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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33288
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I took my 12 year old cat to vets yesterday for annual

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I took my 12 year old cat to vets yesterday for annual booster and check up, she always used to weigh 3.7 or 3.8kg last year sh weighed 3.55kg yesterday she weighed 3.4kg. The vet said its ok she's not losing masses and she's had blood tests, thyroid etc ok. Is it normal to lose weight as they get older. She's ok in herself when weathers warm she doesn't eat as much.

You've correctly identified at least two causes of her weight loss - a normal age-related loss and simply eating less at this time. Please note that 0.15 kg/3.55 kg = 4.2% weight loss over a year which bears watching, however. The nutritional requirements of older cats are similar to those of young to middle-aged cats. Dehydration is a common problem in older cats as thirst sensitivity decreases with aging. Feeding a canned diet as the majority of Ginger's diet will increase water intake.

The prevalence of underweight cats increases after 11 years of age. This can occur due to concurrent disease, decreases in appetite or sensory function, and decreased digestion and absorption of food. Decreased pancreatic enzyme secretion reduces fat digestion in oder cats and changes in liver function can affect nutreint absorption. Thus, older cats need to be monitored closely to maintain an optimal body condition. If progressive weight loss occurs in Ginger, make sure that her next diagnostics also include a TLI blood test which identifies the lack of digestive enzymes produced by her pancreas and serum folate and vitamin B12 levels which are helpful when diagnosing a malabsorption problem.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks that's put my mind at rest, hopefully when it gets colder and she eats more her weight will go up again. She is only a small cat and vet had a good feel round her and said she wasn't underweight. He said to bring her back for check up in 6 months anyway.

That's good to hear. It sounds like Ginger's vet is on top of her. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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