Fat Cat, Skinny Cat: When to worry about your pets weight loss

Is your cat too heavy or too skinny?

Either extreme can be a health concern.  Being overweight can lead to health problems and being underweight can be a result of a health problem. 

Fat Cat: Does Your Pet Need A Diet?

Intentional weight loss that is part of a planned weight reduction program for an overweight pet is not a reason for concern. As long as your cat is losing at a rate that has been established by your veterinarian as acceptable. Usually a loss of no more than one percent of body weight per week is perfectly fine. For example, at this rate of weight loss, a 15-pound cat would lose up to a third of a pound every two weeks.

However, since every cat is an individual with his or her own medical needs, it is important to establish your cat’s safe rate of weight loss with your veterinarian.  

Skinny Cat: How Much Weight Loss is Too Much?

With a large number of household cats sporting a few additional pounds and the resulting national push to get pets to a healthy weight, it may be hard to see weight loss as anything but a good thing. In a cat however, there are times when weight loss is a cause for concern.  This is because weight loss can be one of the first signs of serious illness.

Common causes of unexplained weight loss in a cat include conditions such as diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism. Diabetic and hyperthyroid cats will most times have weight loss with an increase in appetite. Other signs include an increase in thirst and urination.

Other causes of unexplained weight loss can include kidney disease, heart disease, some forms of cancer and certain infectious diseases. Appetite can be variable in these cases ranging from normal to increased or decreased. Some will have changes in thirst and urination, changes in behavior or changes in appearance as well.  

Because every cat will have a unique presentation for illness, it is important to have him or her examined by your veterinarian, particularly in cases of unexplained weight loss. Early diagnosis and treatment of disease is often the key in providing a long and happy life for your feline friend.

Weight loss is a concern whether your pet is overweight or losing weight too quickly.  The best way to determine whether your pet is losing weight in a healthy manner is to have your pet monitored by your veterinarian.