The dilemma of care vs trauma

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KatScritch

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Willow, my former feral, was extremely skittish about food and even when she loved it never ate it all at once. She was also skittish about eating if I was anywhere near. I would leave her remaining wet food out and not pick it up when you leave. It won’t spoil and she may relax and eat it while you are gone. As long as she is eating something I wouldnt give her more dry but I would try other brands, consistencies and flavors.
I also leave the wet food out for hours and Cosette takes her time to eat it. Knowing you're gone may be just the thing she needs to eat. I've done it for months and we've never seen signs of sickness from it. I'd try that before giving too much kibble.
Thank you both for the encouragement. I stopped after work and picked up several cans of different flavors and brands. I had plans with friends tonight so I served her a wet dinner and left. Came home 3 hours later and most of the wet food was gone. So I took her bowl and replaced it with a tbsp of dry kibble as per usual. Returned to the bathroom 2 hours later and it looks like she only ate a couple of bites.

Now I know what you're thinking: She ate her wet food, which is a win. That's all well and good but I only work out of the home on Saturday and Sunday. M-F I work remotely from home. I'm just not sure if I can leave for 3 hours every lunch and dinner so my kitty can eat her meals, especially when I need to be in my apartment working on the computer. I live in a one bedroom unit where the bathroom is inside the bedroom and the bedroom opens to the living area and kitchen. So I obviously have the bathroom door closed as well as the bedroom door. And she only ate a couple of bites of kibble tonight because she can probably still hear me moving around on the other side of two doors.

Also remember, her food bowl is in the bathroom. I haven't given her meds yet tonight because I don't want her to associate the towel catch with her not finishing her dry food. The whole reason I waited 2 hours after her wet food was because I hoped she would have finished her dry food and not associate any food behaviors with medicine time. I don't want to give up on the meds but I also don't want my cat to be afraid to eat while I'm home. The vet said technically I could miss a dose here and there and she'd still be okay. It's late, y'all are surely in bed, I might skip today and call the vet in the morning for further guidance along with monitoring my kitty's food intake.

How should I treat tomorrow differently? If she continues eating her wet food, should I towel her and give meds regardless of her dry food intake? I'm hoping she will at least eat her morning wet food. Now I'm rambling. Goodnight everyone.
 
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KatScritch

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Remember as time goes on she will learn the medicine is only once a day. This is still new to her.
Thank you. Yesterday she ate most of her wet meals and all of her dry ones. I fed her final wet meal at 6pm, it was mostly gone by 8pm so I replaced it with her dry meal (1 tbsp). I then waited 2 more hours to go in and see that she had finished her dry meal. So I gathered the towel and tube and returned. She did not hide inside the litterbox this time so she was a little more difficult to capture. But I got her quicker and with less fuss than the gabapentin capture last week. I got good doses in both her ears. I didn't end up going to bed until after 1am so I gave her the usual half tbsp of dry kibble for bedtime. This morning it was eaten up as I predicted.

I just picked up her wet meal after 2.5 hrs and it was about half eaten. I don't want to leave the food out too long or she will not be hungry for dinner. I do not allow her to free graze her meals as per Jackson Galaxy and a whole slew of other experts, although I am making some exceptions for medication week because I want her to eat.

So today is playing out to be similar to yesterday. I am crossing my fingers that she continues eating and hopefully I can get another dose in tonight. I want to thank you all again for the advice and support. I have a great vet that I have communicated with a lot over the past couple of weeks, but the help from this forum was able to fill in some of the gaps and I think things are going as well as they can.
 
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KatScritch

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Does she have full run of your apartment? If so, putting her food in the kitchen might be less disturbing for her.
Thank you for the comment, and you are correct that geographically separating her food from the med staging area would be ideal. She normally does have free run of the place but for the purposes of minimizing trauma in catching her every day, I decided to keep her contained in the bathroom until the medication process has been completed. So at the present moment, I have no choice but to keep her food, water, and litterbox in the bathroom.

If you see my post above this one, I am having some success timing med administration between meals in order to address the problem of her associating food with med time. Fingers crossed!
 
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KatScritch

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Wedgewood Pharmacy compounds medications into something called an EZ dose ear pack. It is put into the ear snd slow releases the medication over time so you don’t have to medicate at home. Ask your vet to look into it for you.
Ear Medication & Information for Animals
Thank you for this. I didn't log on her yesterday but I did pop in and saw your post. I spoke with a tech yesterday evening and mentioned the ear pack to him. He told me he cannot speak for the doctor but that a time release ear pack may be an option. I got a dose in last night and hoping for another tonight, so hopefully the EZ dose won't be necessary this time.
 

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So glad you found a method that's working for you both thus far. Please keep us updated.
 
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KatScritch

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So glad you found a method that's working for you both thus far. Please keep us updated.
Thank you. Unfortunately, the update is that my kitty hardly ate anything all day yesterday. BTW, I am letting her free graze all day while in my bathroom. Yesterday I gave her 3 hours each to eat her morning and evening wet meals and she ate less then half of either. I left dry food out in the between times and she hardly touched that either. So I decided to not give her the meds. I don't want her going 2 consecutive days not eating or drinking much. Her litterbox production isn't great because she is hardly eating. Maybe I'm making a mistake and should give her the meds each night regardless of whether she ate that day.

I called the vet today and finally got the answer I've been looking for: By applying her ear meds every other day, it will not be as effective and I will have to do it for longer, in order to get the infection out. So I am not doing it right and I inquired about the EZ dose ear pack. I will find out tomorrow if that is the next step.

The way I see it now is that I have two options: Keep her contained in my bathroom for an additional week on the gamble that the ointment will even work properly or take her in now for the ear pack. If I gamble on the every other day thing, I am almost guaranteed to need a vet appointment to see if my method worked. My logic is, why wait? Why not take her in now for the ear pack and let her out of my bathroom? The doctor we see will be available to talk tomorrow, so I think I'm gonna lean on the ear pack thing when I talk to her.

Thanks everyone. If it wasn't for you all I wouldn't have known to ask for the ear pack. I guess we'll see tomorrow.
 

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I wouldn't gamble on the every other day either. Just as likely that incorrect antibiotics usage creates a resistance to it.
 
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KatScritch

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The plot is getting much thicker. About the ear pack, my vet sent a prescription but the compounding pharmacy is in NJ and I'm in TX. I paid for overnight shipping but if it doesn't come Saturday, we have to wait until Tuesday to get the dose and bring her to the vet so they can apply it to her ears.

But

Last night was weird because I attended my niece's HS graduation so I gave my kitty her wet food around 5:30pm but didn't get home till after 11. She hardly touched her wet food during that time and did not touch the dry food I left her overnight either.

Then this morning I came in and she had clear discharge running out of both eyes and kind of oozing out of her mouth, her eyes were squinted, and she seemed more sluggish than normal. And there was a giant dead cockroach next to her bed.

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Now these are big roaches, like 3 inches long. I spoke to the pest control guy last year and he said that what people call "water bugs" are in the roach family and essentially just giant cockroaches. Anyway, the poison to kill these roaches has to be pretty powerful just based on the roaches' size. I haven't ordered pest control for my apartment since a few months before I got my cat last year. But other units get sprayed and the roaches travel to die in someone else's apartment. I called the vet and they said it probably wasn't the roach or roach poison but the stress she is under with her current medication situation. They said she needs a head cone and that she likely scratched the ear medication and it got in her eye. Of course this "diagnosis" was given over the phone without the tech ever looking at my cat.

So now the 3 day weekend has begun and all the regular vets are off the clock until Tuesday. It's been 24 hours since she ate anything and only one small pee clump in her litterbox during that time. In addition to all that, she is now discharging from her eyes and mouth. I have to work in the morning from 8-4. I don't know if I should take her to the emergency vet immediately or wait for all this continue for another 24 hours, 8 of which will be unsupervised while I am at work?
 

silent meowlook

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Poor little cat looks sick. She definitely does not feel well. I wonder if she has a fever.

I have worked decades in all different types of vet hospitals, some cats only. I have never during that time, ever heard of a cat scratching their ear medication into their eye. I’m sorry, but that is just not going to happen.

I would be concerned about second intention poisoning from the gigantic water bug thing.

Mostly it looks like something is going on. Most cats will not eat with a fever. Or, eat very little.
 
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KatScritch

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Poor little cat looks sick. She definitely does not feel well. I wonder if she has a fever.

I have worked decades in all different types of vet hospitals, some cats only. I have never during that time, ever heard of a cat scratching their ear medication into their eye. I’m sorry, but that is just not going to happen.

I would be concerned about second intention poisoning from the gigantic water bug thing.

Mostly it looks like something is going on. Most cats will not eat with a fever. Or, eat very little.
Thank you. I called the emergency vet referred by my primary vet and about an hour after my last post, I committed to dosing her with the gabapentin. Waited about 2 hrs and brought her in. She got care for her ears and an antibiotic shot. She was also wheezing when I brought her in, which I did not hear at home due to tinnitus. They said that stress and not eating could have caused like an upper respiratory infection or something. Pollen is high where I live and even I am coughing up a little crud.

Hopefully what they did will solve her current medical issues but it doesn't change the fact that she has only eaten once since Thursday morning. And ate every other day from the previous Thursday. Last night when we got back from the vet, she ate just like she did last time she was on gabapentin. But after that, nada. Including today. She won't eat snacks, wet or dry. Oh yeah, she has to wear a cone for a week or so due to the ear pack she got at the emergency vet. The cone exacerbates all this and I think it also prevents her from eating. She had a surprisingly large pee clump this morning and a very small amount of poop from the food she ate after returning last night. I'm getting more gray hairs.
 
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That is so strange. When we did war packs at work, we never made them wear a cone afterwards.
I don't know. I feel like I'm in bizarro world or something. I'm doing what is recommended by my primary vet and emergency vet and I feel like all this catching her for vet visits is precisely what is causing her not to eat. She's not eating, vet says bring her in. The act of catching her and bringing her in causes her not to eat the next day. Wait a couple days, rinse and repeat. I've called my primary vet clinic so many times over the past 2 weeks that I've become the boy who cried wolf. When I called the clinic on Friday, they did not seem very concerned about the new eye/nose/mouth discharge, said I needed a cone... but I was only talking to techs. I'm sorry to rant here, I need to save it for my therapist.

She ate a little dry food overnight and peed in the litter box. It's 3pm now and no poop since yesterday morning.

One thing I just did was called my local feed store and got some advice for more products to help entice or bribe my kitty to eat. I ordered some fish oil, several flavors of different wet treats, and a couple more varieties of wet food. One question I forgot to ask the store: If I give her a different food, do I still need to transition it over a week like normal or do I just plop it down in front of her? Do y'all have any ideas for kitty bribery?
 

susanm9006

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I don't know. I feel like I'm in bizarro world or something. I'm doing what is recommended by my primary vet and emergency vet and I feel like all this catching her for vet visits is precisely what is causing her not to eat. She's not eating, vet says bring her in. The act of catching her and bringing her in causes her not to eat the next day. Wait a couple days, rinse and repeat. I've called my primary vet clinic so many times over the past 2 weeks that I've become the boy who cried wolf. When I called the clinic on Friday, they did not seem very concerned about the new eye/nose/mouth discharge, said I needed a cone... but I was only talking to techs. I'm sorry to rant here, I need to save it for my therapist.

She ate a little dry food overnight and peed in the litter box. It's 3pm now and no poop since yesterday morning.

One thing I just did was called my local feed store and got some advice for more products to help entice or bribe my kitty to eat. I ordered some fish oil, several flavors of different wet treats, and a couple more varieties of wet food. One question I forgot to ask the store: If I give her a different food, do I still need to transition it over a week like normal or do I just plop it down in front of her? Do y'all have any ideas for kitty bribery?
Even if she isn’t eating much, as long as she is eating something she should be okay. Have you tried Churu’s with her? Most cat seem to love them so you could squeeze some on top of her food or mix it in.
 

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If she's not eating, I'd offer her anything she'll eat. She needs to get through this.

As for her not going number two, don't worry too much. Cats can hold off on the bathroom for a surprising length of time.
 

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Hi. Please, go ahead and rant away. We are all here to support each other and that goes along with ranting about vets.

I completely understand your frustration. Because, stress does play an important role in whether or not a cat gets better, and their general heath.

I worked for many different veterinarians over the past 3 decades. Specialty, emergency, internal medicine, surgery and feline only hospitals as well as GP. One thing that I know from that experience is that nobody knows your cat better than you. Often times the cat parent’s concerns or insight are disregarded. That is so irresponsible in my opinion. After all, every animal is an individual with their own habits, patterns and responses to different situations. Who better to know that cat and their inner workings, than the person that lives and loves them. So, I do know how frustrating this can become.

So, is it a fact, pattern with her not to eat after the stress of a vet visit?
What do you think is going on with her appetite?
What do you think she needs?
What do you think would be the best course of action with her?

I am not a veterinarian and don’t hold any license in veterinary medicine. All I can do is tell you what I would do if she was mine. Provided I didn’t think there was something entirely different going on with her. I would:

Stop any interaction with her that she doesn’t enjoy.
Take the darn e-collar off because it is hard enough to get a healthy hungry cat to eat with an e- collar, let alone one that doesn’t want to eat.

Ask the vet for a prescription of Buprenorphine because, I have had an ear infection before and it hurts. Also the buprenorphine for oral use is a tiny amount that you give, 0.2cc on the gums and it has no taste.

Try to back away from trying to get her to eat. Other than warming whatever canned food you have up slightly do she can smell it.
Get a digital baby scale. I got mine for $10 at a thrift store. And I would weigh her every couple of days, after she decompresses.

That is what I would do.

Also, unless the vet is going to place a feeding tube or give fluids, I am m be of sure of the benifit of another visit.

You can ask your vet for a SQ fluid bag set up so you can give her fluids at home if she needs it.

Do you know how to check for hydration? Skin turger ( how fast the skin snaps back when gently pulling the scruff up)
Eyes, do they look sunken? Are the third eyelids up?
Gums, are they nice and moist to the touch, or do they feel dry and tacky?
Anyway, this is all the input I have right now.

She is your cat and I know what you think is best for her probably is.
I am sorry you are going through all this with your sweet cat.
 

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Heating up the food with a bit of boiled water is a good tip for eating. So is crushing up some dry food on top or some temptations treats or similar.

Using kitten food or elderly food as its extra smelly is also a good idea. I use Mother ans Babycat by Royal canin for a couple meals when needed.
 
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