How can I get my cat to eat?
May 19, 2011 2:55 PM Subscribe
My cat has stopped eating (for a couple of reasons) and I'm running out of ideas on how to get her to eat. Looking for advice and suggestions and anything which will help me quit worrying in the meantime.
posted by hippybear to Pets & Animals (42 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Our cat did something to injure one of her front legs, and was pretty much in obvious pain. We let the problem "settle" overnight to see if it would heal on its own, but it seemed to only be getting worse, so we took her to the vet. There we discovered she'd lost nearly a pound (probably because the posture required for eating was painful for her). After a couple of x-rays, the vet diagnosed her as having some kind of ligament damage to her forelimb and gave us Metacam, a liquid NSAID, which is to be administered every 3 days.
After the first dose she was obviously having less pain, favoring her forelimb a lot less, and seemed to be on the road to recovery.
After the second dose (this past Monday) her pain continued to lessen, but she had pretty much stopped eating altogether. Now, I've taken various NSAIDs for a back condition I have, and know how much they can fuck up your stomach. And one of the side effects we've read about online for this particular drug is that it can make cats stop eating. After consulting with the vet, we've stopped administering the Metacam to her. It has been 3.5 days since her last dose.
She's acting obviously hungry, but it seems that there isn't anything which is triggering the "smell to eat" response in her.
We've tried mixing some of her regular wet food with water to make a sort of porridge and heating that briefly in the microwave.
We've tried getting special "Recovery RS" high-protein food from the vet.
We've tried administering that special food diluted with water until it could be administered via oral syringe, but she pretty much rejected all of that we squirted into her mouth, with very vocal protests.
We've managed to get her to eat a very tiny amount in the past 18 hours or so. Yesterday evening, she was interested enough in some turkey-flavored Temptations (cat treats) that she ate about 10 of those. They're nutritionally sound and high in protein, so I was encouraged. But she's rejected them (and every other of the (yes we spoil our cats) 8 flavors of cat treats we have on-hand since then. She's eaten two or three pea sized bits of that special Recovery food because we put the bits on her nose and she had no choice but to lick it off or leave it there.
I know that cats can end up with liver damage if they aren't eating regularly, and this cat was always a nicely healthy weight -- between 11 and 12 lbs. She was under 10 lbs last Friday when we took her to the vets, and she hasn't eaten in such a long while, it's becoming visibly obvious that she's losing weight. Plus her behavior is obviously changed -- much more low energy and less interested in things in general.
The thing is... she's acting like she's hungry. She keeps approaching her food, both wet and dry, and sniffing at it... She keeps coming up to me and doing her "give me a treat" routine, but once the treats are given she doesn't follow through with the actual eating part.
We've been looking online, but none of the "get them to eat" tricks we read about seem to actually work.
Is this something I need to be panicking about yet? How long until the real damage from not-eating sets in? Are there special techniques to feeding cats with a syringe I may not know about? Will this all go away in a day or two and I have nothing to worry about?