We tend to spoil or overfeed our pet cats and give them treats anytime. However, sometimes your pet doesn’t put on weight at all. Worse she may start to lose weight until you can feel her bones. Not sure if your cat is too skinny? Check out these tips to estimate your cat’s weight situation:
Do a bone test to check how skinny your cat is
Feel your cat’s back by tracing the length of its spine up to its tail with the use of your fingertips. If you can easily feel your pet’s backbone and it’s prominent then your pet is skinny and there’s a considerable decrease in muscle mass. Other visible signs that your cat is skinny include a narrow waist, visible ribs, and obvious shoulder blades.
Reasons why your cat is so skinny
There are many causes of why your pet is unusually skinny or boney. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s sick or dying. Here are the most common reasons why your cat is skinny or losing weight:
1. Your cat may be getting old.
A cat may be skinny and boney because she’s getting old. Senior cats tend to lose the ability to digest and absorb their food well resulting in weight loss. Some also tend to eat smaller meals which can be attributed to a decreased sense of smell and loss of teeth.
2. Your pet may have gastrointestinal issues.
You may not be entirely aware of it but your pet may have a gastrointestinal problem. Your pet may have intestinal parasites or worms, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis. These disorders may prevent nutrients from being properly absorbed and digested by the body thus resulting in extreme loss of weight.
3. It may be due to anorexia.
Cats may develop anorexia or a refusal to eat food. Your cat may avoid and lose interest in food due to environmental or dietary changes, unclean feeding quarters or a change of routine.
4. Your pet may be experiencing psychological stress and anxiety.
Just like humans, your pet feline may be going through psychological stress, anxiety, and even depression. Some of the reasons that can attribute to this include the loss of a companion animal, loud noises or competition in a multi-pet household. Aside from weight loss, a stressed cat may become aggressive, have mood swings or may hide and avoid company and interaction.
5. Your cat may be suffering from certain medical conditions.
A skinny or boney cat may be suffering from a medical condition or serious disease that is just starting to manifest itself. These illnesses include cancer, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and multiple organ failure.
6. It may be because of their breed and genetic makeup.
Your pet feline may be skinny naturally because of its breed and genes. Various breeds have slender bodies and may appear abnormally skinny like the Siamese, Peterbald, Somali, and Cornish Rex.
7. If your cat is not neutered or spayed.
Intact or unneutered cats tend to be skinny and lose weight since mating entails lots of energy. Spayed cats tend to be fatter and pack on muscle mass, are healthier, live longer and have a lower risk to develop prostate and testicular cancer.
What happens if your cat won’t eat
If your cat is rapidly losing weight and refuses to eat for more than 24 hours then it’s time to be alarmed. A pet who doesn’t eat for a prolonged period may develop feline hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease. Clinical signs of this illness include dehydration, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. An affected cat may develop jaundice or yellowish skin and mucus membranes.
What you can do if your cat is so skinny
There are various steps that you can do to correct your cat’s weight issue and fatten up your cat. Here are some of them:
1. Give your pet cat small and frequent meals.
A typical cat’s stomach is only as big as a ping pong ball so it’s best to give them food in small servings at least every few hours. Cats have different preferences some may prefer dry food, some like wet food while still others prefer a combination of dry and wet meals.
2. Serve warm food.
Warm food heightens its aroma and your cat’s sense of smell becomes more stimulated. As a result, your pet will most likely eat the food. You can easily warm your pet’s meals by microwaving them at an ideal temperature of more or less 38.5 degrees Celsius which is near their body temperature.
3. Spice up their canned meals.
Cats, like humans, tend to lose interest in their food because they feel that it’s the same taste, appearance, and texture every single day. You can try to liven up their food by adding catnip, tuna juice, or probiotics in powder form.
4. Provide healthy snacks in-between meals.
Countless healthy cat treats are available in the market today. Just some of the popular choices include Wellness Kittles Crunchy Natural Treats and Temptations Classic Tasty Chicken. These snacks are not only nutritious they’re also tasty and come in various flavors and meat choices.
5. Feed your pet with kitten food.
Kitten food is more flavorful and packed with proteins and fats. Try to switch the meals your cat is accustomed to and feed it with kitten food and she may regain its appetite.
6. Give her cold cuts.
Try giving your pet strips of turkey or oven-roasted chicken on top of their usual wet or dry meals. This usually stimulates their appetite as it closely mimics what they hunt and eat as prey.
7. Let your cat eat in peace.
Your cat may not be eating well because you may be endlessly checking and hovering over it during mealtime. Cats are naturally solitary hunters and eaters and often prefer to eat alone without anyone observing them.
8. Try an appetite stimulant.
You may opt to give your pet cat an appetite stimulant like Mirtazapine which comes in a pill or transdermal gel formula. However, be sure to consult your veterinarian first.
9. Consult your veterinarian.
If all your initial efforts seem futile and your cat is still skinny and shows no improvement it is best to consult your veterinarian. Your vet is the foremost authority who will be able to give the proper diagnosis and treatment to nurse your cat back to its normal and healthy size and weight.