Most of our cats hide their bodies underneath a blanket of fluffy fur. As a result, it’s often hard for us to tell when our cats are losing weight until it becomes a big enough difference, which is why it’s important to always be aware of your cat’s eating habits as well as their current weight and physical appearance.
Once you notice that something is off, it might be time to take them to your nearest vet as a drastic change in your feline’s weight could be an indication of a severe health complication or disease!
Below, we have compiled a list of possible reasons for drastic weight loss in felines:
1. Psychological stress
Cats under psychological stress such as anxiety, stress, or depression may experience inappetence and eat less, resulting in weight loss. Situations or environmental factors that may create such stress on your feline include excessively loud noise, other animals infringing on its feeding area, the disappearance of another pet, unhygienic feeding conditions, or the introduction of a new pet or human in its home.
2. Gastrointestinal problems
As the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is directly related to your cat’s nourishment, problems there may cause your cat to lose weight. Some of these common GI problems include inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, or certain infections, and other accompanying symptoms may consist of diarrhoea and vomiting.
3. Intestinal Parasites
Whether it’s from food that was not handled properly or from bits of soil that your furry friend might have ingested while exploring your garden, parasites, such as worms, may enter your cat’s body. If left untreated, it can lead to major medical problems and extreme weight loss, but usually, a deworming pill and vaccine can act as a good prevention measure.
Diabetes is characterised by the body’s failure to produce insulin or an impaired ability to respond to it. Able to cause rapid weight loss in cats, other signs of diabetes include a change of appetite, excessively drinking water, and frequent urination.
If your cat is tested positive for diabetes, your vet might recommend a change in diet and alternative insulin medication to help them enjoy a better quality of life and ensure that they are back to their ideal weight in no time.
5. Dental problems
Just like us humans, dental problems can sometimes be why our felines refuse to eat. If you notice that your pet seems otherwise fine, except that it’s often dropping food, chewing strangely, drooling, or simply avoiding food even though it seems hungry, your pet might be suffering from a dental problem. This could range from toothaches, gum infection, and ulcers to a weakening of teeth due to old age.
Here’s a tricky one. Your cat might be showing signs of a good appetite, yet it is still losing weight. One possible reason for this is none other than hyperthyroidism, which is caused by a benign hormone-producing tumour on the thyroid gland that increases the level of thyroid hormones in your cat’s body.
This will not only result in increased drinking and urination, increased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhoea, but can also lead to weight loss and muscle wasting. In later stages, it may even lead to heart problems or death, so we recommend bringing your cat to a vet immediately if you suspect that it might have hyperthyroidism.
7. Organ failure
Elderly cats, in particular, are susceptible to weight loss as a side effect of organ failure, which can be identified and properly diagnosed through blood and urine tests. Usually, these organs would be a vital internal organ such as the heart, liver, or kidneys, and the weight loss is often a result of a decreased appetite.
Probably one of the scariest culprits of rapid weight loss in cats, cancer is, unfortunately, relatively common as well. Often, cancer-related weight loss is accompanied by a loss of appetite, lethargy, and increased hiding.
Other possible causes
Of course, weight loss also occurs when too few calories are being consumed. Some of the more common reasons why cats might cut back on their food intake sometimes include:
- An inability to get to the food bowl – For example, your cat is unable to go down the stairs to get to the kitchen due to an injury.
- A disinterest in the type or brand of food being served – cats are notoriously picky eaters, and might either be bored with its usual meal or unaccustomed to a new brand of food.
At the end of the day, just make sure to keep an eye out for your cat’s eating behaviour and overall health. That way, you’ll be able to detect medical conditions early and increase the chances of helping your kitty recover!