I Don't Know What To Do - 15+yo Cat

rubysmama

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Oh, how our cats make us worry about their food intake. Like Feeby, Ruby was a stray before I adopted her, so she had major stray cat food obsession at first. With her, she would eat every speck of food in one sitting. Then she'd have so long between meals, that her tummy would get empty and she'd vomit bile. Once I was no longer working, I was able to divide her food into more frequent meals, and that, plus her learning that food would always be available, solved most of her vomiting issues. So these days, instead of wishing she would leave some food in her dish for later, I worry when she doesn't eat everything in her dish. :sigh:

Good to hear Feeby had a good week for eating. Good luck this week, FeebysOwner FeebysOwner , as well good luck with Kiwi too, V verna davies
 
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FeebysOwner

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So these days, instead of wishing she would leave some food in her dish for later, I worry when she doesn't eat everything in her dish. :sigh:
That is one thing I honestly NEVER thought I would have to worry about with Feeby, and yet - just like you and V verna davies - here we are. :rolleyes3:
 
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FeebysOwner

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Another update:

Feeby weighed 14.6 pounds today, a loss of 2 oz over this past week, with eating an average of 238 calories a day - 50 calories lower per day than the previous week.

Her overall average caloric intake for the past 4 months is about 250 per day. Last year, before I started logging detailed records, she seemed to be much closer to 300 per day. Her highest weight this year was 16 pounds on 1/13. So, in 4 months, she has lost about 1.4 pounds which is around 9% of her body weight. Is that too drastic?

Does it seem logical that her overall weight loss can be explained by the reduced food intake? Is it safe to let her continue to lose weight, while waiting to see if she reaches a point where she plateaus - meaning that her intake supports that given weight? Am I calculating/assessing incorrectly? Is there a better way to do it?
 

verna davies

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It totally makes sense to me that eating less means losing weight plus I dont suppose she is particularly active abd wont want extra food. Can you add extra calories by giving her a few treats, chicken, that sort of thing.
 
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FeebysOwner

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Can you add extra calories by giving her a few treats, chicken, that sort of thing.
She is pretty much off almost all human food - although she was happy to eat several small bites of filet mignon the other day!! And, I gave her some canned chicken in water recently, which she hasn't had for a while, so she gladly ate that too! Her once beloved deli low sodium turkey is currently a 'no go'.

I am not sure she necessarily needs extra calories, as long as at some juncture she stops losing weight when the current calories she is willing to take in is enough to sustain a particular weight. I just need to be very careful in just exactly how much weight that will be and how fast she loses it. Therein lies my conundrum.
 

verna davies

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Has she got plenty of covering or can you feel her ribs. What does your vet say is an acceptable weight for her? It may well be a case of doing what you are doing and monitoring. Its so frustrating and worrying but at least you are keeping a close eye on her and know her daily intake.
 
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FeebysOwner

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Has she got plenty of covering or can you feel her ribs. What does your vet say is an acceptable weight for her? It may well be a case of doing what you are doing and monitoring. Its so frustrating and worrying but at least you are keeping a close eye on her and know her daily intake.
OK - my one big 'DUH' in all of this is that I have no idea what she should weigh. Vet gave up long ago on telling me she was overweight - can't say as I blame him. If I had to take a wild stab, because she is a LONG cat, maybe 12 pounds??? But, not sure I want to go that far. She was considered very underweight when she found me (2+yo) and she weighed about 6 pounds. At that time, vet said feed her whatever she wanted. And, so I did, and did, and did, and... :oops:

You can see she has lost weight, but there is still some 'meat' over her hips and ribs, but I can feel them much more than a few years ago, especially the hips - I contribute that to muscle mass loss due to old age. All that said, it leads me to believe she is still OK, so far.
I will try to see if I have some pics to show the change...
 

verna davies

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Here are my two. Kiwi is the nearest and is quite chunky, Buzz is long limbed and slim but both weigh 10lb but Buzz eats more. There's no telling what a cats ideal weight should be in my opinion, there are so many factors, bone size, activity levels, amount of coat. Photos would be good.
20200506_205237.jpg
 

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My cat is chronically overweight, but because she's FIV+ my vet still would rather keep her in the "slighly overweight" range even though she's asymptomatic. Last year we even did too well with the dieting (not a dangerous amount, we were just successful), and my vet told me to increase her calories to make sure she could still gain weight. She definitely can--I don't think I have to worry about her refusing food for many years to come.

But I bring that up because weight loss, even in an overweight cat, was a potential sign that something was wrong to my vet. I think your cat's weight loss makes sense based on her calorie intake, but what concerns me a little is that she's not naturally eating enough to maintain her weight on her own. A cat should feel hungry if their body gets to the point of weight loss. I don't think the weight loss itself is concerning, but her lack of appetite points to something. Could just be old age and her body's slowing down. I wouldn't restrict her calories at this point, but if she just won't eat then I'm not sure what else you can do, aside from a vet check up (I apologize I can't remember if she's been recently).
 
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my vet told me to increase her calories to make sure she could still gain weight. She definitely can--I don't think I have to worry about her refusing food for many years to come.
That is a reassuring sign for her to be sure! That has kind of been my philosophy for Feeby - if I can push her food intake, can I get her to gain weight. Not sure I have a handle on that yet.
I don't think the weight loss itself is concerning, but her lack of appetite points to something. Could just be old age and her body's slowing down. I wouldn't restrict her calories at this point, but if she just won't eat then I'm not sure what else you can do, aside from a vet check up (I apologize I can't remember if she's been recently).
The thing that complicates all of this is that before I introduced her to canned food - about 3 years back, she maintained or gained weight consistently. She loved her dry food, and was free fed. But, that food change is combined with a 2-3 year aging as well - into geriatric stage. So? What is affecting what? To make matters ever stranger, she no longer really wants any dry. Not her teeth either. She was last seen in October and her blood work and geriatric check up showed all good things for a cat her age. She is overdue for her next check up (4/21), but she ain't going in there until I can be with her - not just for a standard check up.

She is holding her own - she is good on peeing/pooping/drinking water - and mostly eating. And, generally being a very good, but sometimes annoying cat for her age (LOL!).
 
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Update for week 5/11 - 5/17

Feeby weighed 14.4 pounds today - down 2 oz. from last week, with an average of 220 calories per day (previous week 238).

I guess I will continue to let her eat as she sees fit and see if the weight loss continues - hopefully in small increments - until it stops. Barring something else going on, at some point in time she should reach a weight that is maintainable with her caloric intake. As I said before, I just have no idea where that will be.

I can feel most of her backbone, but can't see it. It is a bit harder to feel her ribs - so, that should mean she is still carrying at least some extra weight. Try as I might to get an overhead pic of her while she is standing, she would always come over to me and sit down every time. See first pic, taken just days ago, which is apparently misleading, given the other pics that follow it.

Then, two more pics, as close in positioning as I could find - May 2020 pic (at 14.6) and Dec 2018 (at ~16.9) - and, I personally can't tell that much of a difference when you look at her weight in each.
 

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verna davies

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She's not as chunky as she was but I remember with my 15yo she went from 13lb to 11lb, nothing wrong with her just age changing things. I also could feel her back bone more. She eat slightly less but I suppose she didnt feel she needed the food. She lived to be 17.5 years. You are keeping such a close eye on Feeby that I think you will know if something is wrong.
 

rubysmama

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It's so hard with cats, since they hide their weight under fur. Plus, like humans they lose muscle mass as they age, which can affect how much they weigh. My neighbour's cat seems "chunky" from a distance, but when she got close to me (she goes outside) I realized she was thinner than she looks under all her fur. She's about Feeby's age, I think, and still pretty active as I see her investigating in all the neighbouring yards. So try not to worry too much about the week to week weights, and keep an eye out for anything that seems concerning. :hearthrob:
 

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Popped in to see how Feeby is doing. I remember she was having UTI problems before...but that may have been a while back.

Its so stressful to count calories and weigh and try to figure out all the right things to do. I know I constantly get confused on calorie calculations and ideal # calories per day... Its doubly hard when kitties are older and every little change makes you worry something is wrong. :hugs: Hang in there. You are doing a great job looking after her. I think you're paying enough attention to how she's doing you'll know with your parental instinct that something is up!
 
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Update for week 5/18 - 5/24

Today Feeby weighed 14.2 (down from 14.4) with an average of 215 calories per day (down from 220). That doesn't count yesterday's 'surge' where she ate 267 calories. She's done this before with the surges, but they seem less frequent now. And the average calories are dropping, as are the surges.

If I look at 'basic numbers', 5 months ago she weighed 15.6, averaging about 260 calories per day. Logic says if her calorie intake goes down, so will her weight, and therefore this seems reasonable. But, why is she constantly reducing her intake? She seems mostly 'normal' in every other regard.

I am not sure this tells me anything, tbh. :dunno:
 

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But, why is she constantly reducing her intake? She seems mostly 'normal' in every other regard
You know there could be different reasons like getting bored of the food, getting bored of eating... I think it might also be her weight isn’t working well with her bones? Like it feels heavy on her bones and she’s trying to go down to a weight/pressure that feels more comfortable?

An interesting thing I witnessed with Hima three different times is that I promise it looks like every time she has movement trouble about her weight, she eats a bit less later. Like most recently condo’s street dog kind of chased her 3 steps. It was playful actually not a real chase but Hima got scared. She jumped up to the window she always enters the house from but couldn’t do it as easily. Her belly slowed her down to walk through the window wrought. The next 2-3 days she ate a bit less. I still consider it might very well be coincidence but this is the third coincidence she eats less when her movement gets challenging for her. And she only weighs 4,5 - 4,7 kg.
 
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Can you make up the extra calories with different food, fresh chicken or anything that she likes but is not her norm?
Next option will be canned chicken in water - she hasn't had it in a while, so technically she should be interested in it. The thing is, she liked the canned tuna in water that I have been giving her every other day or so, but I noticed every time she ate that, she ate less of her own food. Kind of defeated the purpose. :doh: (Although, it did give her something different to eat!)
An interesting thing I witnessed with Hima three different times is that I promise it looks like every time she has movement trouble about her weight, she eats a bit less later.
Anything is possible! Although, this would be a new 'reaction' for her. About 2-3 years back, when she first started limping (before I gave her Glyco Flex Plus), that didn't seem to slow her down with her eating!! And, before that when she started having to lean against a wall in order to clean herself, that didn't slow her eating down either! 😉 She probably weighed in the neighborhood of 17 pounds back then! I attributed both the limp and the wall-resting to her being overweight.
 
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