Should I put my cat down? She is meowing more, losing weight and walking slower.
Original Question: I have a 19-year-old cat. She has been making very loud meows daytime and night and she is also losing weight. She eats and drinks okay but we also find that she has an odour and walks slow like she might be in pain. I'm afraid to take her to the vet because they might tell me it's time to put her down :( - Janet
I can understand your fear because you’re seeing some quality of life complications happen here, however you really shouldn’t be afraid. I think people should be afraid only if they’re not doing something about a concerning condition seen in their pet. So my first recommendation would be to go ahead and visit your veterinarian.
There are a lot of possible things that could be going on here by your description. Some of them are very treatable and some of them may be more concerning. Actually, the symptoms you mention actually seem pretty manageable.
Before anything, you need to get her blood work and urine tested. This could identify conditions that could be contributing to some of the symptoms. For example, cats that have hyperthyroidism will lose weight, yowl at night, and maintain their appetite and drinking, which sometimes increases. This is a disease that is easily treatable and you would end up seeing rapid improvement.
The fact that she walks slower may be due to obesity, pain, arthritis or other medical conditions. By having your veterinarian perform a physical exam and diagnostics, they can determine what the cause might be. Again, these conditions have treatments that are effective.
Sometimes our cats will make these noises at night because of a medical disease but also due to stress and anxiety. So if there is not a medical cause for it after performing the blood work and urine test, then you could start using supplements or medications to treat anxiety. As our pets get older the world could become a scarier place. Their eyesight, hearing, strength and confidence in their movements can become reduced making them more fearful.
This is why routine physical exams and diagnostics are so beneficial. You can find conditions that are developing far in advance of them creating quality-of-life issues in your pet. Keep in mind that as animals age just like us they require for medical care. These are easily recognizable symptoms of conditions that could be occurring and that are very treatable. So a visit to your veterinarian and performing blood work and a urine test, to start with, is your best next step and don’t be scared of it. You are concerned right now so the sooner you address these concerns, the sooner you’ll feel better.
Thanks for your question and good luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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