I've got a skinny cat.

turkeytaker(Atlanta)October 20, 2006

I have a cat, and I have a really hard time keeping weight on her. She's a really weird cat, to start out with. She's permanenetly stoned. She'll walk around the house, jumping head first into walls, carries things around, loves baths, and acts like she's had one too many experiences with catnip.

I've taken her to the vet (a cat clinic) about it, because I was worried that she might have some sort of health issue. All of her hormone levels look fine, she doesn't have any of the common (or uncommon) cat diseases, and she's spayed. There's no reason she should be skinny.

Granted, she's not emaciated, but she's a big cat and only weighs 7 lbs. I've tried multiple foods (not in fast succession), and she has no problem eating, quite the opposite. She'll eat anything and eats a lot, but she still doesn't gain weight.

I doubt there's anything to worry about since she's healthy, but I was wondering if anyone had any particular foods or other things that I (and the vet) might be missing to look for.


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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

~ Diabetes
~ Kidney disease
~ Hyperthyroidism
~ Liver disease
~ Heart Disease

~ FELV / FIV negative? 

~ Pancreatic insufficiency can cause the feces to look grey\-ish. Not enough enzymes to properly digest food.   
~ Intestinal parasites   
~ Intestinal malabsorption like inflammatory bowel disease causing an inability to absorb the nutrients. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~> These problems usually cause diarrhea or an intermittent diarrhea. 

~ Intestinal lymphoma. Also an intermittent diarrhea. 


If she has always been acting like she is permanently stoned, she may have a brain disorder / congenital abnormality. Not much to do about that. A CT scan may help to identify the abnormal area. 

If she seems fairly normal but starts acting funny after a meal it may be a blood vessel abnormality of the liver. Not enough blood going to the liver. 

If all this has been checked and she just needs to add some weight, try Nutrical®, a concentrated food supplement for dogs and cats in paste like form. Science Diet AD® will also put on weight for her. If everything is OK as far as blood work, Purina Kitten Chow or Friskies Kitten food will add some weight to her. 

Best of luck to you and your kitty. 

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:46PM
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Did you check for hyperthyroidism? My 12 yr old male developed this particular disorder less than a year ago. We brought him to the vet because he had always been on the not quite chubby side, but had become very thin, relatively quickly.

Hyperthyroidism is very treatable - "Puck" gets the same medication that humans get. He seems to have an unusually high hyperthyroid problem (at least according to my vet), so he's pilled 2X day (at a relatively high dose pill). Tiny pills, we have become used to the routine. He was 14+ (in whatever thyroid units) and should be closer to 2; he was last at about 4 (thyroid units). The vet gave up increasing the dose, (now at 20 mg/day), saying that that dose is the highest range that a cat should be dosed at, and that 4 is close enough to 2 to just be able to monitor him. (Any comments from you vet people out there?). Puck was 14 lbs (he *is* a large cat), went down to 9, and is now hovering around 11 lbs.

Also, does your cat go out and play all day? Our other (now obese) cat caused the same vet great concern when as a kitten, before she was spayed, was so under-weight. The thing was that she spent the day chasing and playing with 2 large dogs (hence her moniker the "doglet").


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 9:52PM
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cjwatson(Z8 FL)

How old is your cat?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:31PM
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Funny you should ask.

Had the thyroid discussion with the vet just yesterday and how it could also be the underlying cause of the skin allergies (I guess regardless of whether it's hyper or hypothyroidism, multiple problems can arise).

The dog with the exploding tumor has the opposite problem. At 70 pounds he's 20 pounds overweight. He gets a whole 2 cups of Science Diet a day and daily exercise with a Frisbee or tennis ball (let me tell you about my tennis elbow...). Go figure. I don't feed table scraps.

So, I'm with the thyroid group. Although, I would imagine when you stated your cat had the "usual" hormones checked, that would have been one of them.

But chickadeedee knows what she is talking about so...

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 11:39PM
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Chickie should...she's a vet.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 9:29AM
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She is seven.

She's aleady been checked for the thyroid stuff and diabetes, my first thoughts. Thyroid stuff is so nice and easy to fix. We've got a dog with autoimmune hypothyroidism and it fixed months of dieting, hair loss, diarrhea, and general unhappiness on her part, poor dear.

Her liver enzymes came back normal, second thought. Her kidney stuff, being a cat, was the third thought, and it all looks good. No detectable problems on the heart (took her to heart doctor when we heart screenings done on our dogs).

That doctor did suggest that I consider taurine supplements for her. I have been doing reading on that, but I really haven't gotten much information regarding that, as of yet. It's entertaining to consider giving the cat Red Bull (yes, I would give it only supplements like a good person).

Had her tested three weeks ago for the FIV/FELV again. The skinny has a problem for awhile.

I've had a stool float, fecal culture, and done a few more detailed ones myself (oh, the joys of an available micro lab), and she seems to be clean on that. My dog seems to be clean, too.

Nutracal sort of scares me; I'd end up overjuicing the poor gal. I shall try the kitten food and see if that helps.

Here she is:

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 11:09AM
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Had her tested three weeks ago for the FIV/FELV again. The skinny has a problem for awhile.

Clarification there. That should read:

The skinny THING has been a problem for awhile. She's clean for both, luckily.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 11:17AM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

You're not giving her enough butter. Cats like butter. In fact, a cat will invariably LICK the butter, given the chance. I would be willing to bet my favorite Ang that if you left a stick of butter out overnight, you would awake to find that this cat has, in fact, licked it. Repeat that for a month or two and she will fatten up. Failing that, just loan her to my sister for awhile. She has never failed to turn a cat into an obese lay-about. It would always make me laugh when my sister's cats would don their winter coats. Especially Jeepster cuz, well, she had kind of a small head. So you would see this big puffy fur-ball with a tiny head. Very cute. Jeepster would lick the butter, no doubt.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 1:48AM
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Maybe she's just genetically predisposed to be skinny.

Of course, the fact that she walks into walls...

I've known one or two people with retarded cats, although most of them didn't live past 6 months.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 2:28PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

I have a friend who had a retarded cat due to lack of oxygen as a newborn kitten. She lived to be 18.

I would try to take samples from several different fecals or from different sections of a couple of samples - worms have to be in the right stage or locale to be found.

I had a dog once that I was certain had worms but they couldn't find any signs of them. I took two samples from the same specimen and one had worms and the other didn't. Worms are not always easy to find.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 6:17PM
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Our cat went missing for ten days and came home at 4.30am on Xmas eve looking very skinny. We live on a tiny island off the coast of British Columbia and have been here for 4 months. We figure he must have been locked inside somewhere by somebody that has a weekend place and then released when they returned.
I need to get his weight back up and got a number of good tips here, thx. Anybody know if ten days without food would have done him any long term harm.? I'm going to buy some kitten food and maybe look into getting some electrolytes into him (pediatric ones are good for cats right..?)
I tell you one thing though, he sure was happy to make it home (I've never seen him so friendly lol)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 11:25AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Sorry! I just saw this post.

Glad you got your kitty back! How old is your kitty? If he didn't have any major health issues like diabetes, kidney or liver issues before going missing he should recover fine and dandy without long term issues as the result of his mis-adventure.

A *HUGE* thing to note is ... are the white part of his eyes still white or are they getting yellow? If he was overweight and suddenly went into starvation mode he can get something called hepatic lipadosis. Translation = The liver has become overwhelmed by fat cells and is not able to function properly. If he is getting yellow ... this is a serious *life threatening* condition and he needs to see the vet ASAP!

If there's no pre-existing issues, kitten food is fine. Canned and/or moist. If he's getting a good commercial brand there's no need for electrolyte supplementation. In fact it might put him off drinking water and promote dehydration.

(Pedialyte is fine though. Most dogs and cats will not drink it straight but if diluted 50/50 with regular drinking water they'll drink it. It's more used for those guys who have been vomiting +/- diarrhea.)

After your kitty is doing better .. maybe check to make sure he hasn't picked up any internal parasites.

Take care.

ChickaDDD :-)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 11:32AM
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kitten chow is good stufff!

if your Veterinarian agrees, so is Hill's canned A/D Diet. It'll fatten up many "stubborn" cases

"Knox Blox" made w/diluted, low-sodium, chicken broth does wonders sometimes, with some animals.... Better hydration stimulates appetites.

butter is a wonderful, occasional treat -- not a staple.


Stitz, Skye, Breezy & Happy

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 4:37PM
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i've got what seems to be a healty black domesticated house cat, eats thru out the day, has water and hasnever been outside but maybe once or twice. Strictly a house cat. Everyone says how bony he is, his coat is quite shiny and still very active indoors, i believe his is at least 12 0r 13 years old. not emaciated but still bony when petting him.. Should i try another food, he eats strictly dry food and no table scraps!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 12:18PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

We have one of those....a very bony cat. Always has been and is very fit and active.
Eats as much as much as the very fat cat member of the household and never puts on any kilos.
Wouldn't worry unless the cats gets mopey.
Good luck
Arthur, Kercil, Pippin & Periot

Link is to a blog about owning pets in rented accommodation. Do not be put off by the title. "Beauty in cat poo". May be of interest to cat lovers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beauty in cat poo

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 2:39PM
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Hi everyone,
I found this forum a few weeks ago when I was in a similar situation. It started off with our family pet vomiting all the time, then she started losing weight. We thought it could be hair balls so we bought her hair ball remedies and the it eased up. She started getting very thin and couldn't jump as much or walk as far anymore. We took her to the vet and found out she was at least 15, more since I remember growing up with her as a kid (we took her in after a store owner abandoned her when we moved and literally kicked her out). So I'd say she was about 18-19, maybe a tabby breed but not 100% sure
Anyway, the vet took a urine test-wasn't diabetic. Blood test-had a double white blood cell count. She weighed 4.6 lbs and for her age, should have been 8-10 but she was always on the smaller side. When you pet her all you could feel was fur and bones. The vet gave her an antibiotic shot which made her poop and sent my mom home with medicine, the diagnosis was either cancer or a kidney infection. My mom didn't get an X-ray because of the cost and surgery so took a chance on the kidney infection. The vet bill came out to be around 250, the cat started to get better, she would eat more, one day she ate 2 cans. The final days she was falling because she couldn't keep herself up and ate very little. My
Mom saw her take her last breath yesterday. Sad but she was so pitiful and in so much pain. I made sure to post this in case someone was in a similar situation. The medicine might have prolonged her by a week but she didn't finish taking it. Had my mom given her the surgery she might have lived but she was old and might have not survived it. Vets are extremely expensive and just didn't help in this case. Good luck to anyone who has a cat like mine and just keep in mind when they pass that they were suffering and in pain.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 7:12AM
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