Return to the Pets Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Would you syringe feed?

Posted by petra (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 3, 12 at 20:28

One of our kitties (she's 18 or 19) lost a whole bunch of weight over a short period of time. She is skin and bones. She had a full blood test, metabolic panel, thyroid test and urine analysis done. All came back normal. There aren't any palpable lumps anywhere. Her temperature is not elevated. She is drinking, but only licking a bit of food and definitely not taking in enough calories.

The vet gave her antibios because she has sneezed a few times, and she also sent me home with 4 B12 shots, of which I've given her 1, and kidney diet, which she has no interest in. I have tried scores of different canned foods, she will lick at them a little, and that is it. She did eat a few bites of turkey cold cut and brisket, but not much. She is not interested in baby food either.

I started syringe feeding her yesterday and she has kept all the food down, but she still has no interest in eating on her own. I am wondering how long I should do this. She hates it and I don't want to make her miserable if her time is short. If anyone has been in a similar situation, how long did you keep it up?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I didn't. My beloved siamese/tabby mix began losing weight, and went off her food. The doc could palpate what he said were very enlarged kidneys. She was also about nineteen, and knowing she was in renal failure, had her put down on the spot before I could second guess my decision. In my case, she presented toxic and miserable and I knew anything I did, like start sub-Q fluids would simply delay the inevitable. I wouldn't want to live like that, so I'm not going to subject my precious cat to something I wouldn't do.

However, you sound as if your cat had no diagnosis. Was he/she just covering bases with the kidney diet? Or was renal failure mentioned. What would I do? Well, if your cats condition doesn't spontaneously resolve, she is at least drinking. If she is not eating, I doubt if she is hungry. I suppose at that rate, she'll just fade. It's so sad our animals can't just talk, or in some way give us a sign when their time comes, before they suffer. It's a horribly hard decision, and I'm sorry for your situation. It's a decision only you can make, and all you can do is the best you can do to reach it.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I've given water that way to 2 cats before but not food. I'd do it to help an animal that I thought had a good chance of recovery, but at this age you may be prolonging the inevitable.

I wonder if there's something brewing, tho it sounds like she had a clean physical. I understand you not wanting to make her life miserable. I'd try to keep feeding her for at least a week or more after she gets her last B12 shots, she could still perk up. It depends on how she's doing, is she comfortable, are you wrestling her to feed her, do you have time to do this multiple times a day,etc.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Calliope, the kidney values and size were normal, but the vet said there was a bit of protein in the urine and at her age, she is likely to have decreased kidney function, so the kidney diet couldn't hurt and might entice her to eat since the manufacturers usually try to make it tasty. She definitely is not in renal failure. No vomiting or diarrhea either. She is sneezing from time to time, but not so congested that it would keep her from smelling the food and put her off eating. Plus, the sneezing is a new development, the weigh loss was first.

Jo, that is what I am wondering, if I should torment her with syringe feeding if recovery looks iffy. There has to be a reason for the weight loss and physical decline. The vet said she might have some sort of cancer which is not palpable by physical exam. I guess I will try this weekend and if she is not better by next week, it might be time.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I would feed her whatever she'll eat at this point. The pate type cat food, or even puree her regular food.

Did the vet eliminate teeth problems?

So sorry this is happening.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

One of my cats, at 15, developed a cold. Even tho I took her to the vet and she was on meds, she stopped eating. She then developed Fatty Liver Syndrome. I learned then that a cat should never go more than two days w/o eating. At that time, I was given the option of feeding her that way, and did for a little while, but she, too, hated it. Later, the vet wanted to implant a tube directly into her stomach. I was torn and turned to the net to read about experiences that people had with this procedure. They almost unanimously said that they regretted having done it, so that made up my mind. I tried for a little while longer to get her to eat naturally, but when she wouldn't and really started to fade, I had her put to sleep. It's a difficult decision that only you can make; and this happened to many years ago, so no doubt procedures have improved. I wish you and your kitty well.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Petra, I would ask the vet for a stomach protectant, it's like a liquid antacid. She may be in the early stages of kidney problems and that's why they lose their appetite because the tummy gets sore, and if that works then it's being caused by a bit of stomach inflammation which kills the appetite, however once the stomach is settled the appetite returns. I think at her age it is worth a try and can really turn an animal around in regards to eating.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

She doesn't seem to have any dental problems and I don't think it's a sore stomach, she doesn't lick her lips like she is nauseous and she isn't vomiting. She is sneezing though and the antibios are not helping. My husband thinks it's just old age and her system is breaking down to where she can't fight anything off any more. Or the vet might be right that it's some sort of intestinal/digestive tract lymphoma which cannot be palpated. I gave her another b12 shot, some liquid vitamins, fish oil, and will syringe her again later. But I really don't hold out much hope and it makes me sick to even think about, but unless she improves by Monday, I think it might be kinder to help her pass on.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Well, she actually ate a couple small pieces of mackerel on her own!! I am still not very optimistic, but that has to mean she is improving a little, right??


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I'm so sorry your kitty is not well.

I have force fed with 2 cats for different reasons. After my kidney cat had dental done and lost so many teeth, she struggled and would not eat, so we decided to force feed her, which got her over the hump. I had always said I wouldn't force feed, but it's one of those things that you do what feels right at that moment in time.

With her I ground up minute oats in the blender (baby cereal is recommended, but I didn't have any on hand) until powdered, then added boiling water to make a paste-- mixed that about half and half with baby food, adding water to consistency. With this, you can make it a thicker consistency and then form it into little pea sized balls, which you smoosh on the roof of their mouth not too far behind their front teeth. It is easier on them and they don't feel like they are choking.

With my boy, I syringe fed him the RX AD diet(?) for just a day or two to see if he rallied. He did not and I could not foresee doing it any longer than that. He was worn out.

I just lost my kidney girl a few months ago and never did force feed her at the end. We knew she was going and her ceasing to eat was the sign we were looking for. For the last week of her life, we fed her ANYTHING she would eat. DH bought all sorts of awful smelling canned fish and fed it to her (herring filets, sardines, etc)- she was loving that. I also cooked up boneless skinless chicken breast with a little bit of water and a chicken bullion cube, then pureed it to consistency in the food processor, adding the bullion/cooking water as needed to make a good paste. She would never eat cooked chicken until I added the bullion. Not good for her with the sodium, but we were unconcerned with health food at that time, and since we knew we were only buying time, it was more important that she ate something.

I'm sorry things are not looking great. Do what you can for her quality and comfort. Take it one day (or one hour) at a time and you'll know what's right. If you want to force feed, try it and see how she reacts, IME you will know soon if it is worth the effort. (((HUGS)))


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Thanks for the suggestion, Quasi. I am sorry you lost your two. I can understand why you gave up with your boy kitty, it is hard on them and if you don't see any type of improvement, there is no use to force them. Sometimes I wonder if some of the ways we keep them alive are the wrong thing to do.

Minnie ate some more on her own, I offered her 3 different types of canned food this evening instead of force-feeding, and she actually ate some of each. Not enough, but better than yesterday and the day before. Will still syringe her tonight since I don't think she ate enough, but it seems like her appetite is coming back a bit and if so, we may not have to syringe tomorrow. I am really hoping she will recover, at least for a while, but I suppose at her age that's unlikely.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Try Wellness Turkey Formula. It was the only pate our kitty would eat when he was declining at age 14, besides AD from the vet, which I think he got sick of. I knew he wanted to eat because he'd lick his food and would eat all the gravy from Avoderm Chicken Chunks.

I preferred finger feeding over syringe feeding. One of us held him on our lap, no restraint with a towel (tried that and it was traumatic and a mess) while the other put a little food on our finger. Open her mouth with one hand and then put the food right behind her front teeth. It's slow going and you might only get a few teaspoons in before she loses her patience.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

May, thanks for the food tip. I didn't have to syringe feed tonight after all, she really dug into the Turkey and Liver Stew. We'll take it day by day, but I will pick up some of the Wellness food. I think (hope) the more variety I offer her, the more she might want to keep eating.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Another thing I just remembered--when Toby was losing interest in food last fall but still well enough to go out on our deck, we put his food outside and he ate it. When winter came, we tried putting his food near the sliders to the deck. He'd run to the dish and eat. I don't know what it was about the change of location, but it did get him to show more interest in his food.

He sometimes made a grinding sound when chewing, so I'm convinced he had some dental issues, even though his vet said no. We switched him to pate, but didn't discover the Wellness Turkey Formula until he was down to 8 pounds. We threw away a lot of cat food! He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and kidney failure in January and was gone April 5. I'm just now able to think and talk about him without choking up.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I am sorry about Toby. It is so very hard to lose them.

Minnie does not go outside, she just wants to stay in my office. She has always been a bit difficult, she was abused and we got her from a cat rescue. She hates other cats, bites when she gets upset, etc. But we've seen her through a stretch of diabetes (caused by steroid shots for her asthma), I pill her regularly for her asthma, and try to take care of her as well as possible. I did syringe her again this morning because she just licked the gravy off the food I offered her. We'll see how things are tomorrow

Our critters range in age from 3 - 19. Out of the old ones, we have another one who is almost 19, with declining kidney function, and one who is almost 16 and has just been diagnosed with diabetes, and a 16 year old who has had a chronic URI for years now and is in decline, and a 14 year old dog with Cushings. It's sort of like a nursing home/hospital around here.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

It's not funny, but my vet actually told me a few years ago I was running a geriatric home for animals. I had a sixteen year old dog, we kept alive out of willpower (his and ours), four cats of my own and also my mother's cat I inherited after Mama passed away. The youngest was nine, the oldest was nineteen. One was an amputee, one was in renal failure, one had cancer, one had a megacolon and also cancer I had to give enemas to as it was the only way he could evacuate, one had feleuk. IOW there was something to be done medically on a continual basis. They all passed away in one year's time one after the other. It was so devastating, I was numb, and my wonderful, wonderful and kind vet when he put the last one down couldn't even bring himself to say words, I think he just had to excuse himself after it was over and leave the room.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

'It's sort of like a nursing home/hospital around here.'
'my vet actually told me a few years ago I was running a geriatric home for animals'

(man I wish there was a quote app on ths.com)

Lol, been there! I'm glad she's eating, hopefully she'll improve. You'll have to go day-by-day now I bet.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Calliope, I think caregiver's shock sets in when you've spent so much time and energy nursing everyone and then, they are all gone. Currently, there are daily meds for several, vitamin supplements, syringes, etc. Once they've passed on, it will be very strange.

Jo, day by day is the right assessment. She is doing okay today, moving around and eating a bit on her own. I gave her a heating pad over a week ago since I thought it might be kinda chilly for her with the air conditioner, she seems to enjoy that a lot.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I would not and have not when it came down to that for my very old, chronically ill kitties. I've tried it and in my opinion it's torture for the cat. That's not how I want them to remember their last days. Were it a younger cat that had a condition they would recover from to go on to a long and happy life, I might consider it.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

We lost her yesterday afternoon, she was declining fast and it was kinder to help her go gently. I am a blubbery mess, but I know it was the right thing to do.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Oh dear, I'm so sorry petra. You did the right thing although it was hard for you, it was best for her not to suffer. ((((petra)))


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Oh Petra, I could tell from all of your posts that she was in such loving hands. My condolences to you at this very difficult time. ((((Petra))))


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

So very sorry Petra, you did what you could. She's no longer in pain.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I'm so sorry, Petra. My deepest condolences.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

I'm sorry to hear this. I've been checking back to see how she was doing. You took good care of her.


 o
RE: Would you syringe feed?

Many thanks to all of you for thinking of us, I really appreciate it. I miss her, but I know helping her was the right thing to do. She really deteriorated within a few hours. I think initially, the syringe feeding and b12 shots did help her for a few days because she started eating on her own again and was stronger, so I am glad I did that. I sure hope all of our other old ones hang on for good long time.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Pets Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here