On the necessity of feeding sick cats

We have repeatedly found that many owners do not feed their sick cats at all if the cat falls ill and stops eating. Some even think that an animal knows best what is good for it, so if it does not want to eat, it probably should be. Unfortunately, this view is very misleading - if the animal stops eating and possibly drinking, it is usually already in such a serious condition that it will probably die without veterinary help. It is easy to deduce from common sense that even in such a case - if such a rule applied - they would not end up in a hospital on artificial nutrition, were not fed a tube during the illness, etc. - if they did not want / cannot eat on their own. So if you don't want to leave your sick animal to its fate and you try to help it, this assistance must also include food and fluid intake.

Unfortunately, we know from our practice in the group that some cats that were diagnosed with late FIP, or to their owners, before they even learned about the treatment, would have a better chance of survival if they were not completely exhausted due to anorexia - that is, anorexia, when at the same time they were not provided with basic nutrition. The specific metabolism of cats responds to starvation after a very short time by fatty liver - lipidosis.

In essence, it is a metabolic disorder in which, due to insufficient food intake, fat is transported from peripheral stores to the liver, which should process and further transport this storage fat. If starvation persists and the liver is forced to process large amounts of fat, fat begins to accumulate in them. This condition leads to liver damage and subsequent liver failure. It can end in death. This is a more serious risk for originally obese cats. The only way, jand to stop liver lipidosis is aggressive feeding, which stops the disparity between the intake and export (export) of fat from the liver. If we look at clinical signs of lipidosis, we see that to some extent they overlap with the symptoms that may accompany advanced FIP. These include: lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea / constipation, weakness, weight loss, excessive drooling, dehydration, depression and, as a result of metabolic breakdown, brain disorders up to brain retardation, which can sometimes be confused with the development of neuro FIP symptoms. . This means that if your cat with FIP gets the virus under GS control and the condition still does not improve, it may be the fault that the liver lipidosis, which has just developed, is to blame if the nutritional status is underestimated for a long time.

Risk catabolism as such, ie. When the body utilizes its own stores of fat and muscle, there is a loss of cellular proteins, a violation of physiological functions and, as a result, various organ dysfunctions. This condition is called marasmus and without acute resolution ends as a result of pathobiochemical and pathophysiological changes by starvation death. Persistent catabolism carries physiological disorders in the mental, cardiovascular (heart damage, hypotension and subsequent collapse), damage to lung function (weakening of the respiratory muscles due to protein deficiency), intestinal function - may occur malabsorption as a result of atrophy of the intestinal mucosa, there is a violation of the intestinal microflora and thus the development of diarrhea, reduced immunity. Another risk of advanced catabolism is hypothermia, when the core temperature decreases by 1-2 degrees, muscle weakness, disorientation, discoordination occurs - and in the end this condition ends without an acute solution. death.

From the above, it is clear that FIP treatment with GS alone will not save your cat from death at a time when you fundamentally underestimate her nutritional status and do not support her with forced feeding even at the beginning of treatment.. Cats that have started treatment in a relatively good nutritional condition (especially cases of wet FIP with a rapid onset of the disease) have a greater chance of returning to normal food intake relatively quickly after the first doses of the drug, ie within a few days. In the case of dry FIPs (whether without effusion or where an effusion due to advanced vasculitis has occurred), ie in ocular and neuro FIPs, which have usually lasted for a longer period of time, this return takes longer and veterinarian intervention is usually necessary to tried to reverse the consequences of insufficient or missing nutrition. IV infusion therapy is often required (into a vein) (glucose, duphalite, .. - therapy will be determined by a veterinarian), or the introduction of a probe (percutaneous or esophageal), support of vital functions using an oxygen box and heating.

LESSONS: if your cat with FIP is affected by anything described above, do not expect GS treatment to be self-saving - if your cat has developed the described nutritional conditions, seek emergency veterinary assistanceto increase her chances of survival. (In such a case, if the veterinarian recommends euthanasia only because he does not recognize the treatment of FIP and refused to support the cat with infusion therapy, food intake, etc., change the veterinarian!)


It only applies if your cat's condition does not require acute veterinary help

  • when determining the daily feed ration, use the weight that your cat still had as healthy
  • if there is a long starvation, feed gradually - on the 1st day give 1/2 - 1/3 daily feed rations, 2nd - 3rd day 2/3 daily feed rations, from the 4th day, if there were no problems with vomiting and under , you can try to switch to the daily dose according to the original weight WARNING! if your cat has lost a substantial part of its original body weight, ie. more than 20 - 25%, consult the feeding plan with a veterinarian - for example, if the Maine Coon cat lost 7 kg to 3.5 kg, this is already a serious situation (if you move the decimal point one place to the right, ie you will be over these losses weight as a person who lost 70 kg to 35 kg, you will immediately realize that in such a case you cannot do without a doctor - and the same applies to animals)
  • if the cat does not have special dietary requirements (eg her illness is not accompanied by pancreatitis, liver or kidney failure, etc.), it is enough to feed the usual food she was used to before the disease - in this case mix the required amount (- see the daily ration above) with a little water for a semi-liquid porridge, and ideally use 20 ml syringes to serve the cat's mouth - at the level of the back teeth, apply to the root of the tongue, in small doses, thus evoking a swallowing reflex
  • do not forget the sufficient supply of fluids - if you mix a pocket with juice or pate, do not forget that the moisture content (indicated on the package label in %) in the feed is calculated in the daily dose of required fluids
  • initially, if the cat has been hungry for a long time, feed in small amounts, over time it is possible to feed a small cat 50 ml of food, a medium cat 60 - 75 ml of food and a large cat 90 ml of food; repeat the feeding at least 3 hours after the last feeding, always until the total daily dose is exhausted
  • in some cases it is possible to start feeding using so-called recovery solutions (eg RC recovery liquid), which are intended primarily for the gastro-tube, but can also be administered by syringe directly into the mouthpiece; Alternatively, it can be used for a short time to supplement the necessary nutrients and other elements of a special recovery paste (eg aptus paste), or a convalescent veterinary diet
  • if the cat washes with you during feeding, do not be discouraged - you have to feed her; In this case, use a towel wrap, so-called burrito, or other suitable method to immobilize it
  • If your kitten needs a feeding probe, a veterinarian will instruct you on feeding
  • it is appropriate to support hepatoprotectants, which will support liver function after their load during starvation, or support means to support the kidneys, if their load has occurred as a result of persistent catabolism (increased urea, etc.)
  • your doctor should assess whether the kitten first needs support through infusion therapy (control of cat dehydration using the rate of return of the skin fold and control of blood flow and hydration of the gums)

It can be assumed that after a short time, if the liver lipidosis and the consequences of catabolism are reversed, the appetite will return and your cat's normal eating habits will be restored without the need to continue supportive feeding.

WARNING: if your sick cat continues to eat, but still loses weight (ie the spine and coccyx begin to be felt first by touch, then by sight), do not let yourself be lulled by eating after all, and feed it to the full daily dose

CONCLUSION: the above applies not only to FIP but all other diseases. In cats, even pancreatitis - while in dogs, it is necessary to go on a hunger strike in the beginning of pancreatitis and convert the dog into iv infusion, on the other hand, feeding is necessary for cats. Of course, deal with any unsatisfactory condition with a veterinarian.

if someone advised you not to feed the cat, as she would get used to feeding from a syringe and become spoiled and comfortable, don't believe him - it's nonsense. This only risks worsening her condition and even dying.

You can find tutorial photos and videos on the Internet under the slogan "syringe feeding cat", below we add a few links: