Old age & eye issue

My 18 year old cat has a ferocous appetite, but is now skin & bones. Her eyes appear to work - but independently of each other. Does she have a cataract?

RESPONSE:

Many elderly cats have weight loss and oftentimes it’s hard to know why. There are metabolism changes, plus as cats get older they are more prone to other conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease. The good news is that your vet can identify many of these problems with simple blood and urine tests.

A common condition that older cats are prone to is hyperthyroidism. Just like your cat has a healthy appetite and still loses weight…this is typical for older cats with hyperthyroidism. I have one of my cats, Max, that has this condition and he’s only 13 years old. At first I thought he might have worms or another intestinal parasite (he goes outside for 20 minutes a couple of times a day) so I gave him a dewormer. That didn’t solve the problem so off to the vet we went. The blood test showed he had hyperthyroidism and he’s now on a daily twice a day pill that keeps his thyroid working properly.

You didn’t say if your cat was drinking a lot of water and urinating more. Those were symptoms my cat displayed, plus he vomited more frequently and there were no fur balls. See Feline Hyperthyroidism and Cat Internal Parasites

Remember that thyroid hormones affect other organs of the body. High blood pressure…hypertension…is often found. This can damage the heart, kidneys, eyes and brain. Cataracts aren’t common in cats so the eye issues could be caused by hyperthyroidism. See Cat Cataracts

To get to the bottom of what is causing the weight loss and then get treatment started to resolve the problem, take your cat to the vet for a complete physical exam, blood work and urinalysis. Fortunately weight loss can often be treated even for older cats. It could also be a gastrointestinal tract issue. The main thing for your cat is to get started on the treatment or cure as soon as possible before other conditions are triggered.

I wish you luck in getting your cat’s problems resolved and hope they are minor.

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