Skinny Cat: 13 Reasons for Cat Weight Loss

Skinny Cat

Your little feline loses pounds day by day and yet you feed him well as usual, with a suitable daily ration?

You should know that weight loss in cats is not always the result of undernourishment. It can sometimes be caused by stress, problems with the intestines or by certain diseases.

There are many possible reasons for weight loss in cats, let's take a look at how it is possible to explain abnormal weight loss in cats.

Why is the cat thin when it eats?

When an animal or even a human loses weight, the root cause that comes to mind is a problem in their diet: insufficient or poor nutrition. However, a cat can eat enough, and even more than usual, asking you for food all the time, but still lose weight.

Several reasons can explain this paradox. These are mainly the diseases, but not only. It is known that illnesses generally cause loss of appetite, but some have the opposite effect. This is the case, for example, with diabetes and hyperthyroidism. There are also other illnesses and other emotional, physical or mental situations that can explain this phenomenon.

13 possible causes for a cat to lose weight

It simply does more exercise

Depending on the season of the year, a cat can do more physical activity than usual (walking, outdoor games, etc.), and therefore spend more calories. It is not surprising to see him lose weight if his food intake is not increased.

So during the winter when the cat does not go out much, its diet does not need to be reviewed, it can even gain a few grams without risk. But during the summer, it is imperative to increase his ration, especially if your cat is particularly active and is going for a walk outside.

The best is always to leave kibble available to the cat, on its own it will learn to regulate itself.

An unsuitable diet

More than a balanced diet, the cat needs an adapted diet. Adaptation here refers to the age, weight, size, and physical expenses upon which the nutritional needs of each feline depend. A kitten does not have the same needs as a neutered cat, or even a nursing cat.

This is why it is important to educate yourself on energy needs and choose an appropriate diet, whether it is wet or dry. You will avoid low calorie kibble with lots of cereals that are completely unsuitable for a cat.

Decreased appetite or even anorexia

In certain unhealthy situations in cats, decreased appetite is frequent. They can be so severe that the feline completely loses its appetite (anorexia) and in this case, the weight loss is obvious, because the caloric needs of the feline are not met.

These diseases are numerous and generally of a systemic nature such as heart and kidney failure; psychic order such as behavioral disorders; or affective such as oral diseases.

Dental pain With dental

disease, weight loss is inevitablebecause eating is painful and becomes difficult, if not impossible. Toothache is often the result of an ulcer in the mouth or gingivitis. They are not easy to detect because the cat is physically healthy.

So when your little hairball loses weight for no good reason, consider inspecting its teeth yourself or at the vet for more diagnosis. These pains are generally less severe and curable.


By nature, the cat is an independent animal and attached to its daily routine. The slightest change is then a source of stress and causes loss of appetite (or a refusal to eat) and greater or greater depression, which directly result in weight loss.

Thus, the arrival of a new animal in the family, moves, abrupt changes in mode and feeding schedule can disrupt it. They must therefore be operated on meticulously and gradually, otherwise your hairball may voluntarily stop feeding.


As mentioned above, cats with diabetes lose weight although they eat normally. It affects older animals more, most of which experienced overweight and obesity in their youth.

In these affected animals, diabetes manifests as increased thirst but decreased appetite due to meal modification. The disease is curable, safe and recurs, but it must be diagnosed and taken care of as soon as possible.


Most often found in cats of advanced age, osteoarthritis is a painful disease that affects the joints of older cats. It causes muscle wasting and pain that prevents the cat from moving normally, to the point of not even being able to go to his bowl.

When it affects the muscles of the neck, even near its bowl, the feline has difficulty lowering its head to enjoy its meals. To combat the resulting weight loss, the solution to adopt is to raise the bowl and provide it with food that is easier to eat, such as cat food.

Kidney failure

This is one of the many diseases that lead to weight loss in cats. Kidney failure is characterized by dysfunction of the kidneys which no longer fully play their purifying role. Your pet tends to drink water more often, he no longer feeds and sulks meals, as the condition causes nausea.

You should know that kidney failure in cats as in humans is incurable and more common in older cats. However, you can provide him with a better quality of life and the care recommended by your veterinarian.

Intestinal parasites

Giardia and coccidia are the 2 worms responsible for weight loss in cats. They cause severe diarrhea in the feline, resulting in dehydration and weight loss.

What happens is that these parasites ingest part of the nutrients contained in the food that the animal consumes, causing nutritional deficiencies. So the cat is like undernourished, and you have to take it to a vet. We also recommend deworming your cats every six months or quarterly if they have access to the outside.

Gastrointestinal problems

They can also cause a cat to lose weight. These are dysfunctions in the stomach and intestines causing digestive disorders and food rejection, diarrhea and vomiting. We then notice that the cat loses its appetite, even if it is usually a big eater.

These problems can be caused by inflammation of the intestine, severe food allergies, an unsuitable, unbalanced or poor quality diet. They get resolved quite easily with the help of treatment prescribed by a veterinarian.


It is also a pathology that causes weight loss in a cat who nevertheless feeds properly. It is an over-activity of the thyroid glands which produce abnormally more hormones than necessary. The cat then becomes very active and can even become gluttonous, yet it visibly loses weight.

Hyperthyroidism mostly affects cats over 10 years old. Treatment is easy and definitive, provided it is detected in time. It consists of taking medication, putting the cat on a diet, or administering radioactive iodine.

Feline infectious peritonitis

In short PIF, it is a malignant pathology that cats contract at a young age. It is a rare viral disease in which only 5% of affected individuals develop symptoms. And when it does, it is lethal. It is also the leading cause of death for kittens.


Infected with coronavirus, the young feline is skinny, feverish and has no chance of getting away with it if the disease is not treated immediately after symptoms appear.

Cancer with tumors

Cancer is the cause of violent and sudden weight loss in cats. When it is not accompanied by a tumor, there is certainly a problem, but the cancer can be benign and therefore less serious. It grows slowly and is easily curable. However, when accompanied by malignant tumors, cancer causes serious metabolic disorders in the feline.

Indeed, when they develop, tumors secrete substances that disrupt the cat's metabolism, and lead to sudden and excessive weight loss.

What if my cat is losing weight?

The first thing to do before trying to get your cat fatis to contact a veterinarian for consultation to find the reasons for this weight loss and offer the appropriate treatment. According to the different cases presented above, the treatment will be done either by changes or contributions in the cat's diet, or by drugs, or by surgical intervention.

Also, whatever the mode of treatment to follow, to fight against weight loss and lack of appetite in cats, you can support them emotionally by taking care of them. Pamper her, pamper her and encourage her in her efforts to regain her normal weight. Remember to take regular weigh-ins to make sure the treatment is working.

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