Senior kitties sometimes have what Dr. Karen Becker DVM calls “shrinking kitty syndrome”. If you have a senior cat losing weight, this is the blog for you.
Just like humans, when cats enter the later years of life the body begins to slow down and even break down. My sweet grandmother just turned 89 years old this month and she’s tiny. While she’s always been a petite lady, now she’s a shrunken version of her petite, lovely self. Even though she’s fairly healthy, her appetite has reduced significantly and her weight has as well.
The same goes for our senior kitties. As they begin to age the body will often break down. This is usually due to one of two things: illness or diet. So here is what you need to know if you have a senior cat losing weight.
How To Help “Shrinking Kitty Syndrome”
- If your older cat suddenly starts losing weight you will want to make a vet appointment ASAP. Sudden weight loss is often due to disease like renal failure or hyperthyroidism. These issues can be fatal, so you want to have your senior kitty diagnosed so you can properly treat any illness they may be suffering from.
- There’s a myth out there that older cats need less protein. There is nothing further from the truth. If we reduce animal protein in an obligate carnivore’s diet you can guarantee that they will continue to lose weight. Senior cats actually need MORE meat in their diet… they just need higher quality meat. This cannot be provided through a dry food diet. In fact, as Dr. Becker says, “Older kitties, especially those fed a lifetime of ultra-processed cat food, often lose their ability to digest dietary fats and protein efficiently, which is a major contributor to weight loss” If your senior kitty is losing weight you will want to feed a high quality, high protein, moisture rich diet, and you’ll want to feed more meals each day. One of our cats started losing weight at 16 and all we did was add one afternoon meal of high quality canned food into his diet and he gained the weight back quickly!
- Supplementation is a great way to be sure that your senior cat is getting all the nutrients they need. Omega 3s, digestive enzymes and probiotics are fantastic additives to any cat’s diet, but considering adding in B12 to your senior cat’s diet as well. Vitamin B12 increases appetite and energy levels and will also help the other supplements above work even better in the body and for the organs.
Please don’t sit back and watch your senior kitty waste away. Take a few simple steps to give him or her the longest, healthiest and happiest life possible!