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(Confused),Cat Eating but losing weight....

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 


Our tuxedo cat has been struggling going to the litter box to poo.Sometimes she tries to poo but cannot,then she will throw up.

We have changed her food from dry to canned.We use Natural balance ,which is supposed to be limited ingredient.

she is also having hairballs pretty often,and  we bought some Laxatone today.

 I,m wondering if we should get some foods with a high fiber content,or something to make her poop??.Is canned  pumpkin helpful??


We just want to get her through this rough patch so we can go to the vet,and be prepared to spend what it may cost.

I,ll never feed her dry food again,but the cans are expensive and sometimes she wont eat.When she does eat,she is finicky,and comes back to it later.I,m thinking its the canned food that is making her lose weight because of the carbs.She uses the litter box properly,and drinks water okay,and sounds sometimes like she has a hairball that she cant get rid of,and maybe its whats making it hard for her to poop.I thought canned foods would make her poop more,or more regular.She pooped yesterday after we bough some canned tuna with water or whatever is in the can,but a pet store cashier mentioned that too much tuna has mercury.


Next on the list is hairball treats,canned pumpkin.She used to love it when i fed her butter,but now she is reluctant to eat it at all.It was 1 or 2 times a week before,but we put a stop to that a few weeks ago.Just though the butter would help her poop.


So i guess we`re stuck.Thanks to anyone who can advise further.

post #2 of 29

First of all, she may not need to poop as often.  No carbs means less poop.  But if she's having trouble pooping, that's a problem the vet needs to know about.  There may be something else going on besides the change in food.


I don't think canned pumpkin will help, either.  As far as I know, that's usually used to help tighten up diarrhea.

post #3 of 29

If she's eating and still losing weight, I would get her to the vet to see why, because there might be something going on other than type of food.

post #4 of 29
I also agree that she needs a vet visit sooner rather than later. She does sound constipated if she is straining to poop without success. The throwing up right after is also a sign. Canned pumpkin is known to be helpful with both diarrhea and constipation, so it won't hurt to try. However, I am not sure it is a fiber issue. The frequent throwing up of hairballs makes me think it may be a motility problem, maybe from IBD. How old is she? How long was she on dry food only? What made you switch to canned? Did she have constipation and hairballs before the food switch?
post #5 of 29

Canned pumpkin can help soften stools if a cat is constipated.  However, with the losing weight thing, I'd say there's more going on.  I'd definitely get her to the vet to get to the bottom of the problem.

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi,and thanks.

We are going to try and get her to a vet as soon as possible.For now she is no longer constipated,but she does vomit after pooping sometimes.

Yesterday(warning.. this next part may be gross), after it happened i noticed a yellowish stringy type thing that was about 6 inches long,and it was coming out of her mouth,and the end of it was on the carpet where she had just vomited.It was slightly larger in diameter than a thread.I didnt want to touch,i just watched as she was looking around at it.eventually it fell from her mouth to the ground,but i fear some may remain inside,so now,we are wondering if Ginger has worms.she is close to 15 yrs old.was on Hills science diet light for years,but a cashier told us they use chicken by products so we bailed,and switched to performatrin ultra.she was most recently on performatrin ultra hairball control because she would vomit on occasion,and we did find hairballs sometimes.She is a very well behaved cat who knows she is loved.Very comfortable,except lately she used to love belly rubs,but now she wont let us.Her stomach must be sore from the vomiting.We have switched foods to dick van pattens natural balance wet.We have tried a bunch of different dry brands,grain free etc,she wont touch them,so that is why the switch to wet was made.

She seems to have trouble breathing,purring sometimes,and hardly meows.She sleeps or lies down a good deal,and she is not drinking as much water as recently.She did eat a little,so we are going to try and get a wet brand especially made for finicky cats.

Right now we have royal canin for cats over 12,but shes not into that.

We also have dick van patten natural balance in 3 different flavors.....she loves the tuna and shrimp flavor.

We also have some canned tuna,but wont give her too much.When we did at first she went potty right away,but she cant eat that all the time,and should not.

She just started eating as i,m writing this,but i want to see her drink like she has.

I,m leaning towards the fact that she may have worms.We didnt get her a flea collar this summer because we bought a really expensive AC unit so she would also be cool,and comfortable on those 110 degree days,and hardly opened the 15th floor balcony door,but we should have as we have before.Could she have gotten worms or parasites from fleas outside?

There is a lot of bird poop on the balcony next door,and lots of fleas.It gets very humid here in the summer.


Anyone have any advice on foods,or any over the counter remedy or natural remedy for that matter,that can help her with worm/s ??


I,m scouring the net right now.Have found things like chopping a clove of garlic into fine pieces,and mixxing it with her wet food,and also adding olive oil to her wet food.she wouldn,t touch any of these food dishes.

We have a cat hospital not far from us.these places are murder.They charge an arm ,and a leg here.not like in the U.S.

Things here are considerably more expensive.I could give you many examples,and it would shock you all.

Thanks all...Bye for now.

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

Oh ,to answer that last question.she did have occassional hairballs before the food switch.

right now when she tries to purr it sounds like she is laboring,so she is avoiding us petting her,rubbing her belly etc

Whatever is stuck in there ,when she does let you pet her,you can hear her labored purring,and she will stop,and look like she is trying to swallow something,then she stops,and either goes away or stays for a little bit.a wek or less ago she would let anyone of us rub her belly for as long as we wanted to,sometimes 30mins,and we didnt mind because its part of keeping a cat healthy,and its good for us as well.Now we know why she wont let us,and it could be a worm thats stuck,but something is stuck,and cant pass through the mouth or bum.Thats my best gues till we get to the vets,but we have to have the money on hand,so in the meantime she is using the litter box properly,and will eat ,and drink a little water.I dont know if its her windpipe,but i,m narrowing things down till payday.Amazing how sudden these things can happen.wish i knew if she got into something on the balcony that she shouldnt have,but she has alays been good out there,just relaxing enjoying the view,and clear air.I,m gonna talk to a vet tomorrow,i dont care.We deserve some answers of some sort,some of these vets get suspected of greed.Not sure how many,but the whole world needs money these days.

post #8 of 29

I don't want to be an alarmist but you need to get her to the vet asap.  I've never heard of all this in one cat before.  I've only been on this site for a week now so there are certainly people here who have heard more.   I'm 57 and I've had cats my entire life.  In the last 30 years my wife and I have had 16 cats.  New one showed up Saturday with some nasty  fight related injuries so we'll be at 17 now.  We've had as many as 8 at a time used to say 7 then I learned how to count.


Right now your on the internet looking for answers but there are too many unknowns.  All these symptoms seem to lead in different directions.  For instance both diabetes and kidney failure will cause rapid weight loss, but the dietary answers are opposites.  More protein for diabetes less for kidney failure.  I'm sure there are other possibilities.  On the other hand  your cat threw up something really  gross and ugly, but what?  I could go on for paragraphs.  But the point is, it will take a vet to sort it out. No amount of internet advise is going to fix this.  I'm being hard but think how heartbroken you will be if she doesn't make it to payday


My vet extends credit until payday if needed. He requires collateral, usually a piece of jewelery, or he'll take a post dated check. I don't know about your vet but it can't hurt to ask.  I've seen posts on this site where people were able to finance vet expenses through specialized lenders.  I've seen posts from a Humane Society/ASPCA volunteer who says their local organization provides vet care in bad situations without requiring you to surrender your pet.   There is an article on this site that stephanietx usually post a link to,  I'll do my best impersonation,   , don't think I created the link but there is the web address.  She does it better.


One final thing; I've seen good vets and bad vets but I've never met a rich vet.   Went to the wrong med school for that.

post #9 of 29

I agree with jcornman.  She needs to see the vet.  It sounds like a worm but the other symptoms tells me it may be something more serious.  She beginning to suffer and that's not good.


Also, NEVER give her garlic, onions or any other plant that grows from a bulb (even lilies).  They are actually poison to cats.

post #10 of 29

I'm scared for your kitty.  You need to get her to the vet immediately to find out what's going on.  She's suffering and that's not a good thing.

post #11 of 29
Labored breathing is a medical emergency. So is a possible obstruction of the gastrointestinal system. Purring can be from pain.
post #12 of 29
Any news on your kitty?
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi.Thanks for your concern all.

 We are trying to stick to the same diet right now,which is the dick van patten natural balance wet ultra formula.She likes it,and eats it when she is hungry.Not drinking much water though,but it maybe because of the wet food.She drank more on dry food.

 She just took a solid dark brown poo,and vomited right after.

 She meows,when i approach her,and is still well behaved.The change to wet food was made because she seemed to lose interest in dry food altogether,but now i,m wondering because i know that wet food can cause hairballs.

We will be taking her to the vet this week,but can only do the exam,deworming,and her nails need trimming in both front paws.

The issue with the dry food was also nothing but hard kibbles.We tried some raw food with the softest kibble,but after more than a day she prefferred the wet stuff.

Since then i,ve been noticing her struggle to cough up a hairball,and she cant so she chews,and swallows whatever it is.


Please,can anyone suggest a dry food with hairball control,that has a relatively soft kibble?


We are tempted to go back to performatrin ultra HB control,which is what she has been on for months.We are also looking at Hill Ideal Balance.

Is there a way to tell the exact age of a cat?

I ask because we inherited her from an acquaintance who had to leave the apt building?

He said she was 4 at the time ,2003-4

We bought her a good flea collar today,but cant put it on just now till she is feeling better.

post #14 of 29

I'd be really hesitant about using a flea collar on her.  They can make even healthy cats sick because of the chemicals that are used to poison the fleas.


Also, I'm curious about where you heard that wet food causes hairballs?  I would think it would be just the opposite.  The wet food is better for the overall digestive system, which is going to help the cat process hairballs better.


If she's 13 or 14 years old, she may simply be slowing down.  But no matter what age my cat was, if he stopped eating in the way you first described, I would have him to the vet that same day.

post #15 of 29
It almost sounds like a string or piece of yarn may be stuck in her throat. Take her to the vet as soon as possible ...... I had a kitty who chewed on my cotton afghan, and the yarn obstructed her intestines. She had to have emergency surgery. Please take her to the vet. SOON !!!
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

We are taking her within the next day 24-36hrs.She is eating,and her stools are solid,no blood or anything in her stools,or vomit,and she is fighting by meowing,and is even scratching the carpet like a scratch pad.It also crossed my mind that she has a fever or a cold or flu or something like that.We are sticking to the same brand,and i think its helping her.We are just trying to be sensitive towards her,and respectful of what she wants.She is moving around a good deal,and has multiple areas to sleep,rest,whatever.Always has.We let her know every day that we love her.Its a great way to avoid the vet.Cats are a lot healthier,and happier in general when treated with warmth,and affection,just like humans.

  Will advise if anything changes.Next stop... the vet.

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

Just back from the vet.

He found gingivitis.Thats why she cant eat dry anymore.

He also gave her a deworming pill,and nail trims on front,and back paw.We will get the results of the urinalysis tomorrow sometime.

I think she probably has diabetes.Her weight is 7.2 LBS,and at 15 years old the vet says she should be 10lbs.

 He felt her kidney to test the size,etc,and it did not make her uncomfortable,so there was no pain.

He also suggests that she go on a high calorie low protein diet.

Is this a good diet for her ??

Any suggestions for a good high calorie low protein food will be appreciated. :) :)

Total cost could be anywhere from $6-800,depending on what is found in the urinalysis,and blood work.Cant do the bloodwork for a week to 10 days.She is eating some "Waruva" wet right now.

In Canada vets cost more than they do in the states.Someone tell me i,m wrong.

I dont get why things cost so much here.....EVERYTHING !!!,and our dollar is almost the same.It cost a lot when our dollar was worth 70 cents U.S.

Must be the war on terror.How will we know when we win it (lol)

end rant.

Thanks for reading,and caring.

Edited by k-niner47 - 10/10/13 at 9:04pm
post #18 of 29

Good to hear that your working with the vet on this.  I have one cat with kidney disease and another with diabetes and kidney disease.  Both of them are doing fine so it's far from a death sentence.  I'll give you an idea of how we are handling this but your vets advise comes first.


The treatment for kidney disease is the low protein diet.  This has me a little confused since that is the last thing you should give a diabetic  My guess is that you vet believes it's more likely kidney disease.  The problem with this is your cat may not accept that diet.  Mine would not, since you have a sick underweight kitty allowing a food boycott doesn't seem practical.


My cat Johnny accepted the prescription diet for a few days because it was something new, but turned his nose up at it after the novelty wore off.  The vet said it was more important to get him to eat than to accept the new diet.  With kidney disease there is a second more effective treatment, subcutaneous fluid.  This is a treatment that many laymen reject since it requires injecting lactated ringers (I.V. fluid) under the skin.  Johnny is a large cat so he gets 150cc every other day.  He actually waits for it when we start warming his I.V. bag. He is doing very well.  He is back up to 17 lbs.  I am using him as my avatar, and you can see he is not a fat cat.


Binx was diagnosed with diabetes about 3 years ago.  We took him to the vet because he was losing significant weight.  We opted out of prescription diets since they contained to many non meat ingredients.  Instead  we started reading the labels on quality cat foods and looked for the food with the most meats at the top of the ingredient list and no grain or gluten.  He has thrived on that diet.  Out of 6 cats he is both the oldest (16 yrs) and most active.   Recently the vet noticed his kidneys were beginning to fail(routine blood test).  He is asymptomatic but we have begun giving him subcutaneous fluid (100 cc every 12 days). He is still doing great.


When you find out what your cat suffers from, I'll provide more detail. 


I'm thrilled to hear your getting a handle on this, it sounded like you had a very sick kitty.

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi.Thanks for your post.

So this i.v. bag,

Its something you can do from your home?

How much did it cost to do all this?

The cat wont eat or drink much as of a day after the vet visit

Still waiting for the results of the urinalysis.

You know,we never realized how tough cats are.

They are way better than humans at hiding their illnesses.

Our cat ,till recently has always begged us for belly rubs for long periods.Maybe it was for a kidney rubs instead.

But then she was eating,and drinking more.

Have to find a high quality protein.I no longer agree with the vets recommendation of high calorie - low protein.


Proper Nutrition for Cats with Chronic Kidney Failure

A diet high in excellent quality protein and lower than normal amounts of sodium and phosphorous is recommended.  Controlling phosphorous intake has proven to be very important in controlling the progression of kidney disease.

Many veterinarians still insist that a renal diet should be low in protein, despite studies that show aging pets -- including those with kidney disease -- need more, not less protein. But it has to be very high quality protein.

So here’s the thing. If your cat is addicted to a food with rendered ingredients, meaning if your cat is eating a poor quality food that is difficult to digest and process, I do recommend you reduce the amount of toxic protein in the diet.

However, if your cat is eating human-grade protein, then protein restriction is often counterproductive and actually exacerbates problems of weight loss and cachexia (muscle wasting) -- two common health issues for cats with failing kidneys.

Many veterinarians will suggest a prescription dry food diet for kidney disease, but I absolutely recommend against this as well. Unless a prescription dry food is the only food your cat will consume, I don’t recommend you feed prescription dry kidney diets.

Cats with renal disease do best eating high-quality human grade canned food or a fresh, balanced homemade diet. Cats with the disease still eating kibble should be transitioned if at all possible to a diet that provides much more moisture to help nourish the kidneys.

Most importantly, cats with kidney disease must continue to eat. Unlimited access to fresh water should always be provided.


P.S. We will try the low protein high calorie diet with "Wellness" wet food.She was most recently on canned "Performatrin Ultra",which is higher in protein than Wellness.

Edited by k-niner47 - 10/11/13 at 1:10pm
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi.Just to update.


The results from the urinalysis came back,and it is diabetes,so she is going on "Purina diabetese" right away.

There will be another blood test in a week to ten days to see how much insulin she may need.

Thankyou all so much !!:)

post #21 of 29

OK lets start with the subcutaneous fluid.  This helps flush out the kidney, eliminating poisons collected from the bloodstream.  I am giving Johnny 150 mg every other day, but he is a 17 lb cat so talk to your vet about this. It commonly comes in 1 liter bags (the ones you see in the hospital), and I buy mine from our local pharmacy.  They require a prescription so your vet must be in on this.  It's been costing about $35 US per case of 12, and I buy it that way because it is significantly less expensive by the case.  Also our pharmacy doesn't sell by the bag and doesn't normally stock it. There are several different type of I.V. fluid and I don't really know what the difference is.  My vet uses 'lactated ringers" so that's what I buy. We warm the fluid in hot water before use so it is more pleasant for the cat.


We use what is called a "primary I.V. set". That's the tubing running from the bag to the needle. Keep it simple you don't need to pay for bells and whistles.  I've also done this with with my parents' cat using a syringe instead of tubing. Once again this needs to be coordinate with your vet.  You'll need to find out what gauge and length of needle your vet recommends.  I use 18 gauge, 1.5 inches long.  1.5 inches long is a little bit longer than needed but 1inch has been too short.  Their are sizes in between but my local source doesn't carry them. My vet says we can reuse the needle several times but we have found they dull after 1 use so we just buy them by the box and don't reuse them.  Make sure you get instruction at your vet office on how to place the needle  It might help to do your first injection at the vets office.  It's natural to be a bit squeamish about injections but it is very effective.  Johnny not only doesn't mind, but actually seems to want it.  So does Binx (other cat).  That might have something to do with giving them treats after-wards.   It must not hurt too much because they come for it voluntarily.


Now as far feeding is concerned, and quality food is worth the price in the long run.  I made my own food for a while but had to stop because it took to much time.  Of course it didn't help that I was feeding 2 large dogs and 7 cats.  1 cat should be much easier.  Initially my vet advised me strongly against this.  Let me give you his main concerns: Cats have a much different digestive system than humans or dogs.  They require nutrients that we synthesize but they can't.  If those nutrients are not present in their food it can have dire consequences.  Fortunately the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has standards and Foster & Smith have published them.  I'd give you a link but I've found that links sometimes get my posts held for review.  I'll give you that info in a separate post.  The other problem is related to the first .  When cats eat in the wild they eat the whole prey, blood, organs, eyes and often bones.  There are nutrients that aren't found in quantity in muscle, but cats still need them, for instance calcium.  Now many raw feeders grind bone into the food and that probably works fine but the best source is actually blood, it's much more digestible.  Packing houses drain the blood and you may not find a source.  You can use supplements but make sure it is calcium HCL not calcium carbonate.  There are nutrients that cats need which are mainly found  in organs, eyes, brains, tongue, etc....  Finally some nutrients have to be balance against others and an imbalance can be toxic. So when you read "balanced" that is a very important word.  I did a bunch of research, wrote a plan, and gave it to my vet.  His concerns were answered and he got on board.  I just want you to realize that home made food is not as simple as going to Wal-mart, buying a cheap bag of chicken quarters and feeding it to your cat.  It's always important that your vet knows anytime you stray from the beaten path, since that info can be key to future diagnosis.


If you shop carefully and read the labels you can find good commercial cat food.  Look at the ingredients and find the  food that has the most meat ingredients before the first non-meat ingredient.  Avoid grains and gluten.  Wheat gluten is a horrible thing to put in cat food.  It is a cheap protein, and I'd bet that the manufacturer counts it as protein on the label, but cats bodies can't use it efficiently, if they can use it at all.  Cats need animal protein.


Hope this helps, and I hope you didn't find the amount of detail offensive, but I don't know how knowledgeable you are.

post #22 of 29
I'm confused. A urinalysis has been done, correct? Any blood work? Has she been diagnosed with diabetes? Kidney disease?
post #23 of 29

Great news that you've found the cause of your kitties trouble.  It's funny celebrating diabetes but it is so much more treatable than kidney failure.  Diabetes you can live with, kidney damage is progressive and irreversible. 


Here's the link I promised:

post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Appreciate all the details !

You can never be knowledgeable enough these days.

Thanks... it will be nice to come back to reread this again.

post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 

The urinalysis saw high glucose levels in her urine.

The next blood work will be to determine how much insulin she needs.The vet found by squeezing,or holding,and locating gingers kidney that she showed no signs of discomfort,and he said that was a good sign.I sure hope there isnt any kidney disease present,and that the new food she will remain on(vet diabetic food),will prevent any damage,or further if any has already occurred.

She is eating the new food,and has drank more water than she has lately.All day today,all she did was mostly sleep,and rest,but we were able to pick up some of the vet food before they closed,and we only got the results a few hours before.I,m still wanting to try "Purina Diabetese",because i think it is her favorite of that type of food.

A case cost $55.I think there are 24/case.Nice huh.

post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 

Now something new is happening.

Ginger hardly poos anymore,and she is sometimes throwing up,and wheezing,like she is trying to get rid of a hairball,but cant.

I rubbed a bit of Laxatone on the side of her mouth,and put some on her nose.

Will try to do the same tomorrow.

We will also be getting some fresh grass from outside for her to chew on.

Any suggestions for a stool softener? Or something to make her poop?

post #27 of 29

You might want to try mixing some of the laxatone into her food.  Most of my cats eat it just fine, but with cats there is always that one who has to be different.  As expensive as prescription food is you may want to try just a little in a teaspoon of food first.  I like to mix yogurt into my cats food.  It isn't an immediate cure but it is good long term preventive measure. Keep up the good work.

post #28 of 29


So sorry to hear about your kittys health problems. My 13 year old cat started losing weight rapidly in January of this year. Had full blood work done because he was getting his teeth cleaned.  All good in his test. By April he went from 13 lbs to 10, then the lowest was 7lbs. He was near death. I took him to 2 different vets and also a homeopathic vet.

We tried prednisone that worked somewhat short term, but then he had a horrible reaction from one of the shots and almost died.

He would vomit occasionally and was very constipated.  So here is what I did that has turned him around back to a completely healthy cat:


I changed his dry food to Fromms TunaAnchovy  (very clean high grade food) I mix it with Fancy Feast classic. I give him a B  complex injection once a week 2.5 mls. I give him 1 cc of a mixture of stool softener (liquid from the vet) in it I mix Flora by Purina ( probiotic packet) add a capsule of digestive enzymes and 2 capsules of Trader Joes EFA fish oils. I use half the liquid stool softener from vet and mix the rest of the ingredients in. You can mix this in with your cats food.


My cat perked up immediately with the shot--it increases their appetite and thirst.  I had him on IV fluids when I got him out of the vets. I weaned him off the IV fluids within a few  weeks. Once every other day s to once a week and done.


From June 22 when I took him to be put to sleep because he was so weak on 7 gave IV fluids and b shot until now...he is completely a healthy senior kitty who is now back up to 11 pounds!  If you cannot afford to take your cat to the vet for shots, order b12 online with diabetic syringes and ask your vet how to give the shot. Its so easy.


I brought my cat back from deaths door. His coat is gorgeous, he has tons of energy and back better than he has been in a year. He was basically diagnosed with IBD...whatever it was I have turned it around. The b vitamins are good for their liver and kidneys as well.


It was so frustrating because he was cleared of tumors, masses, liver or kidney disease, diabetes and hyperthyroid.  I am a nurse and decided I would give to him what I would a patient with his symptoms.


I hope my journey the past several months will help your kitty..Good luck!!!

post #29 of 29

One last thing..he eats Fage plain greek yogart with me 3 times a week--lots of great probiotics in it. He eats it off my spoon! :)

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