Friday, May 23, 2008

Could Your Cat have Fatty Liver Disease?

You may never have heard of Feline Fatty Liver Disease -- but if you don't heed the tell-tale signs, it could cost you your cat's life!

What's Feline Fatty Liver Disease?

If your cat ever loses her appetite or stops eating altogether, you better take her to a vet fast! When a cat stops eating for an extended period of time – say, about 2 weeks – she may die from a condition called fatty liver disease. That’s when fat accumulates within the liver cells.

The medical term for this condition is feline hepatic lipidosis.

Signs of Fatty Liver Disease

You should suspect hepatic lipidosis if your cat refuses to eat, loses weight, acts lethargic, and vomits. You might also notice that the whites of the eyes look yellow from bile pigments.

Bile is a yellowish green digestive fluid secreted by the liver. If the liver isn’t functioning well, the bile won’t get broken down properly.


Causes of Fatty Liver Disease


In humans, fatty liver disease can be caused by excessive drinking. Needless to say, this is never the case with cats. (Don’t ever give your cat any alcoholic drink – you could kill her!)

Vets don’t really know what causes this condition, but cats that fail to eat for an extended period of time, for whatever reason, are at the highest risk.

Cats can stop eating for a lot of different reasons. She might be ill or too stressed out to eat. So it’s a good idea to pay attention whenever your cat loses her interest in food. You’ve got to make sure that the cat is eating.

I didn’t, and I’ve lived to regret it. When my late cat Saki stopped eating, I was so wrapped up in my work that I barely noticed. When I finally noticed, I wasn’t overly concerned.

Saki was a tad overweight (ah, but she had green eyes to die for!), and fat-phobic that I am, I figured she could stand to lose a little weight.

Little did I know that in cats, unlike humans, losing weight from partial – or even worse, total – fasting is dangerous even if it’s only for a relatively short period of time. Apparently, cats metabolize fats and proteins differently than humans.

When a human or cat stops eating, the body starts using its own fat cells for fuel. As you know, for humans, this is the whole point of dieting.

With cats, however, the liver isn’t terribly efficient at processing fat. Most of the fat is stored in the liver cells, and so eventually the liver fails and the cat dies. Not good.

So when Mittens wouldn't eat, I really feared for her life. Until I took over the care of Mittens, my friend's cat, I had never even heard about hepatic lipidosis.

Mittens had been wheezing for some six months. At the time, the vets had no idea what was wrong. They suspected nasal cancer.

When I took Mittens home with me, she was so scrawny she looked like a concentration camp inmate. The resemblance was even more striking because one of her forelegs had been shaved – that’s where the vet had inserted a catheter when they were testing her.

Coaxing Your Cat to Eat

In addition to getting prescription appetite stimulants for her, I tried everything in the books to coax her to eat:

Warmed up canned food (Since I don’t have a microwave, I heated up the can in hot water. Alternatively, I added some hot water to the food and stirred it into a form of gruel.)

Got some of the stinkiest, smelliest food on the market (Mittens was most likely not eating because she couldn’t smell anything.)

Tried dried bonito (tuna) flakes (Many cats love them. Saki used to go ga-ga over them. But it turns out that Mittens is rather indifferent to fish.)

Minced sardines (See above.)

Canned tuna (See above. Caution: Tuna isn’t generally recommended for cats, but when a cat isn’t eating, the most important thing is to get her to eat something, anything.)

Offered canned pumpkin (It’s loaded with vitamins and fiber. Most cats love the taste.)

Human baby food (Plain chicken, turkey, beef. Made sure it didn’t contain onions – they are poisonous to cats.)

Here are a few other things to try to resurrect your cat’s interest in food:

Watered-down chicken broth (with no sodium added)

Clam juice (Add it to the cat’s regular food as flavor enhancer.)

Tuna Dash (Dried powdered tuna)


To entice Mittens to eat, I’d put the food right under her nose – but I don’t think that she was able to smell it even then. I also smeared some food right on her nose and on her lips – sometimes on her paws – so that she would have to lick them. I spoon-fed her too, and she would eat a little then. But it wasn’t nearly enough to sustain her.

The strange thing was that Mittens acted as if she were hungry. She’d smack her lips, and go over to her food bowl – even stick her face in the bowl – and yet she wouldn’t eat.

Escaping the Jaws of Death

I consulted the vet. By this time the results of Mittens’ biopsy were in. She had fungal infection, not cancer!

The vet immediately took her off prednisone, which she suspected was giving Mittens ulcers. In addition to medication to treat her fungal infection, she was also given medicine to treat the ulcers.

In less than a week, Mittens was eating again! We didn’t have to resort to force feeding her or putting tubes in her stomach – that’s something we would’ve had to do as a last resort.

“Great job. I am so very pleased,” the vet beamed at her last check-up. “She’s twice the cat she was before.”

Indeed, we now have a pair of Mittens. Some cat she is.

And what about you? Have you ever brought a cat back from the brink of death? Or coaxed a reluctant cat to eat? Please share any stories you might have.

84 comments:

Bonnie Sainsbury said...

Good information. Josie is getting older (14)so I'm more careful about what I feed her .. that's ususally not been a problem with her though. I'll remember the bonita flakes .. she had an infection a few years ago and stopped eating .. I knew there was something seriously wrong with her then ..

Bonnie

Phil Bernstein said...

Great post, Cheryl. I can tell you from experience how bad fatty-liver disease is.

We switched foods with our overweight cat. She started losing weight, and we were pleased until she became lethargic. Many tests later, the vet came back with a diagnosis of fatty liver disease, and told us it was fatal. This was in the early 80's -- maybe it's different now.

Your post is a great warning to be very watchful when a cat loses weight.

Karine said...

It is so hard to see the suffering into you beloved pet's eyes... I discovered yesterday that my 7 years old cat was sick with the fatty liver disease, he also has jaundice. I absolutely did not want the feeding tube and the hospitalisation. I am doing the IVs at home as well as the shots of Baytril and Maropitant and Reglan by the mouth. The hardest part is the forced feeding... He becomes nauseaus, regardless of the medications and it is so sad to see him like this... I was looking for stories of full recovery because I was wandering if it was'nt selfish on my part to try to keep him alive like that... He is a great cat, puring even as I am doing the IV, so silly...

So thank you for this article.

Cheryl Chow said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. I know how difficult it is to watch your beloved cat suffer -- and yours really sounds like a terrific cat.

In the future, I hope to write stories about cats who have recovered from various illnesses, including fatty liver disease.

I would love to hear from anyone interested in either writing a story about your cat's recovery, or just telling me the story so I can write it up and post it on my blog.

Thanks.

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am presently nursing a 12 year old cat with fatty liver disease. This is the second week that we have been feeding her with a syringe. She was for the first week eating 1 syringe full only every 3 hours. She is now eating, force fed, 3 syringes full every 3 1/2 hours. She is unable to eat on her own for she starts to salivate and then throws up. It does not matter what we offer, for we have tried everything, when left in front of her she throws up. We prepare 3 syringes at a time and down the hatch it goes. She accepts it that way and has been picking up.

The vet tells me it is a very long process. It is a little discouraging at times. We even play "cat relaxation music" for her. The vet was unable to determine any physical reason for her condition other than the loss of 2 of her cat companions, one of 17 and the other 14, within a 30 day span. We will continue to help her but I sometimes feel she no longer has the will to survive.

Thanks for listening
Christine

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I just wanted to give an update on my cat Lynxa. After 4 weeks of force feeding her she is now eating on her own. She has picked up greatly and has even started grooming herself again. It was rough watching her so sick but with hope, courage and persistence she is now well on her way to a good recovery. Thanks.
Anonymous ( Christine)

Cheryl Chow said...

That's fabulous news about Lynxa! Sounds like she has the will to live again. That is excellent.

Thank you for this update. Please keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Hi! My cat is in surgery right now getting a feeding tube put in to get him the calories he needs. I HEARTILY recommend getting a feeding tube put in if your cat will not eat enough on his/her own (mine will eat but not enough). It's NOT selfish to keep your cat alive with this disease. So long as they can put on weight again, they will pull through, as the liver goes back to normal in most cases (in other cases, there may be something else going on).

Anonymous said...

This information has been very helpful. We just found out a few days ago that our cat also has fatty-liver disease and jaundice. At first we noticed he was not eating his food and thought it may have been because we had bought another brand (he's picky) but when he refused his regular and began throwing up and dropping weight we knew something was wrong.

The vet advised us to keep our cat overnight however the cost for overnight care and the additional tests (ultrasound) was more than we could afford. It's been 4 days since we took our cat to the vet. He's currently on IV and Baytril and was recently given an appetite stimulant. He still seems hesitant to eat; he will go to his bowl but then just stare at his food. We're trying to test some of the tips offered here and hope to get him eating again. I do notice he will drink a lot and he's stop throwing up. I'm hoping that's a good sign...

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous,

You really must get your cat to eat every 3 to 4 hours. The cat must eat at least 1 can, 6 oz a day. Lynxa was put on Medical Recovery Formula, a very high caloric food. We would prepare 4 syringes at a time, line them up with tissue at hand because she did not like to get her face and fur dirty. My husband would be behind her holding her and I would hold her under her chin. Place the syringe in the corner of the mouth and try to aim at the top back of its palette. Don't give too much at a time and allow the cat to swallow on its own. When you are finished one, proceed with another. If you see that your cat is getting aggressive and trying to swat your hand just rub its ears a little and continue. The food should be warmed in a micro-wave but test first to make sure it is not hot for it warms up quickly. It is very important that your cat is fed every 3 to 4 hours. My cat had a fascination with water and would just hang her head over the water bowl. We would find her in the bathtub. She is now recovering well and eating on her own. She is also on DENOSYL 90mg which is to help her liver recover. It can take up to 3 to 6 weeks before they start to eat on their own.

Good Luck
Anonymous, Christine

Cheryl Chow said...

Excellent advice about the syringes and the high calorie food. I heartily recommend it.

I regret that I was not aggressive enough in force feeding my cat Saki when she would not eat. Back then, I didn't realize how dangerous it was for a cat to go on a prolonged fast.

Good luck!

Cheryl

traveler1206 said...

Our cat Snowy died on Monday of liver failure and I want to share our experience just in case I can help someone out there. I had brought in a foster cat with the intention that she would be a companion to Snowy and if they didn't get along, I would have her adopted. The shelter cat came in with an upper respitory infection and while isolating and trating her I did not realize that Snowy, our long-haired turkish angora was not eating. So, long story short, it was when she was jaundiced that we noticed the yellowing around her eyes and ears. Took her to the vet immediately and got the diagnosis of fatty liver and she stayed there for 2 days, had a feeding tube put in. The first week went fine but I missed some of the feedings and just did not realize the importance of strictly following the plan. She wasn't throwing up and the checkup after a week ended with her having gained half a pound, prognosis was still good. Vet said to give a pill if she throws up, crushed with other meds thru tube, and call if she throws up. The next week was awful and she began throwing up some meals so I gave the medicine to help with that as directed. No change and then she suddenly died one afternoon just a week later. My mistakes were that I did not understand that the level of food intake was crucial and no feedings should be missed, and when she was throwing up I should have rushed her back to the vet immediately. Vet's mistake - no follow up in between weekly visit from him directly to me. Please be proactive, especially if your cat is throwing up! I feel so guilty and I have had the vet(s) reassure me that they think the liver was too damaged already and 50% of cats do not recover, according to my vet. I don't know if that is due to ignorance like mine on the part of the owner and the vet not emphasising enough the home care and follw-up, or if that is just the way it is. In any case, I wish I had done it better, I miss Snowy so much :(

Cheryl Chow said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I'm sure that it will benefit some people.

I'm really sorry to hear about your loss. It sounds like you did everything you can under the circumstances so I hope that you don't berate yourself too much. Vets often don't follow up as much as they should, and they don't explain as much as they can to their patients because they don't have the time. The same is true of medical doctors for humans. It's best to learn as much as we can so we can be proactive.

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

Just a little note to Traveler1206. I am sure that you did everything you could to help your cat. I feel that the vets don't emphasize enough the importance of getting as much food in your cat as possible and the care is like having a new born baby. it is every 3 hours and trying to increase the dose each time. Your cat was one of the lucky ones for so many don't even try they just put them down so you really should not be so hard on yourself. Only a few years back vets would refer to a jaundice cat as a dead cat. When my cat Lynxa had fatty liver they said she only had a 50 % chance and I felt the vet did not believe her own words. We fed her aggressively every 3 hours and if she vomited I would wait 20 minutes and feed her again. I was only able to do this for I was on vacation all summer otherwise I would not have been able to bring her back to health.

Take care,
Christine

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Christine,

You are so absolutely right! Vets don't emphasize enough the need to feed the cat - you absolutely must do everything you can to get food into your cat. Otherwise, there is real danger of fatty liver disease.

So glad to hear that you brought your cat back to health.

Cheryl

Michelle said...
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Michelle said...
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Cheryl Chow said...
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Cheryl Chow said...
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Michelle said...

I am sad to report that we had Frannie put to sleep monday evening. She was very dehydrated even though we had been giving her 200 cc's everyday. The forced feedings did not go well it only stressed her out and then she would throw it all up. She was very orange and the vet said that it was likely she would not recover no matter what we did. Thank you for responding to me and giving me advice.

Cheryl Chow said...
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Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Michelle,

I'm so very sorry for your loss. You did everything you could for Frannie.

Cheryl

Maureen said...

I just lost my 3 year old cat to, what I am sure was fatty liver disease. She was a beautiful black cat who was not very social with other cats. We just moved across country and she seemed to be so much happier in the new house. I would actually see her walking around and socializing. I didn't realize that she, apparently, wasn't eating or drinking enough. It wasn't until she urinated on a bed and it was bright yellow that I started watching her. I made sure she was eating and drinking. (And she seemed to be) Very soon she turned jaundiced and her skin - especially - in her ears was very yellow. She would still try to eat and drink. I researched and started force feeding her nutri-cal and water. Within one day - she was unable to hold her head up and I took her to the animal hospital. They put her on IV and she died in her sleep that night. Her kidneys were still functioning but her liver readings were through the roof. The vet did not think that it was from her starving herself and thought it could be an underlying disease or eating something poison. Until researching this disease, I had no idea that a cat would basically starve itself to death in a stressful situation. And, as I said, I didn't even realize she was stressed. I guess it was her time to go, but I wanted to post this to help anyone else in the future. I miss her so much.

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Maureen,

I am so very sorry to hear about your cat.My condolences for your loss. It's so hard when we lose our beloved animals.

It does sound like your cat had some sort of underlying disease, as your vet suggests. Or ingested poison.

And thank you for sharing your story. More knowledge means we can take better care of our cats. I'm very appreciative of anyone who takes the time to write about their experiences.

Take care,

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

First of all I feel so sorry for all that have lost their special friends.
I am on my third week of force feeding and sub Q fluids.
Sassy is only 5 and for some reason stopped eating. Before I knew it, she had full blown Hepatic Lipidosis she was really yellow almost orange.
Sassy began eating a bit of dry food a couple of days ago but,threw it all up everytime. Now she doesn't want to eat again.
I have been force feeding every 3-3 1/2 hours one syringe even in the middleof the night anything more than that she throws up. I take her to work with me so I can feed her more often.
I am praying that some how she will recover. Seems we go 1 step forward and then one back.
Thank you all for your posts. It helps.........
Sassy's Mom

Anonymous said...

One More thing.
Hey Cheryl, I am bound and determined to have my Sassy be a success story. I am not giving up!

Sassy's Mom

Anonymous said...

Me again, I guess I need some encouragement. The vet says keep doing what I am doing, But, that doesn't seem to help. I am so wondering if this is humane? I am keeping her alive but, is it the right thing to do? My husband is not a happy camper about the whole thing (since I sleep with the cat now!) he thinks it's crazy. Somebody tell me I'm not CRAZY, a bit stressed but not CRAZY.
Is she really going to get better?
Just had to vent.
Thanks for listening. If anybody is. :)
Sassy's Mom

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Sassy's mom,

I really hope that you'll be able to share Sassy's success story with us one day soon!

I've been out of town and didn't see your comments till now.

It's really tough to be in your situation. You're not crazy -- you're just a loving, caring mom to Sassy. Of course you want to keep her alive. That's perfectly understandable. Don't ever let anyone make you feel that you're being crazy. People who aren't cat lovers (even some who are) seem to think that doing everything you can for your cat is somehow crazy. It's not.

If your vet says that you should just continue doing what you are, then probably the best thing to do is to follow his/her advice. If Sassy can somehow recover, she can enjoy her life again.

Maybe there will come a time when you and your vet decide that the best thing to do is to let her go. I really hope, though, that Sassy will get better soon! I'm praying for her!

Take care, and please keep us updated.

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Sad news, I had to put sweet Sassy down on Saturday. She was not getting any better in fact her blood tests came back worse after 4.5 weeks of force feeding. It's a tough one but I know she is not suffering now. This Blog helped alot while I was trying to nurse her back to health.
Thanks
Sassy's Mom ( boo hoo )

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Sassy's mom,

My deepest condolences to you -- I am terribly sorry to hear about your loss. It's sad news, indeed.

At least you can be at peace knowing that you did everything you could for Sassy. And she is no longer suffering.

Thanks for the update.

Take care,

Cheryl

Steve Kraycirik said...

Our cat Mia (6yrsold) was laid to rest today (on Christmas Eve) due to Fatty Liver disease. It was one of the most painful things my Wife and I ever had to do. We miss her so much and feel really empty right now. We are trying to be strong for the rest of the family but for a long time, Mia and her sister Bella were our only children and the angish hits us in waves. I just wish there was a way to catch this killer in time.

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Steve,

I am so sorry for your loss. It must be particularly painful that Mia was laid to rest on Christmas Eve. I understand how difficult that must be.

My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult holiday season.

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Catherine,
I started force-feeding my husband's cat 4 weeks ago today with the Hill's Prescription A/D food. Just started getting all but about 1T of a 5.5 oz. can in her per day in 2 feedings just 1 week ago! Also started giving her 1 T. of Nutri-Cal liquified in a little warm water by syringe per day just starting on 1/12/09. She also has been getting Actigall for the last 10 days and I am giving her 4-6 drops per day of a Liver Drainage ticture that I got at the Health Food store.
She got "fatty-liver" when she had trouble with her teeth right before Thanksgiving. We had to go through 2 rounds of antibiotics before the 5 bad teeth could be removed & the others cleaned. She did start eating some on her own about 2 days after the surgery, but not enough, so I started aggressively force-feeding her! She has diarrhea caused by the A/D food and I would like some help in controlling this for her as it upsets her so! I am so discouraged as I feel she should be showing more improvement than she is! She seems to be weak most days and just when we think that maybe we should have her put to sleep, she seems to rally some! I was never as close to "Baby" as I am my own cat, but I have come to LOVE this little girl so much! Am I expecting too much too soon? I read somewhere on the internet that we should not even count the feeding until we got the full can into her as this is the amount needed to help the liver heal! Please let me know if you think that I should continue to force-feed for longer! I just hate to give up! Thanks for any help anyone can give me!

Carolyn

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant Cheryl! As you can see my mind is somewhere these days! Hoping I can get some encouragement & HELP! PLEASE!

Carolyn

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Carolyn,

I can understand your sense of panic.

First of all, about the diarrhea --
has it been going on for more than 24 hrs? If so, you should take your kitty to the vet IMMEDIATELY! Cats get dehydrated very quickly. Be sure to take a sample of the diarrhea.

Do you know what's the cause? Examine the stool for color, consistency, odor and frequency of stool. Then remove the offending substance. If you're sure it's the A/D food, it's best to stop it. Can you use a different food?

As to whether you should continue force feeding "Baby" or not, that's an individual decision. For myself -- depending on what the vet says about the diarrhea -- I would try to force feed for at least a week longer. See what happens. But really, you should consult the vet. Especially because of the diarrhea.

Good luck, and please keep me posted! My thoughts are with you and "Baby."

If anyone else has any suggestions or comments, please share!

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Cheryl,
Thanks for your answer! Yes, the vet's office told me last week that the a/d food causes diarrhea. I just talked to our vet and he having us pick up some anti-diarrhea medicine for Baby. He is recommending us to feed her for another month, supplementing with Nutri-Cal if she is tolerating the syringe feeding okay (& not running away every time she sees us, which she isn't) and then see how she is doing. And then if her quality of life isn't any better then we may have to make a VERY hard decision. She is 13 and alot of people tell us that she is just old, but (1) she was really lively before this all happened and (2) I guess I keep comparing her to my cat, Misty, who just turned 19 in November and is as lively & full of good health as a kitten! It just hurts so much to think about losing one of our "family". Please keep her in your prayers and I will keep you updated!

Hugs!
Carolyn

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Carolyn,

Very glad to hear that you're picking up some anti-diarrhea medication.

If Baby is not running away from you when you're force-feeding her, then I think that it's good to continue with that. With my previous cat Saki, she struggled so much when I was force feeding her that I finally realized that I had to stop. In any case, she threw up whatever I put into her, so obviously it wasn't working.

I don't think that 13 is really so old these days. I know lots of people with cats that age that are healthy and happy. Mittens is 14 now and quite healthy. Though I must say that it's highly unusual that Misty at age 19 is as lively as a kitten! That's great.

As to Baby, I know how difficult it is to see her sick. No one wants to think about losing part of the family. I will keep her in my prayers and wait for an update.

Please take good care of yourself.

Hugs,

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Cheryl,
Just a short note, we have come to the heartbreaking decision to have Baby put to sleep tonight at 5:30. She has gone downhill so much overnight and can now no longer walk only a few steps and can no longer make it to her litter pan in time! Our hearts are breaking, but I know that she is begging us to do this for her! She is suffering, you can see it in her face & her eyes! I know that some day we will be together again, because it just wouldn't be heaven if God didn't have our beloved pets there too! Thank you for your help & understanding!
God Bless!
Carolyn

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Carolyn,

I am so sorry for your loss! My condolences to you. It seems like you made the very best decision possible, given the conditions.

I agree that heaven can't really be heaven if we can't have our beloved animals with us.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Be well,

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone

you are all lovely people to care for your cats the way you have and hsaring your stories

I am fighting hard to keep my cat Mitch. Wasnt eating for a couple of days, took to a vet, got blood and urine samples done. These showed up to have liver problems, the vet wanted to put him down. I couldnt do it, not when he was in no form of deteriotation. So I sort a 2nd opinion

The 2nd vet clinic I went to I spoke to a female vet who was lovely and brutally honest with the possible outcomes. There is some good hope, there is also possility for the worst. So am waiting to do an ultra sound scan, which will show up a lot of things, and get closer or pinpoint what it could be. I requested this be done ASAP, they will call me when it can be done. It looks like it will be tomorrow

Mitch is eating but very poorly, but drinking water ok. So I need to be more aggressive with the food. I feel he is getting lighter, am preying we get the scan done tomorrow, and we can commence some anti biotics or medication for him, so he can get better.

He doesnt have severe symptoms of liver failure yet - yellowness, nausic, disorientation etc...I will die if this starts to happen. Though I did see him vommit some saliva with a lot of hair in amongst it. So the next couple of days are very crucial. I will be devastated if I lose him, I cant sleep well until I know he will be ok.

Anyhow, thank you for all for sharing, I have picked up a couple of things I can try for Mitch

fingers crossed

God bless
Stefan

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Stefan,

Thank you for sharing your story here. You're a great guardian. Your cat Mitch is so lucky that you went and got a 2nd opinion from a vet, and that you're doing everything you can for him. Really hope that he gets well! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Prayers and good thoughts.

Cheryl

Please keep us posted.

Cindy said...

My 6 year old black cat Chewy is home from the vet after 3 days. She was on IV fluids and antibiotics, nausea meds. She had jelly-like bloody stools, vomiting, and has not eaten or drank since Thursday. The initial symptoms are undercontrol, but because of her non-eating and non-drinking has developed Fatty liver, and jaundice. We have her home now. I am starting force feeding....my vet does not do feeding tubes. Any advice?

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Cindy,

I've been having problems getting online -- but finally the issue has been resolved.

Anyway, I wanted to reply to you immediately to ask you first of all, why your vet does not do feeding tubes. Is he/she not equipped for that? If Chewy is not already in the end stage, I would think that she ought to have feeding tubes.

Did your vet do a complete blood panel? You mentioned that the original issues are under control, but now it's the Fatty Liver Disease. Has this been confirmed with a blood test? Although, I imagine that if Chewy has jaundice, then she probably does.

So right now, the most urgent thing is for you to force feed her. I
suggest that you get the vet to give her an E-tube -- that's a tube that goes into the esophagus rather than the gut. You still need to use a syringe.

Good luck and if you can, please update us on Chewy's condition.

Sending Chewy my good thoughts and prayers--and anyone else reading this, please pray for her.

Take care,

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

Chewy has been home for 24 hours. We were able to force feed her 1 can of A/D food. She is not happy about it. Last night, I heard her eating some dry food on her own! First time in one week. This morning she even drank water quite a few times. We force fed her this morning and I did it again at lunch. I was able to get 2 and 1/2 syringes of the A/D in. My question is, do I continue to force feed her if she is starting to eat on her own? When do I stop? Do I slow down the force feeding? She has been more active and is moving around searching me out for cuddles. It's like a miracle! Is it bad for my cat to be eating dry food right now? or should I be constantly putting out wet food? I am not sure?

My vet had wanted to put her down only 2 days ago. I just couldn't. I researched and decided to take her on. I am so glad that I did. I was in for the long haul. I assumed it would take weeks to get her to eat.

Cindy

Cheryl Chow said...

Cindy,

Wow, that is fantastic!

As to whether to continue to force feed her or not, it's hard for me to say without knowing how much she's eating on her own. I would probably continue to force feed her unless I knew for sure that she was eating enough--say, at least one small can of A/D food--on her own.

When my cat Saki stopped eating, the vet told me that I had to make sure that she was getting enough calories--that was the most urgent task on hand. I did force feed her nutritious food, however, the vet said that if she would only eat, even foods that I would normally frown at (such as corn or tuna for humans), were permissible. So, based on that, I'd say that it's okay to put out dry food for Chewy to eat--especially since she's eating that on her own. Unless of course, your vet advises otherwise.

All the best,

Cheryl

Hlíf said...

I'm force feeding my 9 year old cat now. The vet thinks she has fatty liver disease, but it can also be Feline infectious peritonitis wich is fatal :( Last summer I took another cat home, hoping they would become friends but after a litle while the "new" cat begin attacking her and after reading about this disease I think this could be the reason for this.
She's very sick , can't barely walk and her skin and eyes are yellow. I´ve been force feeding her for about 1 week and giving her 3 kinds of meds and she is not showing any sings of that's she's getting better and i'm starting too loose hope. I´ve tried everything to get her to eat on her own, fish, tuna, butter, all sorts of cat food, oatmeal (she used to love it) and she does not even want to look at it :( She does not even drink her water, she weights only 4,4 lbs, were your cats that sick and survived ?
But I got a little hope back after reeding about all those cats who got better :)

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi,

I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. Her body weight is very low, which is worrisome. She seems to be showing signs of jaundice, probably from the fatty liver disease. You probably have to continue to force feed her before she shows any signs of improvement. You mentioned that she is not drinking water, is she being hydrated? If not, you should talk to your vet about it. What does your vet say?

I know how hard it is to force feed your cat and give her meds. At least you're doing the best you can. I really hope your kitty gets well! Please keep us updated.

Good luck!

Hlíf said...

Hi Thanks for your answer :)
I'm giving her water with a syringe.
I took her to the vet yesterday and she had lost more weight wich is very bad and the vet gave her about 10% chance of living.....but miracles happen, she has been much better today and she even ate!!! She hasn't done that for a very long time now so I'm very happy but at the same time trying not to get my hopes up too much :/
I was reading about jaundice and all the symptoms fit.
I'm gonna take her too the vet thursday hoping she has gained weight this time :)

Cheryl Chow said...

Thanks for writing back! That's too bad about the odds that the vet gave, however, I'm pleased to hear that you cat has eaten and appears to be better. As you say, miracles do happen! Praying for her recovery.

Please write back with an update if you can. Good luck!

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

My 5 1/2 year old cat was diagnosed with fatty liver disease last Monday. He stayed in the animal hospital 3 nights. He was given IVs and was force fed by the vet. He had a feeding tube inserted before coming home last Thursday. He seemed to be a little more perky and alert, but the last day he seems to be more lethargic. His ears are becoming less yellow each day though. We have been feeding him according to the vet's directions. He has only thrown up the food 3 times. We have also been trying to get him to eat food on his own, but nothing yet. We've tried chicken, tuna, and his favorite dry cat food. He really worries me when he just lies there, almost unresponsive. He won't react to his name and you can put your hand in his face and he won't back away or close his eyes. It is like he is sleeping with his eyes open. Then, there are one or two times a day where he will be perky and look at you when you call his name, he'll even walk over to you. The one thing that hasn't stopped is his purring. He purrs when you feed him, when you pet him or when he is just lying there. We picked him because he was the most loving and friendly. He nuzzled up in your neck and purred. We named him Hummer because he purred all the time and now he's kinda grown into it as he is a pretty big cat. Before he got sick he weighed 23 pounds. When we took him in to the vet he only weighed 18. He was so dehydrated and gained 1.3 lbs overnight, just from being hydrated. I don't want to lose him. He is such a great cat!

Cheryl Chow said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your cat having fatty liver disease. Sounds like you and your vet are doing all the right things for your cat. It's not uncommon for a sick cat to perk up one day only to become lethargic the next. It'll probably take a while before he's eating on his own. Just continue with the feeding as directed by your vet.

It's good that his ears are becoming less yellow and he's still purring. When my cat was seriously ill, she completely stopped purring.

I can certainly understand your not wanting to lose your cat! He sounds very sweet. Would you say that he's a gentle giant?

If you care to, would love to hear how your cat is does. Whenever anyone writes about their cats, I always wonder what's become of them.

Good luck! Hope your cat gets well soon.

Hlíf said...

Hi, I just wanted to write back to tell you that my cat got better and she's perfectly healthy now ! :)

She could not walk any more, didn't eat or drink and was yellow all over her body and inside ears and eyes.

The funny thing is that she never stopped purring, no matter how sick she was...she was almost dying but just laid there purring ;)

I force fed her for about 2 weeks 4 - 5 times a day. And I was just giving up because she showed no signs of that she was getting better, just continued loosing weight. But the same day the vet basicly told me there was no hope and just thought I was going to take her home to say god bye.....She started eating ! Just very very small bits and I had to remind her and put food on her nose to get her to eat more, but slowly she eat more and more and now I cant stop her haha :)
This took about 3 weeks before she started eating on her own.
She started with two kinds of meds, flagyl and clamoxyl and when things were not going like we hoped the vet gave her decortih, steroids, steroids can increase appetite.

Hope you understood this ....my english isn't that good :/

Cheryl Chow said...

Congratulations! That's great news! I'm sooo happy for you! Thank you for giving an update. It's always great to hear good news! Very encouraging. And of course, what you wrote is perfectly understandable.

I think you have a very sweet cat. :)

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

We took Hummer to the vet again today after his blood test came back and his white blood cell count went up again after the vet tried different antibiotics. It is at 42,000 and the vet said normal is closer to 15,000. The last test was 32,000 and in only 1 week it went up that much. So today we had an ultrasound done. The vet said that from what she could tell, he might have a problem with his pancreas. We have to wait for a specialist to review the ultrasound. But, he has perked up and is acting like himself. He was even playing. We still have to tube feed him, but he has ate a couple of cat treats, but no food yet. We remain hopeful.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to let you know that my cat Hummer is completely better! His belly is bald and his neck is half shaved, but he is alive and back to his old self. It is great! We had a scary moment though as one night he threw up his feeding tube and bit it and broke it. By this time he was eating some food, but we weren't sure if it was enough. The vet talked us through cutting the stitches and pulling the tube out over the phone at 1:30 in the morning. Fortunatly he was eating enough food on his own and the feeding tube did not have to be reinserted. He is finishing his antibiotics and has a check up when they are gone. It is hard to believe that one month ago we weren't sure if he was going to make it. He is such a different cat now!

Cheryl Chow said...

Congratulations! What great news!!! That's really awesome.

I think that I would've panicked if my cat had thrown up the feeding tube and broken it. Excellent that the vet was able to instruct you over the phone at 1.30 a.m.

A bald belly and half shaved neck is a small price to pay. Just battle scars. :) I used to joke that Mittens was making a fashion statement with her shaved foreleg. The fur has grown back now, and she looks as good as new.

Here's to you and Hummer. May you enjoy many, many more years together!

Anonymous said...

We lost our 7 year old cat two weeks ago to fatty liver disease. She hadn't eaten or slept in two weeks and the first vet gave her antibodics which she just threw back up and the second tried to save her with a feeding tube. On her last day they put her to sleep due to excessive vomiting. I wish I could of known what caused this disease. We miss her so much! We have a new kitten that is helping take the pain away but she could never replace my other cat. Thank you for listening. Tori

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Tori,

I'm sorry I was out of the country and didn't see your post till just now.

I'm terribly sorry for your loss! I know how that must hurt. And of course, another cat may help ease the pain a bit but can never replace the cat you lost.

They don't really know exactly what causes fatty liver disease.

Sounds like you did everything you could for your cat.

Cheryl

Shana said...

Hi Cheryl

Thanks for starting this blog! My cat,Henry, stopped eating (we tried everything!) and would leave the house, only coming in at night(we force fed him some milk then) so we couldn't take him to the vet. Eventually, today, he ate some tuna and we caught him to take him to the vet. He went from being a fat cat to being scrawny as well as getting jaundice. The vet said he probably has some liver disease (with a tiny chance of a bug bite) and gave him 3 injections, telling us to bring him back in 2 days. He told us we'll probably have to put him down but hearing the success stories I feel that maybe he'll pull through! Today he has been at home almost all of the time, been more sociable and has eaten some tuna about 5 times today. I hope the next time I post is good news!

Once again thanks for the blog and for personally responding to everyone! Its nice to come across a website where there are positive outcomes and not just people telling you there's no chance.

Shana

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Shana,

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! How is Henry doing now? You mentioned that he ate tuna 5 times (terrific!), and that he's been home most of the time. Since he's ill, I strongly recommend that you keep him indoors--even if he protests (which he probably will). You never know what might happen to him in his weakened condition. Besides, by having him inside you'll be able to keep your eyes on him, and it'll be easier to see how much he's eating.

I really and truly hope and pray that Henry recovers. Hoping to hear good news from you!

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the positive and negative stories. The positive stories kept my spirits up and the negative ones made me work hard and take this seriously. Our cat, Rocious, stopped eating when we went away for 7 days. We have gone away before so we don't know what made him go on a hunger strike this time, but he did. We noticed he lost a lot of weight and looked dehydrated so we starting forcing him to drink water and thought now that we are home things will go back to normal. He continued to not eat so after a few days we took him to the vet. They said he was just a little dehydrated, gave him some valium and said he should be fine. He still didn't start to eat so we took him back to the vet and he said his liver has shut down. He gave us Hill's Science a/d formula food and had us force feed him this to try to kick start his liver. It was heartbreaking because Rocious looked next to death. He is a longhair domestic and you could still see his skeleton. He didn't like being force fed and I kept wondering who we were doing this for, Us or Him. After about 5 days he started purring when I was feeding him, which gave me some hope. He did vomit occasionally, but I kept force feeding him EVERY THREE HOURS, even getting up in the middle of the night. (BTW I have a three year old and a 7 month old daughter too! So anyone can do it!) The easiest way I found to feed him was by mixing the Hill's science a/d formula with Pedialyte to thin it out and then putting it in a syringe and squirting it to the back of his throat. Adding the pedialyte helps hydrate and has tons of electrolytes compared to plain water. After about two weeks he started drinking water himself and coming out of the bedroom, but still wouldn't eat. I kept feeding him, but not as often, about every five to six hours, but giving him a little more food in each feeding. He soon began behaving completely normal except for not eating on his own, which was very discouraging to me because I was becoming tired of hand feeding every mouth in the house! We finally decided to go get several kinds of cat food, dry and wet and put them out. He picked one and started eating it!!!! He has been fine ever since and it has been a month so far! Ultimately I ended up force feeding him for 3 1/2 weeks, but it was well worth it to have our wonderful cat back. He acts like a kitten again even though he is 8 years old! The MOST IMPORTANT THING is to feed them every 3 hours at the beginning. If I can do it with two little children anyone can. Your cat will love you for it. So keep your heads up and keep trying! Thank you all so much for the positive comments! Rocious thanks you for his second life too!

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi,

What a wonderfully inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it with us! I am soooo happy for you and Rocious. He is very lucky that you are so dedicated and loving. So many people would've just given up. Like you say, if you can do it while taking care of a 7-month old baby and a 3-year old child, then anyone can. No excuses. Thanks also for your tip about what to feed the cat.

Please say "meow" to Rocious for me.

Cheryl

kamagra said...

Good information. Josie is getting older (14)so I'm more careful about what I feed her .. that's ususally not been a problem with her though. I'll remember the bonita flakes .. she had an infection a few years ago and stopped eating .. I knew there was something seriously wrong with her then ..
kamagra

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Bonnie,

I hope that Josie is eating well now. Yes, bonito flakes are great. I've discovered that some cats don't particularly care for them. Like my neighbor's cat.

Mittens now loves Live-a-Littles freeze dried chicken treats. They're 100% protein, which is good for cats.

You can try different treats to see what Josie really likes.

Cheryl

Cheryl

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dar said...

Hi Cheryl: My beautiful baby Growlys has what the vets think my be fatty liver. She has had blood work, x-rays and an ultra sound and they are still not sure what caused her appetite to go. We are force feeding her Medi-cal Dry food for kidney/liver. She looks really perky for the most part and does drink on her own. We do watch and if need give subcanteous fluids. She seems to vomit every four days which has some bile in it. Is this something that fatty liver kittys do. I can understand them needing to get that awful bile build up out of their tummy's. the vet has her on Zentonil, Metronidazole and a amino b-plex nutritive formula. I was just curious how long it took some of you to see the jaundice disappear and if the vomitting is normal. I'd really appreciate the input from the pet owners who have gone through this with their pets. Thanks ~dar~

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Dar,

Sorry I didn't respond immediately. I was trying to get in touch with a friend who is a vet. She was on vacation. Anyway, according to her every case is so different that it's really hard for her to comment on what may be going on with your cat. Seems that she has fatty liver disease because she's not eating. But you don't know why she's stopped eating. How the course of the illness runs--and how long--can be quite different depending on the underlying cause. The best thing to do is to continue seeing the vet and feeding your kitty as much as possible. I wish I could tell you more! I understand how distraught you must be. I'm sending you and Growly good thoughts. Wish her a speedy recovery. And please let me know how she's doing.
Good luck! Cheryl

Anonymous said...

To all those pet owners who are facing hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) with their feline family members... THERE IS HOPE!! Do not let a vet tell you it's best to put your furry friend to sleep.

My 4 yr. old cat, Zoe, stopped eating in August when I started back to school (I'm a teacher). I didn't realize it right away because she is somewhat "anti-social" (as my husband puts it) and likes to find nice cozy places to hide. When I realized I hadn't seen her much and the food dish was retaining more food than normal (I have 2 cats), I went on a hunt for her. I found her hiding behind our stereo speakers (a new place) and picked her up.

To my shock, she was as light as a feather. Zoe had always been rather plump (13+ lbs). I took her to the vet and found her to be a mere 7 lbs! It broke my heart that I hadn't been paying closer attention to her when I learned she was in liver failure. The vet kept Zoe overnight to administer fluids & observe her.

The next day, the vet called wanting to insert a feeding tube. I did not have the money for such a procedure and asked if there was anything else I could do. Of course, syringe feeding was an option but not one my vet favored. When I picked Zoe up, I was went home with Hill's A/D but no instructions on how much or how often. I was so distraught, it didn't occur to me to even ask. I mean I had never dealt with nursing a sick animal so I didn't even know what questions TO ask...

After 2 and 1/2 weeks of syringe feeding Zoe 40 ccs a day (4 feedings of 10 ccs each), she seemed to be getting worse not better. She vomitted A LOT and quit going to the bathroom all together. I thought for sure she was days from dying.

So I called the vet's office and got her in with the other vet on staff. Come to find out, Zoe was dehydrated (again). I also found out that Zoe required 90-120 ccs of food a day! I was not doing her justice at all! In fact, I was essentially starving her just as well. I felt terrible :(

It has been 1 week and 1 day since the other vet saw Zoe. She has been using the litter box daily, is well hydrated, and taking in at least 90 ccs a day (sometimes more). In fact, I can feed her 30 ccs in about 10 mintues now when it used to take 30+ minutes to get just 10 ccs in her.

Even though this is good news, there is more! Most of the jundice is gone from her ears with just a tinge remaining in the whites of her eyes. And yesterday she rubbed her face on my kitchen cupboard (essentially "claiming" it), meowed at me (it had been well over a month maybe 2 since I heard her voice), and ate some food on her own! She is more visible in the household and appears to be more like herself again (minus the extra lbs, of course!).

I'm going to call the vet today as I would like to see if she's gained any weight yet. Until she does, I will continue to feed her by syringe so I know she is getting the nutrion she needs.

Feline hepatic lipidosis DOES NOT have to be a death sentence for your cat. I'm sure that with persistance and no underlying disease, your furry friend can make a full recovery. You have to be viligent with feedings!! At least 90-120 ccs per day!! Even in the middle of the night!! Do not miss any!! And make sure above all else that you at least give your cat this chance (it has taken us every bit of 4 weeks to even see any improvement) before deciding on the "alternative".

Best of luck to all who are battling this disease!!
Jenny

Anonymous said...

I feel for everyone going thru this. I just lost my 9 year old best friend to fatty liver. I have learned a lot since both My girlfriend and I started syringe feeding. We battled his liver for almost 2 months. We were giving him subcutaneous fluids, vet prescribed meds, and force feeding. What I have to say is this: if your kitty has been diagnosed with fatty liver I urge you!! GET A FEEDING TUBE RIGHT THIS MINUTE! Don't put it off, don't hope everything will work out. Stop searching the internet for new ways to syringe feed. GET A FEEDING TUBE NOW! Your precious kitty needs more calories than he/she would normally need! you need to get his/her liver to stop using the kitty's own fat. It's my mistake that I thought we could get enough calories in him. DON"T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE WE DID! GET A FEEDING TUBE!

Cheryl Chow said...

Thank you so much for this warning! I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. I think I made the same mistake with my previous cat. The vet even told me that I shouldn't get a feeding tube for her. I wish I had not listened to him.

Cheryl

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Jenny,

I'm sorry I didn't see your comment till today! Somehow the blog comments were not reaching my email account. I think that's fixed.
Anyway, what great news about Zoe!!! What a turnaround! That is super, and what a great encouragement for anyone whose cat has fatty liver disease! Thank you very much for sharing your story
Cheryl

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Nan Bezanson said...

My 2 year old cat recently became very thin and after carefully observing him we realized he wasn't eating or drinking. I tried changing to soft food and different kinds and he would seem excited then loose interest. We had a stool sample tested and ruled out worms and such. I noticed Diego's urine was bright yellow as well as around his eyes and mouth, so I googled' jaundice in cats' and stumbled on your blog as well as a few others. I began force hydrating Diego and feeding him anything he would eat from baby food, to raw fish, scallops, burger, sardines in oil. He seemed to be doing better, but not quick enough for me. I am thinking a trip to the vet will help rule out possible causes, such as an oral problem. We got a new puppy last spring and I've read where this also could be the cause of Diego's failure to thrive (although we also have another dog and cat). I will let you know how it goes :(
Nan

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Nan,

You should definitely take Diego to the vet. There could be so many different reasons why he's not eating or drinking.

Please do let us know what happens.

Good luck!

Take care,

Cheryl

Nan Bezanson said...

Hello, The Vet visit last Thur left us feeling less than hopeful. She said Diego is VERY sick and that she probably could not get blood to do tests at this point. So he is home and we continue to try. She did give me an anti-biotic to try 2X daily. I am force hydrating with pedialiyte and he still eats on his own - It's just a matter of finding something that appeals to him. Live shiners are working real well (as well as the water the shiners live in), babyfood ( sometimes), Rotisserie chicken, sardine oil are some successes. He has olive leaf drops & milk thistle a few times a day too. Today, I wouldn't say he's gaining, yesterday I was hopeful. But he is content sleeping by the woodstove and purrs when you show love. I will keep you posted, maybe, just maybe he'll pull through.
Nan

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Nan,

Thanks very much for the update. I'm so sorry to hear that the vet says Diego is very sick, too sick to get blood for testing. But still, it's hopeful that you can at least get him to eat. What you're doing for him is wonderful. I really, really, really hope that he pulls through!

Please keep us posted.

My thoughts are with you and Diego.

Cheryl

Cat food said...

The main treatment for this condition is dietary. Your cat's protein needs will need to be met immediately to reverse the state of starvation. If your cat is not willing to eat a sufficient amount of food on its own, you will need to force feed the cat, either by placing the food at a place in its mouth where it is forced to swallow, or through a syringe or tube that is placed further down in the esophagus.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

My husband and I have a feisty, spirited, beautiful and sweet little Calico-Tortie named Numa, she's 2 and half years old. We adopted her from a shelter less than 2 years ago and just love her to pieces! A few months ago we moved into my husband's sister's house as she is going through a divorce and struggling financially. The house is very large but there were already 5 resident cats and we ourselves already had 3 who get along very well. We figured that with so much space and a large yard (our cats had always been indoors and we knew they'd love a large enclosed backyard), the high feline population wouldn't be too big a problem. At first we were right, it was Summer and our cats were outside constantly and Numa would climb the trees and chase birds. She had so much energy! But then when the weather changed and all the cats became mostly house-bound, Numa must have stopped eating and drinking. I'd noticed she was more mellow, unlike her usual feisty calico self, but I thought she was moving out of her teenage years and mellowing a little like most cats do. She'd sleep next to me all day while I worked (I work from home as a computer programmer) and would purr and knead and seemed totally happy. But a couple weeks ago I noticed she was suddenly not a rather-fat-cat anymore, I could see her shoulder bones and her coat wasn't as shiny, and she was much lighter weight. She'd also started sleeping ALL day. But I think the scariest thing was that she stopped talking. She had always been a constant chatterer and would yell at you in the sweetest little meow until you followed her and pet her while she ate. She pretty much yelled at us and demanded things most of the time and now suddenly she is almost mute.

So, we took her in to the vet who checked her vitals and got some samples. She wouldn't get the results for a couple days so in the mean time she suggested in case it was behavior-related to use a Feliway diffuser, which we did. Two days later the vet called and explained that she was fairly certain Numa had Fatty Liver disease. She gave us an IV bag, special food and showed us how to force-feed and give fluids.
I've had to force-feed before and do the fluids for another cat who eventually passed away from hepatitis, it wasn't easy but I nursed her back for another decent year of life. But Numa is nearly impossible! We just couldn't get enough food in her as she'd spit it out all over herself or vomit. She lets out the most heart-breaking growling/pleading/moaning the second we pick her up.

So yesterday we took her to a specialist who our vet recommended. So far he's been fantastic. Unlike our regular vet he said we HAD TO get a feeding tube and that since we work from home it shouldn't be any problem at all for us to deal with. He also did an ultrasound and needle aspiration to confirm the fatty liver diagnosis, which he indeed confirmed. So she's home tonight with the tube, which makes the whole feeding/fluid part A LOT easier but she's still growling the second we grab her and that's disconcerting to me. Is that normal? She basically sort of nods off wherever in the room and then when we get her to feed her she growls/yowls/pleads/moans the whole time. Anyway, I just wanted to share Numa's story so far and ask if the growling is normal at this point. Thanks for your help :) Shelly

Anonymous said...

Here's an update on Numa:

We're on day 2 with the feeding tube and things are going much better! We did have to take her to the vet after-hours last night because we thought there was a clog in the tube. But, it turned out we weren't fitting the tube far enough over the syringe nozzle and therefore no vacuum to keep the food and fluids going down was being created. Basic physics and common sense seem to have eluded us during all the stress!

Anyway, I also read a post from another forum that recommended feeding the cat at eye-level and not holding her down. So we tried this later last night and it was like a miracle: no growling, struggling, pleading, etc. We've done it 3 times now with total success, we put her on the sofa, I sit on the floor in front of her (basically eye-level) and she just sits/lays and lets me feed her without any struggle whatsoever.

She's still very weak but seems to be perking up. I'll keep posting updates as they come.

Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to post their stories and advice, I don't know how we'd be dealing with all this otherwise. It's so easy to feel hopeless and alone with all this. So to anyone who's starting the process of bringing their kitty back to health, don't give up - there is hope and lots of good help out there! :) - Shelly & Chris

Cheryl Chow said...

Hi Shelly,

Thanks for sharing your story. I really feel for poor Numa.

I'm not a vet and I don't know if it's normal for her to be growling or not. My layman's guess is that she doesn't like being force fed and therefore protests in anticipation of what you're going to do. I'd think that it's a normal reaction.

At any rate, whether Numa likes it or not, I think it's a good idea to try force feeding at this point. Hopefully she'll soon resume eating on her own. And once things are back to normal, she should stop growing.

Please let me know how things go! I can check with a friend who is a vet about your concerns.

Take care,

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Taj, my 7 year old friend, didn't get up to greet me when I returned from an overnight visit. She didn't get up when I coaxed her. I checked and saw that her food was untouched. I have seen these symptoms before in my 2 other cats, but they were much older- 15. I feared the worst, end stage liver or kidney failure and decided against spending thousands of dollars for her to spend her last time in a cage at the vet getting tested. But I decided I had to give my little friend a chance. 4 hour$ at the ER. Hydration, blood draw, and a urine test. The antibiotic convenia was injected before any test results because the vet somehow mistakenly thought I told her Taj was peeing and drinking all the time instead of not at all.
I was never told of the possibility of fatty liver disease and the importance of food intake. Filled with hopeless despair when no cause from the test results could explain her symptoms, I gave up and prepared for my friend's death. I don't know what happened but I decided, no, not without a fight. Decided to force feed and hydrate at home. With little encouragement and no directions from the vet, and Taj hiding in the deep recess of my attic ( I had to cut open part of a wall because I'm too old...) She hated it but was so weak she couldn't claw or bite. 4 days of this, basically igorant and uninformed (me), my friend tasted some food and took a small sip. Later that day she regained her appetite. Still not drinking much, certainly not close to a cup per day. I can't believe it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my entry about Taj needs correcting. She did not eat or drink for 2 days before I decided to take her to the ER. I am still unsure about how long one should wait when kitty won't eat and I don't know anyone who closely monitors fluid intake unless a behavior change is noted. Through this I have learned how lucky I am to have shared some time with this beautiful creature. Thank you for sharing all your experience.

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http://www.bestquicktips.com/fatty_liver

Hope it helps and keep up the good work!