Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Cat is Finally Eating!

I recently took a very sick cat, a chocolate point Siamese, in to our rescue. He was jaundiced, had hepatic lipidosis and would not eat on his own. We ran blood tests, re-hydrated the cat and began a regimen of force feeding, though not through the tube method, but by hand once he came home from the vet. This cat has/had idiopathic hepatic lipidosis as we were unable to find another primary cause. Probably stress of being abandoned, then shelter stress, then stressed again moving here. Poor cat.

The first days of force feeding were rough. He could only eat VERY tiny amounts of food at one time. So, we fed him every half an hour for the first 48 hours, then every two hours, until we got to four-five times/day, then finally down to three large meals/day.

I have tried every food under the sun, moon and stars, of every texture and flavor and brand offering them once/week while force feeding. Cats whose systems are coming back to normal will eat at some point assuming they like what you are offering.

So, this morning, I got the fried chicken out that I bought yesterday, removing the skin and pulling the meat apart. I put it directly on the towel he was laying on and lo and behold, he ate! For some reason, many cats like fried (over baked) chicken, so I gave it a try.

We force fed this cat for 10 weeks... the longest I have ever had to force feed. It is a big commitment because you just cannot get off schedule, and in meeting the cat's caloric requirements, you also need to give higher protein foods in many cases which is not an easy balance. Because we started with Gerber's chicken (100 cals/bottle), and this cat required about 275 cals/day, we had to be really careful not to under feed... though the cat had trouble handling that much food. Also, since baby food is for babies, not cats, we gave a cat vitamin.

After the cat was more stable on force feeding, we mixed in various higher protein foods that we ordered, alternating with Hill's A/D. It was harder to force feed, but the results were better, and as time went by we saw normal stool and a more active (this is a very relative thing) cat, then began to see the kitty grooming (something we did regularly for him). A sick cat will not groom themselves, so when you start to see grooming, you know you are headed in an upward direction and hopefully it lasts.

Had the cat not eaten on his own by this Friday (as I kept reminding him!), the vet was going to try some different meds.

I put the cat on the church prayer list last Wednesday (yeah, I am frequently laughed at so I now give my cats human names and ask for prayers of healthful recovery. They may think they are praying for a human, but God knows the truth!). Hard for some to take a prayer for Fluffy seriously which I find puzzling, actually.

So the really great news is that the situation is seriously looking up! I will remain force feeding (smaller amount) until his appetite is stable. I just gave him more chicken, and he ate it. This little guy eats very slowly and carefully, so it takes him quite a while to eat a small meal on his own.

So, keep "Bob" on your prayer list, would you?