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I have a 14 year old indoor tabby that has slowly been losing weight this year (and is currently around 9lb, down from 10 or 11 lb), and has reduced her eating a lot. She doesn't respond very much to her favorite foods, and when she does eat it is only a little amount at a time. EG if we feed her 1.5 oz of wet food, it can take up to an entire day before she finishes it (with us putting it in front of her and taking it away multiple times during the day), and even then we have to take the food to her, rather than placing it where she has normally eaten..

We have taken her to our local vet multiple times and have had multiple blood work tests (including thyroid) and an abdominal ultrasound done, but no problems have been indicated. The vet has indicated that the next steps could be exploratory surgery and/or prescription diet.

She is lethargic and has taken to staying inside enclosed places. We've tried introducing kitten (and other) food, but of course strange food is not desirable to her.

I'm running out of ideas of what could be wrong (and treatable), and am fearing that we'll lose her within the next few months. So I'm looking for suggestions on how to best fatten up a cat.


Update. Sadly the cause of her not eating was likely due to a large mass that had grown next to her stomach and was likely putting pressure on it. This was missed in the ultrasound, but may have been seen in an x-ray. Thus no amount of dietary change, or appetite stimulant medicine would ever have helped. Things took a change for the worst this week and we had to say goodbye to her.

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  • Did the vet had a look into the health of her teeth? Pain in the mouth could also be a reason to eat slow/less. Nov 17, 2023 at 20:41
  • @Allerleirauh This cat did have some teeth removed last (?) year. And when she does eat she will tackle large, hard kibble. I'm not sure that the mouth is an issue, but it is worth a look.
    – Peter M
    Nov 17, 2023 at 21:46
  • I know it hurts, but you need to consider that she's nearing the end of her life. Loss of appetite is a sign I have seen in several cats and dogs (and humans BTW) when they basically gave up. Pancreatitis is another possibility, but I assume the vet ruled that out already. When a friend had the same problem, the vet recommended feeding instant potato mash, but only 100% potato without any added salt, onion or other seasoning.
    – Elmy
    Nov 20, 2023 at 5:57

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Some cats will be interested in cat treats when they can't stomach other food... and I discovered a bit late that some cat treats are actually nutritionally complete though they aren't sold as a food because their balance is off (And they're generally more expensive.) If your cat won't eat enough normal food but is interested in the treats, that might be a reasonable temporary solution. Check with your vet, and read labels to see if they make this claim.

As I say, wish I'd realized this while Harry -cat was essentially in hospice care, trying to keep him reasonably happy while he slowly faded. Might have been able to give him more time, maybe even more comfort.

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  • That's a good point. Thanks.
    – Peter M
    Nov 17, 2023 at 21:47

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