Elderly cat rapid weight loss

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dan7800

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I have a 16 year old cat, that has been losing a lot of weight over the last 1-2 months, and is now frail. In the last 2 weeks, she stared pooping outside of her litter box (but still peeing in it). She has been eating and drinking normally, but is also more reculsive than she used to be. She doesn't seem to be in any pain, and has been spending most of her time in the bathtub where it is cooler (it is hot here).

I plan on taking her to the vet early next week when I get can get her in, but I am bracing for some very bad news.

Any thoughts, recommendations?

For now, we're giving her lots of treats, but are largely leaving her along when she retreats to the tub. I'm torn on if I should just leave her alone while she is in the dark bathroom, or if I should make it a point to spend a lot of time with her in the bathroom. She purs a lot when I pet her.

Thanks all
-Dan
 

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dan7800

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Thanks, I am going to give her more attention and encourage her to be social. She just wants to be in the bathtub, so it's a bit awkward to spend the day in there. We've been doing everything that we can to get her to be her social self.

Any ideas on what the issue could be? Symptoms are:
  1. Significant weight loss over the last 3-4 months
  2. Recent lethargy. She spends most of her time in the bathtub. It has been hot here, and she will come out to sit on the deck at night and early in the morning when it is cooler out. She does seem to move reasonably well. 2-3 times a day she will walk into the living room for 5 minutes and then head back to the tub.
  3. For the last month she's been increasingly pooping outside of her little box. Now she seems to be constipated.
  4. She is eating reasonably ok and still gets excited about her favorite foods.
Thanks everyone. Hoping to find a vet that can get her in the next few days.
 

daftcat75

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It could be any number of issues. Those are non-specific symptoms that can overlap with many conditions. You need to start with a vet visit. It would be irresponsible of any of us to suggest a diagnosis. That said, a lot of the possibilities are treatable and doesn't necessarily have to be the worst news.
 

Furballsmom

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We've been doing everything that we can to get her to be her social self.
You may want to consider spending more of your efforts on getting her to eat more caloric dense wet/canned/pouch foods. She needs that more than she needs to expend calories being social in the heat. Is there any way, maybe with a mister and a fan (with the breeze directed so that it's not blowing directly onto her) that you can get it cooler for her?

Hoping to find a vet that can get her in the next few days.
If she's now constipated, sooner than later would be better. :vibes::crossfingers:
 

daftcat75

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There are a number of conditions that can be impeding proper digestion or absorption of nutrients. It may not be as simple as feed her more.
 
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dan7800

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You may want to consider spending more of your efforts on getting her to eat more caloric dense wet/canned/pouch foods. She needs that more than she needs to expend calories being social in the heat. Is there any way, maybe with a mister and a fan (with the breeze directed so that it's not blowing directly onto her) that you can get it cooler for her?


If she's now constipated, sooner than later would be better. :vibes::crossfingers:
Thank you for the help. We are going to make sure that she always has an available supply of wet food which she still wolfs down. As far as the heat, it is hotter here (about 80 degrees outside and 70-75 inside - we don't have central air).

Most of the time, she is just sitting calmly in the tub (she does sleep there)
 

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My girl is 15 and has similiar symptoms like weight loss despite her usual appetite and lounging around more than playing. It's been really hot here too the last couple of months. I took her for a 6 month check up with blood work and a T4 Friday afternoon. She had bloodwork done in January at her annual check up and had lost 2 pounds. The vet said everything was normal, except the liver numbers were a little high. So I just thought it was stress from adding a foster kitten for about 3 months this past fall. And a couple weeks after the kitten was adopted out, another stray came back needing major care so I took him in. It turns out she has hyperthyroidism. But like others have said, it could be a number of things. Just get her check out as soon as you can.
 
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dan7800

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Thank you for the help. I called the vet and the earliest they could see her was Friday morning. Am going to get a workup then.

The good news is that we found an area in the garage where she has been pooping for the last few days, so she IS going to the bathroom thankfully (healthy looking poops too). Other than pooping outside of her litter box, and weight loss she is acting completely normal, eating and peeing in her litter box.
 
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dan7800

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Sorry for the gross description. I watched my cat try to go poop in the litter box a few times to no avail. She came out flustered and started licking her bottom and I noticed the starting to protrude out, kind of like lipstick. She went into another room, pooped a few times and then threw up the contents of what she'd been licking. She's now under a table absolutely exhausted and sleeping already.

The Friday morning vet visit cannot come soon enough. I'm very concerned
 

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Poor baby - is there any chance they can get you in sooner? Try calling them tomorrow first thing and describe what just happened, see what they say :vibes::crossfingers: :grouphug:
 
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dan7800

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Poor baby - is there any chance they can get you in sooner? Try calling them tomorrow first thing and describe what just happened, see what they say :vibes::crossfingers: :grouphug:
Thank you very much. The vets around me are very busy. Do you think this would warrant getting us in sooner?
 

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You could also call the emergency vet in your area and see what they suggest. Definitely call your vet in the morning and see if you can get in sooner than Friday.
 

Furballsmom

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Do you think this would warrant getting us in sooner?
Granted, at least she was able to get it, or most of it (?) out this time, but it bothers me a bit that she was so exhausted afterwards. I'm not a vet but hopefully they can get you in sooner.
 
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dan7800

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Most of the rest of the night was uneventful and she just peacefully slept under the coffee table behind the couch that I slept on. This morning she had a voracious appetite, so much that stopped giving her the favorite wet food that she loves since I was worried she might vomit it all back up. Early in the morning, she sprightly led the way to the back deck that she so much and sat there. So I guess some positive news this morning.
 

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1. Make sure there is no dehydration. When dehydrated, cats eat less.
2. Make sure there are no worms, this is a common reason for weight loss and is often ignored. Even indoor cat can get worms from insects.
3. See if it's possible to cool the place down.
4. I've noticed that dry food works much better when trying to gain weight. I've had underweight cat, on dry food he came back up within 1.5 months, but on wet food it was barely moving up.

I live in area that's hot too, without efficient cooling in apartment. My cat is only 3 years old, but definitely during summer he gets sleepier and eats less, and likes being in hallway ( bathroom is closed to him ). I imagine with an older cat he might also be a but disoriented from the heat and poop outside the litterbox.
 
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dan7800

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We just got back from the vet. They quickly ruled out kidney illness and took blood looking for hyperthyroidism. They will have the results of the bloodwork Monday about the thyroid.

The vet felt a tumor in her abdomen right away, which an X ray confirmed. He said the tumor wasn't good, but "could be worse". At 16 yrs old the vet didn't seem like surgery would be a great option and didn't discuss too many strategies (Weighing the likely effectiveness of the operation vs her age and quality of life). He said that he could cut anything out, but couldn't guarantee at all that it would extend her life at all. - He is very highly rated so I trust his assessments.

As soon as the vet started talking about the tumor, my head went into a bit of a whirlwind and he seemed to recommend some medicine that might help somewhat only IF she did not have hyperthyroidism. If she has hyperthyroidism then the treatment wouldn't be an option since it would just speed up her metabolism even more. I wish I could recall what it was.

At 16 it's not like it is at all shocking that my time with her is now limited, but still isn't wonderful news. Other than the sitting in the tub much of the day (other than being somewhat reclusive she doesn't exhibit any signs of pain), she seems to be still very much enjoying life (eating well, enjoys sitting in the deck, nimble).
 
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