15 year old girl needs to gain weight - help

catminionjess

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My 15 year old girl, Boogie Bear, has lost weight in the last year. Her diet hasn't changed nor has her activity level really that I've noticed. She had her annual check up at the end of January and had lost 2 pounds, down to only 9 pounds. I asked the vet do a senior blood panel. Everything came back in the normal range. The vet did say the liver numbers were slightly high, but still in the normal range. They said I could bring her back for another weigh in when I bring my 14 year old male in for his annual check up in September if she didn't 'eem to gain weight before then.

I thought maybe it was stress. I had a foster newborn girl kitten from mid October to early December that neither of them liked at all. Then a week before Christmas, I took in another young stray boy due to an injury that needed attention. That boy had come around in 2017 and disappeared for 2 years, but came back because he needed help. He's been inside with them since then. Boogie bear doesn't like him. The senior boy is still unsure of him, but not as mad as she is that he's here.

She hasn't gained any weight back and now it's actually noticeable. I'm looking for suggestions on how to fatten her up. The seniors current diet for wet food is the 2 Purina 11+ flavors, 2 flavors of Purina Pro Plan 7+. I also feed them Sheba and Nutro trays as treats some days. Their current dry food diet is a rotation of Iams ProActive Healthy Senior, Hill's Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality, and Nutro Wild Frontier Senior Open Valley. They've tried a lot of other foods over the years, but she is pretty picky about texture. Anything other than Pate formula is usually a no go for her. She did seem to like the Purina Beyond dry formula and some Solid Gold dry formulas that I bought trying to find foods the new boy would like. She also really wanted the RC Mother & Babycat food that I bought to transition the foster kitten from bottle feeding formula. I thought about getting more of that for her to eat just for a bit, but I'm really not sure what to do.
 

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She also really wanted the RC Mother & Babycat food that I bought to transition the foster kitten from bottle feeding formula. I thought about getting more of that for her to eat
Try this, if she likes it and eats it well this could result in success.
Also see if you can get her to be more active so that the weight gain isn't just fat, but muscle mass.
If you have a bathroom scale you can weigh her yourself, once every couple weeks.
 
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catminionjess

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Furballsmom Furballsmom I need to change the batteries in my scale, but you have to take it apart so I'm always like, meh I'll do it later. The weight was always different from it was at the vet. It's a good idea though so I should do that.
 

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I agree that the Mother and BabyCat should be good as it should have more calories for her, and you know she already likes it. If she would go for it, try adding in an egg yolk a couple days a week. Great protein and good source of calories. I normally don't suggest this for a 15 year old cat, but since you just had bloodwork done and she got the all clear, you should be fine with it. (not good if they have kidney issues)
 
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catminionjess

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mrsgreenjeens mrsgreenjeens I had another stray I took in many years back that was diagnosed with ckd. He's actually why I joined this site. He passed less than a year after being diagnosed. He lost half his weight from appetite loss. That was almost 4 years ago. But with her, she still seems to have a normal appetite, but is losing weight. That is why I asked them to do bloodwork because I was thinking something like ckd or diabetes and I know she's getting old.
 

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If she's not been gaining weight even though she is eating more then enough calories I would bring her to the vet again. Did you get a senior panel done or just a regular blood test? Have you done xrays? Or an ultrasound? I would do those to make sure its not cancer.
 

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My 15 year old girl, Boogie Bear, has lost weight in the last year. Her diet hasn't changed nor has her activity level really that I've noticed. She had her annual check up at the end of January and had lost 2 pounds, down to only 9 pounds. I asked the vet do a senior blood panel. Everything came back in the normal range. The vet did say the liver numbers were slightly high, but still in the normal range. They said I could bring her back for another weigh in when I bring my 14 year old male in for his annual check up in September if she didn't 'eem to gain weight before then.

I thought maybe it was stress. I had a foster newborn girl kitten from mid October to early December that neither of them liked at all. Then a week before Christmas, I took in another young stray boy due to an injury that needed attention. That boy had come around in 2017 and disappeared for 2 years, but came back because he needed help. He's been inside with them since then. Boogie bear doesn't like him. The senior boy is still unsure of him, but not as mad as she is that he's here.

She hasn't gained any weight back and now it's actually noticeable. I'm looking for suggestions on how to fatten her up. The seniors current diet for wet food is the 2 Purina 11+ flavors, 2 flavors of Purina Pro Plan 7+. I also feed them Sheba and Nutro trays as treats some days. Their current dry food diet is a rotation of Iams ProActive Healthy Senior, Hill's Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality, and Nutro Wild Frontier Senior Open Valley. They've tried a lot of other foods over the years, but she is pretty picky about texture. Anything other than Pate formula is usually a no go for her. She did seem to like the Purina Beyond dry formula and some Solid Gold dry formulas that I bought trying to find foods the new boy would like. She also really wanted the RC Mother & Babycat food that I bought to transition the foster kitten from bottle feeding formula. I thought about getting more of that for her to eat just for a bit, but I'm really not sure what to do.
Inppetance is serious. Murtazipine really works well in most circumstances.
 
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catminionjess

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If she's not been gaining weight even though she is eating more then enough calories I would bring her to the vet again. Did you get a senior panel done or just a regular blood test? Have you done xrays? Or an ultrasound? I would do those to make sure its not cancer.
It's been a few months, but I think it was a senior panel. Since everything was in the normal range, the vet didn't suggest xrays or ultrasound so I didn't think or know to ask for them in that case.
 
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catminionjess

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J Janet2000 I know inappetance is serious, but she hasn't lost her appetite. Her diet and amount of food eaten hasn't changed. But she's lost weight for reasons not clear from the blood work panel done in January and hasn't gained it back since then.
 

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Sorry- that is even more reason to get her evaluated. Ddx could be hyperthyroidism or possibly cancer. Needs a more thorough workup as you want to treat early rather than later. I suggest you weigh her weekly on a baby scale at your house. They are cheap and easier on the cat than a vet visit as well.
Also she 15 years old is not particularly old. I had a cat who lived to be 27 and was healthy. As cats get older, though, they need more protein and she may be having issues actually digesting the food she is eating. I would probably try some probiotics and possibly some digestive enzymes and see if that helps.

Best of luck-

Janet
 
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cataholic07

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I'd get xrays done to be honest. An ultrasound if nothing pops up. At least you will have covered all bases. :)
 

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If it's noticeable now, I'm guessing she lost more weight. I'd consider putting another call into the vet to see if they have any ideas. The higher calorie food is a good idea.

I have a cat that is around 16 now and we struggle to keep weight on her. Her liver numbers are also slightly off and she takes Denamarin every day. She also gets a B-12 shot every three weeks to help with nutrient absorption. She also has IBD. Is your cat having any issues with vomiting or diarrhea?
 
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catminionjess

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AbbysMom AbbysMom No diarrhea and I would say no more vomiting than the usual hairball vomitting for her and the senior boy. I looked for a liver supplement after her check up in January, but couldn't find one that was a soft chew. Powder or tablets won't work for her. She's terrible to pill and she'll notice anything added to her food and just not eat it.

Their next wet food auto-ship is coming up soon, so I swapped the 11+ food to the 7+ version since it's higher calories, but is still senior diet, like their vet recommended several years ago.
 

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She's terrible to pill
I hear you and sympathize with this!!! The only thing that has worked for me with the Denamarin is to wrap it in a soft treat and give it to her with another treat that doesn't have the pill with it. I still have her some time eat the treat and spit the pill out and I have to try again. :rolleyes2:
 

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Weigh her daily would be a good idea. Add treats if she will eat it, maybe instead of senior just feed all life stages for her. If she continues to lose weight, she must see a vet. If she is extremely skinny, do not wait, get her in asap. If you can see the ribs and spine she needs the vet asap.
 

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Hi. Late to this post, and not sure I have anything of benefit to offer... but, Feeby (15+ yo) who has always been overweight took a sudden turn with a mysterious weight loss last year. She had lost about 1.5 lbs in less than 6 months (between senior exams). No one knows why, her blood work was fine, as was her thyroid check (I trust they did a thyroid check on your girl?). She is still gradually losing weight, but not at that drastic level, and since she was overweight to begin with, I have some 'room' to play with. But, I have given her Fancy Feast pates (the only style she will eat) in addition to her prescription food (urinary related). That helped her to eat more. In those times when she seems to need an extra 'boost', I also give her baby food meats. I will also give her any human food bites that she is interested in.

I weigh her once a week and chart her caloric intake. I add more baby food meat or additional human treats - whatever she will take - when I see her calories are down. She has no diarrhea, and only occasionally throws up some hair.

The one thing I haven't done that I might do is get the vet to check her Vitamin B12 levels. That can lend to malabsorption of food intake and cause weight loss - that was mentioned above, and if I were you I would pursue that too.
 
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catminionjess

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FeebysOwner FeebysOwner They didn't do a thyroid check. The vet mentioned it and asked if I could pill her if it turned out positive and I said no she's terrible to pill. They said then it would be pointless to do one if I couldn't give the meds if necessary. When the former male wouldn't eat the ckd rx food, I bought a lot of Fancy Feast classics and then baby food meats since those were suggested alternatives. No one liked the baby food, but everyone liked at least some of the Fancy Feast flavors. So that might be something I should start adding to their "treat" meals again.
 

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They didn't do a thyroid check. The vet mentioned it and asked if I could pill her if it turned out positive and I said no she's terrible to pill. They said then it would be pointless to do one if I couldn't give the meds if necessary.
Ask the vet about compounding thyroid meds into a liquid or even a transdermal gel. If possible, the test might be worth it, just to find out if that might be the cause. If not, see if the pills can be crushed. (And, still look into the B12 concept as well.)

Feeby is hard to pill, but if she requires any meds, I can get her take it in liquid form (or, crush a pill) by adding it to a small amount of canned tuna or chicken water, and then give her a bite of either afterward for a treat.
 
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Here's an update. I took her back to the vet to get new blood work and T4 (thyroid test) Friday afternoon. That was a terrible ordeal because of COVID-19, my vet is only doing curbside drop-off and we are in Texas in the middle of a heat wave. So my poor girl was already overheating in the 10 minutes it took for someone to come get her from my car. Then I had to wait over an hour for the vet to come out and discuss the test results. She does have hyperthyroidism. The vet mentioned 3 options for treatment, but basically 2 of those aren't available anywhere locally, so really just the one option, medication. They also mentioned a fourth option, do nothing because she's already 15 and old. They did have samples of compounded soft chew methimazole. They gave me 5 chews of 5mg to give half a chew twice a day. So I started her on them Saturday. She ate the half piece with no fuss. She probably thinks she's getting a sneaky treat the boys aren't since I give them to her when we're alone in the kitchen. Since she seems to like the medicine, I ordered a 30 day supply from their website earlier today. We'll see how that progresses. I now have research to do on hyperthyroidism in cats and also for a new vet.
 
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On Monday (2 days ago) the vet had me bring my girl back to recheck the T4 after 10 days. They decided to double the dose to 5mg twice a day. At first she liked the chews, but now she doesn't. I had the original 5 chews, then another 5 from the vet in fish flavor. She finished those Monday so yesterday morning she started the ones I ordered in salmon flavor. I didn't see "fish" available to order so I went with salmon because she usually loves salmon. She ate the first salmon chew yesterday morning, but wouldn't eat her evening chew. So I had to break it up and pill her. Same thing this moring. It was not fun. Now I don't know what to do. I might as well switch to the tablets and save the compounding fee if if I'm going to pill her after all. This is really frustrating, but I'll do whatever I can to help her.
 
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