Why is my senior cat so thin, even though he has a healthy appetite?

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, believes the cat might have a glandular condition.

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Q: We have a cat named Spicey. He is about 18 years old now, and is very slow and very thin, but still going. He eats well but always has a rumbling stomach as though he is always hungry. Do you have any insight as to why? Many thanks.

A: I’d have to put hyperthyroidism high on the list. Hyperthyroidism is a glandular condition that affects older cats. In many older cats, the thyroid gland in the neck begins to produce an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. The increased level of this hormone causes the cat’s metabolism to increase, and cats will lose weight. They try to compensate for this by increasing their food intake, but they often cannot keep up, and will lose weight despite having an excellent appetite. Hyperthyroidism also can cause an increase in gastrointestinal motility, which may account for his rumbling stomach.

Fortunately, hyperthyroidism is very treatable. In fact, it is curable. It is easily diagnosed by a simple blood test. I strongly recommend that you have this test done on Spicey.

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Why is my senior cat so thin, even though he has a healthy appetite?

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Reader Comments

Linda    Brookline, MA

1/23/2010 5:20:45 AM

Your cat Spicey needs pepcid.. check with your vet??
My cat is 19 years old very sour stomach uses a 1/4 tablet twice a day, check the weight of your cat?? She feels better ...and now eats more.

crystal    largo, FL

2/21/2008 5:16:09 PM

my cat is 4 years old and she has a very healthy apetite, but she keeps getting skinnier??

Shawn    Rochester, NH

2/17/2008 5:55:03 PM

My cat is 14 years old and she is getting thin. She still plays with toys and purrs and very vocal. I am concerned and need to get her to the vet. It is common for older cats to be thin?

Creed    Wintersville, OH

2/14/2008 6:53:36 AM

I wonder how hyperthyroidism would affect a 1 year old kitty, like mine, I feed her and make sure she has constant food and water, and give her wet food too (as I hear it helps to put on the pounds) but I still think she is a rather thin kitty...I mean she isn't underweight at all but for as much as she eats you would think she would be a fatty.

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