Cat food for an older cat losing weight

My aging cat is disappearing before my eyes. when she was 17 she had lost considerable weight and the vet did a blood test with no conclusive results. He wanted to do exploritory surgery which I declined. Due to her age I didn’t want to put her through it. She is still very active now at 18 but is still losing weight. She always wants her snack but often heaves it back up. The snack consists of soft food or a small portion of wet cat food, which is the premium stuff with no gravy. Since I have another cat I have no way of knowing if the younger one is eating the dry food from the older cat. The dry food is the same Iams food fed to both of them for their entire lives. The younger cat is getting fat, which suggests she is eating the older cat’s food. So it finally dawned on me that the older cat is may only be eating the snacks. She still has her teeth and I’ve heard her crunching the hard stuff when combined with the soft snacks. I know she can physically do it. Since she’s lost her voice maybe she has trouble swallowing. Don’t know.

I can start feeding her pretty much anything but I’m getting REAL tired of cleaning up cat vomit. She’s ruined a good wool rug (why the f!#$k is there red dye in cat food?) Any suggestions on yummy cat food that will stay down would be be appreciated. I’m guessing she has trouble with food with a high fat content. I just tried Friskies fine cuts in a pouch and it stayed down. It’s supposed to be a balanced meal (again what is with the red dye?).

Given the barfing, I dunno, but did the vet check for diabetes? Liver function? What I’m also wondering is whether there’s something wrong with her esophagus. I’m worrying/wondering about the possibility of a tumor in her throat or esophagus, especially given you’ve said she’s lost her voice. :frowning: I’m really sorry for you and your kitty. The longer we have pets, the more precious they become to us; that’s a given.

We’ve got vets on here, hopefully one will read this, in spite of the really off-putting name you gave the thread. I couldn’t figure out what in the world you meant by it, but it makes it seem like you’re asking what the cats (if there were any) at Auschwitz were fed, which is a yucky thought. Personally, I’d ask a mod to rename it, if I were you.

The red dye is intended to convince humans (not the cats) that it’s more meaty. After all, it’s the humans who do the buying, and who are first to see the stuff. There could be things that will remove the dye from the wool. It may not be a “permanent” dye, but I’m not an expert on cleaning, or on food additives.

Did she have her thyroid levels checked? Older cats often develop hyperthyroidism, they will still be very active but thin and the thyroid may be enlarged which may or may not effect swallowing.

As for feeding I’d try a senior food or a sensitive stomach food. I feed my cats Hill’s Sensitive Stomach dry food now and I have had less vomiting, except for the one that eats too fast and then pukes. I do mix in some 9 lives canned food in the evening because even though I work at a vet’s office buying both special canned and dry food was getting too expensive. It’s just enough canned food to make it interesting for them. I do give my 18 year old and my toothless cat plain canned food as well but they will also eat the dry.

I’m going to have to run her to the vets for her back side (anal glands keep plugging up). I’ll ask about her thyroids. Where can I get the Hills Sensitive Stomach food?

Your vet may recommend a high protein canned food - that’s what mine did. Bernie is elderly and has hyperthyroid problems. She had dropped almost 4 pounds in a matter of months. Once she started meds she gained back a few and is now maintaining. She’s still on the small side (hovers around 5 lbs 14oz), but that’s okay.

Our other older cat, Cleo, we discovered is suddenly allergic to grain. It was never a problem until about two years ago when the super barfing started. Took her to the vet where they couldn’t find anything wrong, but offered an expensive exploratory surgery as an option. We cut out the hard cat food, the vomiting lessened. Okay - maybe there’s something in the hard stuff she couldn’t handle. Tried the vet recommended bland food - that didn’t work. It was hit or miss until someone suggested grain allergies.

They now both eat the Wellness brand grain-free (avg $1.29/can, which I split between the two twice a day). Cleo’s barfing has subsided greatly - from 2x or more a day to maybe 2x a week - and that’s more hairball related.

IANAV, obviously, and what is working for us may not for you and your kitties. I would ask the vet to check the thyroid. Ask for a food recommendation too.

It’s in the Science Diet line so it should be available and vet’s and pet stores. But if you’re going to see the vet ask what they’d recommend for your cat.

I spoke too soon anyway, I woke up this morning to cat vomit in the hall.:frowning: Everytime I mention that cats have been vomiting less someone has to prove me wrong.

Hyperthyroidism would explain the weight loss without loss of activity, and would potentially explain the change of voice. A tumor in her throat would explain the voice change, vomiting, and weight loss (either via inability to eat or from metabolic demand of the tumor). Is the anal gland problem new?

Definitely ask about checking her thyroid levels while you are at the vet, in addition to rechecking her basic bloodwork. Also, talk to her about x-rays of the neck and chest and exploratory ultrasound of the abdomen. X-rays of the chest would help you look for tumors. Ultrasounding the abdomen is less invasive than surgery, and would help you look for tumors, check her kidneys, etc. Many clinics have an ultrasound machine, and the doctor on staff should have enough basic skill to make a “this is normal/this is not normal” call.

If you really don’t think it will be worthwhile to chase down the problem with diagnostics, then talk to your vet about buying a high-calorie, prescription wet food like Hill’s A/D. Be prepared for kitty to decline rapidly. Ask the vet about euthanasia costs and procedures and what your options are if kitty really goes down on a weekend or holiday. Nothing is worse than watching your pet die slowly because the humane option is unavailable, believe me.

Good luck :frowning:
Pullet

  • Nearly finished with Vet School -

There are a few foods that could help your cat eat and keep it down - that is, cats differ, and various of these may work for her. Wet cat food, of course, especially versions for kittens and versions that include liver. Also, perhaps liverwurst, or perhaps other lunchmeats (but you might look into how good various of them are for cats, especially the salty ones and those with lots of fat). Also, baby food, especially pureed meats. And there is a big variety of other things that may work for a little while: canned tuna and/or the juice, kitten formula (all dairy and similar foods may have tolerance problems though), cheese (in moderation depending on bowel habits), soups. One of our cats couldn’t get enough of things that were red including jams and jellies, tomatoes, clam sauce, and yoghurt and icecream in red-fruit flavors. Some cats like vegetables.

I wish you the best of luck. Like some others have said, this can be a difficult situation. But if you want it to be, your cat’s life can still be nicer.

That’s what I would guess. I’ve had a couple of cats have this, including one of our current cats. He eats like a pig but gains no weight.

The vet put him on medication. I get the meds from the Walgreens. The pharmacist told me that even though that medication was developed for humans, in 20 years the thousands of prescriptions he’s filled for it has always been for cats.

It’s been many, many years since I’ve owned a cat (more of a dog person), so put that down to why the possibility of a thyroid problem didn’t occur to me. An enlarged thyroid could also explain the loss of voice, and make swallowing very much harder.

I think Pullet gave you some really good advice, especially about making plans for what to do when the dread day arrives. As she(? a pullet is a female) said, you don’t want the agony of watching her suffer if that time arrives on a weekend.

One other thing: you mentioned that you were thinking your other cat was eating some of her food. Can you shut the other cat in another room while your ailing kitty eats? You don’t want to pay big bucks for food she can eat, only to have the other one scarf it down. Whether it’s while you’re experimenting to find something she can eat, or once you (hopefully) find something that works, you want her to get the full benefit of it.

How long have you been using this vet? Depending on how he responds to this next visit, you might want to consider getting a second opinion. Dayton’s a decent sized city, and not in the middle of nowhere. I’m sure there are lots of vets around.

Lol. Yeah, we vets steal a number of things from the human world. They do more research for human medications.

For the OP: All the posts on alternative foodstuffs are well and good if the underlying problem can’t be treated or if you’d rather not treat it. Don’t expect kitty to be cured after a week of tuna.

ETA; Yay! Someone else who knows what my name means!!

She has no problems snarfing down wet food. It seems to me that the oilier foods (salmon) are the ones that are more likely to come back up.

No, I’ve had her to the vet twice to have them expressed and she is having problems again. One of them is swelled up but it doesn’t seem to bother her.

Thanks for the info. Frankly I expected her to fade away a year ago. She’s now over 18 years old and she keeps chugging along. She seems hungrier than usual so I’ll start rotating different foods to see what she will eat and keep down.

if the older cat will eat it I won’t have to worry about the younger cat. If it’s something yummy the older cat will inhale it. Up to now I just thought that she was having problems with the rich food because that is what comes back up. It just dawned on me that she might not be eating any of the dry food. That’s a really easy problem to fix.

Always a consideration in cases like this, and very much underutilized IMHO.

In human (and feline) medicine, radioactive iodine (I-131) is the treatment of choice. Methimazole is generally a poor third choice (following thyroidectomy), but it works economically for many people.

Hey, Pullet: My gf is looking for a pullet or two. Sadly, a raccoon got two of her flock of three.

:frowning: I send you a beautiful chicken picture, by way of celebration of the lives of your chickens.

Thanks (from both of us). She had an aracuana, a white rock, and a rhode island red.
Fresh eggs are the best.:slight_smile:

Hey, vetbridge! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the endorsement. I’ve always felt that any good medical practitioner was open to this option, especially in a situation where it’s hard to figure out what’s going on - and some even have the courage to suggest it. It’s a move that would make me feel greater trust, not less.

It didn’t sound to me as though the current vet had even suggested some of the easier (and cheaper) diagnostic procedures. I’d think a blood panel would be the very first thing he’d have done, not suggest exploratory surgery on an aged cat. I’ve always been told that cats are hypersensitive to anesthesia, and that anything requiring it was a last resort. And both ultrasound and X-rays are more non-invasive, but often very revelatory steps. And all things that Pullet mentioned.

I think she shows a lot of promise. :cool:

I had the blood work done prior to the surgery suggestion. That was over a year ago. Having it done again. Should know more tomorrow. In the meantime she’s vacuuming up some wet cat food. Hopefully I won’t be walking in it. After I got her home I noticed she has an infectect nail so I’m headed back there tomorrow.