Suggestions for hand feeding moist cat food to sick cat.

linnea56March 7, 2014

My sick cat is being force fed. I have special high nutrition food which is very soft, like baby food. The vet gave me a syringe to use for the moist cat food, but it doesn't work. I sawed off the tip to make it wider (~ 4 mm, which meant cutting off the whole tip), but it still can't suck up the food very well. Though soft, it's not velvety smooth like baby food.

I've been using a popsicle stick, and have to scoop up a pea sized lump, pry open her mouth, and scrape it off on her tongue or teeth. It takes a very long time to get enough into her. She doesn't actually resist (A previous cat did, and there is quite a difference), but it's not like she listens to "open wide".

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Puree the food in a kitchen blender with a very small amount of hot water. You want to get it JUST thin enough to pass through the syringe tip. If you get it too thin, however, it'll be much more messy to feed, and your cat will run a higher risk of aspirating it into her lungs (NOT good!). Keep it as thick as possible, while still syringeable.

Make sure you dribble the food slowly ACROSS her mid-tongue to give her time to position it properly for swallowing. DO NOT shoot it toward the back of her mouth. And give her time to swallow between food dribbles.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 8:36AM
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I second what Laurel said. I used a stick blender to puree cat food with water and used the syringe. I wrapped a towel around her neck to serve as a bib to protect her long mane.

Sorry you're going through this. I hope she feels better soon.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 2:43PM
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You say it can't "suck up the food very well." Are you trying to aspirate the food into the syringe? Suggest - remove the plunger and spoon it in the wide end.

Also warming the food in a microwave may make it more pliable.

If the popsicle stick works, I might stay with that. Kitty may get used to it and it will go faster.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 3:02PM
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We had the best results with one of us holding him and one putting a small amount of the food on a finger and putting it behind the front teeth.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 4:07PM
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Thanks for the ideas. The plunger is not removable. I'll try the stick blender.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 5:36PM
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Yes, I've seen a few of those syringes with plungers that are not easily removed. No idea why they sell them.

For most syringes the plunger is easily removed. If you can't find one at the petstore, ask your vet for one. Best is without the leur-lok tip. They are cheap, your vet should give you one without any charge.

I find the 12-20 mL easiest to use.

This post was edited by mdln on Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 18:08

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 5:57PM
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The one my vet gave me is the one with the non removable plunger. Perhaps the theory is you can't re-use it? It does have that leur-lock tip too. I Hadn't known what that was called. I found one I had left over from the last cat, that it least has a plain tip that I could saw off, though the plunger does not come out either. Both are pretty thin.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 6:23PM
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The no-ring 30cc catheter tip (which have a longer tip) and no-ring 10cc syringes available at the following link are my favorite syringes to use for syringe feeding. The rubber o-ring in most syringes tends to get "sticky" after a while and results in spurts of food instead of a steady, slow stream of food. The no-ring syringes available at the link below have no rubber o-ring, so they keep giving a smooth, steady stream of food indefinitely ... plus they're easier to keep clean. Oh, and the plungers are removable. I love them!


Here is a link that might be useful: no-ring feeding syringes

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 6:36PM
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