Force feeding a sick cat.

Jasminelopeze

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I’m just so heartbroken as I type this. When I got back from vacation (4 days) and came back home I noticed my baby Haru was not himself. He was skinny, lethargic, wobbly, and not eating or drinking. I took him to the vet the next day. He ha a fever of 106. The vet gave him a shot (of something I forgot) and antibiotics to take home.

for some added context, Haru is an indoor/outdoor cat. He was a stray that came during the pandemic and never left. I got him to trust me, trust being inside and got him neutered and his rabies shot. He still isn’t 100% with being inside so a compromise I have with him is letting him out during the day then bring him in when I get home from work. We do this every day. He’ll cuddle up to me at night, play with his best friend (another stray who I also got spayed and shots and she comes in at night too).Before I left he seemed fine. I don’t know what happened. 💔

So I took him to the vet on 6/10. We went back for a follow up on 6/13 and he still had a fever. 103.
The vet was concerned cause he said the antibiotics should have kicked the fever by now. He was also tested for FIV and came back negative. He said that he wants to see him again on 6/16 and if he hasn’t improved he would need to see a specialist…..I can’t afford a specialist.. 💔 like what the **** is this…he was fine when I left 🥺🥺

after his vet visit on 6/10 I researched a couple of
Things on how to get him to eat cause I know not eating or drinking is dangerous for cats. I got him KMR and Pedialyte and was syringing about 2.0 ml of KMR or this chicken broth with immune boost ever few hours. Then I found this product on Amazon called rebound solution. It’s a recuperating formula and the reviews were great. It came
I’m on 6/12. I also ordered new syringes (bigger ones cause I figured I need to get a decent amount in him) the instructions says to give 3ml per lb.
He appears to be about 8-9 pounds (vet advised that I am correct) so I’ve been giving him 10 ml of that solution mixed with alittle wet food 3 times a day. One the first day after having about 30 ml I think he got up to drink water on his own (I stepped out and when I came back in he was in the area where the water bowl is and I saw him lick his lips) throughout this time he’s still been peeing twice a day in the litter box.

Like a mentioned above I took him back for a follow up yesterday. I had them give him subcutaneous fluids cause why not it shouldn’t hurt and atleast I know he’ll be hydrated for the next 2-3 days. While I was there I told the vet what I was doing and he and his assistant advised that I shouldn’t force feed him. That once he’s better he’ll eat on his own. But I know that not eating or drinking can cause it’s own fatal problems so I’m just so confused. I don’t know what I’m doing. The assistant was like “oh I’ve known cats who bounce back after a week of not eating” but I read online that not eating for 3 days can have fatal effects.

also this is how I feed him : measure about 10 ml of the rebound solution, mix in alittle wet food (delectables lickable treat senior wet food) fill the syringe, it ends up being about 15 ml. Then slowly slide the syringe on the side of his mouth and let him swallow in small increments until he’s consumed over 8 ml. He doesn’t like it but he doesn’t fight be too hard about it either. He then goes under the bed and comes back out after
A few minutes to go back to his favorite spot. He hasn’t puked as of yet.

how is he doing: well not much has changed since I got back on Thursday. He still does not want to eat on his own. He just lays around all day. His breathing seems tired 💔 especially when I get near him with the syringe so I know it’s stressing him out when I do it.But then I noticed his breathing still seems tired but at a more relaxed level when I’m done and he gets to back to his spot. He actually pooped alittle last night and buried it (he hasn’t been burring his pee) and since 6/12 whenever I give him the solution some will fall on his chest and hands and he’s been grooming himself on his chest. I’ve also seen him try to groom his body but it just seems like it’s a lot of effort for him so I can see that he wants to but I guess just doesn’t have the energy to. Oh also something that gave me alittle hope Yesterday is that he hopped on my bed on his own. He hasn’t done that in a few days so it was nice to see. He seems like he can’t really get comfortable. Like he’ll lay one way when within a few minutes adjust himself and when he does he breathes alittle harder almost as if he’s exhausted from that movement 🥺🥺 after a few minutes it’ll relax but he does this a lot througjout

all this being said. Should I continue to force feed him? The vet and assistant has me second guessing myself. The vet did say that when he saw him yesterday he seemed slightly better (as he was trying to get away from the vet, he didn’t fight as much when I took him in on 6/10) so he said although he’s not out of the woods it appears he’s slowly going in the right direction. And to continue with the antibiotics and give it a few more days.


I just want him to get better, and if it is his time to go I will help him with that too….I love him so much…but I don’t want him to suffer…

any advice please 💔💔
 

Alldara

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When Lily couldn't eat on her own I did syringe feed her.

When you syringe feed, do you have to hold him still or will he begin to eat a bit from the syringe willingly?

The vet could be concerned that he will begin to associate you with being forced to eat.

When a cat is nauseous, they might not want to bend down to eat like regular. Here's some other things you can try:

1. Feed watered down recovery food with the bowl on something to prop it up. This is for your cat to bend minimally.

2. Feed from your hand. However that works for the two of you. Lily and I moved to this later. However I always offered this route before syringe feeding.

3. Using a spoon or syringe to 'scoop' the food and let them lick it off this. After the first few times, she would sit in front of me and I would slowly move the syringe as she licked. (Like feeding them one of those tube treats) so sometimes it was just easier to have it on the outside of the syringe then to suck it up.

4. Feed directly on the floor and just wipe up when finished. I don't know why but sometimes this works. Could be whisker fatigue, could be association of the food bowl to nausea.

I would never say to not feed your cat. It is very dangerous for them to not eat. We go to a cat-only vet and they say any more than 24 hours to give them a call.
Likely, your cat is showing signs of being better because you have giving them nutrients which is providing energy to heal.

You could consider leash and harness training in the future. Who knows what he caught out there or ate out there...but supervised outdoor time is safest. If you decide this, let me know and I can provide some other enrichment ideas. Magnus was previously an outdoor cat.
 

Alldara

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Oh I should add....some high reward things to encourage him to eat next to you/on his own:

1. Churu or other tube treats
2. Kitten food like Royal Canin Mother and Babycat
3. Plain steamed chicken
4. A bit of pumpkin or sweet potato, plain to settle the tummy
5. Flotiflora from Purina on top of the food
6. Pure Bites toppers (especially the stomach one to help settle the tummy) I've just fed this without food underneath before. You could mix a little kitten formula in if wanted
7. Low salt tuna from a can -pet store or human grade
 
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Jasminelopeze

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thank you so much for responding. So he’s normally in his favorite spot and when it’s time for a feeding I’ll sit in a manner that sort of corners him 😔 I’ll put the syringe on the side of his mouth to swallow and after a few tries of this he will try to get away. That’s why I sit in this manner so he doesn’t move too much. I’ll give him several breaks as well. A feeding usually takes me approximately 10-20 mins depending on how he takes it. Typically after he’ll move and go under my bed. Then after about 20-30 mins he’ll come back out to his spot when he see he’s in the clear from me and the syringe 😞😞 this all breaks my heart and I don’t want him to suffer. If it’s his time I’d make arrangements to make it as painless as possible. But I’m so scared that this is just some thing that’ll pass and in the mean time I just need to manage his symptoms. And I keep waiting for a sign from him, the vet, the vet assistant (she’s rescued cats for several years and has a lot of experience), even the internet. And everything just seems borderline. He’s not getting worse but he’s also not getting better. I feel like I’m losing it and I’m doing my best to keep it together for him.
 
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Jasminelopeze

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Thank you, I’ll be passing by the pet store and see if they have any of these items
 

Alldara

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Thank you, I’ll be passing by the pet store and see if they have any of these items
Best of luck. Keep offering without a syringe first and then use it as needed. Those are signs that he doesn't want it for sure.

How was his poop? Solid? If liquid it could be a blockage.

Antibiotics might be making him nauseous too. Poor bud. You really won't know how it's going until the antibiotics are finished to see if appetite comes back.

Since you're willing to go slowly, if he even just has a few licks at a time from your fingers, just keep at it.

The Churus never fail me though!
 
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Jasminelopeze

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I’ve offered similar tubes he likes and he’ll lick it initially but then try to get away ): I try to get him to eat watered down (with pedialyte) wet food and he doesn’t want it either. After these attempts I always end up getting the syringe cause I’m terrified of him starving 😞😞

his poop was surprisingly solid. Very small which is to be expected since he’s not really eating but solid. I couldn’t get too much of a good look at it cause he buried it and I was shocked (he hasn’t been burying his pee) and he’s been peeing twice a day since this whole thing started. I noticed yesterday he peed maybe 4 times, I’d imagine cause of the subcutaneous fluid he was given earlier that day.

but even with these small little victories I feel like I’m losing him. He just seems so out of breath and so out of energy anytime he moves. His breathing slows down and looks semi normal once he’s relaxed but this is all so unlike him 😢😢
 

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Is there another vet you can go to? Sometimes another vet has more ideas on how to get to the bottom of a pet's symptoms and figure out the best treatment.

Your vet probably sells Hills A/D or can tell you where to but it. It's a food specifically for sick cats. You can mush it down with water and syringe feed it.

Talk to the vet about a feeding tube. It sounds scary and looks scarier but it saves lives. Feeding Tubes For Cats watered down canned food and many medicines can be easily adminstered through the tube.

Did the vet do full blood work? Was a tox screen done? Maybe your cat ate something harmful / toxic outside (intentionally or not) while you were gone?
 

Alldara

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Hills A/D was a lifesaver when call caught a mild fever. Honestly it was the only thing he ate for two days (spider and moth aside) and then he decided he would eat Iams perfect portions which someone recommended for being the same texture as Hills A/D.

Solid poos are good. I'm also wondering about the tox screen/second vet. He might benefit from more subcutaneous fluids as well if he perked before that.

Also did the vet say why he gave antibiotics? What are the antibiotics treating? The vet at the cat hospital always offers an appetite stimulant with antibiotics.

Do you have air conditioning? If he has a fever, cooling him off can help. Calcifer wilts a little when it gets hot...really weirdly so since Magnus is the one with the heart murmur that needs more help regulating.

Overall, it will be up to you to decide if it is time. No one can make the decision for you and it isn't an easy decision.

There are some quality of life scales that helped me. I understand it's hard to know if it's temporary or permanent changes. Quality of Life Scale to Decide When to Put Your Cat Down: Infographic | PetMD

Quality of Life Scale for Pets online calculator

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...FBAWegQIFRAB&usg=AOvVaw32jjgX-mxYjjvSPHvFN8jW
 
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