You haven’t changed her food, but suddenly your kitty feels a bit lighter and bonier. What’s going on?

While some people might mistakenly perceive weight loss as a sign of good health, sudden or unexplained weight loss in your kitty usually indicates a problem. Read on to learn more.

How to Tell If Your Cat is Losing Weight

Weight loss is a problem, but it’s not always obvious, especially if it’s gradual. If your cat has long or puffy hair, that could also conceal potential weight loss.

The best way to determine if your cat is losing weight is to pay attention before it happens. Make a habit of running your hands along your cat’s body each week. You should be able to feel his ribs, but ideally, they’ll be insulated with a thin layer of fat. If his ribs are prominent or sticking out, he might be underweight. A knobby, prominent spine could also indicate he’s underweight.

Common Reasons Cats Lose Weight

There are several medical problems that prompt weight loss. Diabetes, Gastrointestinal problems such as parasites or pancreatitis, cancer, and dental issues can all be potential reasons. In older cats, weight loss is often due to conditions like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or kidney disease. If kitty is looking slimmer, pay attention to see if it comes with any other symptoms, such as diarrhea, frequent urination, poor appetite, and lethargy. Your cat might also stop eating due to stress or anxiety.

What to Do About Weight Loss in Your Cat

Take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice a problem. They’ll be able to confirm any weight loss and do a blood test or ultrasound to determine a potential cause. Based on the results, your vet might prescribe medication, surgery, or a special diet.

If the cause is non-medical, a reassessment of your cat’s feeding routine might be in order. Be sure her bowl is clean and accessible. Notice other pets as well, as they might be stealing her food or crowding her bowl. Also, consider any new or sudden changes in the environment that might be making her anxious.

With a little care and mindfulness, you can get to the bottom of your cat’s weight loss.

Our cat sitters pay close attention to your kitty, serving as an extra pair of eyes to look out for any sudden appetite or bodily changes. Call today!

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.