Any tips for getting a sick (but recovered) kitty up to good health?

Simba'sACoolCat

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Simba came to us as a rescue kitty at 2 months of age when he and his 3 siblings had contracted feline panleukopenia. Only he made it through, post-treatment. However, he's very scrawny- he's 1 year 1 month old now, and weighs about 3kgs. But weight aside, he's not particularly healthy. His teeth are thinner than my other cats', he's slightly anemic most of the time. He has been on general supplements since his recovery, and his appetite is the same as my other tomcat's, but somehow he just can't seem to get healthier. The virus affected him quite severely, and he ended up with poor co-ordination and balance (can't track anything with his eyes fast enough, trots like a dog as he can't really run, and falls every few steps, can't stretch his neck or move his legs quickly/moves them rather stiffly, can't jump). I've taken him to a couple of different vets several times, and have usually just come out with different supplements to try. I think at this point it's clear the virus has caused some lasting damage, including his continued scrawnyness.

I'd be happy to hear any suggestions you might have on what I could do to improve his general health? Anything related to diet, natural supplements or certain routines that might have helped with your cats?

Currently he's on a diet of mainly dry cat food. We're trying to include some wet food in hopes that that might be better. He's not very fond of wet food though, so we're still experimenting with that. His appetite is normal, his stools are normal, he drinks plenty water, and despite his underdeveloped motor skills, he's super energetic and loves to play (for all he's been through, he's a very happy cat!). It's just, his body doesn't seem to develop despite all that. He's still too thin for his age and height, with slightly pale gums, it feels like much of the nutrition doesn't stick to his body (if that makes sense). I'm not sure where we're going wrong here. Perhaps he needs to be encouraged to eat more? The supplements he's been on (including his current one - called 'viusid') haven't helped much, I don't think.

For his motor movements, we massage his legs with warm coconut oil a few times a week, and sometimes his neck too. I think that's helped him a bit, but always glad for suggestions or tips on that front too! His hind leg muscles had atrophied during the sickness, but from what our usual vet said, the only thing we can really do is massage. But anything else that you've seen be a help would be great to know!

I'm a little at my wit's end here. As (fortunately), nothing serious ever comes up in his regular check-ups, we really just get sent back with suggestions of another brand of supplements to try if we're not happy with the current one (and veterinary practice is not particularly advanced in my country), but I feel like we need a holistic approach to how we're taking care of him. I just can't figure out what to try, or where to begin looking.

Thank you!
 

maggie101

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I have started cooking ground meat and adding EZ complete. Its a way of providing the cat with all the nutrients needed. Unfortunately,it 3 weeks to be delivered. There are other brands to try. Also probiotics. I use Adored Beast. EZ complete is from the company Food Fur Life. Glad you are trying to switch him to wet. Dry can cause constipation among other things and unneeded fillers
 

Mamanyt1953

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Keep on trying to switch him to wet food. Since his health has been somewhat compromised, you want to give his kidneys that little advantage. Just do it very gradually. It sounds as if the panleukopenia has left him with neurological deficits, which is quite common. The good thing is, HE doesn't know he has handicaps, and is all about just living his own, personal best life...and you are doing everything possible to help him do that! KUDOS!

IF it is possible for you, see about making an appointment with an internal medicine specialist, and ask them about possible absorption issues. That may be the problem, since he eats well. He eats, but his little system doesn't pick up the "good stuff" from his food properly. There may be specialized additives or medications that can help with that. It is certainly worth exploring!
 
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Simba'sACoolCat

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I have started cooking ground meat and adding EZ complete. Its a way of providing the cat with all the nutrients needed. Unfortunately,it 3 weeks to be delivered. There are other brands to try. Also probiotics. I use Adored Beast. EZ complete is from the company Food Fur Life. Glad you are trying to switch him to wet. Dry can cause constipation among other things and unneeded fillers
Thank you for the suggestions! I can start the probiotics soon enough, I should be able find something on Amazon. I haven't heard of EZ Complete before, is it some kind of complementary food? I'll look further into this, thank you very much for suggesting it to me.


Keep on trying to switch him to wet food. Since his health has been somewhat compromised, you want to give his kidneys that little advantage. Just do it very gradually. It sounds as if the panleukopenia has left him with neurological deficits, which is quite common. The good thing is, HE doesn't know he has handicaps, and is all about just living his own, personal best life...and you are doing everything possible to help him do that! KUDOS!

IF it is possible for you, see about making an appointment with an internal medicine specialist, and ask them about possible absorption issues. That may be the problem, since he eats well. He eats, but his little system doesn't pick up the "good stuff" from his food properly. There may be specialized additives or medications that can help with that. It is certainly worth exploring!
Ah, you're right, he doesn't know his handicaps...and he's just such a bundle of joy generally, I feel like I can learn a lot from him, haha! My other cats are usually just furry balls of grumpiness most of the time, but Simba is such a positive, happy little thing.

Now that you mention absorption issues, that makes sense. I'll raise this with the vet when I take him over for his shots, thank you!
 

Jerseymeow

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Many people use Gerger Stage 2 baby food (chicken) to encourage a cat to eat wet food. It has very few ingredients and is easy to find in the store, or via online shopping. Our recently adopted shelter cat loves it!
 

maggie101

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Thank you for the suggestions! I can start the probiotics soon enough, I should be able find something on Amazon. I haven't heard of EZ Complete before, is it some kind of complementary food? I'll look further into this, thank you very much for suggesting it to me.




Ah, you're right, he doesn't know his handicaps...and he's just such a bundle of joy generally, I feel like I can learn a lot from him, haha! My other cats are usually just furry balls of grumpiness most of the time, but Simba is such a positive, happy little thing.

Now that you mention absorption issues, that makes sense. I'll raise this with the vet when I take him over for his shots, thank you!
I just remembered that he has thin teeth so pate is best. Can you mix in Bonito flakes in it? My cats love that.and freeze dried. One of my cats has a small mouth so she has trouble eating tiki or American journey shredded chicken. I have to ground it up in a mixer.she loves it
 

kittenmittens84

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My cat survived FIP and when he finally started to recover he was in a similar condition, no lasting neurological problems but he was underweight, had basically no muscle mass, was slightly anemic, and had feline acne that was taking over his chin and scabbing up.

For the anemia, he got b12 shots at the vet twice which definitely helped. It can be hard for cats to absorb b12 through their gut when they’re sick, so sometimes they need subq b12 to help out.
Other than that we basically just fed him as much nutrient dense food as he would eat and did a lot of dedicated playtime to get his strength up. For the first 2 weeks or so he got 1/2 tsp of nutrical every day as a snack for the extra calories, and he mostly ate kitten wet foods (more calorie dense.) If your cat isn’t a huge wet food fan I’d try buying a can of a few different types and seeing if there are any he likes more than the others. Fancy feast is often a big hit with a lot of cats.

If you can find toys he’s really excited about that’s helpful for recovering strength and agility - kind of like cat PT haha. My cat absolutely LOVED his da bird when he was a kitten, and playing with it a lot definitely helped him gradually jump higher and get stronger in general.
 
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Simba'sACoolCat

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Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful suggestions. I switched between a few wet food varieties and I think we've got a start with one! He seems to like tuna specifically, and seemed to take to schesir's tuna in jelly slightly more than the rest. So I'll go off of that along with the other suggestions here.

Many people use Gerger Stage 2 baby food (chicken) to encourage a cat to eat wet food. It has very few ingredients and is easy to find in the store, or via online shopping. Our recently adopted shelter cat loves it!
Baby food, interesting. Mixing it with the wet food a bit, I guess. Thank you, I can def. try that! He's not fully satisfied with his tuna-jelly food as-is yet.

I just remembered that he has thin teeth so pate is best. Can you mix in Bonito flakes in it? My cats love that.and freeze dried. One of my cats has a small mouth so she has trouble eating tiki or American journey shredded chicken. I have to ground it up in a mixer.she loves it
Ooh, never tried that. And since he generally prefers fish to chicken, the flakes might actually help

My cat survived FIP and when he finally started to recover he was in a similar condition, no lasting neurological problems but he was underweight, had basically no muscle mass, was slightly anemic, and had feline acne that was taking over his chin and scabbing up.

For the anemia, he got b12 shots at the vet twice which definitely helped. It can be hard for cats to absorb b12 through their gut when they’re sick, so sometimes they need subq b12 to help out.
Other than that we basically just fed him as much nutrient dense food as he would eat and did a lot of dedicated playtime to get his strength up. For the first 2 weeks or so he got 1/2 tsp of nutrical every day as a snack for the extra calories, and he mostly ate kitten wet foods (more calorie dense.) If your cat isn’t a huge wet food fan I’d try buying a can of a few different types and seeing if there are any he likes more than the others. Fancy feast is often a big hit with a lot of cats.

If you can find toys he’s really excited about that’s helpful for recovering strength and agility - kind of like cat PT haha. My cat absolutely LOVED his da bird when he was a kitten, and playing with it a lot definitely helped him gradually jump higher and get stronger in general.
Happy to hear one your cats is a survivor too :) Hmm, I haven't had either of the vets I usually take him to actually offer anything for the anaemia, much less vit-B12. I'll ask them about that, and see if they might agree to it.
Simba loves those feather teaser things :D And a laser! Basically anything I can slowly trail on the ground so he can follow, he loves :) I suppose I ought to try raising the teaser higher and encourage him to lift himself up on his hind legs. He can't really jump yet (though he does like trying to climb our netted door screens like some kind of spidercat).

Once again, thank you all for your suggestions, I really appreciate it! I wasn't sure if my vague post was going to get any responses to be frank, and I'm grateful that you have pitched in. I finally feel like I've got a starting point to go on at least.

Also, let me introduce the little fellow -


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