Feline Hepatic Lipidosis: Fatty Liver Disease in Cats

yellow cat

Hepatic lipidosis, more commonly known as fatty liver disesae, is the most fequently seen form of severe liver disease in cats. The liver has many complex functions, including the production of chemicals necessary for digestion and the detoxification of the body. It also plays an important role in metabolism. Because of its vital importance, the body has no way of compensating when the liver fails.

Causes

While hepatic lipidosis is considered idiopathic, which means that the cause is not known, it is almost always preceded by anorexia, a cat’s nearly total avoidance of food. When a body is undernourished or starved, it starts to metabolize its own fat reserves for energy. Cat’s bodies are not able to convert large stores of fat. When a cat is in starvation mode, the fat that is released to the liver is not processed efficiently and is simply stored there, leading to a fatty and low functioning liver.

Hepatic lipidosis is usually a secondary cause of an underlying or already present condition such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, kidney disease, or another type of liver problem. Cats who are already overweight are more prone to this condition than normal weight cats.

Symptoms

  • Anorexia. A previously healthy cats stops eating. Whenever a cat goes for more than 24-48 hours without food, this is cause for concern.
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • In the latter stages, yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucuos membranes

Diagnosis

Diagnostics will include a complete blood count, blood chemistry and urinalysis. Typically, blood test will show an elevation of liver enzymes and bilirubin, and may also reveal abnormally sized red blood cells. High levels of bilirubin may also be present in the cat’s urine. X-rays and ultrasound may show an enlargement of the liver. Your vet may also want to obtain biopsies of liver tissue.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to nourish the cat immediately by giving IV fluids, vitamins and concentrated nutrition. The cat may initially be hospitalized for a few days. While syringe feeding may be possible, in most cases, cats require a feeding tube. While many cat guardians balk at the idea of a stomach tube, it is usually a better solution than force-feeding via syrings, especially since in most cases, force feeding will need to continue for a period of 3-6 weeks, even once the cat is recovering at home. Lisa Pierson, DVM has an excellent article on Feeding Tube for Cats on her website.

At the same time, it is also critical that the underlying cause of the hepatic lipidosis is identified, so appropriate treatment can be initiated without delay.

Prognosis

If diagnosed early, and if the cat survives the first few days of aggressive treatment, the prognosis for a full recovery is excellent. If left untreated, the condition is fatal. The good news is that most cats who survive an episode of hepatic lipidosis usually don’t have a relapse.

Photo by Enid Yu, Flickr Creative Commons

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49 Comments on Feline Hepatic Lipidosis: Fatty Liver Disease in Cats

  1. Chieko
    October 19, 2016 at 10:46 am (3 months ago)

    Hi, I would like to share my story.One morning, Mimi opened her mouth in front of me when I was about to give her a kiss. I was shocked to see that her mouth was a little bit yellow. I knew from my previous cat that it had to be her liver.She was eating and drinking but she did lost a lot of weight in the past. I was actually starting feeling happy that she did regained her appetite. I didn’t know that she was getting sick. I was very desperate because I had many vet in the past that almost didn’t want to deal with her. She has a very aggressive behavior and labeled as “not manageable ” cat. Every time they had to gas her. I really didn’t want to take to the vet without being sure that they would willing to look at her. LuckilyI found a vet that cures just cats. I took her and she didn’t got surprised about her really defensive attitude(Mimi wanted to kill the vet!)Unfortunately she told me that they couldn’t cure her there because she would not let them. And told me that if I could be able to give the medications(just pills) she could have a small chance to survive.I think Mimi felt my desperation and she tolerate the force feeding and the pills. Next week she has a check up to see if she is getting better. I know that she does because today she ate by herself. The process of force feeding and medications were really horrible. But it did work. I was feeling so frustrated to put all that food on her mouth, and chasing her all around to try to feed her more.But I tell you. I think and hope that this will save her life.I bought her a water fountain that really improved her water intake. So,this is a long story. But if you have a cat like mine, that really can’t be hospitalize there is hope to heal her. Just a lot of love and positive attitude towards your baby, so she won’t feel your stress!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm (3 months ago)

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Chieko. You may want to consider a feeding tube if getting enough nutrition into Mimi continues to be an issue. It’s much less stressful for cat and human. Here’s more information: http://consciouscat.net/2015/06/08/feeding-tubes-save-lives/ All my best to both of you!

      Reply
      • Chieko
        October 21, 2016 at 9:14 am (3 months ago)

        Thank you for the support! Unfortunately the tube was not an option. I will take her to the vet for a recheck on Monday hoping that she is recovering.

        Reply
  2. Jennifer
    April 15, 2016 at 10:41 am (9 months ago)

    My cat is 14 years old and has a fatty liver. He is still eating some on his own, but not enough to sustain life. I have been feeding him by syringe. How much I give by syringe depends on how much he eats. He doesn’t fight me too much with the syringe feeding. He does drink water usually before, during, and after feeding. My question is, he has not had a bowel movement in a couple of days and the vet doesn’t find anything else wrong with him. There has been no changes in his environment. He is not making unnecessary trips to the litter box. He is still urinating the same amount as before he got sick. What can I give my cat to help him have a bowel movement? The vet said 1/8 teaspoon of miralax. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
      • Jennifer
        April 15, 2016 at 5:35 pm (9 months ago)

        I really don’t want to go the route of a feeding tube. I will definitely try the pumpkin. The vet said to give miralax. I am trying that first and if no bowel movement, then off to the vet he goes. I know it is only a matter of time, but I would rather keep him home that’s give him the additional stess of going to the vet.

        Reply
        • Jennifer
          April 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm (9 months ago)

          It is with a heavy heart that I inform you hat my beloved Maximus has crossed over the rainbow bridge this morning. Thank you Ingrid for your advice.

          Reply
  3. Amy
    November 27, 2015 at 5:21 am (1 year ago)

    Hello. My cat has gastritis. I took him to the vet after he did not eat for a full day (he loves to eat so this was a solid warning). He does not have fatty liver — blood work came back “beautiful” — but after two weeks of medicine (pepcid ac, antibiotics, cerenium for nausea, and carafe), he is eating again, but not eating as much as he did before he got sick. I am continuing the pepcid as I think he still has a lot of acid in his tummy which is making him not hungry. I am an anxious mama but trying to monitor his food intake is hard as he eats in bits throughout the day and he has a sister who will eat his food if she can. I can separate them, but it stresses them both out, so I only do it for short stints to monitor how much the sick one is eating. He has not lost weight. My question is…if he continues to not lose weight, is he eating enough to not get Fatty Liver? or do I need to force feed a certain number of calories? It is hard to know how much is “enough”. I feel like the volumes suggested on the cans are padded to sell more product. I will ask my vet this question too, but thought I would put it out there for others.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 27, 2015 at 7:15 am (1 year ago)

      It depends on whether your cat was overweight before he got sick – overweight cats are at greater risk for hepatic lipidosis if they stop eating. You may want to consider pursuing additional diagnostics with your vet if he doesn’t start eating normally.

      As for force feeding, that used to be an acceptable method to try to get nutrition into sick, but, as anyone who has ever tried to force feed a cat knows, it can be a miserable process for both cat and guardian. The volume of food needed requires multiple feedings of multiple syringes, and it is extremely challenging to meet the nutritional and hydration needs of a cat in this way. You may want to discuss a feeding tube with your vet if your kitty continues to eat poorly. I know it sounds daunting, but it’s a simple procedure, and most cats do well with the tube: http://consciouscat.net/2015/06/08/feeding-tubes-save-lives/ All my best to you and your kitty!

      Reply
  4. Sue Brandes
    April 29, 2015 at 1:58 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the info Ingrid. I don’t think I ever heard of this before. Sounds awful. Seems like so many have had it from seeing others comments.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 30, 2015 at 6:21 am (2 years ago)

      It is a very scary condition, Sue.

      Reply
    • Carol Anne
      April 30, 2015 at 6:58 am (2 years ago)

      I don’t know if I ever gave you guys an update. We were able to beat the Lipidosis with my Clawdia last year. But there was an underlying condition – a tumour in a blood vessel in her liver. The clinic where we were said we should operate to see what the tumour was… but since my regular vet said that cat livers are not to be operated on – it has no point, we saved the 2000 dollars they wanted and made her comfortable and enjoyed her last few weeks… But the lipidosis was cured. Although she was so yellow, the jaundice completely cleared up. I fed her boiled pureed chicken with organic pumpkin with a special tonic. Eventually she started eating it of her own free will. I miss her very much, but I wanted to at least give people hope, that if there isn’t some other underlying liver disease or sickness, you can bring them through, with patience and good food, and water. We had to do sub-cute injections with water for a couple of weeks too. It was so wonderful to see her play again and to see the yellow go away. 🙂 So, you can do it! 🙂 Hugs to you all.

      Reply
  5. Bec
    January 19, 2015 at 7:43 am (2 years ago)

    One if my 4 cats should be coming home tomorrow after almost 3 weeks at the vet. We’ve been told her prognosis isn’t very good but the vet has suggested we continue tube feeding her at home to see if being in a familiar, comfortable environment might make a difference. We have 3 other cats. Is it best to keep her completely separated in a spare room, have her in an extra large dog crate in the living room, or let her roam living room with the other cats by day then pop her away at night when we can’t monitor her?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 19, 2015 at 8:38 am (2 years ago)

      I’m not sure what you mean by tube feeding, Bec – I assume your cat has a gastric feeding tube? There’s no telling how your other cats react once she comes home. In addition to having been gone for a long time, she will also smell differently. You may need to keep her separate and re-introduce her slowly to your other cats.

      Reply
  6. Gina
    November 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm (2 years ago)

    My cat was diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis 1 week ago. I was lucky enough to have my grandmother as my vet so I did not end up with a crazy bill. Nico, my cat, was at the animal hospital for 11 days and was given IV fluids and was force fed. Unfortunately Nico wasn’t a candidate for a feeding tube because the chances of him passing away from sedation was too high. He finally came home today with hope that being in his own environment with my other cat would perk him up. I am optimistic that I’ll be able to help him and nurse him back to health, I’m just worried that I won’t pick up on signs both good and bad. Any behavior I should keep my eyes open to? I have noticed he’s a little spacey but I heard that was normal because of the toxins in his body.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 24, 2014 at 6:32 am (2 years ago)

      The most important thing is to monitor his food intake and make sure he doesn’t stop eating again, Gina. Also watch for any signs of lethargy and withdrawing. All my best to you and your kitty for a complete recovery!

      Reply
  7. Kim
    June 27, 2014 at 11:59 pm (3 years ago)

    Message for Sandra with sick kitty

    Reply
  8. Kim
    June 27, 2014 at 11:54 pm (3 years ago)

    My cat is successfully recovering from this.Tuna juice on very soft, wet canned cat meatwithno chunks. They’re to sick to pick it up. Only wet meat they can lick up. Small meals every 3 hours. This illness dehydrates them bad. Once dehydrated they can’t poop, so now you have compounding problems. The trick is to keep the cat hydrated all day every day with pedialite (no taste) in a syringe or subtaneous fluids until they can maintain hydration on their own. This could take 1 to 2 weeks. If you keep them ftom getting dehydrated and feed very wet juicy meat they will start to eaton their own. The vet can give you an appetite stimulant if needed as well as prednisone to reduce liver inflammation and a prescription for ursodial which helps the sick liver process the bile. Also, very important is one time per week a vitamin B injection from the vet. Then every two weeks. The shot makes a huge difference. Good luck.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 28, 2014 at 6:23 am (3 years ago)

      I’m glad your cat is recovering, Kim.

      Reply
  9. Heather
    January 4, 2014 at 11:31 pm (3 years ago)

    My mellow 10 yr. old cat was diagnosed with possible hepatic lipidosis two weeks ago. She wouldn’t eat or come out from under the bed and her skin turned bright yellow. Her liver was found to be swollen in an X-ray, but I can’t afford a biopsy, etc. Already I’ve spent 1000 USD!
    The vet gave her an IV and waited a day before inserting a feeding tube. I am feeding her Hills Prescription Diet a/d Critical Care and adding milk thistle, and some vitamins, along with antibiotics. After three days her mood improved and after the first week she became interested in food again but won’t eat by herself yet. She is gaining weight and the yellow skin color has dissipated a little. I think she became depressed when we got a new dog and winter set in-we got her a cat tree after diagnosis and let her know she’s still important. The dog had taken over her couch, but now she’s taken her spot back and the dog has let her be. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a full recovery.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 5, 2014 at 6:58 am (3 years ago)

      I’m sorry about your cat, Heather. It sounds like she’s on her way to recovery – all my best to her!

      Reply
      • Carol Anne
        January 5, 2014 at 7:37 am (3 years ago)

        It sounds like you are doing great, Heather. We were able to beat our cat’s Hepatic Lipidosis, but the underlying problem was something else. In 6 weeks of assisted feeding and giving additional water by mouth, the jaundice went almost completely away. Sadly, there was a shadow on her ultrasound from the beginning, that they were not able to “classify or identify”. It was small at the time, and they weren’t sure they could have gotten it in a sample, even if we had been able to afford a biopsy. At the time, our cat was not healthy enough to undergo a biopsy. Sadly, she passed away Saturday morning. It was so sudden, we had just enough time to call the vet to say we were coming and then again right away to say we weren’t coming… BUT the point is, when there is no other underlying illness, we are able to beat the Hepatitic Lipidosis by attentive feeding and fluids. And she eventually did start to beg for those lovely dehydrated chicken breast snacks… and she ate low fat yogurt willingly too, and cooked chicken breast and pumpkin. I pureed this and was giving it with a syringe in her mouth, and she started licking the drops off my fingers of her own free will, and then lapping it up. I added a sugar free cat vitamin tonic and froze it in portions. Our cat would not eat the Hill’s a/d after being force fed it at the clinic, so I had to think of an alternative. Many people feel that when they have smelled a food when they are sick, that they won’t eat it again… so maybe you need to find something else for her to try herself. Ours just had to smell it from a distance and she would get very upset. But the chicken and pumpkin I made myself, she enjoyed, or she wouldn’t have opened her mouth everytime I said, “Breakfast!” I hope your kitty continues to do so well, and makes an excellent recovery.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          January 5, 2014 at 10:27 am (3 years ago)

          Oh Carol Anne, I’m so sorry you lost your kitty. It sounded like she was doing so well.

          Reply
          • Carol Anne
            January 5, 2014 at 11:27 am (3 years ago)

            Thank you Ingrid… We really thought she was going to make it. The jaundice had gotten so much better, and she was waking me in the night to eat dehydrated chicken breast pieces. She was also well hydrated, and she insisted on coming downstairs on New Year’s to meet all the guests, and laid by the wood stove and let a little girl pet her for 20 minutes… She sat under the Christmas tree and she stole the nicest piece of ribbon from my sewing box and played. We kind of ignored that shadow on her ultrasound, because we know that tumors in that region are inopperable – neither of the clinic vets could “classify” it. They didn’t make a big deal about it – they were more pushing for us to leave her there and do a liver biopsy. I am glad that she was with us and that she had 5 good weeks full of love, and cuddling, playing and snuggling her little cousin… Our own vet had told us that tumours in the gall bladder/pancreas/liver “Triad” are not operable anyways… so that informed our decision to take her home with us too. If it was only Hepatic Lipidosis, we would have won the entire battle… Thank you for your kind words, Ingrid… I hope that our other kitty stays well, and that we find her an appropriate new friend very soon…

  10. Carol Anne
    December 25, 2013 at 6:07 am (3 years ago)

    I forgot to mention the Zentonil Advanced – I got that on a British Website, because it is unknown in Germany, although milk thistle is known. But the SAM-e was not recognized and the big clinic was rather hostile to me making suggestions for treatment, that I had heard about from friends in Canada and the US… But our country vet was very open minded and she and her daughter also helped save our little sweetheart’s life. xoxo, Carol Anne

    Reply
  11. Val
    October 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm (3 years ago)

    My cat Sissy just spent a day at the hospital after blood test and ultrasound showed liver dysfunction.
    He started eating less and less until finally would only give one luck to the food and walk away. The Vet said liver is abnormal and getting him back to eat is crucial. I have no problem syringe feeding him, and he doesn’t love it but it is nothing horrible, he got some anti-nausea meds, antibiotics and food supplements.
    I am in Germany and this costed me close to $700 dlls. The vet suggested getting liver tissue to send to the lab to determine the cause. That would be another $600 that I can’t afford… So I took my baby and I’m determined to get him back to eating on his own.

    Is this he right decision? Is it absolutely necessary to do a biopsy?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm (3 years ago)

      A biopsy would give you a more definitive answer as to the cause of Sissy’s liver disease, Val, and that may help determine the most effective treatment. Getting him to start eating is certainly the most important first step. I don’t know what the thinking on feeding tubes is in Germany. It’s a less stressful alternative to syringe feeding to get nutrition into these kitties. You may want to discuss it with your vet. All my best to Sissy for a quick recovery.

      Reply
    • Carol Anne
      December 25, 2013 at 6:03 am (3 years ago)

      Hi – I’m in Germany too… I hope your cat has recovered. One of our two kitties got Hepatischer Lipidosis a little over 4 weeks ago. The pressured us to leave her at the clinic, where she immediately stopped eating completely and started crying for hours on end because she was away from us. They could not conceive of someone being able to care for their cat at home, but after 700 Euro, for 4 nights and 2 days, we could not afford to leave her there. She was also too unhappy. They basically said that we were giving her a death sentence by taking her with us. But with support, ideas and advice from our lovely village Vet and her daughter who is also a Vet, she seems to be on the mend. Yesterday, Christmas Eve, she played for the first time in over 4 weeks. But she was never overweight – she is a very skinny breed of cat to begin with, and was always very active. We decided against a liver biopsy, because of the anesthetic necessary. She wouldn’t have made it through. I am looking online for different ingredients that I can put in her food. Two products that I would like to recommend to you, Val, are Alfavet’s Reconvalens Tonikum, and Bioserin, a protein serum. You have to open the bottle, and pour it into a cup and draw all the liquid into clean syringes in the size portion your cat needs, and then freeze it in tupperware in the freezer, only removing to the fridge, the number of syringes your cat needs for that day. For a few days, the only thing she could keep down was that Reconvalens Tonikum, but after a while, I had to come up with another plan. So, we cooked chicken breast, just lightly boiled it on the stove, and then with one of those pureeing stick mixers (like from Braun) pureed it with the Tonikum, and added some ice cubes that I made out of an Elektrolytic cat drink from our country vet. I froze it in ice cube bags, because it said you had to use it within a short period of time, and it was a half liter of fluid, but you are allowed to freeze it. I was looking online to see what I can add to the mixture today – maybe cooked carrots, or cooked green peas – she desperately needs a little bit of fiber in the mixture… She is now drinking on her own, and also eating those nice dehydrated chicken pieces from Thrive – from Zooplus in a 5 pack. I got syringes from the Apotheke for 10 cents a piece and they can go in the dishwasher – I pull all the food in portions into the syringes and freeze enough for a week at a time. We also did sub-cutaneous fluids when she wasn’t drinking. I used a fresh needle for each injection so that it would hurt less, and used the 0,30 needles. But this takes a long time to get the fluid into her, because the Ringers doesn’t go through that fine a needle very fast. Anyway, she got sick of that and she is very intelligent and decided to drink to avoid more needles… The Bioserin is available on different German websites too, and I believe that it also saved her life. I hope so very much that your kitty managed to beat this awful disease. I hope I can find some good information about what to add to her food puree for a little bit of fiber to help ease her constipation. Hugs, and a Merry Christmas to you all. Today, she played a little bit under the Christmas tree – it was the most beautiful present we ever received.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        December 25, 2013 at 7:12 am (3 years ago)

        I’m so glad your cat is doing so much better, Carol Anne! I’m not familiar with the products you mention, Carol, and I don’t believe they’re available in the US. Milk Thistle and SAM-e are frequently used for liver support here, though.

        I am curious whether German vets ever recommend feeding tubes for cats with hepatic lipidosis? Most progressive feline vets in the US will recommend them as they make feeding less stressful for the cat than forced syringe feeding.

        Reply
        • Carol Anne
          December 25, 2013 at 7:34 am (3 years ago)

          I don’t know about the feeding tubes. Our cat is very compliant. She’s a Cornish Rex and very lovey with us, and I started a feeding routine right away after reading all over the internet. I say, “Breakfast” and put a clean towel under her chin – after the first few times, she raised her chin, and then lowered it. Then I say, “okay, again” and put a paper towel under her chin. As soon as she sees the syringe, she opens her mouth, and starts to move her jaws. Her liver values were 2000, and normal is 0.5, so that’s 4000 times normal… so, she is very tired, and for a while, she was only getting up to go to the bathroom – no other movement. Now she is going to the bathroom, scratching on her scratching post, and as I wrote, finally got playful again. When she was at the clinic, they had no problem with what they call “assisted feeding” so a feeding tube would not have been offered simply because it wasn’t needed in her case. I did check it out on my own, what the cost would be, and after we spent 700 Euro for her to be force fed for 2 days, and be given anti-emetics that drove her liver values through the roof, we could not have afforded a feeding tube anyways… and that clinic does not take credit card, like in Canada or the US… 🙁 I sure am glad that she accepts all the food I am giving her. But if you open a can of Hill’s a/d, she just has to smell it and she starts vomiting uncontrollably… We’re donating that to our local shelter…

          Reply
  12. Janice
    October 27, 2012 at 9:29 am (4 years ago)

    My Vet found a cyst on my sonny left hip and it was big she lanced it . He is a indoor cat always so we don;t know this happent it was not from a bite It started out with a fever that last a week at 1002 to 1006. The vet new there was a infection taken x/rays ,and blood wk the results there was a infection. At first he was still eating and now he in a lot of pain and he can’t even stand up with out a cry. He’s been getting IV’S for days. pain med. antibiotic plus he had a blood transfusion . I am feeding him AD can food by syringe every two hrs . Am so afraid i will lose him . I would like any responses. Thank you

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about your kitty, Janice. All my best to him for a quick and complete recovery.

      Reply
  13. Diane
    September 25, 2012 at 10:17 am (4 years ago)

    My cat was just diagnosed with acute liver failure. He had stopped eating for a few days and I became concerned. I did not realize that even a day or two without eating would be so serious. My vet has told me to feed his a watered down hepatic prescription canned cat food, milk thistle, antibiotic and vitamins. He hates the syringe feeding and I probably hate it more than he does. It has been 5 days since I started the aggressive treatment. My vet was not very optimistic about his recovery 50-50. But, I have read that if caught early the disease was very treatable. Ming was obese and over 10 years old so he fits the criteria for developing the disease. My question is when can I see signs that the treatment is working. I hate the thought that I am putting him through this and it’s not helping. He is so important to me and I hate the fact that he hides from me and the only time I am with him is when I am trying to force feed him. I would appreciate any responses. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 25, 2012 at 10:24 am (4 years ago)

      I’m so sorry that Ming is going through this, Diane. I would talk to your vet to see whether placing a feeding tube is an option for Ming. It’s a simple procedure and cats tolerate it well. It’s so much better than force feeding. The tube stays in place until Ming starts eating on his own.

      Reply
  14. Sandra
    July 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm (4 years ago)

    Just brought my 6 yr old lhd cat home from vets. She was diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis 3 days ago. She was on iv and being force fed with a syringe and a liquid. We are to continue this and try to get her to eat.

    any suggestions would be appreciated, it would do my heart good to see her get back to normal.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m sorry about your kitty, Sandra. I’m glad it was caught before it was too late.

      I’m not a big fan of syringe feeding. Most cats hate it, and it tends to stress the cat at a time when she’s supposed to recover from an illness. You may want to talk to your vet about a feeding tube. Most people think that sounds terrible, but it may actually be much better for the cat than force feeding, and most cats aren’t bothered by the tube at all. Dr. Lisa Pierson has a great article on feeding tubes on her site that will give you all the details of what’s involved: http://catinfo.org/?link=feedingtubes

      In the meantime, you should, of course, make sure you kitty eats, and entice her to eat on her own. Some suggestions on how to do this: offer “stinky” canned food. Even though I don’t usually like fish flavors, in this situation, anything goes just to get a cat to eat. You can also try to sprinkle flavor enhancers over her regular food. Some things that work really well are crumbled freeze dried chicken or salmon treats, Bonita tuna flakes, or Parmesan cheese (yes, the stuff in the green can!).

      Best wishes to your kitty for a quick and complete recovery!

      Reply
  15. Lianimal
    March 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm (5 years ago)

    I’m pretty sure Peaches is just picky, since shes always not really cared much for wet food, no matter what brand I tried to feed her. She’ll usually just sniff it and walk away, while the other two go to town. Once in a blue moon when she decides to eat it I have to guard her from the other two, because they are so used to eating what she leaves. I’t’s wierd, because I’ve been offering it every morning since I got her at about 6 months old. We’re talking about 12 years now, She just doesn’t seem to like wet food most of the time, and I’ve tried EVERYTHING! No problem with Shanks or Monkey at all. they eat whatever I give them

    Reply
  16. Esme
    March 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm (5 years ago)

    It breaks my heart to read this article. I thought of poor Jack.

    Reply
  17. Layla Morgan Wilde (Cat Wisdom101)
    March 26, 2012 at 10:15 am (5 years ago)

    It’s an ironic word combo of fatty and starvation. I can’t help but think of the poor lost cat JFK Jack who was diagnosed with this disease.

    Reply
    • Bernadette
      March 26, 2012 at 10:19 am (5 years ago)

      Layla, that was what made me wonder how long it took to develop. He was missing for two months. How he must have suffered, and how did he survive?

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 26, 2012 at 11:49 am (5 years ago)

      The term does use an odd combination of words, Layla – I never thought about that! And yes, that is one of the many things poor Jack was suffering from when he was found.

      Reply
  18. Lisa
    March 26, 2012 at 10:04 am (5 years ago)

    We had a cat that after a move started this . Its a very scary thing. I was told his chances were not good . Please dont give up , you can get though this. Took me close to 90 days. a New Vet did a nose tube and that did the trick after 4 weeks . Before that i was syringe feeding . Thats very hard . I feed egg yoke , boost milk repalcer , and water down recovory soft cat food. Like article said .. he was a heavy cat to start with , he was upset stopped eating . In a multi cat household sometimes , this can go un noticed a few days . He turned yellow , inside of ears and gums. Catnip , helped him get though it. He did eat catnip. I didnt want the nose tube ,.. but its not that bad . I thought how horrible , but he didnt seem to mind it and soon .. i saw hime getting better , as soon as they start to eat on own again tube can come out . Anything you offered durring the sick time , it off the menu, cats , think of the smells from whey they are sick . I gave sub fluids everyday before the tube was in place . the nose tube was not offered at the first vets .. some do not do the nose tube, as they have no been trained to do it . Dont Give Up , they can get better .

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 26, 2012 at 11:53 am (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad your cat made it through, Lisa. Feeding tubes can be lifesavers with this disease. Most vets use stomach or esophageal tubes. They’re easier to manage then nasogastric tubes.

      Reply
  19. Bernadette
    March 26, 2012 at 8:22 am (5 years ago)

    Ingrid, how quickly does this develop? Is it over a period of days, weeks or months? A cat missing one meal is an alarm for me, but missing two meals is a call to the vet. Can this begin to be a problem after the second day?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 26, 2012 at 8:31 am (5 years ago)

      It can develop very quickly, Bernadette, usually over a period of days, not months. Overweight and obese cats are especially at risk.

      Reply
      • Bernadette
        March 26, 2012 at 10:43 am (5 years ago)

        So those hunger strikes can be serious. Is it also an issue if you place cats on a restrictive diet to lose weight too quickly?

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          March 26, 2012 at 11:49 am (5 years ago)

          Yes, it is an issue when you put an overweight cat on a diet that reduces calories too quickly.

          Reply
  20. Spunky Doodle and Manny
    March 26, 2012 at 5:18 am (5 years ago)

    I am familiar with these disease because when we first brought home our 8-yr-old cat from a shelter, he quit eating. I knew nothing about cats at the time and simply thought he just had to have time to adjust to his new home. Other than that, he seemed perfectly fine. I bought all kinds of different food and laid out buffets for him, but he’d just sniff and walk away. I thought he was a picky eater but when I finally called the vet after about 4 weeks of this, I was told he was a very sick kitty and said we HAD to force feed him to get him to eat. The shelter took him back to their vet who nursed him back to health and we were excited to get him back. He never had the problem again!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 26, 2012 at 8:30 am (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad your kitty recovered from this and hasn’t had any recurrence!

      Reply

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