My Senior Cat Has a Poor Appetite and Vomiting

CatChannel's veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, says such symptoms could be signs of a serious condition.

Q I have a 14-year-old cat. For the past two weeks my cat has not been eating and when she attempts to eat, she vomits. What is wrong with my cat?

A: Poor appetite and vomiting in a 14-year-old cat is worrisome. If your cat truly has not eaten a thing in two weeks, you need to bring your cat to your veterinarian right away. There are many causes of poor appetite, but the most common cause would probably be chronic renal failure. The most common signs of chronic renal failure are excessive thirst and urination, poor appetite, weight loss and sometimes vomiting.  Hyperthyroidism is a common disorder in older cats that can cause vomiting; however, most cats with hyperthyroidism are ravenously hungry. Dental problems are common in older cats, and your cat may not be eating because of a painful mouth.

Your cat needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian right away. If the cause of the poor appetite and vomiting isn’t immediately apparent upon physical examination, blood and urine tests will undoubtedly have to be performed. If those tests do not reveal a cause of the vomiting, a gastrointestinal disorder, such as inflammatory bowel disease or gastrointestinal lymphoma needs to be considered, and advanced tests, such as abdominal ultrasound and endoscopy, may be necessary to secure a diagnosis. 


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Cats · Health and Care

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