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Older cat not eating.

Species: Cat
Breed: I don't know
Age: 11-15 years
Hi.I have had my cat for approximately. She has been sick and has lost a lot of weight from not eating and secreting somekind of brown discharge (I think it was feces. I changed her food lately and she is eating more and the secreting has stopped. She looked so bad that I was thinking I needed to put her down.

My main concern is that she has been and is still losing her hair all over. Sections are in clumps and when I bathe her and brush her, large clumps of her come off of her (she is ball in some spots). What could be causing this and what can I do to get her to stop falling out and growing back.I realize she is old, but I don't want to have her put down as long as she continues to eat and communicate to me. Please tell me what I can do to restore her hairand perhaps health. Thanks.

Ima Denmon


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that Annie is not feeling well. Usually if an older cat is not eating and losing weight it does mean that there is something serious going on. It is a good thing that her appetite is picking up, but I am concerned by what you have written.

When a cat is losing hair in clumps like this it means that her immune system is dealing with something. When the body is sick then often the coat does not get properly taken care of.

There are other possible reasons for hair loss (but most likely it is because of underlying illness.) These include:

  • Fleas - if so the hair loss is most likely on the back above the tail and around the neck.

  • A parasite called demodex - which is quite uncommon in cats.

  • Ringworm which is a fungal infection - but it shouldn't cause hair loss all over.



It would be a great idea to have a vet take a look at Annie and do some blood tests. Some things that cause weight loss in older cats include:

  • Hyperthyroidism - You should see an increase in appetite (at first, but then appetite can decrease as she gets sicker).

  • Kidney disease - Often cats will drink and urinate more and may have quite bad breath because of the toxins that are not being released properly by the kidneys.

  • Diabetes - Usually accompanied by a large increase in thirst and urination.

  • Some cancers



For many of these things there are things that we can do to help.

I hope she does 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.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie, Thank you for answering me. The problem is, I'm on a fixed income and do not have the high cost of taking Annie to a vet.I wish I had paid the $15 yesterday so that you could suggest something else for me to do. I didn't bring my purse over here to work on the computers. Anyway, thanks for the info.With the scope of what you say may possibly be wrong with her sounds like I have got to save up some money. She also goes on the floor a lotinstead of her litter box which is also troubling to me because I have back and leg (bending) problems. Will write again.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome. It does sound like the best thing would be to have your vet take a look. I really hope she is ok.



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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.