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Need help medicating and feeding a sick kitty

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I adopted a pair of girls two nights ago and they both have URIs from the shelter. One of them is not only sick but is refusing to eat and drink. I have yet to actually see her doing either of these two things since bringing her home. So I have tried to syringe watery cat food in order to feed her. The poor girl lays about all day and looks very tired and weak. She wobbles when she walks. And she's very skinny to begin with.

The problem is that most of the food and medication ends up everywhere but inside of her. She will spit or shake out most of the food/meds. I live alone so this is a one person operation. With one hand on the syringe and the other wrapped around with her with a towel, I can't open her mouth properly and she's got it clenched tight. If I use my hand to open her mouth, she paws and squirms away from me. In addition her head swivel away.

Finally, this whole ordeal is freaking her out. I hate the fact that she's just arrived and her entire experience so far with me is such a trial. She's so scared and basically vibrating after every time I try to feed and medicate her.

I will call the vet tomorrow to ask for options but I'd also like to hear of any similar experiences and tips. Thanks.
post #2 of 17
i also live alone. this is a good method:
kneel on the floor, w/the cat between your legs, facing the same diection as you are. cross your feet so that the cat can't back out. squeeze [gently!] w/your legs to secure the cat [wrapping 1st in a towel can help some...] & have the pill/syringe handy at your side [dominant hand side]. using BOTH hands, pry open mouth - try squeezing at the base of the jaw w/your non-dominant hand, & pulling down on the jaw from the front w/your dominant hand. after getting the mouth open, take the pill/syringe in your dominant hand. use your non-dominant hand to hold the mouth open & squirt/pill cat. hold mouth closed w/non-dominant hand & rub throat w/dominant hand until you see the cat swallow or stick out its tongue. meds/food/water are swallowed if cat sticks out its tongue.
alternatively, use same method, but have cat between your legs indian-style. this is what i do - but i've heard the other method works well, too.
i usually butter the pill so that it goes down better, btw.
there are some links here that may help, as well. some have video, too!
how to pill a cat 1
how to pill a cat 2
how to pill a cat 3
how to pill a cat 4
how to pill a cat 5
how to pill a cat 6
how to pill a cat 7
HTH!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
This morning, I only held her for meds. I'm going to stop forcing food on her...She's been here since Thursday night and I have yet to actually see her eat or drink. I do leave out dry food and water. I wonder...and hope that she is a secret eater? I do see a lot of food eaten overnight but can't be sure if she's eating or if it's only her sister. The sister is also sick and has to be medicated but eats and drinks well.

How long can a cat go without food and water? Will the signs be obvious? She's sick so it's hard to tell if she's looking bad because of the illness or because of starvation.
post #4 of 17
I understand that it is not good if cats don't eat or drink for more than 24 hours and my response is to take them to the vet.

We had one that they put on I.V. fluids for a couple days to get the fluids into her. This gave her time to build some strength back up and then she started to eat, finally. She was an older cat but this "bought" her two more good years.

Think sometimes, they inject the fluids, which has a similar effect.

I am not an expert on these things and wish I had an easier and less costly solution, I am fortunate to be able to afford that type of care.
post #5 of 17
There is no way you can get the cat to an emegency vet?Try boiling some chickenand see if it will et that,also I would get some pedialyteand force her to drink it by squirting it into her cheek with a syringe.The best way t hold her (in my experience) to force meds/fluid/food is to scruff her and hold her upright but just slightly tilted back.Good luck and please keep us updated.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just talked to the vet's office and am taking her in now. Thanks everyone. Will update.

I do okay financially and don't have a lot of discretionary income, but if needed, can pull emergency funds. I'm new to this so I'll have to adjust to having to quarantine a certain segment of my income to take care of the cats. I've definitely put my credit cared to work over the last few days!
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
Just talked to the vet's office and am taking her in now. Thanks everyone. Will update.

I do okay financially and don't have a lot of discretionary income, but if needed, can pull emergency funds. I'm new to this so I'll have to adjust to having to quarantine a certain segment of my income to take care of the cats. I've definitely put my credit cared to work over the last few days!
Thats great!!Hope everything works out and your cats are up and running around in no time!
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Poor kitty is home. The vet recommended subcuteous fluids because she was so dehydrated and was able to get her to eat some special diet canned food. The vet also recommended blood tests to check her white cell blood count because the kitty was "critical". And then would prescribe new antibiotics based on the results. The vet said that at this point, if the booster shot on Friday and the clavamox/albon weren't working, it could mean she has something going on that the current meds aren't addressing.

Meanwhile, the shelter said that they would take the cat back at their clinic and provide care. So that's where we will be headed tomorrow morning. It's such a tough decision but I can't keep swiping the credit card. With adoption and vet fees along with cat supplies, I've spent close to $600 since Thursday night. The shelter clinic is a lot cheaper than the local vet but 45 minutes away. Meanwhile her sister has an eye infection coming on so she will have to come along to the clinic too.

The cats are stressed, I'm stressed and this is not how I imagined how I would welcome by first kitties home.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Dory, the sick kitty, is sitting in front of my living room, very vigorously cleaning herself. She has the strength to do this, why won't she eat? I feel like there's something I'm doing wrong or there's something about my apartment...the vet was able to get her eat this afternoon. I did what the vet did, place a dab of the wet food on my finger and get her started on her meal. Yet, ten minutes later, nothing but her looking elsewhere. I wish my socks and shoes had nutritional value since she seems to love them so...she is now lying in front of them, staring..
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
The cats are stressed, I'm stressed and this is not how I imagined how I would welcome by first kitties home.
I'm sorry, I don't have any advice, but everything will get better! Hang in there! Those kitties are lucky to have you!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow! Success! Okay even if it's only happened once...but she's eating!

I found a site that recommended heating up the canned food to improve the aroma and sprinkling a little catnip if needed...and nothing happened. I placed my finger under her nose and nothing. I left the room and it seemed like forever, she kept her chin above the food. I pretended to not pay attention while stroking her sister in the hallway and at first, she was holding steadfast, then it looked like she was about to fall asleep into the plate. And then finally, just like that, she ate and ate with gusto.

And to top it off, she figured out the new scratching post is for scratching! So we had a good session at that and she finished by walking back to the plate and wiping it clean.

I'm hesitant to declare victory as this all happened after I gave her meds, which she hates of course, but one of the meds she is taking is keteprofen which I understand is a pain reliever. I notice that she tends to perk up after a dose. Tonight was her last dose...Oh well, fingers crossed! Poor thing she's so weak she can't actually jump. She has to climb up by digging in her hind legs. She just dug in really good on my sofa to get to the back of it...
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
Wow! Success! Okay even if it's only happened once...but she's eating!
And then finally, just like that, she ate and ate with gusto.

And to top it off, she figured out the new scratching post is for scratching! So we had a good session at that and she finished by walking back to the plate and wiping it clean.
yay! great news!
post #13 of 17
That's great news! When we adopted Albus, we had to force-feed him. We were trying to nurse him back to health from hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) so I know all about the fun that is. It took a couple weeks of trial and error to perfect my technique, but then I was pretty good at it. After another 8 weeks, he FINALLY started eating on his own and now he's happy and healthy.

If she reverts back, I'll be happy to post some tips!
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
If you have time, tips are always welcomed! I have a feeling we're not out of the woods yet. Another vet visit tomorrow so it's more stress and possibly more drugs which may stop her appetite again.
post #15 of 17
Glad to hear your little one ate something! That's awesome! I always recommend heating food up for sick kitties. Did the vet give you Science Diet a/d? That stuff has some kind of special effect on kitties! LOL

You might want to invest in some Feliway diffusers to help with the stress level in your house. Even if you don't use them permanently, it'll help for the short term.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes, I think it was SD, it probably has opiates in it Activated by heat.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I left my two kitties with the shelter today where they will receive care. I feel like a failure in providing for them

I'm not 100% convinced the shelter will run the proper diagnostic tests but they assured me that they take care of tons of cats and have tried and true methods...But at this point, it's hard for me to lay out more cash for all the tests recommended by the local vet.

Kitty did not eat again this morning. She ate at the shelter after she was scruffed and syringed food. It was a two person operation and it worked well.
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