any food or supplement I can give her to keep up her weight?


Dr. Nichol:

Every medical challenge causes us to wish dogs and cats could speak a human language. Observant pet owners like you are essential to early diagnosis and treatment.


The aging process in pets accelerates as they get older. Milo’s good exam of 6 months ago is already old news. Her weight loss suggests kidney failure or hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid levels). I recommend repeating her exam, blood profile and urinalysis, as well as her thyroid screen.


Hyperthyroidism affects as many as 30% of cats over age 10. It can wreak havoc on the heart, kidneys, and brain by driving up blood pressure. Weight loss is a hallmark symptom. Many cats eat and drink excessively. Behavior changes occur in some cats.


Kidney failure is another important concern because it affects essentially all cats Milo’s age. Most cases are responsive to treatment. There are other possibilities like cancer and liver failure. Milo may have more good time with you. She needs to see a doctor soon.