16-year-old cat – hungry, loosing weight and having accidents

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Our question this week was:

Hi, I have an indoor cat that is about 16 years old. Over the past several months we noticed that he has been losing weight, but is hungry all of the time. Now we found that he is using the litter box to urinate only but going all over the house to defecate. The boxes are in easy to use places, quiet, clean, open. He uses the carpet, wood floors anywhere. We cannot afford large medical bills to find out what is wrong. Any ideas my husband is ready to have him put down.

Thank you.

Dianne Ouellette

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. I'm sorry to hear about your cat. From your email you said that you have a 16-year-old indoor cat that has a history of weight loss over the past several months, increased appetite and is inappropriately defecating in the house.

You also indicated that you can't afford large medical bills. I really believe pet ownership is a significant responsibility and part of that is to ensure that you are providing good health care. Your cat is relying on you for his health. For owners that can't afford health care, they should really reconsider if they can afford to have that pet.

As far as the symptoms, the first problem that comes to mind is hyperthyroidism. That would be my first worry – that is without actually seeing your cat. Hyperthyroidism is a disease that is associated with excess thyroid hormone that can cause cats to loose weight in spite of an increased appetite. It is diagnosed with a blood test. It also has some great treatment options. One option is medication to treat the disease – this isn't as good as other treatments but it is the least expensive option and may make your cat feel better.

Some cats can have inappropriate defecation as they are eating more and have to "go" more. I'd recommend that you take your cat to your local veterinarian for some blood testing and go from there.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com is "Hyperthyroidism in Cats".

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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