While obesity is one of the common cat illnesses, unintentional weight loss in cats can be a warning sign too. Weight loss in cats can be due to two main reasons: Stress (factors that push the cat to starve or to reduce the quantity consumed) and Medical (loss of appetite and inability to retain a healthy weight in spite of normal food consumption.
Read on to find out the most common factors under both categories that may be causing significant weight loss in your feline friend.
Sources of Stress
Inappropriate food serving habits: None of us prefer eating from a dirty bowl or sharing the plate with a less familiar member of the family. The same applies to cats too. Cats prefer food that is fresh and clean. Food and water bowls must be cleaned regularly and it is recommended to use a separate set of utensils for each pet in the house. Also, food bowls must always be placed at a substantial distance from the litter box. Also, Cats do not prefer the presence of other animals in the feeding area and excessive noise from other pets can alter their eating habits. Lack of attention to these factors can cause stress and anxiety and make the cat say no to food and pave way for weight loss.
Environmental conditions: Introduction to new food, new owners, changes to the home, or familial inclusions/exclusions could also cause lack of interest in food and ultimately weight loss in cats.
Dental problems: Before you ponder over the more serious cat illnesses that could potentially cause weight loss in the pet, consider the dental condition of the cat. A sore tooth can be deduced through symptoms like excessive pawing and drooling and in many cases it is the reason behind aversion to eating food.
Age-related illnesses: Cats, as they age, tend to develop a number of complications like kidney malfunctioning, diabetes, general changes in metabolism and other organ-related illnesses. Thus weight loss in older cats is common and must be attended to immediately.
Cancer: Not all cases of weight loss are related to cancer but when weight loss is accompanied with hiding, lethargy, loss of appetite, then it could be a warning sign.
Intestinal problems: From parasites in the intestine to infections in the gastrointestinal tract, a number of intestinal problems can cause weight loss in cats. In general, weight loss induced by an intestinal infection is accompanied by other severe symptoms like difficulty in breathing, dysentery and vomiting.
Diabetes: Diabetes, which indicates the inability to produce the hormone, insulin, is characterized by change in appetite and subsequent weight loss. Cats that show symptoms like the excessive need to drink water, frequent urination, sweet smelling breath, sluggishness combined with weight loss have the highest chance of being diagnosed with diabetes.
Apart from these four medical conditions, weight loss can be associated to a number of other cat illnesses like hyperthyroidism, malfunctioning of the immune system, neurological disorders and so on. Therefore, unintended weight loss in cats can be a major concern and must be treated immediately.
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