Old cat picky and losing weight - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 09-10-2013, 06:27 PM
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The vet recently told us my 15-yr old cat lost a few teeth and suggested serving her canned food.  We were serving her dry food and she wasn't complaining.  She loved the canned food though!


Within the last 2 months she has become extremely picky.  She meows and walks us over to the pantry, like she's hungry.  Then she sniffs it and walks back over, meowing as if to ask for more food.  We're giving her her favorite flavor most of the time.


We've tried varying flavors, stirring up the food so it's not in chunks, food with and w/o chunks, adding water or salmon oil to make it softer, salmon oil by itself...she's not happy. 


Oh, I also tried baby food with no corn or additives.  When we give her something new, she gobbles it up the first time and then snubs it from then on.


She was 7.2 lbs 4 months ago and now she's 6.5.  She's really skinny.


Today I got her some soft treats, thinking they have a lot of calories.  Again, something new, she gobbled about 5 of them up and then snubbed the rest.


Any ideas to get her to eat? :confused:


ETA: She's very active, playing and jumping on things like she always has.

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#2 Old 09-10-2013, 08:57 PM
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That's a tricky situation. I take it the vet examined kitty and found nothing else to be the problem? 


I'm by no means an expert in veterinary medicine or pet behavior. Though it may seem counter-intuitive (since kitty is losing weight), but if kitty is snubbing foods, you may be catering to the pickiness by constantly changing how the food is presented or by changing the type of food itself. I would suggest reintroducing the same food. Kitty will eat if it gets hungry enough. If you notice kitty doesn't eat, something else might be the problem.


I've lived with almost a dozen cats over my lifetime and I find that their pickiness goes away if I don't yield. 


I hope you figure out a solution for kitty! Please keep us informed.



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#3 Old 09-10-2013, 10:51 PM
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Has she had blood work lately?

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#4 Old 09-10-2013, 11:14 PM
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I disagree strongly with the advice about "not yielding." At 15, she's a senior cat, and she's getting into the years where even healthy cats start losing weight. It's an age where I try to get my cats to gain a little bit, so that they have something in reserve if an illness strikes.


Have you had senior blood work done on her recently? At that age, I have it done every six months, and if there is anything that is troubling me (weight loss, drinking more than usual, changes in urination/defecation, behavior changes, etc.), that's the first thing I do - take her/him in for senior blood work.


What you're describing could result from kidney failure, diabetes, infections of the mouth/gums, a systematic infection, cancer, liver failure, or a number of other health problems. Be sure that the vet checks her mouth thoroughly, including under the tongue - cats can be very prone to cancers of the mouth, especially as they age.


If she gets a clean bill of health and is still not eating well, it can simply be age related loss of appetite, although it would be happening at a younger age in her case than I have seen with my cats.


Things that I have found that tempt the appetite of ill or old cats:


Gerber's baby food - the meat flavors. Other manufacturers' foods are not particularly attractive to cats. Many cats like Gerber's chicken, but my feline leukemia positive cat ate nothing other than Gerber's pork baby food, fish that I cooked in a vegetable broth, and whipped cream, for almost two years straight. Try each flavor of the Gerber's.


Fish lightly cooked in a vegetable broth.


Roasted chicken.


Whipped cream (whipped). They seem to tolerate this well, despite the lactose intolerance of most cats, and it's a way of adding calories to their diet.


Goat's milk is apparently liked by many cats (none of mine so far), and doesn't present lactose tolerance problems.


I also go to one of the big box pet stores and buy one can of every flavor of every cat food, including kitten foods, and then keep notes about what appeals and what doesn't.




But your first step should be a visit to the vet for a thorough check up and blood work, if you haven't already done that.

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#5 Old 09-11-2013, 07:05 PM
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Yeah, she's been to a vet recently.  All he suggested is to offer her more canned food because of the tooth loss.


I will try the Gerber's again.


I just remembered about 10 yrs ago, and a few times since then, she would go through these phases.  She doesn't give in and eat what she's served.  She seems more interested in waiting it out than eating something she's not in the mood to eat.  Strange.


If she doesn't stop it soon I will take her to the vet I guess.  It breaks my heart to take her to the vet.  She gets so upset.:cry:

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#6 Old 09-11-2013, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post

Yeah, she's been to a vet recently.



Did he do a senior blood workup? Any other tests? If he jut looked her over, that would tell him next to nothing, and frankly, I would be finding myself a new vet.


Tooth loss doesn't slow cats down from eating dry. I had a cat whose last teeth were pulled at 16, and he spent the last three years of his life eating dry food (which he liked, but which I prefer to feed only minimally, for all of the health reasons I've outlined in other posts). Anyway, Nikki continued to prefer dry over wet, and you couldn't tell he was toothless - he ate as well as any other cat. Most vets know this.


Now, untreated gum disease and cavities can cause a great deal of pain and reduce a cat's desire to eat, resulting in sudden weight loss. If your cat is having this sort of problem, your vet should have told you. Dental problems left untreated lead to heart disease and other systematic problems.


Does your cat like catnip? If she does, you can put some catnip in her carrier several hours before the vet visit. It'll help with her stress.

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#7 Old 09-16-2013, 06:45 PM
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Interesting re the dry food.  Mine does eat it but I can tell it's a little harder for her.  Yet sometimes she chooses it over the wet food.


I found some soft treats and she's gobbling them up.


I decided to check her gums and I see they're a little inflamed.  I tried to start her on antibiotics but she won't eat.


I guess it's off to the vet. :(


ETA:  To answer your questions, she's had the old cat workup within the last year.  She had no kidney problems.  Heart murmur and some vision loss.  He claims she has arthritis but I think he's wrong. His diagnosis was based on the fact that she walks a little funny.  She has always walked that way.  Her legs are short.  She jumps up on things just like always and is constantly playing.

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#8 Old 09-22-2013, 11:28 AM
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I thought I would give the kind posters who replied an update, if you're interested. 


I watched more carefully and I now suspect she is eating a lot more dry food at night than I thought. She is too skinny though.


She likes the soft treats so I am treating her once a day--more if she seems to be not eating her food.


I checked her gums again--she has a history of inflamed gums--and found a pinkish spot again.  I am medicating her for the infection, which has worked in the past.


I am giving her less of the wet food because she just wastes it.  I give her 1/4 of a can twice a day with her medication mixed in.  She seems to snub her nose at it less, presumably because less is being made available to her.  I was giving her and my other cat 1/2 a can twice a day but it wasn't getting eaten.  Now I give 1 spoonful to the other cat because that's all she eats, and I give the older cat what I said above.


Anyway, things are looking up.  Hopefully I can get her to gain weight next!

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