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weaning off syringe?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, Beazy is getting better and better. Thanks for all your good advice and good wishes. They worked!

I'm still syringe feeding her (about 36 ml each time) four times a day. That 3 am feed is really getting old, though. And, as she feels better, she likes the syringe less and less.

Does anyone have any advice about getting her back to eating on her own? I've tried offering the warm, soupy food before we syringe (and leaving her alone with it), but she's no longer interested. After that intial attempt to eat on her own, she hasn't tried again.

I'm hoping someone has experience with this. Or, does it just take time? I've heard assisted (read: forced) feeds can continue for eight weeks. I'll be a zombie by then!

post #2 of 12
I'm not sure what you've tried or what you've been told but here's what I did when weening a motherless kitten.

I started w/ a saucer of formula. Showed it to her and even dabbed a bit on her nose. She eventually started drinking from it on her own. Then I gradually added a bit of food to it and let it get soggy until it was mostly soggy food then gradually less soggy and so on. Have you actually tried putting some of the formula on her nose?
post #3 of 12
Are you offering the same kind of food you are syringing? I've heard they often won't eat it on their own. You may want to try all kinds of yummy-tasty cat foods, even if they aren't premium quality to see if she'll eat it herself. You can also try reducing the amount you syringe, and offering her food afterwards. Sometimes a little syringing will "prime the pump" so that they will start eating after a small amount of food hits the belly.
post #4 of 12
You could also try heating the food a bit (not too much of course) to enhance the "odour" and try feeding her from your fingers to get her started eating on her own.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I wondered about the same food being the issue...I've left some of her favourite foods (IAMS lamb--especially as it's not pill-shaped) around the house. I think I may go and get some kitten food, too.

She was a dry-food-only cat before this, so I'm not sure she really recognized the wet food as FOOD. I've tried warming it, but she's not interested.

She will lick a little off her lips, but doesn't want more.

Sometimes she'll sniff at the food and then gag.

Do you know what she WILL eat? Cat grass! I picked some up yesterday and she's been nibbling away. I'm hoping that will "prime the pump" for her..but I'm only letting her eat a little bit at a time.

Thanks, all, for the help!
post #6 of 12
Sometimes she'll sniff at the food and then gag.
That one sentence told me a lot. When Bob was sick, he would gag when he smelled food. The vet told me it was because he had an upset stomach (that's where the Pepcid came in). I''d definitely tell your vet about it, and ask what to do to calm Beazy's belly.

Do you know what she WILL eat? Cat grass!
Bob did the same thing, with fresh catnip that I picked in the yard.

If it were me, I'd cut out the 3 a.m. feeding. That's putting more stress on yourself than you need. I'd feed Beazy just before bedtime, and again first thing in the morning, with a couple of other feedings during the day. You could leave a measured amount of food out all night & check it in the morning, but honestly, I think you just have to keep up the syringe feedings. I hate to say it, but from my own experiences and from everything I've read it would seem that you have a long way to go before Beazy will start eating on her own.

You might want to go to yahoogroups.com and search for their assisted-feeding site. You'll get tons of info there.
Hang in there, Kate. I know it's frustrating at times, but right now you are Beazy's only source of food. Best of luck with your girl.
post #7 of 12
When I've weaned in the past, I've put their food in a saucer on the floor and fill the syringe from that. I syringe feed them closer and closer to that saucer and eventually only let them eat from the syringe when it is barely over the saucer. After a while, it only takes a little squirt from the syringe when they are really hungry to start lapping the saucer.

I agree with others, cut out the 3AM feeding and leave out regular food overnight. When you introduce real food, you may need to mix it with the formula for a while to help them to realize that is their food.

I've had some take to feeding themselves immediately and others who were very stubborn and didn't wean until close to 10 weeks old.

It seems that the later in age you start feeding them, the earlier you can wean them. My 10 day old orphans took much longer than my 3 week old orphans. If they never see an adult cat eating around them normally, they just don't get it right away.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
If it were me, I'd cut out the 3 a.m. feeding. That's putting more stress on yourself than you need. I'd feed Beazy just before bedtime, and again first thing in the morning, with a couple of other feedings during the day.
The problem is, I leave at 8 a.m. and then don't return until 5:30 or 6 depending on traffic. Since she has that long stretch during the day, I thought I should get in an extra feed at (groan) 3 a.m. Without that, she's eating three times a day.

I'll see if I can find Pepcid here. I think you mentioned dosage above, so I'll go check. I'm so glad to have Bob's experiences to guide me! The vets here are stumped. They expected her to die. They didn't realize that she needed to EAT. They just wanted to fill her with glucose, saline and chemicals.

I'm feeding her and have ordered, from an herbal pet place, a milk thistle tonic. That should be here soon...

Thank you all, again and again.
post #9 of 12
You certainly are one dedicated woman! You're right, tho; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. is quite a stretch without eating. One thing that always seemed to help me when I was syringe feeding was to have 3 or 4 syringes full at all times. When I'd get done with one feeding, I'd get the next one ready. Obviously, the more syringes you can get ready at one time, the less time it takes at each feeding. (I know any cat that I've syringe fed got really annoyed waiting for me to fill up the next syringe while he/she was wrapped in a towel)
I'd mix their meds in at the same time so eveything was ready to go.
I hate to admit it, but you should probably keep up with the 3 o'clock feeding. The more you can get into Beazy, the better, and hopefully the faster she'll decide to eat on her own again. I know how frustrating this whole situation can be. I think you're doing an amazing job.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I think you're right, Libby. Because of the long stretch during the day, she needs a mid-night feed. Well, two weeks and then we're off school for Fall Break! I can make it that long...

I use the multi-syringe trick, too! I've got three 13 ml syringes that I fill up before we start. She's okay for the first two. The last one has lots of dribbles...hence the -1ml on my total.

Thanks againg for your help and support!
post #11 of 12
With my experience in syringe feeding, my cat simply would not eat the same food I was forcing on him. He to was jaundiced, with heamobartenella (sp), and a very sick kitty. I fed many small times thru the day, then left either warmed canned cat food, chicken with broth, beef with broth or canned tuna for him to snack if he wanted. I mixed his food with either Pedilite or another electrolyte solution.

I also had to do syringe feeding with an older kitten, who is 2.5 now. To this day, he WILL NOT eat Nutri-cal, all the other cats love it. By the way, that is great stuff, look into ordering some if you can!

Good luck! mamahen
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks, mamahen!
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