So, my cat is at least 18 now (she was a young stray with the earliest vet records from 1994). She still acts the same, aside from not wanting to jump up quite so much as her youthful days, but she is sooo skinny now. She is an indoor cat and is free fed on a grain free kibble (which she still eats as normal), and she also gets one can of wet food per day. I've recently started giving her 2 cans just to try and bulk her up a bit. I know it's probably just because she's so old, but is there anything else anyone can recommend for an aging kitty? She gets extremely stressed at the vet so I don't really want to take her in and just have them say "well yeah she's ancient". lol
Just keep doing what you're doing. When B was getting old and skinny, we gave him as much wet food as he wanted and he still didn't gain but man did he eat. I would maybe try some treats if she likes them. They have great quality freeze dried salmon and chicken. B also loved those.
Oh yeah she still eats like crazy and demands her dinner promptly at 5:30 lol. I will have to look around for some other good treats. She really likes the Zukes treats but they are so low calorie it's kind of pointless! Darn you healthy treats. :P
Maybe if you don't want to make an appointment you could just call or email your vet. My cat, Daisy, doesn't make nearly as many trips to the vet as Chase does. She does not do well in the car, or anywhere outside her room for that matter. She hates other cats and dogs and it's just overall not a good experience for her. She is 3-4 years old and an indoor cat. Chase is only 6 months old so he frequents the vet for boosters and such.
First, hooray for cats!!!
Second, are there any traveling vets? A friend had a really old cat that was just too anxious and would get too sick in the car, or at the vet's office and there is a local vet she found that makes house calls for pets.
Maybe something to look into?
If you increase the cans of food, does she eat them all?
I know how it feels. We have a 14 year old cat that has always kept control of our 2 farmsites(he is a house cat) and he may still be doing so but he is skin and bones. He has always been skinny but healthy. He pukes with most food but can eat the Fancy Feast classics and grain free cat food. The vet just said he has the healthiest teeth of any of them. Oh, I almost forgot he get a slice of good american cheese averyday also, my daughter started this with him as a kitten. Sorry I guess I'm hoping to learn something here too.
You could always try calling your vet instead of taking her in. My vet has always been willing to answer my questions over the phone unless they really feel like they need to see the animal.
The thing with weight loss is it could be benign due to decreased food digestion because of age, or it could be something serious like cancer or failing kidneys.
I would feed her the highest protein foods you can find and as much as she's happy eating. Make sure she has a warm, peaceful place to sleep and try to get her playing once or twice a day to keep her joints from stiffening. Despite having had cats for years, I honestly know so little about them compared to dogs. At the least take in a stool sample to the vet; even indoor cats can sometimes pick up worms.
I may give the vet a call next week I guess, and just see what they say. Last time I had bloodwork done on her they did say she was in the beginning stages of renal failure, which is not at all unexpected considering her age. And at this point I don't think I would pursue any type of aggressive treatment with her though, and the vet pretty much agreed with that. She is totally thrilled with the extra can of food for the moment, so maybe that will help a bit, and we'll see what happens.
My guess is she is hyperthyroid. Very common in older kittys and you will see them eat and eat and eat but turn skin and bones. Nothing you can do but get a bloodtest and meds to manage it. Many older cats also develop kidney issues that present as weight loss and sometimes increase in water intake. Unfortunately these conditions can not be managed without medications. I'd recommend a house call vet. They can come to your house, get the labwork and put her on medication, very low stress to her.
This is what I thought of as well, especially if the cat is eating tons and still staying skinny or even losing weight. We have a cat with it and he's on transdermal ear gel for his meds for now, as I really wasn't up for giving him twice daily pills forever--he's never had a pill in his life and he's nearly 12. It does need to be confirmed with a blood test, though, unfortunately.
I understand your reluctance to treat and at that age I'd be inclined to just let nature take its course, too.
My parents had an elderly cat that they lost to what was presumably kidney failure. He was about 16. One day he just refused to eat (always a chow hound) and wanted to stay inside (he was found as an adult stray and never converted to inside-only). And he just wanted to sleep.
My mom called the vet who said it was probably kidneys. The vet (very progressive) said we could bring him in if we liked, but there was probably little that could be done. Cats are generally traumatized by trips, and she said if he was sleeping and not pacing he was probably comfortable and we could let him go at home if WE could tolerate it.
We made a big cozy nest for him in the basement (he seemed to want to be in the dark, and it was summer and nice and cool there). He slept 23.9 hours per day; three times a day we carried him to his litter box, but after a couple days that was no longer necessary. We would go down frequently to visit him. He gave purrs and chin-rubs (I know cats purr in distress, but the accompanying chin-rubs and narrowed eyes made it clear he was purring in camaraderie). After about 3 or 4 days he stopped waking up at all, and in another day or two he was gone.
For some reason, people's universal reaction to that story is horror that he was not euthanized, but honestly it was the most peaceful animal death I've seen and was so much better than when I had to force my poor staggering kitty into her crate for her last terrified trip to the vet... I can only wish that all my future pets go as peacefully as Gemini did.
Keep her home, keep her happy, keep her cozy. If she's not suffering, don't stress her with trips to the vet at her age. At least that's my view.
I'm afraid I won't answer any questions but I can share a similar experience. I have two indoor cats--each 13 years-- and both have always been at a good weight. In the last year, the male, George, has become quite skinny. Last summer he had a bout of hepatitis, was treated for that, but never gained the weight back. The vet told me as long as he eats, plays, and behaves as usual (territorial, possessive, jealous of Lucy the Corgi, etc) he's fine...just getting old. Going to the vet is stressful, so I make sure that I HAVE to take him in; fortunately, my vet's office has great techs who will speak to me on the phone to help me figure that out. Lucy, of course, goes anywhere with me and loves the vet (where her daycare is as well) because everyone there adores her.