How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22599
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
49838867
Type Your Vet Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now

I've got a 14 year old cat. I haven't had her, her 'dad'

This answer was rated:

Hi, I've got a 14 year old cat. I haven't had her long, her 'dad' passed away and I took her on in March. She started eating cat litter about a month ago, I swapped it for potting compost as I was worried about it. I think she may have hurt her mouth and has now become unable to eat. She has been eating a little so I'd hoped she'd recover but today she's worse and is weak. She's not drinking water now either which is not like her at all.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the cat?
Customer: Thank you. She has not been well fed in the past, I have made sure she's had proper portions and she was doing well. I think I'd like to ask too, is there anything I can do to help her, or will I need to get her seen ASAP? She is not accustomed to travel so I would be prepared to call a vet to her, should it be necessary.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

I am sorry to hear about your newly adopted older kitty's habit of eating cat litter and now eating poorly in general.

She may have some mouth pain, but eating cat litter is often a sign of a serious underlying disease process.

Eating non-food item is called pica.

Ideally she would see a veterinarian for an examination and some blood tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, thyroid level (T-4), and feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency tests. Some cats exhibit pica (eating or licking/biting non-food items) when they are anemic or sick and we do want to make sure that she is healthy and there is not a physical reason for her behavior. She could be anemic, or suffering from metabolic organ disease or an immunosuppressive virus. This can also be a sign of nausea.

At home to try and settle her stomach in case this is related to nausea you can give either:

1)Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of 1/2 of a 10mg tablet per 7 to 20 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

OR

2)Prilosec (omeprazole) at dose of 1/4 of a 20mg tablet per 7 to 20 pounds of body weight every 12-24 hours

These are acid reducers and could help her feel less nauseous, and thus less likely to chew/lick on non-food items. These medications are quite safe and can be used for several days if they help her feel better.

To perk her appetite and ease nausea while you are waiting to have her examined you can try offering a bland diet of 2/3 boiled, minced, white skinless chicken or whitefish and 1/3 boiled, white rice mixed with some low salt chicken broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow and get additional fluids into her.

Given her age, poor appetite and this behavior though she should see a veterinarian for diagnostic testing as soon as it can be arranged.

It has been my pleasure to help you today, and I hope that I have earned my 5 star rating. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen (rating me now does not close your question). You are welcome to ask follow up questions about my response here until you are satisfied, simply use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Wow, many thanks, ***** ***** Seems she could be poorly indeed but I will act on your suggestions right away. I also forgot to mention I can see some swelling in her little face to one side, where she has blindness which has been an issue of hers for years.

I'm sorry to hear that she has some facial swelling. That could indicate a bad tooth, or even a tumor in her jaw. No wonder her appetite is off. Poor little one definitely needs help.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I feel she surely does. It's late - should I call an emergency vet or wait till morning? Thank you again.

Waiting until morning is fine. Not much will change in that period of time.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
OK thank you, I'll wait and hope she's better for a good night's sleep.

I'll cross my fingers for her, please let me know what they find with her.

Dr. Kara and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you