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Cat refuses to eat, vet says nothing is wrong with him

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

My cat is three years old. About a week ago my cat stopped eating and starting looking very sick. He wasn't meowing, he wasn't acting like a cat basically. I took him to the vet and they took a blood test and found out he had FIV (feline aids) and we left him there for a couple of days. They put him on fluids and tried giving him food but he just wouldn't eat it. They said nothing is wrong with him outside of the FIV (which they said he can still live as long as a normal cat even with it) and they don't know why he isn't eating.

So, we've taken him back home. He's acting like a normal cat again, he's meowing and purring so we tried giving him food and water. He's drinking, but he still isn't eating. It's only been a week but I can already see him getting thinner and thinner. The vet told us to bring him back Friday if he still hasn't eaten.

Has anyone experienced this with one of their cats? What should I do?
post #2 of 18
I experienced a bout of something similar with my senior cat Sneakers several years ago... I think she was about 10 or 11 at the time? She just would not eat, and we couldn't find anything wrong with her despite bloodwork, vet visits, etc... My vet said maybe she had an acidic stomach or something and it was making her nauseous. We did sub-q fluids and I syringe fed her some, and my vet gave me a prescription to give her of an anorexia medication. We never did figure out any cause but she started eating again on her own and didn't have any other problems like that.
If your cat is really not eating anything though I would not wait to bring her back in. If your vet does not do anything for it I would go to a different vet if you need to! Cats can get things like hepatic lipidosis if they go an extended amount of time without eating any food.
post #3 of 18
We have to give one of ours a 1/4 of an acid reducer every day. If he doesn't get it, he stops eating because his belly is upset.

But, I'd try another vet if you don't get anywhere with this one. Cats will get very sick very fast without eating.

Good luck!
post #4 of 18
In the meantime, can you syringe feed him? A week is a VERY long time for a cat to go without food. Unlike people, their systems are not set up to use their body fat as energy, and when their bodies are forced to do this by not eating, it damages their liver. Once they stop eating, the longer they go without eating, the harder it is to "restart" their systems, and the longer it goes, the higher the potential that irreversible damage will be done.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is you get some food into your kitty as soon as possible.

We use 15ml syringes (30ml is one ounce). Since your kitty hasn't eaten for a week, I would start with maybe 5ml at first and see how it goes - don't overwhelm his system. The kitty we need to syringe feed sometimes is 11 pounds, and he needs 4 - 5 ounces of wet food a day. You should be able to pick up syringes (usually 10ml) from the vet. But we buy Four Paws Easy Feeder online. They're MUCH easier to use and clean. Just snip off the ends. (But at this point I wouldn't wait for them to arrive. I'd order some to have, because with FIV cats, inappetance can be a problem sometimes, so even if you're able to syringe feed him a little with syringes from the vet and it jump starts his eating on his own, you may need them in the future).

Things a vet can do to help: recommend an acid reducer (we've used both 1/2 pepcid and 1/4 zantac (lowest doses) on our cats per vet), and/or potentially an appetite stimulant.

If you feed dry, try various flavors of wet food (Fancy Feast, available at most supermarkets, is usually a hit). You can also try tricks used to get cats with inappetance to eat: heat up the food for a few seconds in the microwave (even if dry), buy freeze dried treats and crumble them into powder on top of the food, pour some tuna juice over the food (assuming you have some wet food on hand). You can also try boiling some chicken, and try feeding a little bit of boiled chicken (nothing added to the water) mashed with some of the broth and a little bit of white rice).

There is a prescription food, Hill's Pet a/d that is designed to be used in syringes. It is for "critical care." It's easy to use in the syringe. You can also use just about any wet food so long as you throw it in the blender with a little water.

for your boy!

P.S. My guess is that he had some kind of "bug" and didn't feel well: FIV hasn't progressed very far (VERY slow acting virus) and he was able to fight it off - he now feels better, but he went long enough without food that he's started the cycle of not eating. The "cure" right now would be getting food into him. You may find that you only need to syringe him once or twice before he starts eating on his own. But I would definitely get him to another vet asap.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'll try the suggestions mentioned here such as heating up his food.

My cat just seems so different now. Last week he was playful, happy and eating and now it looks like he doesn't even want to live anymore but the vet can't find anything wrong. The vet in our area is quite good and has won a couple awards so I don't think they would be a problem. I called them again and they asked us to take our cat back to them if he still isn't eating tomorrow.

edit: Cat sniffed the food we heated up for him, but he didn't eat it. He did, however, eat some of the dry food we gave to him (by some I mean 3-4 little squares).
post #6 of 18
Did your vet do blood work and check liver enzymes? Just a few dayf off of food can cause liver damage and a condition called hepatic lipidosis (this happened to my cat)

The only cure is getting food into them so syringe feed if you can. People have already reccomended hills a/d. Baby food works wonders as well, try flavours with no onion or garlic, that was all I could get my cat to eat at one point.

Check the colour of skin by the ears, if it's at all yellow get back to the vets immediately, this means he is jaundice.
post #7 of 18
I'm sorry, but I'd get a second vet opinion TODAY or insist on taking your cat to your vet TODAY, or I'd consider going to an e-vet if you're not going to start syringe feeding him NOW. This situation of not eating for so long can be life-threatening, and I am VERY surprised your vet is not stressing any urgency here!!!!!! Your cat feels poorly at this point because in all probability his liver is being destroyed. I don't know what the problem was before, but the not eating is a problem NOW.
post #8 of 18
I want to add: it seems your cat has started the cycle of fatty liver disease. At this point, I suspect that "enticing" him into eating will NOT work. The ONLY cure is syringe feeding him. As lmunsie says, he definitely needs blood work to check his liver enzymes at this point to find out if - or how much - damage has been done.
post #9 of 18
I'm thinking more along the lines of a feeding tube before he becomes too weak for even that option.

He needs a second opinion, today.
post #10 of 18
You really should go to another vet and consider a feeding tube
post #11 of 18
Please, you have to feed you kitty now. As Laurie said, it probably already started the process of fatty liver, and it is not going to eat on it's own. Fatty liver is deadly if you don't feed. The only thing you can do is feed your kitty.
Please, please be proactive.
We are not talking about feeding 1-2-3 CCs either. The kitty has to eat what it normally eats a day. Aim for a can a day, or at the very very least 3/4 cans a day. Hills A/D is excellent as it is very nutritious, and it is syringe ready. If you start with A/D, you need to dilute on the first couple of days. You can also whip some wet food in a small blender of food processor. Put just a tiny amount of water - the more water you put, the more you have to feed.
Get larger syringes, 1/2 ounce, multiple syringes. The ones Laurie (LDG) mentioned are great, and can be found on Petsmart, Pet Supplies Plus, and probably at Petco as well - for SURE at Petsmart and Pet Supplies Plus. Get 3 sets, fill 3 syringes at a time, feed the 3 of them per meal. This will make 1 1/2 ounce a meal.
Feed the kitty small meals, several times a day.
Ask your vet NOW for an appetite stimulant and a nausea medication.
Whatever you do for diagnosis, it can come later, but if this kitty doesn't eat, it can die - and it can die fast.
There are tons of tips here -
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay, I took my cat to another vet and they didn't find any signs of fatty liver disease. They're going to give me syringes to feed him with (not sure exactly what it's called) but they told me to leave him with them for a bit while they run other tests and try to get him to eat.
post #13 of 18
Well that is a huge relief. Unfortunately many vets do not seem to communicate the importance of eating, and we've seen too many people come here asking for help and then have kitty not make it because of something as simple as eating.

they'll be able to discover the problem.

That said, syringe feeding the cat is usually what helps jump start the eating process. And, as Carolina pointed out, an anti-nausea med (or an antacid) and an appetite stimulant can help too. But you'll see what the vet says.
post #14 of 18
Two Questions

1. Is he drinking what you would call excessively
2. Does he have bad breath

post #15 of 18
Originally Posted by Catowner5 View Post
Okay, I took my cat to another vet and they didn't find any signs of fatty liver disease. They're going to give me syringes to feed him with (not sure exactly what it's called) but they told me to leave him with them for a bit while they run other tests and try to get him to eat.
Catowner5, go to Petsmart and get the syringes we told you about the brand is Four Paws - they look like this:

You are going to feed with the one the tip looks like a cone - you put the food through the top. Cut the tip just a bit.... Get a few sets of these, so you can fill 3 syringes per meal, feeding 1 1/2 ounce per meal.
The syringes the vets have are small and the plunges are made of rubber and they get stuck, making it hard to feed, and frustrating for you and your kitty.
These, above, are cheap and perfect - they slide well, every time, and because they are large, you can feed quick, causing less stress on you and your baby.
They are usually on the small animals session - like hamster, or puppy, etc. But every PetSmart will have it.
GET Hills A/D from you vet - it will make syringe feeding soooooo much easier - kitties love it, and it is syringe ready.

We will get you through this - we will help you and will be here for you....
Push your vet.... As Laurie said, we have seen quite a few kitties here die because vets haven't pushed enough the issue of feeding.... It is really sad they do that.... But true....
Hugs, and vibes
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I'll look into getting those syringes.

My cat is still at the vet. They told me he has inflammation of the pancreas and a kidney infection but said he was going to be fine with proper treatment. I visited him yesterday and he is starting to look a lot better now (he's meowing!).
post #17 of 18
Oh I'm so sorry! Vibes for your baby!

Glad you took him to another vet though - at least now you know, and he's getting proper treatment! Glad he's already starting to feel better!
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just a quick update.

I got my cat back from the vet today and he's much better now! He's eating (on his own), drinking and meowing again. He's a little hostile now but I don't blame him considering how many tests they did on him!
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