Do cats lose weight as they get older?

Keeping the ideal weight of an aging cat is a most common concern of pet parents. Aging cats tend to be less active thus they are more prone to getting overweight. Cat owners would be constantly battling with the pet’s obesity problem more so because it would be quite difficult to refuse a pet that is asking for more food. However, the reverse of obesity is another problem cat owners have to face. Cats can lose weight as they get older. Keeping the pet’s weight at a suitable level is a concern owners of old cats have to face.

Due to the care given to these furry companions, cats these days live longer lives. Domestic cats continue to provide loving companionship to their owners even in their senior years. However as many owners have noticed, the aging of the cat is accompanied by physical and behavioral changes. Cat owners would need to deal with the changes that occur in the graying pet. Aging is a natural process and these changes are inevitable. Middle aged cats are less inclined to be active. This situation often times result to obesity. Senior cats have the tendency to loss muscle mass. In spite of the nutrient-enrich foods and the supplements provided by the owners, aging cats tend lose weight and take on a gaunt or boney old cat appearance.

Why do cats lose weight when they get older? The weakening of the immune system is one of the changes associates with aging. With a weak immune system, the aging cat would be less capable of fending off invasion of infectious agents. Weight loss can be a sign of a health concern. The gradual weight loss of an aging cat can be attributed to the progression of an existing health concern. Age related changes can compromise the functioning of the major organs in the cat’s body. Weight loss cam be associated to kidney failure, hypertension or to hyperthyroidism. Chronic gastrointestinal disorders are very common in aging cats. These conditions are typically characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. The ability of the body to absorb nutrients is compromised. Ingested food is not properly digested thus the cat would not get the full nutritional benefits from the ingested food. Weight loss will occur when the cats uses the stored energy in their muscles.

A change in eating pattern associated with aging is another reason why cats lose weight as they get older. Aging cats have diminished sense of taste and smell. Cat owners know very well that anything that cannot be smelled would not be eaten by the pet. This is why cat parents would serve hot meals to pets with colds and stuffy nose. The dulled senses make cats less interested in food. Cats would not find enjoyment in eating food they can barely smell and taste. Like aging humans, aging cats tend to have dental concerns that make eating difficult. Dental diseases that can cause significant pain will make cats lose interest in eating.

Inappetance or poor interest in eating can be remedied by enticing the pet with small servings of food several times a day. Providing the pet nutritional supplements and food specifically formulated for cats at this life stage can have significant effects in the maintenance of ideal weight. Aging is not a disease but a lot of diseases are associated with aging. It would be a big mistake to be complacent and to attribute all the physical and behavioral changes noticed in the pet to its advancing age. Owners must consider the possibility that a medical condition is the reason for the pet’s weight loss. It is imperative for the aging cat to have medical attention.