On drummed the fingers of my tired hands: the week my cat wouldn’t eat

My wonderful cat Issie had not eaten for an entire week…and I was at my wit’s end and totally wondering about veterinary “science” at that point? Alternated between thinking (of some plausible solution after the other) and tears, veering between stereotypical “concepts” of THE CAT and old wives’ tales and where the answer may lie as precious time passed. Crap and double crap!

On drummed the fingers of my tired hands.

And then I reached out to my Facebook pals – such power in this community! Some highlights for those who are experiencing similar challenges with their fur-babies (and I’ll let you know what eventually worked after these tips):

Lee Davis: “Try force feeding through a syringe – baby food mixed with water. Do that for a couple of days; sometimes it gets them going.”

Camille Mc: “Kitty needs to keep hydrated, subcutaneous fluids if necessary.”

Rose Strong: “Are you concerned about fatty liver disease? It can happen from not eating. [I certainly was … and am.] Have you tried force-feeding? I had a cat with kidney failure and there was this vicious cycle of nausea because he was hungry, so he wouldn’t eat, but once I blended his food and used a syringe to get some of that food down, he’d eat without a problem for a week or two, then I’d have to start all over again for a day or two. When you have a cat with Chronic Renal Failure, there’s a great website for it, but here’s the page that may help and could help any cat with issues regarding eating: http://www.felinecrf.org/persuading_c… They call force feeding ‘Assisted Feeding.’ We used dental syringes as they had longer tips and were larger.”

Serene Amber: “It’s good to keep a few cans of Fancy Feast around for situations like yours, Susie, but I’d never feed it otherwise. It’s nickname is ‘kitty crack,’ not just because cats will usually eat it, but also because it is crap food. That feline CRF site is a gold mine…has lots of info that has helped all or special needs babies. It has one of the food data tables/lists I refer to for picking quality foods for our babies. A week is a long time. After only 48 hours, fatty liver can set in. You should see our house…fluid bags, syringes (oral and otherwise), needles, injectable vitamins, various natural supplements, prescription meds, etc. Friends have joked I’m going to become a vet tech without ever stepping foot in a classroom. Our vet knows it’s me before I announce myself when I call, and we’ve been in the office up to 5 times in one month alone. There is another too called CliniCare by Abbott Laboratories (only have seen it available online though). I’ve seen amazing results with Rebound. Unflavored Pedialyte is great for keeping them hydrated too…I usually keep a bottle on hand as part of our kitties emergency kit.”

Madeleine Fisher Kern: “She may have a compacted hair ball. Did you have her looked at? If she keeps refusing food by tomorrow, take her to the vet.”

Deborah Fields Perez: “Tuna works for my cats every time.”

Margaret M. Zaziski Wilk: “When my cat didn’t want to eat, she was getting old. I fed her yogurt, she loved it too. My vet said that it was good for her too.” Serene Amber: “As long as it’s regular (not Greek, etc) and plain-flavored. It has probiotics. I’ve been doing that for years.”

Juli Blythe: “With a syringe, force feed her a little at a time.”

Melissa Francis: “Make her some yummy human food like scrambled eggs, cheese. My cat loves this stuff – he tries to steal my cheese a lot.” Serene Amber: “Most cats (not all, but most) become lactose intolerant after weaned from the mother’s milk; hence, why most usually say not to give milk, cheese, etc.” Melissa Francis: “Oh. Good to know. My cat has eaten cheese with me for 11 years.”

Helen Hockemeyer: “When Frank is sick, like today, he gets 1/3 can tuna. (In water only). (Got a shot at the vet for his face.)” Serene Amber: “That sounds kind of like allergic dermatitis. Our oldest has that. It can be a pain to control at times. Steroids are often the go-to, but I’ve been trying to find more natural ways because steroids can shorten the lifespan. Tuna water is ok…but tuna, especially bought for humans, is recommended against for multiple reasons.”

Alyssa M. Ebert: “I don’t know if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, but they have a cat food called ‘tuna for cats’ (or something like that), and my cats love it. Another thing that works sometimes are the Fancy Feast broths, especially the ones with fish in them. Or sometimes my picky eaters will eat Pounce moist treats. To get them to take it, try putting a little tuna juice or Fancy Feast broth on one front paw. Just a few drops. Or with force feeding put the needle-less syringe in the pocket of the cheek, near the back of the jaw but just on the outside of the jaw. And try to tilt the cat’s head up so the food doesn’t just drip out. I have used Fancy Feast cat food pate style and added water to it and mashed it into a slurry so it goes in the syringe. Make a note of how much the cat takes and what flavor. Or if the cat doesn’t, make notes about that too. There is also a gel in a tube you can buy called Nutri-Cal. You could try that. It’s formulated for emergency use so it might help more in this case. You can buy it at pet stores.”

And the winner was … using a syringe to feed Issie baby food mixed with water! I felt like the lovechild of Dr. Dolittle and Martha Stewart. My pal Jen encountered a similar issue with her sweet Bubba – you can read more on her blog here: https://rumpydog.com/2017/07/20/a-tal….

Sometimes I feel all alone with my cat-saving and hobbling about. Lots of humans inquire as to why I walk funny? Really? You try doing the things we animal lovers do all day, and see how YOU walk! Just saying. About at the end of my rope these days.

Before I turned to my beloved community of animal friends, our vet had appraised surgery for Issie to the tune of 1700 bucks (!). So happy she started eating … after seeing the proposed bill. She IS quite the reader and a fiscally responsible feline, after all. :)

Thank you, friends!

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