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Nutrition for elderly cats - any advice?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Our 18 year-old cat Simon is down to just under ten pounds, and we're at a loss at what he should be eating to help him put on a little weight.

We took him to the vet the other day because he was vomiting bile, but his blood work was really excellent for a cat his age, his X-rays were normal-ish, but showed that he was pretty gassy, and the vet said that she couldn't see through to the other side very well.

The vet didn't seem too concerned with his weight, but we are, and we'd like him to put on at least two or three pounds. Problem is that Simon is very particular about what he likes to eat, and would rather go hungry if he doesn't get what he wants. Really, he's beyond picky. Specifically, he prefers the "grilled" varieties of Fancy Feast, which he does eat, but he's losing weight.

I realize that cats do tend to drop weight as they get older, but I'd like to make sure he doesn't get too skinny, and I think we're pushing that. We're going to follow-up with the vet earlier next week and probably schedule a visit with an internal medicine vet--I'm hoping to win the lottery before then, LOL--to discuss his general health and maybe a special diet, but until then we want to do what we can.

Does anyone have some advice about what we should try? Please let me know.

Thank you all so much, as always,
post #2 of 6
ONE it seems like you have a GERATRICALLY challenged vet... NORMAL bloodwork is NORMAL not NORMAL for age .... the Xrays should be retaken and if still "gassy " there is a PROBLEM and you may need a gereatric or specialist ...

WT loss is NOT NORMAL at any age .... likely causes in cat that age IBD , liver issues , kidney issues( I wonder about this as EXCELLENT for age ??)
post #3 of 6
I agree...there is a reason for the weight loss, so I'm glad you are going for another opinion (the consult with an internist).

For one thing, I'd want to be sure all thyroid tests were normal **for a cat this age** - the range given as normal by most labs are for adult cats, not seniors - a point my vet agrees with me on...in our case, with one of my seniors, we did both a T4 and a free T4 over a time span to see if there were increases. In Patrick's case there was a clear swing up (still only to what the lab called "high normal" but the trend was enough for us to treat him), and for Alix, after doing just one test, doing the second more sensitive thyroid test gave us an abnormal result letting us know she did need treatment for hyperthyroidism.

In the meantime...use the best quality food your cat will eat and lots of it and get that consult. Since you said his exam was fine, I take it there are no dental issues?

I also agree with Sharky on the point that if the x-ray wasn't clear enough, do another and then if indicated, an ultra-sound.
post #4 of 6
In addition to the great advice everyone has given, I wanted to mention my 11 yr old's eating habits. He doesn't really eat dry food. He does insist on 3 meals a day. For 2 of them he splits a 5.5 oz can of food with our younger cat. But then around 7-8pm he gets either a pouch or 3oz can of whatever he likes (lately he's been on a FF Medleys kick). I tried cut them back to 2 wet meals a few months ago, but he seemed too hungry. So I went back to 3 meals pretty quickly and he's doing great.

Sending vibes for your kitty.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback. I'm trying to remember if she did actually use the phrase "normal for his age," but there is a slight chance that I added that in there. We went over the blood work line by line with the vet, and she did comment on how various factors change with age. For the most part, Simon was smack in the middle range on each of them. There was one, TB protein (?), that was slightly elevated, but not enough for the vet to be concerned.

Simon did recently have major surgery to have some growths removed from his liver, but she didn't cite that as a possible cause for his weight loss. I brought up the fact that Simon is diabetic, but no longer on insulin, wondering whether we need to look into that; i.e. he's not getting any/enough nutrition from food due to the diabetes. However, I don't think she though that was the cause.

As I mentioned, we originally took him in because he was throwing up bile. He still has a good appetite--he'll eat an entire can of FF when he's hungry, nibbles on treats, and enjoyed some canned tuna fish last night. He sleeps a lot, but he's still pretty active. He likes to run down the hallway at full speed then peek around the corner to see if we were watching him, LOL! He also likes us to make a game out of it and chase him around.

Anyway, the vet gave us some "bland" Iams (i.e. no gravy or anything like that) that only vets can give out, which he turned his nose up at. I knew he would, BTW--what a waste of $3.50. He hasn't thrown up in a few days, so that's something. I'm going to call her back tomorrow and give her a report from this weekend, and set up an appointment with the internist for ASAP; hopefully we can get to the bottom of this.

I don't know what to say about the X-rays, but I know the vet asked one of her colleagues there at the animal hospital who is a specialist in something (can't remember) to have a look, and this other vet didn't seem too concerned, either. I'll discuss them with the internist, and maybe we can get some ultrasounds or other X-rays to be sure.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. I'll report back when I know something more.

post #6 of 6
You might try cutting his favorite food with something to help add weight on. When my Boomer got over 16 he too lost weight (he was himilayan) and I added some yogurt to his faves. It helped with his digestion and helped him keep weight on. Baby rice cereal works as well.
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