Everything You Need to Know About Cat Losing Weight

As cats get older, it's not uncommon for them to start gaining a little extra weight. As cute as your chubby little cat may look, this extra weight is not healthy for them to keep around. Having extra weight can lead to health complications down the road for your little furry friend. 

This may sound silly, but it might be time for you to put your cat on a diet if you’ve noticed that they’ve gained some extra weight. Although, if they have been losing weight suddenly for no apparent reason, there could be an underlying issue that is causing their weight loss. 

Being aware of your cat's weight is an important responsibility that all cat owners must be mindful of. A cat that is overweight or underweight can be cause for concern and a trip to the veterinarian to try and determine what the cause could be for these changes and what should be done about it. 

Why Might My Cat Be Losing Weight?

There are a handful of illnesses that cats could have, that are leading to weight loss. Often, your cat losing weight may be the first sign that they may have an underlying medical problem going on. Our cats can’t tell us when they’re not feeling well, so it’s up to us as their caregivers, to pick up on signs like weight loss or even weight gain.

Stress or Anxiety

Cats are such carefree animals, it's hard to imagine them experiencing stress or anxiety. Unfortunately, there are some triggers that might cause your feline to stop eating until the stressful stimulus is removed. 

Cats can become stressed or made to feel anxious by a number of things. Loud noises such as firework or thunderstorms can do this to some cats. Other triggers may include other animals being around that maybe the cat isn’t familiar with. The loss of a kitty companion or a beloved owner can also lead a cat to stop eating and lose weight as a result. 


A cat losing weight could also be a sign that they are developing (Or have developed) diabetes. Yes, cats can also have diabetes, just as humans can. Diabetes occurs in cats for the same reason that it does in humans - their body is not making enough or any insulin naturally or is not responding to their insulin appropriately. 

With a cat who may have diabetes, weight loss is among some of the more obvious signs that they could be suffering from this disease. Other signs include excessive drinking of water and maybe even a fruity aroma on their breath. 

What Do I Do if I Notice that My Cat is Losing Weight?

First things first, if you notice that your cat has been losing weight without any changes to their diet or physical activity levels, you need to get them to the vet for evaluation. This isn’t something that can be taken lightly. 

Your cat’s vet will ask some questions, take a look at your cat, and maybe even do blood work to better determine what could be causing this unexplained weight loss. Treatment for cat weight loss is dependent upon the cause. Your vet may reference their cat weight chart that is organized by age and see how far from a normal cat weight they are as well. 

Reassess Their Home Environment

Your cat may be stressed out by something at home if the reason for their weight loss is not pathologic. You may have to evaluate things such as how close their food is to their litter box or how clean their food bowl is. Cats can be rather picky little creatures, but humans can be as well so who are we to judge? As their owner our responsibility is to do what we can to give our cats a safe and healthy life.

Change Their Food

Some cats are notoriously picky eaters and could possibly just be going on a hunger strike as their way of telling you they’d like to try a different food. If your cat’s vet gives them a clean bill of health, this might be the next avenue that you can explore. 


Cats love food, so you should be seeing tons of red flags if you begin to notice your cat losing weight or not eating their meals like they usually might. It’s important to take cat weight loss seriously and act on it quickly by taking them to their vet as soon as possible. The vet may determine that your cat has an underlying illness or may just tell you that your cat is perfectly healthy, but just stressed out by something. There are plenty of reasons why they could be losing weight, as well as many interventions that you can implement to help them go back to a weight that is healthiest for them.

What to feed an older cat that is losing weight?

Older cats could simply be losing weight due to their age and certain complications that could be occurring related to their older age. With older cats, it is important to provide them with cat food that is especially formulated for older cats. Meaning, it comes packed with all of the most important nutrients they could need. These nutrients include high-quality proteins, vitamin E, and higher calories to help them maintain a healthy body weight. If our older cat is still losing weight while eating a specially formulated food for senior cats, your veterinarian may suggest switching them to a different food entirely.

How to tell if a cat is losing weight?

Aside from using a scale, you can determine whether your cat is losing weight or not by running your hands down their sides regularly. This will allow you to feel any drastic weight loss that may be occurring. You should be able to feel your cat's ribs with a small layer for fat covering them, normally.  If they’ve lost weight, their ribs and other bony prominences will be more obvious.

How to get a cat to lose weight?

There are a few simple tactics a cat owner can use to help their cat shed some excess weight. For instance, help them to engage in more physical exercise, such as playing with their toys or going for a walk. Establishing a regular feeding schedule and limiting their intake to two portion-controlled meals per day. On average, a 10-pound cat should consume 227 calories per day, although your vet can make recommendations that are specific to your cat and their weight loss needs.

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