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Cat not eating.

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic shorthair
Age: 11-15 years
About 2 Weeks ago I took Emma to the Vet because pretty much overnight her Appetite became Depressed. She was eating very little. Emma is 14 Years Old and weighs approx 17 Pounds so she was a Pretty Good Eater. The first vet I took her to said she was really constipated so he gave her an enema, some medicine for nausea and some pain med. They did a complete blood Panel and took X-Rays the first vet said her Kidneys looked a little small his associate reviewed the blood work and said he didn't see anything to be alarmed about but her appetite still seemed to be not good, so I took her to another Vet recommended by a Friend he reviewed the blood work and said he didn't see anyting to cause concern and he sent us home with some Cyproheptadine to stimulate her appetite they were in a pill format which was almost impossible to get her to take so this past Friday I was able to get this Medicine in a Transdermal Gel which I have been applying twice a Day since last Friday the 14th of June 2013 so far I don't notice a big difference with this med.
Is there anything else I can try. Emma still likes to look at the Door and Windows and Still hisses when she see's cats outdoors so she is still alert. She is strictly an indoor cat. I have decided to continue on using the Appetite Stimulant to see if I don't get a response. A friend of mine suggested letting her try some Vienna Sausages but I am afraid it might really mess up her system. Any advice would be greatly apprecited. You could say I am one very concerned Mom.

Thank you for your help.

Ruth Richardson

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Emma is not doing well. When a cat decides not to eat there is almost always a medical reason for it. I have certainly had cases like this where blood tests don't show me much, yet I know that there is something going on.

Is Emma having any bowel movements now? If she is not eating much it can be hard to tell, but do you see any stool at all? If she is still constipated then this can cause a lack of appetite. You can talk to your vet about possibly adding something like Miralax granules to her food. (Don't do it without checking with your vet first.) This can help her to move stool along.

Unfortunately, sometimes when a cat stops eating and there is no obvious finding on tests there can be an underlying cancer somewhere. This can be a tough one. If this were my case and if your budget allowed for it I would probably be recommending an ultrasound to look for any obvious sign of cancer.

Another possibility is pain. Cats do all they can to not show pain. A cat that has pain though will often not eat. You could ask your vet if trying a short course of a pain reliever such as Metacam could be worthwhile. Although, you did mention that she had a pain reliever so this is probably not what her problem is.

Is Emma eating anything at all? If her appetite is extremely small then she is at risk for getting something called fatty liver. This is a very serious condition and it can be fatal. It is definitely important to get her to eat, but if she is not eating even though she is on cyproheptadine then I am worried that there is something really serious going on.

You can try adding a small amount of some meat flavored baby food to her food to see if that stimulates her appetite. Also, trying a canned cat food like Fancy Feast that is heated up for a few seconds in the microwave may help improve her appetite. Fancy Feast is not the greatest nutrition but sometimes it does the trick in getting cats to eat again. Sometimes if we can break the cycle of inappetance then the cat can just decide to eat well again.

However, at 14 years of age, if she does not start eating soon we really need to consider that this could be a very serious issue.

I hope things improve soon.

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. 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.

Customer reply:

The last time Emma and I went to the Vets was about 2 weeks ago and he did mention adding Miralex to her food and that is what I have done. Believe it or not Emma has regular bowel movements every day. I am thinking she must have been really constipated. I do work all day so I don't know if she could be eating a little more when I am at work.

I figured she has to be eating a little something to have the bowel movements she has everyday. I lost my last 3 Babies to Cancer so I am praying that this is not the Case for Emma I know first hand what a devastating disease this can be having lost most of my family to the disease as well.

Thank you Dr. Marie for all your help I truly appreciate it.

One last question a Friend of mine suggested I give Emma a little piece of Vienna Sausage I don't know if that would be safe or not for her?

Again, Thank you for your quick response.

Ruth Richardson

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. There's nothing wrong with offering a taste of Vienna Sausage every now and then but I wouldn't want it to be her main source of food. Most likely it is high in sodium and not great for her kidneys. But, if it sparks her appetite then that's a good thing!

Customer reply:

Thank you so much Dr. Marie you have just been wonderful.

I am so grateful that you offer this service the way the economy is now days it is not always possible to go into the Vet.

Thank you again for everything.

Ruth Richardson

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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.