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Hungry and losing weight.

Species: Cat
Breed: part simese
Age: More than 15 ye
Our 17 year old indoor cat, one of two from the same litter, has always been skinny, but lately she has been eating more and getting skinnier. Of greater concern to us- change in behaviour.
She has started pooping and peeing anywhere but in her box. When we catch her doing this she is completely oblivious to her unacceptable behaviour (we stopped scolding her- pointless). She also stopped sleeping on our bed and now curls up under the table almost all the time, or by her food dish- unusual for her. And she sleeps all the time.
She still purrs when we pet her, and there is no obvious pain or discomfort.
None the less- we are considering having her put down- we don't want to traumatize her or spend lots of money on diagnostics or treatment to prolong what seems to be end of life.
She really seems to have some form of feline dementia.
Please give us your thoughts
Thanks
Richard


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Richard.

The symptoms that you mentioned could indicate a number of different conditions. As cats get older there are several things that could cause them to lose weight and have the symptoms that you mentioned.

The first thing that comes to my mind though is something that is actually very treatable and that is hyperthyroidism. As cats get older the thyroid gland can become overactive. When this happens it causes an increase in appetite along with significant weight loss. The toilet training issues are not always directly related to hyperthyroidism but often when a cat urinates or defecates in places they shouldn't it can be because there is "something" going on that is causing them stress. Hyperthyroidism could definitely be that "something".

Hyperthyryoidism is something that is relatively easy to treat. Most cats do well on a small dose of medication given twice daily. It is not terribly expensive. Alternatively, there is a new type of food called y/d which can be very effective as well.

We do see cats that get dimentia. However, this shouldn't cause weight loss and an increase in appetite.

Some cats with inflammatory bowel disease can have weight loss and an increase in appetite, but usually these cats will have a lot of vomiting or diarrhea as well. The same thing goes for intestinal cancer.

It is really common for older cats to get significant kidney disease, but these cats have a reduced appetite.

I would highly advise having some blood tests done to see if this is a thyroid problem. If so, you may find that medication really helps!

I hope everything is ok!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.