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One of our cats has lost a lot of weight

  1. #1

    One of our cats has lost a lot of weight

    Our kitty has lost over 4 lbs in as many months...she is vomiting, urinaring excessivly, (mostly outside her litter box) only will eat wet food. She has become unusually vocal and has never been cuddly but now always sits with us. We are taking her to the vet but we are bracing for bad news.
    Any ideas? She’s only 8.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Welcome to the forum. Thank you for posting. What is your kitty's name?

    She is supposed to only eat wet food anyway, but choosing on her own to stop eating kibbles can be a sign of illness because it is a significant behavioral change. Keep feeding her what she will eat.

    The switch from being not cuddly to very cuddly could signal a dangerous temperature drop. A cat's normal body temperature is higher than ours - approximately 101 degrees. So it is always a bad sign when a cat needs human warmth. That said, when she does cuddle, you should enjoy that time in the moment.

    Urinating excessively and outside the litterbox go together. Is she drinking excessively too? When cats drink a lot more than normal, they are dehydrated. More input = more output. Also, where is she urinating outside the litterbox?

    Vomiting has many causes, so more information about that would be helpful. What are the color and consistency of the vomitus? How often is she puking?

    Excessive meowing could mean she is in too much pain to hide it anymore. Cats are masters at hiding illnesss, but they can't hide it forever. How is her appetite? If she is wolfing down a lot of wet food and just does not want the kibbles anymore, it could be a sign of excessive hunger too.

    Speaking of food, what are you feeding her?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    I'm sorry to hear that about your cat Lindsay, I hope the news from the vet isn't too bad, will be hoping for the best. It doesn't sound good because of her becoming more vocal and getting closer to you, I've found that whether it's a dog or cat, when they get clingy they are desperate for you to comfort them and assure them, because they know something's wrong. What breed of cat is she?

    I have no personal experience, but the first thing that came to mind is a kidney problem with the excess urination, soiling outside the box, etc. Please let us know what the vet finds out about her, hopefully it can be treated. There's some info that may be helpful HERE.

    Chronic renal failure (CRF) is caused by some long-term insult to the kidneys. Most cats with chronic renal failure don’t show any signs of being sick during the early phase of their disease; this is considered to be renal “insufficiency,” rather than renal “failure”. The word “renal” refers to anything having to do with the kidneys. However, as chronic renal failure progresses, affected cats become very ill. Circulating toxins are building up in their bloodstream, which adversely affects the function of all of their key organs. Affected animals just feel lousy. They become weak, lethargic and sluggish. They lose their appetite and lose weight, often being referred to as “skin and bones.” They develop painful sores (ulcerations) on their gums and tongue, and they also become nauseous and have increasingly severe abdominal pain.
    Symptoms of Chronic Renal Failure in Cats – What the Owner Sees

    Unfortunately, most cats with chronic renal failure don’t start to show signs of being sick until their kidneys have lost approximately 70% of their functional ability. When the symptoms of CRF do become apparent to an affected cat’s owner, they typically include one or more of the following:

    • Marked increase in thirst and water intake (polydipsia; the kidneys are no longer able to conserve water efficiently)
    • Marked increase in urine output (polyuria; dilute urine; increases the chance of developing bladder and kidney infections)
    • Urination in inappropriate places (outside the litter box; around the house)
    • Urination at inappropriate times (sometimes during sleep)
    • Decreased or even complete absence of urination (anuria; usually occurs in end-stage disease)
    • Hunched body stance (due to abdominal pain)
    • Stiff gait (due to abdominal pain)
    • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
    • Loss of appetite (inappetance; anorexia; likely due to nausea and abdominal pain)
    • Weight loss
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Dehydration
    • Lethargy
    • Sluggishness
    • Weakness
    • Bad breath (halitosis; uremic breath odor – smells like ammonia)
    • Oral ulceration (painful sores on the gums and tongue)
    • Drooling/excess salivation (ptyalism)
    • Brownish discoloration of the surface of the tongue
    • Poor hair coat (dry; flaky; thinning)
    • Decreased self-grooming activities
    • Poor body condition
    • Pale gums and other mucous membranes
    • Bleeding/clotting problems
    • Altered cognition (changes in mental state)
    • Elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Blindness (typically sudden in onset)
    • Seizures
    • Coma
    • Death

    Cats at Increased Risk of Chronic Renal Failure

    Chronic renal failure is more common in companion cats than in domestic dogs. Certain breeds seem to be predisposed to developing this disease. These include the Maine Coon, Abyssinian, Persian, Siamese, Russian Blue and Burmese. Almost all elderly cats have some degree of renal insufficiency or failure, depending on how long they live. Hyperthyroidism and chronic renal failure are often seen in the same aging cat, as both are considered to be geriatric feline diseases. Cats with earlier episodes of acute renal failure are also at an increased risk of developing chronic renal failure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    I slso was thinking of renal failure, but that usually happens later in life. For an 8-year old cat, Type 2 diabetes would seem more likely. However cats can lose kidney function before age 10. No matter what the problem is, it will be very hard to accept and you are doing good to prepare yourself for bad news. I hope the vet tells you it is less severe than CRF.

  5. #5
    What is your kitty's name?
    Her name is Carleigh.

    Is she drinking excessively too?
    Yes, quite a bit more.

    Also, where is she urinating outside the litterbox?
    Just in front of the door, on the mat.

    What are the color and consistency of the vomitus? How often is she puking?
    Is often watery/liquidy and a light brown color. Though this morning it looked like her whole can of food.

    How is her appetite? If she is wolfing down a lot of wet food and just does not want the kibbles anymore, it could be a sign of excessive hunger too.
    She begs and begs for her food and growls while she eats it.

    Speaking of food, what are you feeding her?
    The dry food was Iams, now it is a friskees wet - all fish variety as it is the only thing she eats.

  6. #6
    Thank you for all the good info, too!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Thanks for your replly Lindsay.

    Losing a lot of weight despite having a huge appetite usually indicates hyperthyroidism. The thyroids (cats have two, humans have one) are responsible for controlling the rates of all body functions - digestion, breathing, etc. If too much of the thyroid's T4 hormone is produced, Carleigh can eat and drink all day and never be full.

    Now, one important thing to remember is HT hides CRF. This is because their symptoms are very similar and they happen to cats in the same age range (usually 10+ years). Both diseases cause rapid weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, and poor coat condition. The only way to diagnose HT in a cat who has CRF symptoms is add on T4 to the blood test for everything else. However, there is a very good chance Carleigh has both at the same time.

    "Just in front of the door." If Carleigh has weak legs, she might have a hard time walking through that door. Try an uncovered litterbox with lower sides.
    Last edited by CatMom1994; 03-12-2019 at 06:17 PM. Reason: correction

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    BTW in the presence of HT, only a urinalysis can diagnose CRF. In the absence of HT, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels are elevated; with HT present even your vet can't tell a difference. I do not know how extra T4 hides CRF chemically in the blood, but without that test and a urine sample you may not get a definitive diagnosis before it is too late.

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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