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  • 15 year old losing weight, won't eat much

    Sheba is 15 and has lost weight over the last month. She has an appetite---most of the time---but when we put the canned food in front of her she either snubs it (she always was finicky) or licks at it, takes a few bites, then quits. We've tried different brands. She always loved dry food before, but no longer even tries it---she only goes for canned food now.

    She goes to the bathroom---all that is normal. She purrs as normal too. Maybe it's because she's lost weight around her middle that I notice it, but her breathing seems to be more noticeable. I have tried Nutri-cal for cats; it initially seemed to increase her appetite, but she still doesn't eat much. Then I read on another pet forum that Nutrical is actually bad for cats---some chemical in it is bad for a cat's liver? I can't believe that; it's sold for cats, isn't it? Now I don't know if Nutrical is safe or not? Is it??

    Anyway, I'm going to have to take her to the vet, but I am worried about what the vet may say. I have visions that the doctor will put her to sleep and the cat won't return home with me. That happened to me with my dog in the 1970s (leukemia).

    --Dale

  • #2
    Dale,
    At 15 your Sheba has definitely entered the ranks of Senior Citizen and unfortunately that brings with it a host of different problems. It could be that Sheba is experiencing some kidney or liver malfunction but it could also be something as simple as a dental problem.

    All animals lose weight as they age, that's totally normal, but her decreased appetite is a symptom that something else is bothering her. It's best that you're going to let your vet take a look and see if there isn't something he can do to make her life a little easier.

    Good luck and let us know what the vet has to say!
    Marg Little, Senior Manager
    The Pets Forums Management Team

    "She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot."
    - Mark Twain

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dale001
      Sheba is 15 and has lost weight over the last month. She has an appetite---most of the time---but when we put the canned food in front of her she either snubs it (she always was finicky) or licks at it, takes a few bites, then quits. We've tried different brands. She always loved dry food before, but no longer even tries it---she only goes for canned food now.

      She goes to the bathroom---all that is normal. She purrs as normal too. Maybe it's because she's lost weight around her middle that I notice it, but her breathing seems to be more noticeable. I have tried Nutri-cal for cats; it initially seemed to increase her appetite, but she still doesn't eat much. Then I read on another pet forum that Nutrical is actually bad for cats---some chemical in it is bad for a cat's liver? I can't believe that; it's sold for cats, isn't it? Now I don't know if Nutrical is safe or not? Is it??

      Anyway, I'm going to have to take her to the vet, but I am worried about what the vet may say. I have visions that the doctor will put her to sleep and the cat won't return home with me. That happened to me with my dog in the 1970s (leukemia).

      --Dale

      My first thought when I started reading was kidney problems, but then as I read on it sounds more like her teeth are bothering her. left untreatd, dental problems can cause other problems, including kidney. animal medicne is far more advanced than it was in the 70's and most vets are not quick to put an animal to sleep these days, especailly if the owner is willing to care for the aging animal. First step is a vet visit, and don't put it off, knowing is BETTER than not knowing! You can be a batter help to her if you know what's wrong.

      Gail
      http://www.pawproject.org/

      http://catinfo.org/

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      • #4
        I will call the vet. And is Nutri-cal safe? Anyone use it?


        --Dale

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        • #5
          I second the notion that she has dental problems. I think it is also important to have a complete blood work done, including looking for thyroid problems. Weight loss is common in older cats, and thyroid problems can be a factor, but in your case she seems to be shunning food rather than losing weight on a normal diet.

          Don't fear what the vet will say; vets want animals to have a long and healthy life. If your vet seems to feel otherwise, it indicates the need for a new vet. At 15, she is really comparable to a person in their eighties; that is no reason to expect her to not live many more years and giving you more years of unconditional love.

          Don't let the leukemia situation with your dog in the 1970's keep you away from finding out. Much has changed since then, in both attitudes and treatment and diagnosis.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            The sooner you find the problem, the more likely it will be caught early enough that you can do something about it. Your vet will perform a complete physical exam and a blood panel, including a CBC, a chemistry panel, and a thyroid screening test, to look for the most common causes of the behavior you describe. Dental disease is an often overlooked cause of decreased appetite, and can damage the heart, kidneys, and liver as well.

            Good luck,
            Dr. Gus

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            • #7
              Thanks for the replies. She has a vet appointment this afternoon; I will keep you posted. I guess I sound like a wimp, but I dread having the doctor use the C word. But I guess even cancer can be treated long enough to add time to an animal's life. I'm hoping it is something less severe--like dental problems. Sheba always ate hard food and just a couple of months ago loved those soft treats--called "Aquar-Yums" ---but now won't even consider eating them or any hard food. Hopefully, the vet will get her to eat some canned food and get her weight back up.

              --Dale

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              • #8
                I'm in tears as I write this...The doctor took Sheba in the back to do a full blood screening when he returned: "She's in the back wheezing--she has her self so upset--I don't like how it sounds. I'd like to do a chest x-ray, first, instead. I wait and anticipate bad news. I'm right. He shows me the x-ray and I see the tumor next to her heart the size of a dime. The doc explains the options to me and the fact that its location doesn't bode well for her. It's interfering with her breathing. I did notice her breathing was becoming more labored recently.

                With treatment, she could live two days, two weeks, or two months, but will get worse and sooner or later, suffer. After thinking about it, asking the right questions and making sure the doctor thought I was making the right decision, I signed the paper to put Sheba to sleep. As I looked at her wheezing--almost like a pneumonia sound--I knew I was doing the right thing and the doctor told me that if I wasn't he would tell me I wasn't. As I looked in her eyes, call me weird, but when her eyes met mine I knew I was making the right decision. I cried right in front of the doctor and the nurses---I'm very embarassed about that. A 42-year old male crying! They told me they are used to that. I wonder if they just are saying that. I'm crying now. I will have her urn in a few days and somehow, someway, it's my hope, if not belief, that we will see each other again...in a better place.
                I already miss my little friend....

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                • #9
                  You did the right thing. You wouldn't have wanted her to die of suffocation. It's a horrible position to be in, but we owe it to the pets we love and who love and depend on us to make the tough decision to prevent them from suffering.
                  Dr. Gus

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dale001
                    I'm in tears as I write this...The doctor took Sheba in the back to do a full blood screening when he returned: "She's in the back wheezing--she has her self so upset--I don't like how it sounds. I'd like to do a chest x-ray, first, instead. I wait and anticipate bad news. I'm right. He shows me the x-ray and I see the tumor next to her heart the size of a dime. The doc explains the options to me and the fact that its location doesn't bode well for her. It's interfering with her breathing. I did notice her breathing was becoming more labored recently.

                    With treatment, she could live two days, two weeks, or two months, but will get worse and sooner or later, suffer. After thinking about it, asking the right questions and making sure the doctor thought I was making the right decision, I signed the paper to put Sheba to sleep. As I looked at her wheezing--almost like a pneumonia sound--I knew I was doing the right thing and the doctor told me that if I wasn't he would tell me I wasn't. As I looked in her eyes, call me weird, but when her eyes met mine I knew I was making the right decision. I cried right in front of the doctor and the nurses---I'm very embarassed about that. A 42-year old male crying! They told me they are used to that. I wonder if they just are saying that. I'm crying now. I will have her urn in a few days and somehow, someway, it's my hope, if not belief, that we will see each other again...in a better place.
                    I already miss my little friend....
                    Oh Dale, I'm so sorry! I hope someone at the vet gave you a hug because you sure need one right now! Please don't be embarrassed about crying -- it shows how much you treasured Sheba and it's perfectly normal. I'm sorry the diagnosis was so serious that you had to let Sheba go -- but you did the right thing of course considering how badly she was wheezing and suffering. This is always such a terribly difficult decision, but it's a promise we make when we take on the care of our beloved furkids that we will let them go with dignity when the time comes.

                    Sending you virtual hugs.
                    Diane and Cicero - Sr. Manager:

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                    • #11
                      Well, you were not there when I had to send Kalki to the bridge, and I am a lot older than you. I was a mess. Your feelings are genuine, as you have said good bye to a loved member of your family. If you did not do otherwise, it would have meant you didn't care and that obviously is not the case.

                      Put some thoughts to paper. It will help. Look over pictures you have and remember the wonderful times she gave you. Post some rememberances in the appropriate section of the forum.

                      When she looked at you, she was giving you permission. You gave her a precious gift, but one of the hardest to ever give. Many in this forum that post have been there, and it is never easy. She is at peace; your grieving is natural and normal.

                      She lived to be fifteen. As you come back to this forum again and again, you will realize how fortunate you have been. That is a lot of unconditional love, but never enough.
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Dale,

                        You know you did the right thing for Sheba. She looked right at you and confirmed that it was what she wanted and needed. It was that last gift you could give her - a dignified exit and the end of unexplained pain and misery.

                        Don't be ashamed or shy about crying. It is a perfectly normal release of emotion and that is only expected when you have lost a good and loving family member and friend.

                        Hugs,
                        Karen A/Publicist

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                        • #13
                          I'm sorry that you lost your baby. But I know that you will be better in the long run. It is hard to watch a kitty slowly go. I lost my 19 year old last summer, after trying to treat her. My heart is with you, b/c I truly know your pain.

                          MOO
                          I HAD A FRIEND ONCE, BUT THE WHEELS FELL OFF

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                          • #14
                            I'm really sorry that the news couldn't have been anything better. And don't feel embarrassed about crying. This 57-year-old ex-Army sergeant has also been in tears over the loss of a dear pet. After fifteen years with her, I'd have been more concerned if you'd been less reactive.
                            When you're ready, I'm sure that Sheba will be sending you another cat to help fill the void she leaves. You'll know when it's time.
                            BTW, I used to have a Sealpoint Siamese cat named Sheba. Adopted her after she'd been abused and abandoned, and she lived to be (based on the vet's estimate of her age when we rescued her) about 19.
                            Eliyahu Rooff

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                            • #15
                              Oh Dale, I am so sorry! I am weeping as I read your message, and you must not be ashamed or embarassed for crying. It only shows your love for Sheba. I still sometimes cry over the loss of my beloved Baby, who went suddenly with kidney failure. Like you with Sheba, it was so fast, I barely felt I had time to say goodbye, but I was holding him and singing to him as he went to sleep. That was 8 years ago, but I still cry for him.

                              I lost a 12 year old beloved cat to cancer in March, just a day after calicokitty's Kalki went over the bridge. We hoped they went together. But I had lots of time to prepare for Bibbs,she fought a long battle, it didn't really make it any easier, but it wasn't such a shock.

                              Sheba knew you were doing the right thing, and told you so, that can be a comfort to you. You gave her a long happy well loved life, and she repaid you with unconditonal love. Stick around, we've all been where you are tonight. If I was there I would hug you and hold you and let you cry on my shoulder as long as you needed.

                              Call someone you trust to do it in my place.....

                              Gail
                              http://www.pawproject.org/

                              http://catinfo.org/

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