I certainly could use some advice from you fine people. I have read a lot of the articles provided on this website, but much of it was too generalized for my specific questions.
Anyhow on to my issue. In the past week I have noticed some changes going on with my 15 year old cat Holly.
1. She was going to the cat box regularly, but her feces was coming out rather small and thin.(Not to mention a bit hard). In the last few days I have been watching her closely, and rarely see her visiting the box. After daily inspections, I am noticing very little to no business done.
2. The past 2-3 days she hasn’t been eating much at all (due to current finances, we could only afford dry food). We did get some wet food for her yesterday, but she barely touched it.
3. She hasn’t been drinking water as much as she usually does. This concerns me because it has been very warm and humid here.(80+ degrees Fahrenheit.)
4. When you own a cat for 15 years you tend to notice where they go when they don’t feel good. Lately Holly has been going to that place in the house, behind the tv stand.
5. She has lost some weight, and I also noticed her breathing has changed. It has become shallow and labored.
6. She has become unresponsive when I call her. This is out of the ordinary for her, because she is a cat that loves attention. The only thing that she has been doing that IS normal, is sunning herself near the patio door.
I am inclined to think it is hairballs, because she has been off her weekly regimen of hairball prevention for almost a month now.(Due to finances) But I fear that it is something worse, like anemia.
So, with all that information, can anyone advise me on what is going on with my kitty?
Hi… thanks for visiting and asking. It seems to me that the bottom line symptoms are a loss of appetite and loss of desire to drink plus labored breathing. Not going to the litter is, it seems, a consequence of loss of appetite. Her loss of weight also seems to be a consequence of that.
A loss of appetite is a generalised symptom. It is a symptom of an ill cat just as we lose our appetite when we feel ill. Unfortunately it is a sign that does not direct us conclusively to a single cause.
One other factor that might be significant is that she is 15 years of age. A good age and an old age for a cat.
All I can do, I feel, is to see, if I can link age with lose of appetite and a likely illness.
One obvious possibility is mouth disease but this should be noticeable when the mouth is opened. Old cats are more likely to have mouth disease. I feel that this is not the cause, however.
“Weight loss is serious in the aging cat”1. It can be caused by kidney disease, cancers, periodontal disease (mentioned above) and loss of smell plus other causes.
The advise from a good vet is that weight loss is an “indication for a veterinary checkup.”1 Compounding that advice, labored breath also indicates a vet’s attention. These are two symptoms that are considered “danger signals in the elderly cat”.
Sorry if this is upsetting.
Kidney failure is not uncommon in elderly cats. The first signs are increased voiding and drinking so this may not be the cause although apathy, sluggishness and loss of appetite and weight are symptoms as are brownish discoloration of the tongue and dry hair coat.
Heart disease is another possibility. These are speculative. One thing definite is indicated however, which is this might be serious and in which case a vet’s visit is called for and I know how much most people don’t really like that for all the usual reasons including cost which may be a factor for you.
I have been through my reference books and there are many illnesses, some serious such as Feline Infectious Peritonitis that can cause the symptoms that you have mentioned. Incidentally, a foreign object in the mouth or throat would cause coughing so is not applicable it seems to me
One last possibility is poison but this seems unlikely.
1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin. Page 385.