Q. I have an American Short hair cat. Last year at this time he weighed 17lbs and needed to lose weight. He went on his diet and now weighs 7lbs. He ok?
DESTINI R. HOLLOWAY, DVM
A. A normal healthy weight for most cats is between 8-10 lbs. This can fluctuate depending on genetics. The best way to tell if you cat is underweight is to check for cushioning around the ribs. The ribs should not be prominent, but you should be able to feel them by applying moderate pressure on the chest. Another tell tale sign of being underweight is muscle loss in the hindlimbs and a prominent spine.
If you are unsure if what you are seeing is abnormal, just have a vet take a look at your pet and they will be able to give your pet a body condition score typically between 1-5 or 1-9. This will help you determine if your pet is at an ideal weight.
Also another tip, look back at your records when your pet was around 1-3 years of age, this should be his ideal weight.
If your pet is underweight then I would have some bloodwork done and check his thyroid to make sure he isn't hyperthyroid. This is a common reason for weight loss in older kitties and is a relatively easy and affordable treatment.
DR. ANDREA M. BRODIE, DVM
A. Depending on the size of your kitty he may be on the lower end of normal weight or he may be ok. This is something your veterinarian can check. A nine-year old cat can also suffer from hyperthyroidism which causes excessive weight loss, nervousness, cardiac problems, ravenous eating, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting, increased vocalisation. If you see any of these signs, a simple blood test can rule it out or help diagnose this. Unless your kitty is a very small cat, I do not think it would be healthy if he lost any more weight. You should slowly get him used to a normal good quality cat food again, e. canned food, 2oz twice daily.