Reasons Why A Cat Is Losing Weight

It is often not simple to tell if your feline is losing weight. The layer of hair that covers most felines could hide weight loss till a significant change occurs.

Unexpected weight loss in pets is something to be concerned about. If you’re not attempting to assist your pet in losing some weight, particularly if your feline is old, a medical problem could be the reason.

Unexpected weight loss in felines can be caused by anything from small dietary changes to major diseases. Any significant weight loss in your pet should be examined by your vet to check for any major health issues. They are likely to do a full inspection to figure out what is causing the issue.

Below are some probable causes for your cat’s weight loss and how you could help resolve it.

See also our articles to find out how often you should feed your cats

What are weight loss and chronic disease?

Most people are concerned about their felines becoming overweight, but unexpected weight loss may also be a severe problem. It could be a sign of a much more severe medical problem.

You might observe that your pet’s hunger is diminished or completely gone, a disease called anorexia, based on the nature of your pet’s weight loss. This is problematic for felines since they are vulnerable to hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver syndrome, a life-threatening illness that occurs when the liver is forced to digest huge quantities of excess calories to supply power to the system.

Other health issues; however, might cause your pet to shed pounds even though they consume the same quantity of food as before. Internal parasite infestations, stress, fear, grief, changes in diet, and even relocating to a new house can influence a cat to avoid eating, resulting in a significant weight loss.

cat is losing weight
Image credit:  Florian Bollmann from Pixabay

However, any feline that’s already losing over 10% or more of its total weight must be evaluated by a vet, particularly if she is eating and somehow continues losing weight.

If you observe your pet is losing weight, regardless of if she is eating or not, you should visit your vet. But if you’re not aware of what your pet’s optimal body weight ought to be, your vet can advise you and recommend a feeding program that will suit your feline’s nutritional requirements.

How to check if a cat is losing weight?

It is difficult to detect if your feline is losing pounds if it occurs slowly. If your feline has heavy fur or was previously somewhat overweight, it may be more challenging to determine whether weight loss has happened.

Begin by checking your feline’s body from the top to examine her health. At a healthy body weight, there must be a visible but not overwhelming tuck in the abdomen. After that, rub your hands down the sides of your pet. The ribcage should be noticeable and covered in a thin layer of skin. If your pet’s ribs are broad and noticeable, she is probably underweight.

Signs of weight loss and chronic diseases in felines

Because of their small size, the cats’ weight loss is extremely obvious. After reducing weight, people might discover that their feline’s hip bones, backbone, and collar bones have become more noticeable. The epidermis could be floppy and appear to be quite big than their physique.

Your cat’s coat may become rough, stiff, or even fall off. Various signs could be observed based on whatever chronic condition is triggering the cat’s weight loss.

Weight loss triggered by persistent illness in felines can generate the following symptoms:

What causes a cat to lose weight?

Cats frequently lose some weight if they do not consume properly. However, several disorders induce weight loss even with appropriate food consumption. Weight loss can come with or without additional symptoms of disease based on the reason. Weight loss in felines can be caused by a variety of health issues, some of which are more significant than most.


Hyperthyroidism is a condition that affects cats above the age of eight. Although, it primarily affects senior cats. Cats having hyperthyroidism create an excessive amount of thyroid hormone as a result of thyroid gland hypertrophy. The most common cause of thyroid hypertrophy is an abnormal growth of cells that forms on the gland.

Significant symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include weight reduction, increased hunger, and extreme thirst and urination. Several cats also suffer from nausea, diarrhea, and restlessness. Some cats will groan and seem aggressive.

The fur of felines having hyperthyroidism could seem matted and filthy. It can also lead to cardiac difficulties or death in the final phases. Hyperthyroidism is treated by regulating the thyroid gland using medication, specific foods, or continuous radioiodine therapy. Your veterinarian will assist you in determining the best course of action.

Kidney Diseases

Kidney disease is among the most prevalent disorders encountered in senior cats. The kidneys are used in the formation of essential hormones, the elimination of junk from the arteries, the regulation of blood flow, and the generation of red and white blood cells. When a feline’s kidneys fail to work correctly, it can cause lots of new additional problems.

The earliest indicators of kidney disease in a feline are excessive thirst and peeing, accompanied by poor appetite, fat loss, and fatigue. Kidney disease is not curable; but, it may typically be treated professionally with a prescription, an adjustment in diet, and fluid intake.


Another serious problem that causes harm to felines’ health is diabetes mellitus. This endocrine condition limits the pancreas’ capacity to generate insulin, which is a hormone necessary for glucose metabolism.

Diabetes symptoms comprise weight reduction, rising hunger, thirst, excretion, and fatigue. Insulin and a special diet are recommended to cure diabetes.

Diabetes can cause felines to consume large quantities of water, pee more frequently than usual, act lethargic, experience bladder infections, and have sweet-smelling breath. Other medications can also be used. After a considerable time of therapy, some felines may even function normally.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Any trouble with the gastrointestinal tract might impact a feline’s weight. For instance, gastrointestinal dysfunction might cause a loss of appetite. Second, a few GI system issues might prevent it from effectively consuming food and obtaining vitamins, leading to weight loss.

A few common GI concerns in felines are Gastrointestinal parasites, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, as well as GI malignancies.

GI problems can reduce hunger, fat loss, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and other symptoms. Deworming the pet might be sufficient to eliminate these harmful parasites. Other GI diseases generally need medication and particular therapy.

Dental Problems

Oral and dental problems can result in intense discomfort, and a reduction in hunger, and body weight. Common oral issues in felines are periodontitis, osteoclast infections, and tooth breakage. Some felines suffer from stomatitis, a severe infection of the feline’s mouth and gums that could be treated by strong immunity.

Bad breath, salivating, scratching at the jaw, and also mouth bleeding are all symptoms of dental diseases. The initial phase in therapy is for your pet’s veterinarian to give her anesthesia and perform a regular dental cleanup and medication if needed. Oral procedure or tooth removal could be needed in some pets.


Felines, like humans, may develop cancer anytime throughout their bodies. Cancer can further convert into a tumor. Lymphoma is among the most serious malignancies in felines, and it could live in the gastrointestinal system, mouths, lymph nodes, and other parts.

Lethargy, tiredness, pain, muscle damage, reduction in diet, and gross fat loss are all signs of cancer.

The type and tumor stage that is discovered will influence the diagnosis and therapy approach. To establish a diagnosis, your veterinarian may perform one or more of the below tests:

  • Bloodwork
  • Urinalysis
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound and biopsies 


Felines are very vulnerable to changing environmental conditions. They might develop more serious conditions in the future as a result of their skill to keep away evident indications of stress from their owners. Any disturbances in the environment might cause pain and anxiety in your feline.

Loud noises, other pets in the dining area, messy food bowls, and the closeness of the food bowls to the litter container are all things that might irritate your feline. A cat’s mood might also be affected by the death of another companion or an alteration in lifestyle. Stress promotes less urge to eat, which results in losing significant weight.

If your feline has an undiagnosed medical issue, you might not even detect additional symptoms of the disease. Moreover, since many illnesses have similar signs, the presence of a vet for diagnosis is important.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The word IBS refers to a range of acute gastroenteritis rather than a specific disease. The common sign in all IBD diseases is that they would be all triggered by an inflammatory reaction, which results in a thickening of the intestinal lining. The thick barrier makes it difficult for the digestive system to operate correctly, leading to a lack of appetite, starvation, and fat loss.

Liver Disease

Hepatic lipidosis, often referred to as fatty liver disease, is a kind of liver disease. Hepatic lipidosis is a condition that affects felines who are hungry or stop eating, leading to a dysfunctional liver.

Not Getting Enough Food

Your cat may consume less food than you believe.

Are you sharing your home with another cat? Other animals in your house may be stealing your pet’s food or restricting their reach to their food dish.

Or have you lately switched pet food? The number of calories in a serving of food might differ wildly from one manufacturer to another.

Is your pet’s food bowl placed on an elevated table? Your cat might be suffering from osteoarthritis, making it challenging for her to leap up to her food bowl.

Your veterinarian could assist you in determining whether there are any barriers in your house restricting your pet from receiving sufficient food.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are particularly common in felines, and if remained unaddressed, they can cause weight reduction.

Pregnant moms can deliver parasites to their babies, and they may also convey parasites to their babies while feeding them milk.

Felines also pick up parasites when chasing and devouring the prey or while wandering through infected plants and soil and licking them afterward.

Your veterinarian can analyze your pet’s stool to see whether she has parasites that are causing her to lose weight. If parasites seem to be the reason, a mild dewormer that targets the right parasite will get your pet back on track to a healthy body weight.

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Feline Viral Disease

FIP, FeLV, and FIV are feline viral illnesses. Weight loss is a typical sign of all 3 diseases that have distinct origins and treatments.

If your veterinarian believes a virus is the main culprit for your feline’s fat loss, then blood work and maybe further tests will be performed to see which one of those viruses are affecting your cat’s health.

If a problem is detected, your pet’s care and therapy will be determined by the signs she exhibits.

Final thought

Unexpected weight loss is a generic symptom that can be caused by a variety of factors. You should contact your veterinarian if you find your feline is losing weight. Your veterinarian must have a weight record from the previous appointment and be able to validate the weight decrease.

They will obtain detailed medical records and perform a full physical examination. Your veterinarian may offer a feces exam to examine for gastrointestinal parasites and blood tests to look for signs to figure out what has been behind the weight loss.

Various therapies and food adjustments to address the underlying problem and increase weight could be suggested based on the cause of your pet’s weight loss. It is better to cure a health condition when it is still in its initial phase than to wait till your pet gets serious.

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