is concerned about her 9-year-old cat, Matilda.
Apparently, Matilda has gotten a bit finicky about her
food over the past few weeks, and Andrea is having a
tough time finding foods that she will eat.
is an indoor cat and has been eating Science Diet feline
adult maintenance formula, dry form, for eight years.
About three weeks ago, she stopped eating her food.
Andrea thought she might simply be tired of the same old
food day in and day out, so she purchased a different
brand of dry food. Lo and behold, Matilda eagerly ate
her new food and Andrea thought everything was back to
Matilda’s newfound appetite disappeared again in seven
or eight days. Again, Andrea headed back to the food
department at the pet store and decided to try a new
food, this time in wet form. She put the food down for
Matilda and, yet again, she dove right in, only to show
disinterest five days later.
latest theory on Matilda’s ever-changing food
preferences is that she might have a tooth problem, so
she had her examined by her veterinarian. Matilda’s
physical exam was unremarkable and Andrea took her home,
along with a special prescription diet in wet form.
Matilda repeated her pattern and went for the new food
with great gusto, but just for two days, then back to no
interest. Andrea is out of ideas and has scheduled
Matilda to go back to her veterinarian.
I would like to say that Matilda absolutely needs to
return to her veterinarian. There is definitely
something wrong. Cats — dogs, too, for that matter —
do not change food preferences unless there is an issue.
They do not get tired of their food.
possible disease process that comes to mind when I am
faced with a kitty showing the appetite changes
displayed by Matilda is kidney disease. Cats with kidney
disease in chronic form will commonly behave exactly as
Matilda. They stop wanting to eat their regular food but
will try a new formula for awhile, then stop that one
and begin to eat wet food, often switching flavor
preferences until they stop eating altogether.
occurs with kidney disease because this disease process
initially causes mild nausea, thus dulling the appetite.
As it progresses, the nausea increases also, and with it
a worsening of the appetite. These cats may still eat,
especially if they are given a very pungent food with
extreme palatability. Eventually, though, the appetite
disappears as these cats fade toward death.
needs to have some blood work and a urinalysis performed
during her veterinary visit. These simple tests will
rule in or out renal disease. If Matilda is dealing with
chronic kidney disease, an appropriate therapy can be
outlined. Cats with chronic kidney disease can be
effectively managed with both hospital and home care. As
is always the case, the sooner the better.
there are many other possible etiologies for Matilda’s
appetite change. It is not normal and, as Andrea has
realized, Matilda needs veterinary care.