Weight loss in cats can be a normal process of restricting the calorie intake in an obese cat, or it can be the result of an underlying life threatening illness that has attacked your cat.
If it is the result of a developing illness, some of the early warning signs that you will see will body and muscle mass deterioration.
But perhaps the quickest way to identify a potential illness is when you cats hair coat starts to erode in both shine and quality.
If your cat is not losing body fluids, they are not on a diet to reduce their weight, and then suddenly lose weight that exceeds over ten percent of their total size, something may be seriously wrong with them.
Weight loss in cats is a condition that usually results in a negative caloric intake, but it can also be the result of malabsorptive, maldigestive or metabolic disorders.
It may also be the result of a poor quality of the food that is provided.
If it is a malabsorptive disorder, the process of proper absorption of nutrients by the intestines may be the underlying cause.
If it is a maldigestive disorder it may be the result of an inadequate breakdown of food and the result is the food is not processed by your cat
A metabolic disorder could be the result of a critical organ that is failing.
There are several different symptoms that you can watch for with weight loss in cats that you have not initiated.
The first obvious symptom is the loss of weight which is usually followed very quickly by a loss of both body condition and muscle mass.
The loss of muscle mass in your cat is extremely dangerous as the muscles control the movements in every part of your cat’s body, including the internal organs.
The next set of symptoms to watch for in weight loss in cats will be diarrhea and vomiting which could be signs that food is not properly being processed by your cat.
If this is the case, you will than see regurgitation as well as a difficulty in swallowing.
Regurgitation on occasion is normal in cats, but if it is occurring at the same time as a weight loss, it may be especially dangerous.
The esophagus in your cat is a small hose like tubular structure that leads from the mouth to the stomach of your pet.
From the mouth, it follows almost a straight path through the neck and the chest area.
It than passes through the heart, followed by the diaphragm muscles and it is comprised of muscles that move in wave like motions.
It is this muscle movement that allows the food to pass through your pet’s body. Once it losses muscle tone, it causes a chronic regurgitation in your cat.
However, the most chilling symptom associated with weight loss in cats is the sudden development of a poor hair coat in both luster and quality.
There are numerous reasons for hair coat problems in cats, but if is associated with a sudden loss of weight, it is almost always the sign of an organ malfunction, especially the kidneys.
There are several potential causes of weight loss in cats and the first thing to do is examine their food and ask some basic questions.
The first would be the quantity of food given and if it the right amount for your cats age and weight. The quality of the food may also be the cause.
If you have food that has had a prolonged storage process, it can very easily lose most of its nutritional value and it is not supplying your cat with the needed nutrients.
However, the most common causes of weight loss in cats are some type of a disorder. Malabsorptive disorders can cause poor intestinal absorption in your cats system.
The most common form is referred to as IBD, or Inflammatory bowel disease.
This disease is thought to be an immune related condition and it causes microscopic accumulations of cells that become inflamed in the intestinal wall.
If this is the case it will cause diarrhea that results in a sudden weight loss.
Intestinal parasite infections attack young cats or cats that are kenneled and are associated with unsanitary conditions and can produce roundworms as well as hookworms.
Fungal infections can also cause infections in the bowel and lead to a sudden weight loss in your pet.
Maldigestive disorders that result in the inadequate breakdown of food in your cats system and then cause the food not being processed properly include EPI and a lack of bile slats.
EPI, also known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is the result of your cat’s pancreas not producing enough enzymes to break down the food which results in the loss of nutrients.
Bile salts are critical to your cat as they enhance the digestion of fats by emulsifying them or properly dispersing them.
This is usually caused by the development of a liver of gall bladder disease.
Metabolic disorders include organ failures such as the liver and the kidney as well as sugar diabetes.
There are however, another set of conditions that can cause an excessive amount of nutrients to be lost by your cat even if they are eating properly.
PLE or protein losing enteropathy is extremely dangerous to your cat and can cause a very rapid loss of weight.
This is a condition that results in a protein loss by the retention of fluid in your cat called edema, or by ascites, which is the retention of fluid in their abdomen.
The proteins that your cat gets from their food are absorbed in their small bowel and as a result it affects the digestion and the absorption of proteins.
Weight loss in cats can be a very dangerous situation, especially if it exceeds ten percent of the body weight.
Once the underlying disease is found, supplementation with vitamins and minerals will be needed to bring the nourishment requirements back to normal levels.
In some cases, you may also have to force feed your cat for a period of time.
Appetite stimulants may also have to be given once the underlying condition is diagnosed and corrected to get your cat to start eating again and gain the weight back.