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Feeding an emaciated cat

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have just rescued an emaciated stray cat.She has liver problems,but as yet I don't know the cause.She is having blood tests done next week to see how things are and to check her thyroid.Because of her weight (about 3kgs at a guess),she needs to be fed carefully.Can anyone out there give me tips on what to feed,how much to feed and how often?She seems to have a problem eating hard food,so I was thinking of soaking her cat biscuits,what do you think?
post #2 of 17
Most vets carry a high calorie food that should be perfect for your cat. Our caries one from eukanuba that is canned and my queens love it.
post #3 of 17
Originally posted by memysel3
She seems to have a problem eating hard food,so I was thinking of soaking her cat biscuits,what do you think?
Is she having trouble chewing? or is she vomiting her dry food? If she is vomiting, how soon after feeding her? Do the pieces of dry food look like she didn't chew them?

Feed her little meals all day long. If she is having trouble digesting dry food, maybe a small baby spoonful of wet food every couple hours. And yes you can try to soak a little bit of the dry food in water (a little at a time). The main thing is whatever you are able to feed her, don't feed her too much all at one time.

Always have water for her. Try to find ways that she will be interested in the water: running water at the tap, putting an ice cube in the water bowl, etc.

The liver problem may be as a result of losing weight or not eating, rather than vice versa. The vet will help you sort it all out.

Good luck!
post #4 of 17

I adopted a very sick cat last year. She was down to 2.5 kilos. Vet didn't know if she'd survive. We had to get tough with her. So, I learned how to inject fluids sub-cutaneously (as she was dehydrated too), she was given a high calorie paste (you just put it on their face & they lick it off), and she was also force fed Hills A/D. After 2 days of this, she started eating of her own accord. It took a year for her coat to come good, but she now looks like a healthy (if not a tad overweight) cat.

Here's a before & after picture.



post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi Maui
Wendy(from the lost boys in Peter Pan) can eat hard food,but she moves it around her mouth until she finds a comfortable place to chew with.She is not sicking it back up and her poo is very firm,so I am guessing her body is digesting the food properly.Because she is so sickeningly under weight,I am giving her all types of food in small amouts every couple of hours.This includes chicken,cat treats and single cream mixed with water to ensure she gets plenty of fluids.The trouble is that she is so weak that she is not able to walk about very much,so to get her to eat I bring the food to her.Her legs are about 3/4 cm wide,they are like sticks,but as she gets stronger I will put her food further away to encourage exercise and so help her muscles strengthen.Later today I will photograph her and post it so you can see how emaciated she is and as she improves I will take more.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi Julia
What was the paste you used with your cat?Is it something I could make myself?
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I apologise if anyone finds these pictures distressing,but Wendy is now in a safe and friendly home where she is given as much love and attention she wants.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Another photo of poor Wendy
post #9 of 17
Memysel3, you've stated your kitty has a chronic liver conditon, but bloodwork won't be done until next week, has there been ANY bloodwork done? Without knowing the condition, your vet should have stated specifically what type of food to feed her.

If this is hepatic lipidosis for example, it must be treated agressively, with IV fluids, high caloric/protein diet initially. If she's eating on her own, this is good news, but she could develop anorexia at any point, and treatment would become more agressive. If HL, a consistent diet with high calories and protein would be more appropriate than a smorgasboard of foods. If you feed a too low protein diet at this stage, the liver may not regenerate itself fast enough, causing complications that may worsen the situation.

Based on the picture you posted, in my opinion, this kitty needs to be hospitalized, on IV fluids and an agressive nutritional support immediately. You said she's now in another home, do you mean yours? If so, please contact your vet immediately and discuss in great detail about her treatment options.....if she is with someone else, I am assuming she is under veterinary care and the new owner is aware of the severity of her condition?
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi cat-tech
Wendy is at my home.She has had blood tests done which showed she has chronic liver failure.Everything else about her is healthy.I only bought her home yesterday after she had been in hospital on an IV drip after I found her on my way to work.The vet was happy for me to take her and first thing tomorrow I have to phone the vet again and get more blood tests done to check her thyroid.I was told that because she was able to eat on her own I should feed her little and often with no special diet.All my cats have crunchy food 24 hours a day and wet food in the evening,this means they eat when they want and they are all in good health.Since coming home,Wendy has improved a huge amount,she eats,drinks and washes and takes notice of whats going on around her.I will update you when her next tests are done.
post #11 of 17
Not sure how this would work with a cat having liver problems. But when we got Tillie, she was very thin from not eating due to dental problems. Our vet stressed that Tillie needed to gain weight and get maximum nutrition, and recommended we feed her twice daily with soft (canned) kitten food from a premium cat food vendor, like Nutro, Royal Canin, Science Diet, etc. We fed her Nutro kitten canned and she loved it, she gained 1.5 lbs in three weeks. She has since had her dental work done and is eating dry Nutro kibble without problems, and is a healthy weight.

But again, I don't know if kitten food is appropriate for a cat with liver problems. Does anyone here know?
post #12 of 17
Memysel3, it sounds like your vet is treating conservatively at this point, but only the bloodwork will truly reveal the extent of the problem (or specific liver condition, there are various types, each requiring a different treatment approach)

In HL, initially, a high calorie, high protein diet is preferrable to help regenerate the liver (as Misha noted, Hill's Rx A/D is ideal for HL nutritional support)...once the initial crisis is resolved and kitty is eating on her own, then a maintenance diet of low-fat, low-protein is usually recommeded. In other liver conditions, the diet may not be as important, and in Wendy's case, I can see how your vet would recommend any type food for now, on the premises that she is so malnourished. A couple other things you might attempt are Nutrical or Clinicare, both supplements you can use in combination to the diet. Kitten food might be ideal in her situation for added nutrients and availability of those nutrients, caloric content, protein content etc, but again it depends on the specific liver disease.

Here's hoping Wendy continues to improve and that bloodwork reveals more normal liver function. Keep an eye on her hydration status, check for signs of increasing jaundice, urine output, stools, and if she develops vomiting problems, don't hesitate to get her back in promptly..................Traci
post #13 of 17
How is she now?
Is she doing better?
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wendy is doing really well this morning.She has spent the last hour exploring the house and then meowed at my partner to give her a bit of cream(which he did).She is taking a lot more notice of things around her.I am just about to phone the vets to sort out her next lot of blood test.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
All went reasonably well at the vets.Wendy was given 3 injections,one multivitamin,one anti-biotic and one anabolic steroid.We also have anti-biotics and steroids to give her at home.The vet wants to see her in a weeks time and he will then decide whether he needs to do more blood tests.She weighed in at a tiny 2.9kg,but hopefully that will have gone up by next week.He said that her upper intestine,near the duodenum feels 'odd'.He does not know why it feels as it does.
Does anyone out there know about problems with the upper intestine?The vet touched on the subject of a tumour,but is treating Wendy as if no tumour is present and we hope her medication will help her.All I know is that if a tumour is present,it can not be removed.Any advice or stories about this will be appreciated.
post #16 of 17
Hi memyself,

Sorry for the delay in replying to you, I sometimes forget to check back. The "paste" I used on Mitzy was called Nutrigel, it has the consistency of treacle & when you put a bit on their face (I was sticking it on her whisker pads) they lick it off. I'm in Australia, so am not sure if you get Nutrigel in America (presuming that's where you are). I'd imagine the Nutrical which Traci mentioned is a similar product.

I was lucky with Mitzy, first thing I did when I took her to the vet was ask for blood tests, which revealed that she had suffered no organ damage as a result of the anorexia. So, it was just a case of maintaining her until she got the will to eat back, which didn't take long. I think in her case, losing her owner (who died), being shoved in a shelter & catching a cold just made her want to give up on life. It was very sad...but, she did pull through, although it took a while...and is a slightly fat & happy cat now. We had a baby recently & Mitzy absolutely adores sleeping in the cot (on her legs) with her. It's nice that they have each other.

Terrible photo I know, but she looks kinda cute in her Soft Paws.

post #17 of 17
FINALLY!!! Someone else who has heard of Nutrigel... I've been raving about it ever since we first used it our kitty who was very sick and wouldn;t eat. His condition improved immeadiately...
So glad to hear she's better now...
What on earth are soft paws?
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