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    Why Is My Cat Losing Weight? Should I Be Worried?


    It might sound like this is something that’d be obvious to any cat owner, but actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, certain cats like Ragdoll, Persian, and Balinese breeds are particularly hairy, so noticing weight fluctuation is very difficult. Furthermore, if your cat is overweight in general, then recent weight loss might not be immediately noticeable.

    The easiest way to monitor weight loss in cats is by feeling its sides with your hands. By doing this regularly, you’ll have a good idea of what it’s regular weight should feel like. If its ribs start to become more visible, or you can feel them more clearly than usual, this is a clear sign that your cat has lost a considerable amount of weight.

    Why do cats lose weight?

    Of course, cats lose weight if they don’t take in enough nutrients. However, there’s a wide range of factors that lead to weight loss in cats that have nothing to do with the amount of food they consume.

    Weight loss is extremely important to monitor because it can be symptomatic of critically serious health issues. The earlier it’s spotted, the best chance your furry companion has of a full recovery.


    Fast weight loss can indicate diabetes in cats. If its cells are struggling to absorb glucose from the blood, energy supplies will drain quickly. This is the case for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

    Should this occur, the cat’s body will use what fat and protein it has to provide food for the cells lacking in glucose. This leads to dramatic weight loss if left untreated.


    Tragically, cancer is the greatest cause of death for cats. Just like humans, they can get cancer anywhere in the body. It occurs when cells grow uncontrollably, damaging other cells and organs. It’ll often lead to a complete loss of appetite. 


    Stress in cats, or anxiety, may have a considerable effect, and lead to your cat losing its appetite. There are certain circumstances that may upset your cat or lead it to be depressed. Perhaps its living space is too loud, or there are too many animals in its feed area, or its food serving area may be unclean.

    These are just some of the reasons that a cat’s immediate environment may lead to stress.

    Intestinal Parasites

    There are many kinds of internal parasites that cats suffer from, but tapeworms and roundworms are by far the most common. If left untreated, the problem will affect your cat’s bowel movements, sometimes causing diarrhea along with vomiting. 

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Inflammatory bowel disease (IDB) is one of the issues that’s easier to spot the signs of. It’s important to look out for symptoms such as bloody stools, lethargy, a general lack of hunger, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

    Each issue alone can cause weight loss, but if some occur in combination, IBD is the likely cause. It should be checked immediately, as it can quickly lead to critical levels of weight loss.


    Hyperthyroidism is a painful glandular disorder related to cats. In fact, it can affect every single breed of cat. 

    However, the vast majority of cases appear in cats over 12 years old. In almost 100% of cases, it’ll lead to weight loss, but there are some other symptoms to look out for, like breathing difficulties, higher than usual hair shedding, diarrhea, and frequent vomiting.

    Chronic Kidney Disease

    Another issue most commonly seen in older cats. It occurs as kidneys gradually lose their ability to function properly. If they become unable to filter blood and produce urine, a wide range of problematic issues can arise. Watch out for increased thirst, lethargy, and frequent urination, alongside weight loss.

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    What are the best treatments for cats experiencing weight loss? 

    As shown above, there are many issues that cause sudden weight loss in cats. If you notice this, the best course of action is to visit a vet as soon as possible. Following any physical exams or x-ray scans deemed necessary, the vet will then be able to recommend the best options moving forward.

    It could be as simple as changing your cat’s diet, increasing its fluid intake, giving it antibiotics, or in some cases, surgery. Vets will also be able to give advice on how to reduce stress and anxiety in your cat’s environment.

    One thing is for certain, many of these procedures and treatments are often very expensive. Therefore, taking out health insurance plans for cats is always a wise decision.

    How can I prevent my cat from losing weight? 

    As worrying as weight loss in cats can be, there are, thankfully, some simple measures you can take to monitor and manage this problem.

    By frequently observing your cat’s weight, through feeling its sides with your hands, as well as scheduling vet appointments for general health examinations, it should be possible to determine most major health issues early on. 

    This is true for key issues, like cancer, hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, kidney disease, etc. It’ll not only save your cat a lot of unnecessary pain, but may significantly prolong its life expectancy, and save you a considerable amount of money in the long term.