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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When a Cat Stops Eating


There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a cat walk up to their food, sniff it or barely taste it and walk away. Cats can be extremely picky but there’s a fine line between picky and sick. Just like humans there’s a certain amount of calories a cat must have each day to function properly. But the difference is that a cat can easily develop hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) if they’ve gone longer than 48 hours without food. For some it takes less than 48 hours and it’s a matter of not having enough calories even though they’ve been picking at their food from time to time. In order to determine how many calories your cat should be getting, it almost always states the daily caloric intake for your cat’s weight on the back of the can or bag of food you’re feeding.

Healthy cats will once in awhile become picky and not eat that much. For instance, in the summer a cat will not burn off that many calories as it’s too hot for playing or exerting itself. And it won’t eat as much as it normally does, but it will still eat. Or cats can even develop a 48 hour illness just like people do and may not eat as much because their stomach needs to rest. But if you have an already sick kitty, let’s say with a condition like chronic kidney disease, and they suddenly become overly picky or stop eating altogether, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and quickly. With diseases such as CKD nausea and even vomiting often play a big role in not eating so ask your vet about using something like Pepcid A/C or even Cerenia.

Some kitties are put on prednisone or prednisolone and that usually jump starts their hunger pretty well along with working on any inflammation going on in the body. Sometimes pred is not enough and an appetite stimulant is a must. There are two kinds; one is cyproheptadine which is an antihistamine but also has the side effect in cats of making them hungry. The other is mirtazapine which is an anti-depressant and usually makes them ravenous, but can also cause hyperactivity and restlessness. Cypro acts the opposite and can be rather sedating. If none of these things are working it’s time to learn to syringe feed your cat. It’s fairly easy and can literally save your cat’s life.

Syringing can not only get the right amount of calories in them but can also turn on that hunger switch. You may need to do it several times a day or for several days but for some kitties it doesn’t take long to realize that eating is a good thing and they’ll start eating on their own again. If they are still barely picking but are showing an interest in food, keep up the syringe feeding until they look like they are getting back into their usual eating mode. Don’t stop giving the appetite stimulants even though you’re syringe feeding because once that switch turns on for them, it’ll still help them eat on their own.

Always contact your vet when your cat stops eating and take them in if need be. A kitty never stops eating without a reason and you need to figure out what’s going on in their bodies that made them stop in the first place.

For more information on fatty liver disease, see this page of my site: http://www.ibdkitties.net/fattyliver.html.
For instructions on syringe feeding see this page: http://www.ibdkitties.net/syringefeeding.html.

7 comments:

da tabbies o trout towne said...

thanx full lee.. eye due knot haza problem with eatin too little......

eatin two ...much......

well.....

tuna of moon

WeBeesSiamese said...

I had to syringe feed some of my now angel kitties in their last years, and one of them right in his first weeks with us, he got sick with unknown illness, and after a week or so of 'nursing' he recovered and lived well.

We have not had that issue here of late...

IBDKitties said...

Thank goodness. Hoping you don't have to ever again or at the least, for a very, very long time.

Hi Tabbies! Glad you guys are eating well!

Shadow said...

testing testing, is this working Lisa?? mol!!
what if kittys eat too mucho??
:)
Tabbies de trout, we mizz you!!!

IBDKitties said...

Hi Shadow! Well that's the problem that started it all with my Alex. So you need to be very careful and watch that eating like a little piggy.

JadensMom said...

Jaden tends to flip-flop between eating quite a bit more than the normal amount listed for his weight range and not eating at all. He's not in the least bit fat or overweight, if anything, he tends to be a tad underweight. IBD such does keep you on your toes! This is good info, thanks!

be lean said...

Really great blog with full of points.