Q: My 8-year-old cat is losing weight, going from 12.4 pounds in June to 11.54 in December. The medications he is on include: 25 mg atenolol ½ tab twice daily, ¼ tab 75 mg Plavix, .81 mg aspirin every three days. He is on Revolution for fleas and is wormed regularly.
He is a finicky eater of hard and canned food. I resorted to feeding him canned chicken and tuna that he seems to like at first then just drinks juice. Although he acts like he wants food and sits by his dish until he gets fed, he then snubs it.
His shoulder bones, back and ribs are showing. He is permitted to go in and out at will through a kitty door.
Any suggestions as to what is troubling the cat?
— B.H., Stow
A: It sounds like your kitty is very well taken care of!
The medications you mentioned suggest he may have a heart condition. If that is the case, weight loss can be a side effect of cardiac disease. If a heart is abnormal, it sometimes has to work harder to maintain body function, which leads to weight loss since the heart is basically “working out” just to keep the status quo.
Cats are masters at hiding disease, but one of the most common signs of illness they will give is a decrease in appetite when they are stressed or sick. If your kitty is not eating like normal, there’s a very good chance something is wrong.
Perhaps the medications he is on are upsetting his stomach, or his heart disease may be causing him discomfort. I would highly recommend a consultation with your veterinarian to get to the bottom of his decrease in appetite. Often a thorough physical exam, with or without some lab work and tests, is required to find out why a cat isn’t eating.
Canned chicken and tuna are fine to stimulate a cat to eat for the short term, but they don’t have all the nutrients a cat requires to maintain good health. Getting him back on track with a balanced diet is critical to help him stay healthy.
Best of luck to you and your kitty!
— Meg Geldhof, DVM, Medical Director, One of a Kind Pet Rescue, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-865-6890.
Please send questions about your pet to Kathy Antoniotti at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; or send me an email to email@example.com. Please include your full name and address and a daytime phone number where you can be reached. I will forward your questions to the expert I think is best suited to answer your particular problem. Phoned-in messages will not be taken.