Recovering After Anorexia And Weight Loss - Is It Dangerous To Gain Weight *too* Quickly?

epona

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Some background, for those who didn't see my other recent threads.

My Radar had middle ear surgery, must be nearly 8 weeks ago now - he stopped eating afterwards and was on a feeding tube (e-tube in the US, or o-tube in the UK) for a few weeks.

During the initial ill health surrounding surgery and post-surgical anorexia and other complications, he lost around 800g (about 1.7 lbs), a significant amount of weight.

We were tube-feeding him for a while, he never developed hepatic lipidosis or other organ problems. He started eating again once he'd healed up, and when he'd been eating a decent amount without top ups via the tube for around 10 days, we had the feeding tube removed.

Now my question is - if cats can have health issues from losing weight rapidly, can they get bad problems from gaining weight too rapidly?

He still needs to gain quite a bit of weight. He currently weighs 3kg (6.7lbs) - he's quite a small cat, his target weight is about 3.6kg (just under 8lbs), and his food intake the last few days has been very high. I want him to gain weight, and have been putting food down multiple times a day - but never thought to ask before now whether there was any danger in regaining that lost weight too fast!
 

Furballsmom

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I'm not a vet - ...if he's peeing and pooping normally, but I think there is where you'll see if any issues are going on, in other words if he gets either constipated or the runs. If not, you're likely ok.
Is he getting both wet and dry? Treats - Purebites, freeze dried minnows, anything like that? any raw egg yolk?
 
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epona

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I'm not a vet - ...if he's peeing and pooping normally, but I think there is where you'll see if any issues are going on, in other words if he gets either constipated or the runs. If not, you're likely ok.
Is he getting both wet and dry? Treats - Purebites, freeze dried minnows, anything like that? any raw egg yolk?
He is pooing and weeing normally.

He's just getting wet right now, I've always tried to feed mostly wet, with a little dry (because it's handy to be able to leave down dry in case of long work shifts). He always used to prefer dry though. But since the surgery and anorexia, it's like his taste preferences have been rebooted, he now won't touch dry, and he doesn't like the healthy high-meat content brand of wet food he was on before.

What I did was, I ordered a load of trial packs of different wet foods for him to try (ranging from ok meat content to good meat content), so we can see what he wants to eat these days.

He won't eat the same thing twice within the space of a couple of days, so getting a load of different flavours and textures was a good idea - and he has been eating a LOT. He's really enthusiastic about the variety of food we have now, he gets something different for every meal, which seems to be really important to him right now.

I just wonder if (does quick weight conversions!) nearly 10oz of wet food in a day is going to do a 6.7lb cat any harm (given that we are trying for weight gain right now, but is that too much too soon?)
 

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Treats - Purebites, freeze dried minnows, anything like that? any raw egg yolk?
Only wet food is a good thing I believe, and as you mention, your idea of getting a bunch of samples was spot on.
I was also thinking that if you give him some of these things (raw egg yolk only, no raw white but the white is ok if cooked) it would be less of a "load" (sheesh, bad pun) on his stomach but will still provide calories and protein. I suppose the treats could be considered like wet food rather than dry kibble?; The Purebites are one protein source only and no other ingredients so look for something similar, and I came across freeze dried minnows the other day - those went over big in this household ;)
Also, if you can utilize pouches that have more gravy, there again he'd be getting nutrients without mass, so to speak...
I really think that as long as he's digesting it all, you're ok. :salute:
I guess the only other thing I could think of would be to give him what he's asking for one day, then decrease a bit the second day, then what he's asking for the third and so on, but I'd hate to leave him hungry if he's having normal litter pan behavior...
 
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epona

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My feeling is, he didn't show much interest in eating at all for weeks, thank goodness for the feeding tube otherwise he'd have died.

I am fine for him to eat that quantity of food as long as I know eating that much isn't going to cause organ damage the way not eating can do.

I can slowly taper it down a bit when he's nearer his target weight, and get onto a more normal schedule of feeding and calorie intake.

I intend to take him to our regular vet within the next week so they can give him a checkup to make sure he is all healed up ok and get him weighed, to make sure he is actually gaining weight (if he is eating that much and isn't gaining then that would need to be investigated of course).

In all honesty, it's something of a relief to be asking "how much is too much?" after what we've been through for the last couple of months.
 

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I have had several rescues that were so skinny it hurt to look at them. Our vet always said feed them as much as they want. Some of them really packed it away, and gained weight rapidly! Didn't seem to hurt any of them. I always tried to feed higher protein, so they gained more muscle mass than fat. Otherwise i just let them eat.

Glad he is enjoying all of that wet food :) keep us updated on how he does.
 
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epona

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I have had several rescues that were so skinny it hurt to look at them. Our vet always said feed them as much as they want. Some of them really packed it away, and gained weight rapidly! Didn't seem to hurt any of them. I always tried to feed higher protein, so they gained more muscle mass than fat. Otherwise i just let them eat.

Glad he is enjoying all of that wet food :) keep us updated on how he does.
My poor Radar has always been on the slender side (the low end of the healthy range of the chart), he had a pre-op fast as is normal, then due to the surgery he had spent 2 or 3 nights in hospital on IV fluids and nutrition - then he ate some food, so he came home.

He then didn't eat or drink for 24 hours so I took him back to hospital and he was re-admitted as an emergency, had a feeding tube fitted and spent another 4 nights in hospital, then we were tube feeding him at home for a while. My poor little love, the weight just melted off him in such a short space of time - over a couple of days, his spine was sticking out like a razor blade, it was heartbreaking.

He's still really underweight. So it is a massive relief that he is eating well, we'll get that weight back on him so he is a healthy weight again :)
 

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My poor Radar has always been on the slender side (the low end of the healthy range of the chart), he had a pre-op fast as is normal, then due to the surgery he had spent 2 or 3 nights in hospital on IV fluids and nutrition - then he ate some food, so he came home.

He then didn't eat or drink for 24 hours so I took him back to hospital and he was re-admitted as an emergency, had a feeding tube fitted and spent another 4 nights in hospital, then we were tube feeding him at home for a while. My poor little love, the weight just melted off him in such a short space of time - over a couple of days, his spine was sticking out like a razor blade, it was heartbreaking.

He's still really underweight. So it is a massive relief that he is eating well, we'll get that weight back on him so he is a healthy weight again :)
Im very glad he is eating, and enjoying it! Sending him all the best wishes :vibes:
 
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epona

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Im very glad he is eating, and enjoying it! Sending him all the best wishes :vibes:
Thank you! The story actually got worse from what I related above - we were happily tube feeding him for a while (well not happily as such, you'd always rather they wanted to eat, and were able to feed themselves, but ykwim), until he brought up a furball, and with it the bottom end of the feeding tube - ie. the end that was supposed to be in his oesophagus.

He bit a lot of it off, but was in such a panic with the remaining bit of it that he could feel dangling in his throat that he cut his own mouth up really badly clawing at it while we were on the way to the emergency vet (at 9pm on a Friday night in the worst winter weather London has seen in a decade), by the time we got there he was covered in his own blood. He had to have a load of stitches in his mouth and a new feeding tube put in, I forget whether that was a 1 or 2 night stay.

Thankfully everyone at the vet hospital was great, he's not a nervous or shy cat so coped ok with all the hospital visits and stays, the insurance company paid for a lot of the nearly £6k bill, and he's much better and I am sure will put that lost weight back on in no time :D :D
 
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duckpond

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Wow, that would have been so scary!. Your poor baby, and you, went through a LOT. Hopefully all of that is behind you, and smooth sailing from here on out!
 
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epona

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Wow, that would have been so scary!. Your poor baby, and you, went through a LOT. Hopefully all of that is behind you, and smooth sailing from here on out!
I was in stress about it for so long (nearly 2 months in total, from diagnosis through surgery and all the complications, to removal of the feeding tube) that I had forgotten what it was to feel normal. My life for a while became centred around scheduled feedings, syringes, liquid food, sterilising stuff, changing dressings and bandaging, vet visits, insurance claim forms.

Totally worth it though. Woke up this morning with my little Radar - still quite bald in some places where he'd been shaved for various medical procedures, still way too skinny, but no bandages or tubes - fast asleep on his side facing me with his head on my pillow and his paws resting on my cheek, and an empty food bowl next to the bed.
 

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still quite bald in some places where he'd been shaved for various medical procedures, still way too skinny, but no bandages or tubes - fast asleep on his side facing me with his head on my pillow and his paws resting on my cheek, and an empty food bowl next to the bed.
:purr:

And YOU are incredible - my hat's off to you!!
 
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