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How much is enough food for a sick cat?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My sick 7 year old cat, Phoebe, just came home from the vet today after being there since Wednesday. She has a massive infection so I am giving her antibiotics and having to hand feed her with a syringe. The vet didn't tell me how much she should be eating. She is pretty good about taking the food in the syringe but I just have no idea of how much is "enough". Anyone have any ideas?

This has been the hardest few days of my life and she is still not out of the woods but these boards have been a comfort to me!!

post #2 of 10
First, welcome to TCS! Sorry, though, about the reason you're here.

It's really all about'll need to do a little math (pretty simple, though).

Start with what her weight should be (maybe her last weight from the Vet?) Alternatively, if she hasn't lost too much weight from her illness, start with her current weight and use this formula: Required calories per day = [13.6 X body weight in pounds] + 70.

You'll need to determine the number of calories in the food you're using - it's not usually on the can, so you'll need to call the manufacturer.

For now, I would suggest that you get as much into her as she will take. Cats are naturally predisposed to eating small amounts...many times throughout the day (24 hours).

If this is a respiratory infection, your cat may not be able to taste/smell the food, and that may make the job more difficult.

One more thing...for you. If your mindset is to "assist feed" rather than "force", it will make your job a lot easier. And, after all, that's what you're doing...assisting until she returns to feeding herself.
post #3 of 10
You might also want to get her some plain, clear Pedialyte to help supplement. I also wonder if maybe the kitten goop might help, just thinking out loud here. If she'll tolerate wet food, ask your vet for some Science Diet a/d. It's the grossest smelling stuff, but it has lots of good stuff in it to help kitties heal and regain their strength. You might only need a can or 2 of it and then you could add a bit of Pedialyte to thin it out.

Hope your baby's better soon!!
post #4 of 10
What kind of food are you syringe feeding? High calorie foods are the best, then you have to feed less a/d hills is very high calorie so I reccomend this food.

It's hard to do the calorie calculations, things can get tricky if your kitty starts losing weight so if you think this is going to be an extended thing I would buy a postage scale and weigh your kitty everyday, if she loses a gram or two feed her more, if she is maintainging then stick with what you are feeding.

And I agree, to start as much as you both can handle, small doses as frequently as possible. She may throw up beause of the syringe feeding but as long as she has had food in her stomach for 10-15 minutes she is getting calories! If she throws up, wait an hour, try again.

Your vet did a great thing showing you how to do this! and you are doing a great job!
for you and your kitty
post #5 of 10
Sending lots of healing vibes for your kitty! Sounds like you are doing a great job.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much! This has been so hard! He did give me the AD food which I am mixing with a little water. This morning I was able to get 30 millileters down with her meds so I felt good about that. She just gets so mad and starts growling after a while so I stop.
post #7 of 10
30 mL for one feeding is great, it's excellent that she will tolerate that! Keep it up and please keep us posted!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
It has seriously been such a comfort knowing you all are here to answer these questions. She is taking 20-30 mL per feeding about every 4 hours and drinking a tiny bit on her own. She still really seems lethargic but I am remaining hopeful!
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by nursemelis374 View Post
...She is...drinking a tiny bit on her own...
To me, that is a really good sign...the lethargy is to be expected from what you first said...just hang in there!
post #10 of 10
She's definitely showing signs of improvement! Lots of TLC and being in a familiar environment will definitely help her continue to recover. It's so stressful at the vet's!

Keep us posted!
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