How to feed a sick cat

Why doesn’t a sick cat eat?

Multiple diseases can affect the digestive system. Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting cause an upset stomach that makes the cat lose its appetite . Also, when a cat becomes dehydrated, it doesn’t feel like eating either. The less you eat, the worse you will be and the less hungry you will be, thus aggravating the situation.

Other diseases affect the respiratory tract, preventing the cat from smelling the food . Any pathology that disturbs the sense of smell or taste can affect the cat’s appetite.

If the cat associates food with pain, for example if it has an oral disorder, it may reject it to the point of generating an aversion to it. The same if we use it to camouflage medication. In addition, if stress has been entered, it will be another conditioning factor at mealtime.


What food should I give to a sick cat?

In principle, we must continue with your usual diet except in the case that, due to your illness, you need a specific diet or nutritional supplement . In that case we will have to make the change little by little, mixing both options so that the cat gets used to the novelty.

Even if the vet prescribes us a special diet, if the cat rejects it and we are unable to convince him otherwise, we will give him the food that we can get him to eat. In all cases it will always be better for the animal to eat whatever it is before it maintains a fast that would aggravate its condition .

If the cat does not eat, it is a good idea to use especially palatable foods, that is, they are appetizing. Most felines will prefer fresh or moist food, which helps keep them hydrated. If we offer them warm food, we will stimulate their sense of smell, stimulating their appetite. Better to give small portions several times a day .

For sale we can find dry or wet food formulated for stages of convalescence. They are very palatable products, easy to dilute if we have to administer them with a syringe and high energy. Another option is to prepare homemade food, following the instructions of the veterinarian to ensure that we offer all the nutrients.

In the last case, we could also resort to medication to stimulate the appetite . Of course, always with the veterinarian’s prescription, it is recommended to use drugs to control symptoms that may interfere with feeding, such as nausea or vomiting. Staying hydrated also encourages the cat to eat.

The vet can also prescribe nutritional supplements, such as vitamins or probiotics, depending on the needs of the cat, if he considers that it needs them to recover more quickly.


Menu ideas for sick cats

Always with the supervision of the veterinarian, we can cook at home for our cat. We should not use salt or sauces. If we make a large quantity and store it in portions in the freezer, we will facilitate the task. Chicken or turkey are widely used meats during convalescence .

We must offer them cooked, without salt or skin or bones, because raw meat in sick animals can be problematic if it contains bacteria or parasites that affect our cat internally . After cooking it, we will crumble it and mix it with rice, also cooked, and add a splash of olive oil. This recipe can be made with fresh or frozen tuna fish.

This example of diet is useful for any convalescent cat . Depending on the disease you suffer from, the percentage of the ingredients may vary. That is why we must consult with the veterinarian to ensure that the menu is adapted to our situation.

Remember that it is a specific diet to encourage you to eat. If we want to continue offering him homemade food, we will have to make a menu that includes all the nutrients that the cat needs according to its living conditions. We will consult with a veterinarian specialized in nutrition to avoid deficiencies that are harmful.

If the cat also rejects this food, we can opt for preserves such as sardines or mussels in olive oil . They are very fragrant and palatable. They should not constitute the basis of a balanced diet but for these specific situations we can resort to them.


What if I can’t get my cat to eat?

For the recovery of the cat it is essential that it returns to eat by itself. In this way, in addition to nourishing yourself, you will also stay hydrated . If you do not accept any of the foods we offer you, we can try to make you eat using a needleless syringe.

We can fill it with a special wet food for these states, very palatable and easily diluted by adding a little water. Any food that we can reduce to mush so liquid as to pass through the hole of the syringe can do us good.


We carefully pick up the cat and place the syringe on the side of its mouth, behind the tusk. We press the plunger to introduce a small amount of food. Once you swallow, we will give you a new dose. We can try to do it with the finger . Some cats, if we stain their nose or paw with food, when they clean themselves they are encouraged to eat.

If none of the above works, we can only contact the veterinarian to proceed to force-feed the cat. This involves using a tube placed in the nose or esophagus.


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