The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Tube-Feeding a Sick Cat

I visit a wonderful veterinary clinic with three skilled and creative veterinarians, and a helpful and compassionate staff. They’re all lovely people, but I’ve had to spend way too much time with them during the past three weeks.

In a nutshell, both of my cats, Eddie and Priscilla, had loose stools for a couple of days. Priss recovered, but Eddie ended up with stools of just blood and mucous, so I took him to the clinic. Eddie is also diabetic, which means his health is somewhat fragile to begin with. And, to make a very long story short, a few days after I first took him in, I dropped him off first thing in the morning so he could go on an IV. I expected to be called to return so that he could have that last injection we never want to give our pets.

Instead, our veterinarian called later than planned to tell me she’d stabilized him and to ask what I wanted to do. The thought was that if she and the other vets and staff could get him through the next several days, they could send him home with some chance of a full recovery. But I would have to tube-feed him for at least a couple of weeks. She asked if I would be willing to do this. I said yes. She asked how I would feel if, after tube-feeding him, he died anyway. I said I’d feel terrible, but I’d at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I’d fought for him.

Since then, I’ve learned that people are often reluctant to tube-feed their pets in a medical crisis. So I feel like I have to take a stand. As Dr. Pierson says on her page discussing tube-feeding, this is a very valuable method of getting a cat through a temporary medical crisis. Just as you can’t leave a pet in the veterinary ICU forever, you can’t tube-feed long-term. If your cat has incurable cancer, for example, that’s not likely to be a situation appropriate for tube-feeding. But if your cat is likely to recover, then why not do it?

So I’m going to detail my experience of tube-feeding Eddie, complete with pictures. Tube-feeding is not for wimps, but it’s not hard, either. I am easily frustrated, so if I can do it, most people can do it as well. After you give a couple of tube-feedings, you start to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It is somewhat time-consuming, and it will dictate your schedule for 2 to 3 weeks. But if you have some flexibility, it’s worth it.

The first couple of times I did it this time, I was very frustrated. Tube-feeding has potential to be messy, and I got food and water all over the place. I also had trouble getting food into the syringe without a lot of air. But I quickly got past those issues, and now it’s just routine.

Here is a picture of Eddie sleeping in the bay window, which is about 3 feet from the floor, and which he jumped onto himself. Notice that you can’t see his feeding tube, which goes into his esophagus through his neck. He’s sleeping on the tube, in fact, which is one of many indications that it doesn’t really bother him.

In this picture, there’s the basic “stuff” that I need for the tube-feeding. On the left is a red t-shirt, machine washable and baggy enough to throw over whatever I’m already wearing. The potential for mess is always there, and instead of changing clothes, it’s easier to keep using the same large shirt as a sort of smock. There are also syringes, one for food and one for water, plus a mortar and pestle for grinding up pills that go into Eddie’s food. This time the food is already liquified, but you may end up having to use a blender.

Dave took a few pictures of me tube-feeding Eddie. It has to go slowly, because you can’t dump a lot of food into a cat’s stomach all at once. I’m giving him about five 25-30 cc feedings a day, since the usable food from his can comes to about 140-155 cc’s of high-calorie, high-quality, prescription cat food. A 25-30 cc feeding takes me about 12-15 minutes, plus 3-5 minutes of preparation time. So we’re talking about just over an hour and a half a day. Eddie is worth it.


I am looking forward to Eddie’s full recovery. He’s begun licking but not eating the regular cat food, which is Wellness canned food. He’s behaving normally and seems to be regaining his energy, although his weight is still down from the trauma of his medical ordeal. The veterinarians are optimistic, so I’m optimistic, though it will be a huge relief to have him eating on his own again. And if for some reason that doesn’t happen and I lose him, at least I will have made the effort.

Update, 6/8/2010: Turns out the tube-feeding gave me just shy of two more years with Eddie. For a while, we suspected he had some digestive system ailment that defied diagnosis. He began losing weight a few weeks ago, quit eating altogether on June 3, and died in my arms after being euthanized at the vet yesterday, June 7. Tube-feeding was not an option this time for several reasons, one of which is the fact that we had no diagnosis, which meant there was no roadmap for recovery.
I will miss him terribly — there is a huge hole in my heart now — but I will also admire his spirit and cherish his love. As Dave said, he was intrepid. And I believe that by being cooperative in allowing me to tube-feed him, he helped create a resource that appears to be of assistance to other cat owners trying to extend their kitties’ lives.
Rest in peace, little one.
Update, 7/21/2010: I still miss Eddie — and Priscilla, and Hillary and Rabbit. But I am happy to announce that I have adopted two new cats, Sasha and Paris. A post and pictures will follow in the next couple of weeks. For now I’ll just note that they are rescues, 1-year-old siblings with silky medium-length charcoal-colored hair, who were born into a feral colony and socialized as kittens. They’re shy but also sweet and playful, and I look forward to many years with them.


July 4, 2008 - Posted by | animals, cats, pets | , , , , ,


  1. Thanks so much Elizabeth for sharing your experience! You are doing such a great job and although Eddie can’t tell you, that picture of him in the window says it all!

    Comment by Julia Carter, DVM | July 4, 2008 | Reply

  2. Eliz, I’m blown away. Seeing the pictures really puts into reality what you and are going through. You both are so brave. We’re keeping our paws crossed for his speedy recovery. And thanks so much for posting this information.


    Comment by Jamie and Boo! | July 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. You are a wonderful mom!

    Comment by Beth | July 5, 2008 | Reply

  4. Good for you Elizabeth! You are a great cat mom. You know you’re doing everything you can for your baby. I hope Eddie makes a full and speedy recovery.

    Comment by Monica | July 5, 2008 | Reply

  5. Wonderful! Eddie is lucky to have you for his mom!

    Comment by Rusty | July 9, 2008 | Reply

  6. HI
    I am currently feeding my cat via a feeding tube. Things are going well but I’m curious: In your pics above, it looks like you are putting the food from the syringe directly into the tube. my set us has actually two additional pieces that go into the tube. the first is a funnel shaped piece that you twist into the tube. then into that goes a top with 3 different entry points and a toggle you turn to open the unit up and/or close. both this piece and the funnel shaped piece come to a pointy tip and the hole is very small. as a result, food clogs up quite often. so, my question is: i put my food into a blender then thru a sieve so it’s a good slurry. if you are putting yours directly into the tube and not thru all these extra pieces, it must be so much easier! faster, more food gets thru, less plugging hassels. what info can you share in regards to this?

    Comment by BJ | July 16, 2008 | Reply

  7. BJ, you’re right, I’m putting Eddie’s food directly into the tube using the syringe. There is a cap on the tube, and that’s it. All I have to do is remove the cap, put the syringe up to the tube, and start the feeding. There is the possibility of air bubbles getting in through this system, which your system seems to prevent, and air bubbles can cause vomiting. But in 3 weeks of doing this, Eddie has only vomited once right after a feeding, and I think that’s because I didn’t clear the syringe of air. It definitely does sound like your system is more complicated.

    As for food, I know some special diets are more solid and require that they go through the blender, but our vet has us using Eukanuba Maximum Calorie food — both a dog and cat food — which is made specifically for tube feeding and weight gain. I’d compare the consistency to that of a thick body lotion, except it’s grainier.

    Here’s the trick I was given in case Eddie’s tube clogged up: after a feeding, squirt a few cc’s of cola into the feeding tube. Cola is very acidic and will eat through all sorts of gummy substances. My dad ran a weekly newspaper for many years, and he would use a rag soaked in Coke to clean the fluorescent lights over his printing presses. I’ve given Eddie a couple of Coke shots, and they’ve cleared his feeding tube in time for the next round.

    Good luck with your cat. How much longer do you have to go? We’re down to 2 or 3 feedings a day now, and Eddie is eating his regular cat food for most of his nutrition. We might get the tube out tomorrow, although I suspect we won’t and will continue the twice-daily feedings through the end of the month.

    Comment by esheley | July 17, 2008 | Reply

    • Hi Elizabeth. I just stumbled upon your posting, and I am SO glad. I just starting having to do this with my cat Isabella and we are having a tough time. I can’t seem to get rid of the air bubbles in the syringe and food keeps going everywhere. You have great details here on everything. Any tips to share on that? I can’t figure out how to fix this and it is causing us both a lot of additional stress. Thanks for any advice you can impart.

      Comment by Stef | October 2, 2009 | Reply

  8. Hi! Thanks for posting your blog. It’s SO nice to see someone else going through the same thing and the same learning experiences.

    My cat, Meagan, has just had a tube inserted because she stopped eating. I’m waiting on the results of her biopsy, and I’m struggling with the feedings. She threw up tonight after I fed her (this was my fourth feeding with her but her sixth) with the tube, but she’s still interested in her treats even though she just slobbers on them. You have the exact system I do, and there weren’t any bubbles this time (finally), but she threw up right after the feeding anyway. I’m feeding her 35 ml of food in three feedings.

    Comment by Sandy | July 19, 2008 | Reply

  9. Perhaps I fed her too fast? I will try to go slower. She got a bit impatient with me, so I went faster.

    Comment by Sandy | July 19, 2008 | Reply

  10. Hi, Sandy–
    I sent you an e-mail with this comment included, but I wanted to get this here for the record. I’m sorry you’re going through this with Meagan. We just got Eddie’s tube out yesterday, a week earlier than expected, but that was after 3 weeks of tube-feeding.

    My instructions were to go slow and get the air bubbles out of the syringe first. It took several days to get my system working, and it sounds like you’re at the very beginning.
    Anyway, I was told to give Eddie no more than 3 cc’s per minute, and in the middle to give him an extra minute. That’s one of the reasons it took so long, because 35 cc’s would take 13 minutes, and I was giving him 160 ml each day. We were trying to get his weight up. He’d lost 2 pounds, and in the 1 week in the vet ICU and 3 weeks of the tube feedings, he gained 1 1/2 pounds back again. A full 1 pound was in the last 2 weeks of tube feedings.

    So I would say slow it down, and make sure you don’t have any air bubbles in the syringe, which is pretty easy if you hold the syringe up for a minute and let them float to the top, then squeeze the syringe again. Dr. Carter gave me two kinds of stomach medicine for Eddie, and that might be something to ask about, too.

    Good luck with your situation — it’s not easy, and it’s time-consuming, but in the end it’s worth it because you’ve got a healthy cat again. Let me know how it goes, okay?

    Comment by esheley | July 19, 2008 | Reply

  11. hi sandy,
    it really is great to hear all this, and find others going through this. i brought max home 3 days ago with the feeding tube. for me the process is taking over an hour. i am required to feed him 50mls every 4 hours up to 300mls a day. it is taking alot out of me. but it seems to be getting easier as i start to feel more comfortable. i will try the coca cola trick!
    thanks again

    Comment by claudine | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  12. My cat Maxwell is currently being tube fed. He got very sick last week and we thought we were going to loose him. He was vomiting profusely and very dehydrated. It hit him really quickly. He was a bit over weight before he got sick which caused some complications when the virus was finally kicked. Maxwell hadn’t eaten anything for 2 1/2 days. He began to develop “fatty liver syndrome”. The vets tried syringe feeding him but it was too stressful for him. I was told that I would have to place a feeding tube in Maxwell if he was going to have a chance. I really struggled with this idea. I didn’t know what to expect and it sounded like it would be too hard for Maxwell. After researching on the internet, and reading this blog, I made the decision to have the tube placed. He was able to come home the next day. It has been only 3 days that he’s been home and he is already nibbling on a few pieces of food. He visited his cat bowl at least 3 times today and he ate about 3 or 4 pieces of food each time. He still isn’t taking interest in drinking water but things are looking good. We are feeding him 35-40 cc of a/d mixed with water and clini care every 4 hours. He goes to the vet tomorrow for a check up.

    Comment by Maxwell | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  13. I hope things are working out with Maxwell’s tube feeding, and I’m glad this blog helped influence your decision to try it. Hw sounds like he’s doing great! I don’t know if you saw the updates on Eddie, but he’s made a full recovery. Today I’m adding a couple of pictures of where the tube went into his neck. There isn’t even a scar, just discolored fur.
    Best of luck to you!

    Comment by esheley | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  14. Glad things are working for everyone here. Our cat may have fatty liver syndrome or may not be breaking down proteins properly. For these reasons, we had a feeding tube placed in Friday. Since Saturday at 5PM when we picked him up wew have given him 10 feedings between 20-25ml of ZD food mixed to a slurry with water.

    After the slurry, we always run 10ml of water through the tube as well to keep it cleared out. He has started eating a bit of the slurry off a plate which keeps him in place and seems to feel more natural to him as he is swallowing a bit while the tube is also dropping the slurry into his stomache.

    I have also found he really likes me to cup my hand around his shoulder blades and run it down his back for a couple minutes after a feeding and it seems to help him digest a bit.

    The vet told us we need to make sure he gets 225ml of water each day and we will build up to a can and a half of food per day (approximately 210ml) for a total of 435ml per day. This is why we are having to feed him so many times. The vet said to increase the ml by 5ml every 2 days for now, so eventually we will be able to drop down to just 5 feedings or so…I’m really looking forward to that point, but I’ll do whatever I need to to give him a chance.

    Thanks for detailing your experience.

    Comment by DB | August 10, 2008 | Reply

  15. We took Mawell to the vet yesterday. Everything is almost back to normal. We were instructed to leave the tube in for at least one more week to make sure he is getting his daily caloric intake. He has gained 1 pound since he got sick! We were so happy. He is beginning to play and stay awake more. It makes it a little more difficult to feed him but we are just happy that he is gaining more energy. He is almost back to his old self.
    Thanks again to everyone who shared their story!

    Comment by Maxwell | August 10, 2008 | Reply

  16. One question for everyone else. Does your cat wheez a little bit when breating at times with the tube in place? My cat does. He also seems to snore pretty much all night now, when he used to snore about 1/4 the time.

    My wife thinks the wrap is too tight, but I am thinking it is just the tube produceing the wheezing/snoring. He also gets hickups (I guess as this is the closest sound to describe it) usually just one at a time and he’ll do this 4 or 6 or 7 times a day. Anyone elses cat do this?

    My cat also loves me to run my finger around the edges of the bandage around his neck. He starts purring instantly. I’m sure its go to be really itchy and he can’t get under it too much himself…which is of course a good thing.

    Comment by DB | August 11, 2008 | Reply

  17. DB, the wheezing might be something to bring up with the vet, just to be sure. When Eddie had his tube in, I was calling or e-mailing our vet about every other day with progress reports and questions, and she gave me the impression that they expect a lot of contact from tube-feeders. In a way, this is an extension of their hospital care.

    When his tube was in place, Eddie didn’t wheeze, but he smacked his lips a lot and snored more than usual. Our vet thought it was related to the tube being in his throat, but she wasn’t alarmed by it. Still, you might want to ask just to make sure. We had the wrapping replaced a couple of times because Eddie scratched at it, usually on the opposite side from the tube. I did the same thing you did with running my finger along the edges, and he really liked that.

    I don’t know if you saw my updates; I think there were 3 posts with new pictures of Eddie. On 8/9 I put up a couple of pictures of him now that we’re 3 weeks out from the tube removal. He’s no longer got bald spots, but his fur is coming in gray where he was shaved, except for a dark black spot where the tube had gone in.

    Good luck with your cat, and thanks for the updates. I think it helps to have the various experiences reported. About half my blog hits these days go to the tube-feeding posts, so people are presumably getting something out of all this.

    And to Maxwell’s owner, it’s great to read that he’s doing so well!

    Comment by esheley | August 11, 2008 | Reply

  18. I can’t say enough how great it is to talk to others who are experiencing the same thing as I am with Maxwell right now. I don’t have any children as of now and my cats are everything to me. They always will be.
    Eddie does look great! I’m so glad to hear that he is doing so well. Discoloration and bald spots are no big deal when you have your little cat home and happy, right?
    For DB, I noticed my cat snoring as well. He used to snore a little before the tube was in place, this was due to his weight. Now that the tube has been in (9 days today) he seems to snore even louder. I do not notice a wheezing sound but I do notice a sort of bubbly sound. I think that air gets into the tube and this is what causes the sound. I thought the wrap was little tight as well so I loosened it some. The snore was still there. He seems to breath louder to.
    My vet is not alarmed by it. All cats react differently. As long as the cat is acting normal and does not appear to be having any trouble breathing, there is nothing to be worried about but I’m no vet. Sometimes I wish I were:) I would call my vet for piece of mind. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
    One thing I did want to know from anyone out there who has more than one cat. How did the others react when you brought the sick kitty home? My cats were best buds before Maxwell got sick. He was in the hospital for 4 days before we brought him home. He’s been home for 6 days now and my other cat hates him. Maxwell tries to go up to him and play but the other does not have it. He hisses at him, he lashes out at him, and he’s stopped using his litter box. I had to go and buy a new one just for him. He acts like I brought a brand new cat home. They have lived together for 6 years. I don’t understand what’s going on with him.
    Any advice?

    Comment by Maxwell | August 11, 2008 | Reply

    • Not to worry about other cats hating Maxwell. Maxwell probably smells medicine from the clinic or hospital. Your other cats will overcome the smells. This happened to my cats too. My cats are my children and they’re always be. Glad to hear for Maxwell recovery.

      Comment by Meko | November 3, 2011 | Reply

  19. The vet has reassured me the wheezing is okay. We take him in Friday for a rebandaging…seems like forever from now.

    Maxwell, we took the same cat (Murphy) we have 4 (Murphy, Madison, Lucy, Linus) in for a broken nail one time. When we brought him back Madison was hissing at him and not being very friendly. This wore off in a couple days though. You might try rubbing one cat with a towel and then the other and vice versa. Seems like ours are always more friendly in the winter when it’s cold. We have had no issues with the current feeding tube and the other cats. They sniff Murphy, but they are getting along fine.

    Glad to hear Eddie is doing well. I hope others and myself are in the same boat soon.

    Comment by DB | August 11, 2008 | Reply

  20. Thank you so much for this. Our 9 yr old Birman has been diagnosed after biopsy and endocopy with IBD. He was in the hospital for a week post, and has not turned the corner. Despite this, we brought him home, and found our regular vet has no experience with feed tubes. So I found you. Thank you for being reassuring. I was quite frightened, but I hope will get used to feeding him. We are not sure if he will progress to health, but we want to give the meds a chance. He is really ill, barely mobile and had bilirubin levels that were starting to elevate when we brought him home. Wish us luck with the feed tube, and for his return to health,it seems so unlikely, but it is great to hear about cats who have bounced back.

    Comment by Anita Conte | August 23, 2008 | Reply

  21. Hello. It has been really helpful reading this. I had a feeding tube put into Meeshka 2 weeks ago. I am giving her 50mls per feeding (we had to work up to this)4 times a day. She has vomited a few times when we were bumping up, but for the most part has held things down. A few things have really got me wondering…

    1. She is still very yellow. Are any of you still experiencing that after treatment has begun? She also seems to not want to poop. It’s in there, just not coming out.

    2. She is still VERY lazy. She will come out for short periods of time and then goes back to the closet. The only time she seems to really be herself is when I let her role on the patio.

    I guess I am just feeling really confused. She will do one thing that makes me worry and then two that make me think she is improving.

    She shows interest and excitement about wet food (with the other cats) and then licks a couple times and leaves.

    I just want her back so badly. I have thought about a house without her and it kills me.

    Please let me know if you guys are experiencing any of this stuff…I didn’t see many comments on the yellowish skin.

    Comment by Meeshka's Mommy | August 26, 2008 | Reply

  22. I hope you can get Meeshka back on her feet!

    As for the yellow skin, Eddie is a black cat and when they shaved him, his skin was sort of a medium gray. I didn’t see a yellow cast to it, but our vet spoke of him being yellowish. I don’t know what body part she was looking at, though.

    As for the one worrisome thing and two encouraging things, yeah, we went through that, too. If you have a cat who needs tube-feeding, you have a very sick cat. In many ways, this is an extension of hospital care. So they’re not going to bounce back all that quickly. Eddie spent a lot of time sleeping under a living room chair or in his cat carrier. He’s back to his old self now, but it took a long time.

    Eddie also did the same thing with licking his food, by the way. I’d put out a can and he’d lick all the liquid off of it and walk off.

    Once our vet decided he was ready to transition to real food, we ended up using an appetite stimulant to encourage him to eat more. I kept the tube-fed amount about the same, for moderate weight gain, then once he began eating, I decreased the amount so that he’d eat more on his own. This was all part of Dr. Carter’s plan, by the way.

    That was about 2 weeks into the home tube feeding. Eddie had been on the tube a few days at the vet hospital. It was another week or 10 days before we pulled the tube. We’d talked about leaving it in an additional 2 weeks.

    My impression is that vets don’t want to get false hopes up, so the fact that Meeshka’s vet gave her a tube means this is likely to work. But it’s hard for us humans.

    Anyway, good luck with it!

    Comment by esheley | August 26, 2008 | Reply

  23. Hi again, I’m getting ver discouraged about our cat ever eating again. He is on 7 meds for IBD, barely mobile. Prednisone etc. They installed the e-tube incorrectly so he had to endure a second placement. He has endema on his front paws from IV placement too tight. He is slightly mobile, but so weak that he can’t walk far. He has lost fur on both sides and so much weight. He has shown incremental slight improvements from when we took him home (he was not progressing at the ER)I don’t know how long I can do this, and what if his treatment time ends (2 weeks) and he has no interest in food? How long is reasonable/humane and respective of toll this takes on owners as well? Pleae help.

    Comment by Anita | August 26, 2008 | Reply

  24. Anita, what is your vet saying? And do you trust this vet? How do you feel about checking in with another vet?

    I really hope your cat makes it, but if he doesn’t, you know you FOUGHT for him. You won’t have any questions about whether or not you did everything you could. You absolutely, without question, know that you did.

    Unfortunately, we are not gods, and we have limits. With tube-feeding at home, we’re going right up to our limits. Most of us can’t go beyond that. So when it doesn’t work, it’s extremely sad, but you can’t question yourself.

    When my very first cat, Rabbit, died, Dr. Carter sent me a card with something about how it’s honorable and brave to love a being whose lifespan is shorter than our own, because we know we’re going to be hurt at some point. That’s important to remember. We also do a lot more for our pets than we give ourselves credit for.

    Anyway, I don’t know how to determine for someone else’s cat when they should keep going and when they’ve done enough. But you’ve done as much as you possibly could, so however this turns out, I hope you take some comfort in that.

    Also, tube-feeding can be a discouraging process. It’s hard and it takes a long time for them to recover, and they don’t all recover. So please don’t make any quick decisions when you’re discouraged. You’ll know when you know.

    Good luck, and I hope you’re able to come back soon and say your cat is healthy and happy again. If not, you left nothing undone.

    Comment by esheley | August 26, 2008 | Reply

  25. Murphy got his tube out last Monday. He got the bandage off his neck Friday. His is losing a lot of his hair around his neck, but the vet said to expect this.

    Murph’s ears are what looked yellow to the vet and us. They now look pink. He is eating dry Z/D on his own and is slowly gaining weight (went from 8.8 to 9.1 at his last weigh-in). Litter box functions have returned to normal. He is still very lazy and isn’t doing a whole lot, but we can see the “old Murphy” coming through at times.

    We still don’t know if he is going to pull through yet, but things do look more positive than negative at this point, which I couldn’t say a few weeks ago.

    Once again, good luck to all who have posted here.

    Comment by DB | August 30, 2008 | Reply

  26. DB, it sounds like Murphy is going along on the same path as Eddie. He slept more than normal for a while, and his neck hair was very slow to come back in. When it did start to grow back, it was gray instead of black, and it grew fast. Same with his belly hair, where they shaved him for some testing.

    Anyway, it sounds like things are going well for you. One of the stressful aspects is that it does take weeks to know how they’ll do. But Murphy’s weight gain sounds like a very positive sign!

    Comment by esheley | August 31, 2008 | Reply

  27. Did Eddie throw up about once a day after the tube was removed? Murphy seems to do this. There is little food in the vomit and a lot of hair, so I assume the hair comming off his neck is the catalyst for the vomiting. I am trying to brush his neck, but the brush doesn’t really pull the hair out like Murphy does when he licks/bites it.

    I have been sleeping with Murphy every night. Last night he was very active all night and I got little sleep, which is great as this is more like his normal behaviour.

    Also, how long did it take Eddie’s neck to heal from where the tube was inserted? Murphy has been scrathing the area every day and while his is not getting down deep, it is normal that he causes a little surface bleeding in a few small spots each day. I am assuming this will take a couple weeks to heal.

    Comment by DB | September 3, 2008 | Reply

  28. Hi, DB — Sorry I couldn’t get back to you right away.

    Eddie threw up a only few times after his tube was removed, but he’s the least barfy cat I’ve ever owned, so the fact that he threw up at all was noteworthy. I have some medication from the vet to settle his digestive system, and I give it to him as needed.

    Also, he didn’t scratch at his neck very much, so it healed pretty quickly. He scratched at the other side of his neck, which made no sense to me.

    These might be things to bring up with your vet. Murphy has been through a physical trauma, so these are minor issues in comparison, but your vet might have some advice.

    And I’m so glad to read that he’s behaving normally. It sounds like he’s 99% of the way to being completely healthy again. It’s great that he’s able to reward all your effort and expense by bouncing back. Not every cat pulls through. I hope you have many more years together.

    Comment by esheley | September 5, 2008 | Reply

  29. The vet just called and said our cat is deteriorating. Her blood pressure has bottomed out and she’s not breathing right. On top of this, she’s very jaundiced, though they have yet to figure out exactly what the problem is: it’s either something with her pancreas, her gallbladder, or her liver. If it is her liver, then a feeding tube will be necessary. Thank you for the information. If a feeding tube is the way we go, then I’ll feel prepared to do it. I’m just hoping at this point she survives. She’s only four years old and all of us, including my 11 year old, will be heart broken, if she doesn’t.

    Comment by Mary | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  30. It is so comforting to know I’m not the only one going through this! My cat “Borsia” Has had the e-tube now for one full day. I fed her this morning and she just vomited everything back up about a half hour later. It was so discouraging. I left the house for a little while and she had a small bowel movement in her box. Something made it through!!! That made me feel a little better. She had not ate in a full week, only IV fluids and the little bits I had forced fed her before the tube was placed. Being in the nursing field, I know the importance of going slow with tube feedings and getting the air out, so I was careful to do this. (This is important with humans as well) But when she vomited, I just began to cry. My heart will be broken if she does not recover and so will my 3 year old. I understand your pain Mary.

    Comment by Lisa Avaritt | September 21, 2008 | Reply

  31. Good luck with Borsia, Lisa. Eddie also vomited the first night I tube-fed him, and I was completely distraught. That happened a couple more times, and we ended up putting him on something to settle his stomach. That’s something you might bring up with your vet if Boria vomits again. Anyway, let us know how it goes.

    Comment by esheley | September 22, 2008 | Reply

  32. Hi there
    I came across your website via google. Great website and so encouraging about Eddie! I adopted my cat Cody, a 9yr old male at shelter in Aug of 2008. He left with a clean bill of health. About 2.5-3 weeks into living with my family (husband, 5 yr old and a 16 yr cranky female cat) Cody quickly went from 11.5 to 9 lbs and dwinlding. I took him to the vet, he had an ultrasound and bloodwork. Everything was fine except his bilirubin levels were 1.6. The vet condluded that he has hepatic lipidosis. So he recommended a feeding tube. I had him home for the 1st time and he immediately vomited up everything the DR had fed him earlier. So he was been under the Dr’s care over the weekend. I am picking him up tonight. I am a little concered as I have to work 11 hour days with nobody to help while I am away. I can certainly feed him the a.m. and p.m. when I get home but dont want to overload his stomach wiht feedings between every hour. Any suggestions or comfort is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

    Comment by suzanne | October 6, 2008 | Reply

  33. I also came across this site via Google. My cat stopped eating, either due to stress or a liver infection and after one very bad attempt at syringe feeding I decided to have the tube put in. Your experience helped me make the decision so thank you for putting it out there. Today was Max’s first full day with the tube. I administered 4 feedings. He threw up after the second one, I think because I went too fast. The next two I made sure to go much more slowly. He’s still pretty disgruntled about all this but I hope once the food gets into his system again he will perk up.

    Thank you again for writing about your experience. I was also hesitant about the feeding tube but reading up on it has made me feel it was the right decision for Max.

    Comment by Cold Salt | November 14, 2008 | Reply

  34. My cat Simone is 17. He has IBD and is down to 5 lbs. We has his feeding tube inserted Thursday, and started his feedings & medications yesterday. He is on Prednisolone for the IBD, plus 2 other medications for the pockets of gum infection in his mouth, and the kidney disease that the vet found. He has not shown any improvement, and the feedings seem to make him feel horrible, although he has not thrown up. I am going as slowly as I can. How did your cat respond to feedings at first? When he walks, he stumbles and seems disoriented. I will do whatever I can to make the feedings easier for him.

    Comment by Tasha | November 15, 2008 | Reply

  35. I’m sorry Simone isn’t bouncing back. It will take him a while to feel better, because any cat who needs a feeding tube is pretty sick to begin with. So it might be that he’s just taking a few days before he improves. Eddie didn’t bounce back right away, either.

    Maybe you should call the vet first thing Monday morning. It might be that the feeding amount or frequency needs to be changed, or there might be another issue here. Or it might be normal for what Simone has. The vet will probably have some ideas.

    Good luck!

    Comment by esheley | November 16, 2008 | Reply

  36. My cat has renal failure and will not eat. My cat has recently just stopped eating. She has been without food for 4 or 5 days. 5 days ago she seemed so healthy and happy.

    I hope that you can provide some advice.

    I want to save her life for as long as I can. I think she can live longer with Sub Q fluids, but my cat has given up and wont eat. I want her to live longer. I do not want her to starve, but she wont eat. I cant even really force feed her what hse needs. Also, she tries to drink a little water and she has a hard time. Is a feeding tube a good option?

    Comment by Frank | November 22, 2008 | Reply

  37. I’m so sorry to read about your cat. I think the person you need to discuss this with is your vet. He or she would have to insert the feeding tube anyway, and would be able to tell you if it is the best option.

    Good luck with this. I know it’s a difficult time, and I hope it works out for you.

    Comment by esheley | November 22, 2008 | Reply

  38. hello everyone…i came across this site as i’ve been obsessively searching and reading any info that would help me with my dear cat “mama”…. like most of the posts i’ve been reading here, mama has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and although she has not been positively diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis, she is does show signs of jaundice, as well as weight loss and non-appetite. i’ve been in and out of the vet over the past month since her syptoms began to arise, and can’t say how overwhelmed, stressed and heartbroken i’ve been. mama has been seen by 2 vets (her normal vet, as well as a dr. from the ASPCA where she was brought for ultrasound and supportive care treatment). at the moment i’ve been assist feeding mama, but after a visit with her vet this afternoon, she’s still not receiving adequate caloric intake and is unable put weight on. i’m waiting to hear back of the results of her thyroid tests on monday, but it seems that i will have to resort to putting mama on a feeding tube. of course, as a pet owner, it’s hard for me to see my pet in any discomfort, and i’ve been a bit reluctant about the idea of having a feeding tube put in her. but as i’m reading your stories, i’m realizing that this is in fact the best i can do for her right now. of course there’s always the risk that she her body will reject the tube, but i also worry about her being stressed or depressed. unfortunately because i work full days during the week, i’m unable to be with her and it kills me to know that she’ll be sitting home alone with this foreign object in her neck. does anyone have any advice on how to relieve this stress – not only for the cat, but for owners as well?
    i took mama in as a stray about 10years ago (she’s approximately 12 yrs old)…and i love her dearly and want only what’s best for her…any thoughts and advice are welcome – and again, i’m greatful for finding you!

    Comment by minna | November 29, 2008 | Reply

  39. Hi, Minna–

    Please don’t worry about Mama being in discomfort from the tube — Eddie barely knew it was there. Take a look at the picture of him sleeping above. He’s sleeping on the tube. We also didn’t have a problem with his body rejecting it. I know and understand why you’re worried, and there’s a lot to be worried about, but this isn’t part of it. She’ll sleep while you’re at work, same as she normally does. Please don’t worry about her being uncomfortable.

    What we did that worked pretty well was to go back to the vet once a week to change his dressing and the wrapping that held the tube in place. That gave our vet a chance to look at where the tube entered the skin and make sure it wasn’t infected or anything. It never was, and it was reassuring to have that confirmed periodically. Eddie also scratched at the wrapping on the opposite side from where the tube entered his neck, and I felt better knowing he had a fresh wrap every week.

    Doing this isn’t easy, but it isn’t that hard. It will be somewhat stressful at first, but within a few days you’ll be used to it and so will your cat. I found myself ordering in meals more instead of cooking as much as I normally do, because it does take a chunk of time to do this each day. But the main reward is that I still have my cat 5 months later, and he’s in here meowing at me to give him a treat.

    Good luck! And please stop by with any additional questions, or just to vent, or whatever. I’m online a lot, and other people stop by and read this blog, too.

    Comment by esheley | November 29, 2008 | Reply

  40. thank you so much eshley!…it’s so good to know that there are so many wonderful “cat people” out there…it’s so easy to feel up against a wall especially when i’m faced to make these kinds of decisions on my own. i know that mama knows that i’m trying to take care of her – she comes to sleep on my chest every night, despite the pills and syringes of food i have to give her….i will patiently wait for the vet to call me back on monday, hoping at least that she’s reacting well to her thyroid medication.

    btw – would you know what the ballpark range it would cost to have an e-tube placed? i’ve gotten a few quotes from different sources, but am wondering if you have any insight.

    Comment by minna | November 29, 2008 | Reply

  41. Because he almost died, I spent an obscene amount of money having Eddie in the veterinary ICU for a week, and it was during that time that they inserted the tube, so even though the bill detailed everything they did for him, I don’t remember the cost of anything in particular. I just looked over the bill, asked a couple of questions, and wrote a check.

    Comment by esheley | November 29, 2008 | Reply

  42. hi elizabeth – just an update on mama: over the weekend i was assist-feeding her the Hill’s A/D food which the vet sent me home with. i was pretty diligent in feeding mama every 4 hours or so, and when i got home in the evening i noticed that she’d eaten a bit of the dry food that was in her bowl. last night before her last feeding, mama walked over to her bowl and ate more food on her own!…it was such a happy moment for me to see her crunching away! of course, i continued to give her the A/D, even prior to going to work this morning as well as when i got home from work this evening.
    today i received results from the vet (after saturday’s visit) that her T4 levels have gone down (good news!), however they’ve gone down a bit too much, so this now bumps mama into HYPOthyroidism (not-so-good news). the dr. explains that this may also cause to her to not want to eat as much, so i’ve been advised to reduce the dosage on her thyroid medication (methimazole)hoping that we can get that stabilized. in the meantime, i’m keeping a close eye on mama and will continue with the syringe feedings for the next few days, and hopefully she’ll continue to increase the amount of food that she eats on her own.
    of course it’s too soon to dismiss the possibility of her needing a feeding tube, but it’s very encouraging to know that she is reacting much better to food – we’ve even managed to have a nice little routine when it’s time for her assist-feedings!
    i’m staying hopeful, and i thank you for your support!

    Comment by minna | December 1, 2008 | Reply

  43. Hi. I can’t thank you enough for posting your experience. We just did our first tube feeding on our 2 year old cat, Sheba, who was just diagnosed with Hepatic Lipodosis (fatty liver). She did so good, and did not move through the entire process. I just have a question. We were told to give her 250mg of L-Carnitine via the tube, as well as 1/4 of a tab of Pepcid once a day. I see you have the mortor and pestle for pills, but how do you push them through? Do you mix them with water, or put them in the food. I’m just afraid to administer the pills with the food, in case she vomits, I don’t want the medication to come up with the food. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!!

    Comment by Tara | December 8, 2008 | Reply

  44. Hi, Tara! I’m glad your first tube-feeding experience went well. Sheba must be a wonderful cat to be so compliant the first time.
    I would call and ask your vet how to get the medication into her. And that would be a time to ask what to do if she vomits.
    We gave Eddie Pepcid and a few other medications mixed into his food. If your vet tells you to do that, I do have a trick.
    I found it easier to put the ground up medication — which I ground to a dust — into a small cup and mix a tablespoon of the food into that. You know how the last couple of cc’s of food stay in the tip of the syringe after the feeding? To avoid having medication in that part, I’d put a few cc’s of food without medication in the syringe, then get the medicated food from the cup. That way the food with the medication would go into his tube first.
    That probably sounds more complicated than it is, but you’ll see when you try it.
    Good luck!

    Comment by esheley | December 8, 2008 | Reply

  45. It is so great to read all of these comments. I adopted my brothers 2 year old cat because he was moving into a house with dogs. Before I could adopt her, Kammi was living with my parents and their two big boy cats. In the holiday rush, no one noticed that she had stopped eating. When we brought her home and took her in for a routine checkup the vet pointed out how yellow she was. We had $400 in tests run and found out that she had fatty liver disease brought on by the stress of the other cats. We tried feeding her for a week… she would nibble at kitten food when we coaxed her. We thought we were making so much progress until we went in for another visit with the vet. Her toxic levels had risen and she had become more yellow (jaundiced). Yesterday was the worst day I can remember in a long time. The vet gave us our options – which included emergency hospitalization at a cost of around $4000, waiting until the regular vet opened and only having business hour care at the cost of $2-3000 or home feeding which only gave her a 5% chance of survival. Our very wonderful vet saw how much we wanted to save Kammi and is allowing her to remain hospitalized free of charge!! We had to pay for the tube surgery ($700) plus all food and meds. It was so hard dropping her off this morning – so scared and confused. Surgery went well and I look forward to getting her back in a few days… I work freelance and so my schedule is all over the place. How are you coping with feedings while working? We are thinking about reversing the schedule and feeding her at night. Any experiences? Thank you so much.

    Comment by Lindsey | January 5, 2009 | Reply

  46. Hi Lindsey. First I would like to say…. DON’T EVER CHANGE VETS. That was very generous of your vet, and I can tell you from experience, it has cost us a fortune between the emergency care, the tube surgery, biopsies, and follow up blood work. We are currently up to about $3,200 in treatment of fatty liver disease. In regards to your question about feedings on a busy schedule, I would just like to share this. My husband works 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and I work about 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. We were told Sheba would need (4) 50cc feedings per day. This had us very worried, and I can tell you it will definately dictate your schedule for quite some time, but you can make it work. We leave the house at 7am, and I don’t get home until 5pm. So… I would get up at 5:30, prepare a feeding. Her first feeding was at 6am. Her second feeding was at 5pm when I got home. We fed her again at 10pm, then woke up in the middle of the night and fed her at 2am. So she was getting fed about every 4 hours except during the day. This lasted for about 2 weeks. Her levels started coming down, and we noticed she was picking at her food a bit, so we dropped one feeding. (the 2am one). She had her blood checked every 7-10 days, and after each test we dropped a feeding because she was doing so well. It is now 3 weeks later and she is completely eating on her own. She has what I’m hoping is her final bloodwork appt on Thursday, and hopefully the tube is coming out this weekend!! I can tell you it is exhausting, but it will be worth it in the end. Just hang in there… you’ll do fine!

    Comment by Tara | January 13, 2009 | Reply

  47. Thanks for your response, Tara! Kammi spent 6 days in the hospital, and began eating pretty much right away. When we went to pick her up last Saturday, no one wanted to let her go! We are just finishing up Week 1 of home tube feeding, and it is going really well. She actually seems to prefer to eat while we are tube feeding her. The only had part, is giving her her medicine, which has to be on an empty stomach and she can’t eat for an hour after – which means getting up at 5am and hiding all the food (painful to tell an anorexic cat she can’t eat). I hope all goes well for your kitty, sounds like you are so close – I can’t wait until this is all over, but I have to say it is a pretty amazing bonding experience.

    Comment by Lindsey | January 17, 2009 | Reply

  48. Hi,

    I just wanted to thank you for this site. My cat Spike was diagnosed with a severe acute case of pancreatitis mid Decemeber and just had his tube removed today. He is almost fully recovered. (Knock on wood!)While the vet showed me how to do everything before I took him home with the tube, this site really broke it down and provided info he didn’t think to give me. I now feel like a e-tube pro! Thanks again!

    Comment by Kelli | January 23, 2009 | Reply

  49. I’m glad Eddie and I could help, and I’m glad Spike is doing well now. I hope he lives a nice long life with you.

    Comment by esheley | January 23, 2009 | Reply

  50. Hello, my cat’s been on a feeding tube for two weeks now. Now that he has some energy back, he refuses to be still while I am injecting his food. I used to be able to just come up to him wherever he was laying and he would stay there, but now he gets up and walks away. If I try to hold on to him, he struggles very emphatically. Did you have any tricks to get your cat to cooperate? I have no hope of getting his tube out any time soon — he has no interest in eating on his own. Thanks!


    Comment by Anna | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  51. It sounds like things are going reasonably well if he’s getting his energy back and becoming feisty. When we wanted Eddie to start eating more on his own, we introduced an appetite stimulant into his “mix” — I ground it up with his other meds and blended it into his food. But this is something you’d have to discuss with the vet.

    As far as getting your cat to cooperate, I don’t have any ideas, because I didn’t have that problem. Eddie liked the undivided attention and the full stomach, so he didn’t squirm after the first couple of days.

    I do get a fair number of people coming here to look at this topic, so maybe someone else will have an idea. It also might be another topic to bring up with your vet. I don’t know if Dr. Pierson, whose page I link to in the original post, will be able to help, but she’s a potential resource, too.

    Good luck!

    Comment by esheley | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  52. Kammi had her feeding tube pulled out today! 8 weeks. Coming into this I never would have thought it would have gone by so fast. You really can learn to adjust you life around it much easier than you think. I found that the morning dose of medicine was the worst because she couldn’t eat for an hour after and that was when she wanted to eat the most. Don’t be discouraged by how long this can take – Kammi was on the tube for 8 weeks and she was on course the whole time.
    Within a couple days of the tube insertion, Kammi regained some appetite so the techs at the hospital would tube feed her while she ate. It became a habit that stuck so we always tried to tube feed her while she actually ate. As soon as she was done eating she would get fiesty so we would have to cuddle her to get to the end of the tube feeding. Towards the end I could just say “Come on Kam” and show her the syringes and she would run to her food bowl.
    To any one out there thinking tube feeding will be too much – it wont. It can save you cat’s life and will be over before you know it. It will be an adjustment and a pain, but at the end your cat will know all that you did to save their life and it is all worth it.
    Best of luck!

    Comment by Lindsey | February 15, 2009 | Reply

  53. Eight weeks — wow! I’m so glad Kammi came through it, and thanks for adding the testimonial. You did a wonderful thing for your cat.

    Comment by esheley | February 15, 2009 | Reply

  54. I just wanted to say how helpful this site was when my cat Delilah had FLD. She had it from Sept 10th until Oct 28th when we took out the feeding tube. This site was extremely helpful and gave me much hope. Delilah is doing fine and well! I just want to let people know tube feeding your cat can be a real pain especially with a cat like mine. She is not a typical cuddle and hug cat. She fought me tooth and nail when getting fed, and it took two of us to do it. Don’t get down when it seems like they are not making progress, all it might take is a change of food or medicine. Thanks so much Elizabeth for answering all my emails and questions back in the fall!

    Comment by Heather T | February 24, 2009 | Reply

  55. Hi everyone. Thank you so much for posting. I am on Day 3 of having my 5-year-old cat home from spending 4 days in the veterinary hospital. She has an e-tube for hepatic lipidosis. The prognosis is guessy. Her bilirubin level was over 10, she’d lost 2 pounds, but all other labs were good and her energy was good when tube was placed. She’s since gone downhill for a few days–hungover from anesthesia and nauseated by the feedings–then today seemed to perk up some. She’s on Denosyl for her liver and Cisopride for nausea, and 520 ccs of Hill’s L/D slurry a day. 520! We’re supposed to be jamming 130 cc’s into her every six hours. We’re finding it easier to split it down further, into five feedings of 105 cc’s, but she still is vomiting once every night. Still, that’s four out of five feedings staying down, so I’m trying to be encouraged.

    The idea of 30 cc’s in four feedings sounds like heaven. I wonder if I should discuss other food with my vet? This situation involves a lot of water (a can of L/D blended with half a can of water, plus all the tube flushing after meds and feedings), so my cat’s peeing a lot. Seems like a lot of liquid. Anyone have any insight?

    I can totally relate to the poster who questioned how humane this is. I feel like we could manage to keep this going as long as there’s improvement. But to indefinitely tube-feed my poor nauseated cat? No. It’s not the feeding tube that bothers me; it’s the nausea.

    Comment by anne | May 5, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi, Anne–

      Usually, the vets have specific foods for specific ailments, but it’s probably a good idea to ask why your cat is getting one food and not the other, so the vet will explain it to you. Sometimes, they make the decision based on their experience, and they might try something else if you mention that your cat is peeing a lot.

      Also, ask if there’s a medication for the nausea. We gave Eddie something to settle his stomach the entire time he was being tube-fed and for about a week afterwards. I’ve always got some of that medication on hand, though I haven’t used it since late last summer.

      As for whether or not it’s humane, I don’t think you can do this indefinitely, but people do tube-feed their pets for 3-6 weeks and then the pets go on to have a natural life span where they’re healthy. If you were to look at Eddie today, for example, you’d never know there had been anything wrong with him. You said your cat is 5. There are medications for the nausea, as I mentioned, and if you get her through this with the tube-feeding, she could live another 10+ years in good health. So if the nausea is what’s disturbing you, that should be easy enough for the vet to address.

      You may also need to make sure you’re not getting air into the tube, because that will upset their stomachs and make them vomit. When I tube-fed Eddie, I got air in his tube several times. Anyway, it sounds like you’re doing well so far — good luck, and let me know how it works out.

      Comment by esheley | May 5, 2009 | Reply

  56. Hi Anne,

    That is a lot of food per day, especially if your cat just started on the tube. When our cat had HL we started out with doses of 12cc every 2 hours, then 30 every 4 hours, eventually increasing to 90cc three times a day. And doses of water on top of that. We only used 5cc to flush the tube, and administered the larger doses of water in between feedings, not at the same time as the feeding. You have to gradually work up to the high amounts or your cat’s stomach can’t handle it. That is why he is vomiting. A cat’s stomach can only hold about 3 ounces (90cc). And it takes a few hours to digest. Your cat should not be vomiting. If he is, he is getting too much into his stomach. The tube could be forced back out by the vomiting, which is very bad.

    We had trouble with vomiting too. What it basically comes down to is this: tube feeding is an art, not a science. Some cats may have larger or smaller stomachs than others, and different tolerance levels for the feeling of a very full stomach. You have to adjust and readjust your feeding schedules and amounts until you find the combination that works for your cat. The vet makes it sound like you can just follow their directions exactly and everything will be perfect (ours did too), but unfortunately that’s just not the case.

    The problem may be the amount of water you are adding to the food. You might want to cut back on the amount of water in the food. That way he can get the same nutrition in fewer cc’s. Our cat also peed a lot, but that’s not a cause for concern. They need to stay very well hydrated in order to recover. All the water helps to carry away everything that the liver is trying to get rid of. We only added 8-16 ccs of water to one can of the Hills A/D. It was more difficult to push through the syringe at that thickness, but it was easier to get our cat the calories he needed, which was of course the top concern. We found the larger, 30cc syringes were easier to plunge than the smaller ones.

    I know how you feel about feeding via tube indefinitely. Tube feeding is a hard and disheartening thing to do. Our cat did not like the sensation of tube feeding, and it was a struggle to get him to stay still through feedings initially. After about a week he figured out that he felt better after the feedings, and when I came with all the syringes in hand he just laid in my lap and let me do it. I always offered him some tuna or wet food before a feeding. When he started feeling good he started eating solid food on his own, and I would reduce the amount I fed him from the tube based on how much he ate of real food. Before I knew it I was taking him to the vet to get the tube out. Right now his bald spots from all the surgery are just about grown back in.

    So, just hang in there! If you decide to reduce the amount of your feedings, don’t worry that he is not getting enough nutrition. My cat was much worse off than yours when he got his tube, and he lived on 48 cc a day for 3 days. It is more important to acclimatize him to the tube feedings in the beginning, so that you can administer full meals later.

    Good luck, it will be worth it!

    If you (or anyone else) wants to ask me questions or just commiserate, you can email me at a . h. bruen @ gmail . com (take out the spaces)

    Comment by Anna | May 5, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the replies. Yeah, I’ve figured out that she cannot handle the volume. Also, nighttime is not the time to be feeding her. It’s as though her body comes alive then–it’s when she vomits, and she poops two or three times. Where during the day, she handles the feedings pretty well and poops maybe once all day.

      The vet did start her out slowly, and over the course of four days worked her up to 130 ccs every six hours. But the day we took her home was the first day they’d gotten her up to 130 per feeding, and she had vomited for the first time that morning. So they released her with a history of successful tube-feeding, except for that one experience–they assumed the tech had gone too fast.

      My hunch is that she’s getting overfull over the course of the day and when her digestive system cranks up at night, she’s losing it. I think she needs the calories, but not the cc’s. I got 130 into her this morning and she seemed to hold it down, but when I tried to top her off a few hours later, she started salivating and gulping like she was going to vomit, so I backed off. We’ll give her another feeding at 4, then I’m thinking of adding a dose of nutri-cal/water midway between her 4 and 10 p.m. feedings, then calling it quits for the night. I’ll also try less water in the slurry, although that might be problematic with the syringes. We’ve got 35s and 60s–the 35s are easiest to maneuver. But I was getting syringe clogs with a slurry that wasn’t blended enough, so I’m not sure how low I could really go on the water there.

      My cat doesn’t mind the feedings. She settles down in loaf-of-bread position and purrs like crazy. At the night feeding, often she has to get up and poop midway through, and she shakes her head and flings slurry all over the bathroom. So I’ve learned to cap the tube even if we’re just taking a short break!

      Anyone have any insight on whether Nutri-Cal might help solve my problem? What kind of food are you folks with lower-cc feedings using? My vet basically said it didn’t matter WHAT I’m feeding, as long as the calories are going in and staying in. He sent us home with Hill’s L/D (liver diet), but I wonder if there’s a food we could be using that’ll give us more for our caloric buck?

      Comment by anne | May 5, 2009 | Reply

      • Since your vet says it doesn’t matter what you feed your cat, ask about the Iams (or Eukanuba, I forget which) Veterinary Formula Maximum Calorie canned food. That’s for both cats and dogs, it comes in 6 ounce cans, and you don’t have to add water to it because it’s already liquified. My vet says it’s the fastest way to pump calories into a pet, and she and her partners use it whenever they’ve got a situation like this. It worked really well for Eddie. But you have to get it from your vet, because it’s not available from stores (or it wasn’t last year).

        My other suggestion is to ask for a couple of extra syringes. I don’t know why it is, but sometimes one will stick and the other won’t. A sticky syringe can be very frustrating.

        Also, three more things … First, this is an extension of intensive care, so call your vet as much as you want. He’s probably expecting a lot of communication anyway. It sounds like you’re talking to him a lot, I just like to make that point because I get a lot of hits on this particular post.

        Second, we went in every week to get the dressing changed and the tube checked. It felt good to touch base, get the vet’s feedback, and have an official weigh-in. They didn’t charge us for those visits.

        Finally, if the feeding tube seems clogged from something other than too much food, you can unclog it using Coke or Pepsi. I wrote about it somewhere on this blog, but now I can’t find it. Basically, just squirt a few cc’s of Coke or Pepsi into a clogged feeding tube independent of a feeding. Next time you need to feed your cat, the cola should have dissolved the clog and things should flow much more smoothly.

        Good luck!

        Comment by esheley | May 5, 2009

  57. Thank you so much! Right after I last posted, my vet called me to check in and I told him the volume problem and asked him about Max Cal. He had actually recommended Max Cal initially, but they were out of it and my cat was doing so well that they thought she’d be able to handle the volume required of the L/D. He said he had some Max Cal on order and would have it by the end of the week. Buoyed by your post, I called around and found some Max Cal at another vet’s office, then called my guy back and asked him to call them to okay my purchasing it, which he did. Turns out I can now feed my cat 240 cc’s a day instead of 520. Assuming the Max Cal agrees with her, that should be a tremendous help.

    I’ve been changing the dressing and checking the tube–so far no clogs and no problems with the entry point. We go back to the vet this weekend.

    Comment by anne | May 5, 2009 | Reply

  58. More questions . . .

    What’s the best way to transition my cat from tube-feeding to regular eating? She’s eating some, but not enough. Also, I don’t see how she could possibly be very hungry, with all the tube feeding. Her liver numbers look much better, so the vet told me to cut out one feeding in hopes she’d get hungry enough to eat on her own. But we also can’t reduce her caloric intake and start the hepatic lipidosis all over again.

    Meanwhile, my cat is energetic and happy and, perhaps strangely, seems to like the tube feedings. She hasn’t vomited since we started her on the Max Cal and were able to reduce the volume we were pumping in. She comes running when she sees me coming with the syringes, jumps in the bathtub (where I feed her) and assumes the position. She just lies there on her side and purrs like crazy, kneads my legs, stares at me with this weird adoring expression. It’s like it brings up memories of nursing for her. I am glad she’s not finding it to be an awful procedure, but I also don’t want her thinking this is some comfy new way of life.

    Comment by anne | May 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi, Anne–

      I was wondering how things were going for you. Your cat sounds adorable! And I’m glad the MaxCal is working.

      The transition can be tricky. My vet specifically mentioned cats that sometimes like the tube-feeding too much and don’t want to go off it. Eddie didn’t get into it quite as much as your cat has, but we used an appetite stimulant to help make him want to eat more on his own.

      There are a couple of appetite stimulants that vets rely on a lot, and my other cat (who was 19 1/2 at the time) had had a bad experience on one of them. So we used Mirtazapine ( ). You’ll see in the Wikipedia entry that it’s given to cats every 3 days, and that worked for us. What they don’t tell you — and I posted about this elsewhere on this blog, , is that it causes hallucinogenic dreams in people — and strange behavior in cats. It was manageable, but Eddie would wake me up meowing at me as if he wanted to talk.

      We used that for a couple of weeks in conjunction with the feedings, gradually decreasing the amount he was tube-fed. Then we pulled the tube. I was a bit anxious about how he’d react to that, but he ate very well on his own. We kept him on the Mirtazapine for about a week after the tube was removed, then stopped that, too. I still have some just in case his weight drops, but I haven’t had to use it in a while.

      I think the main thing you have to do is monitor your cat and her food intake. The fact that she’s already eating some is a positive. A little chemical boost might get her to eat more.

      Comment by esheley | May 11, 2009 | Reply

  59. We also used mirtazipine, luckily we did not get the strange side effects. 🙂 What I did was to offer my cat one ounce of solid food when it was time for his tube feeding. I got several different varieties of wet and dry food and tried offering different kinds to figure out what he preferred. Then, based on how much of the food he ate on his own, I would not inject the entire dosage of liquified food. Some days he ate all of it, some days he just took a few bites. After a few days I got to where I did not have to administer any more food through the tube, because he was eating enough on his own. I kept the tube in for about a week before having it removed, so that I could be sure he would continue eating steadily on his own.

    Comment by Anna | May 11, 2009 | Reply

  60. Next question: Anyone have any experience with neck wraps? My cat’s feeding tube came out yesterday–on its own. I had just run some Coke in because there seemed to be a clog–this was often the case in the mornings. We were just sitting there waiting for the clog to clear, and she shook her head vigorously and the WHOLE TUBE clattered to the floor. (!) I took her to our local vet (not the one who actually placed the tube) to get the site cleaned and rewrapped, and she’ll see the other vet tomorrow. At that point, we’ll evaluate whether she needs the tube reinserted. I’m hoping she won’t, since she’s mowing through the food pretty well and, by my calculations anyway, is getting enough calories. I’ve had a hard time giving her a pill, though–they gave us an antibiotic–and this neck wrap is driving her crazy. She scratches and it rotates around her neck, the bandaging gets shredded. I rewrapped it this morning and put new Neosporin on the site, and already she’s shredded the new wrap. It seems totally useless to even have it on, except I guess it does prevent her from being able to scratch the tube site directly–which I’m sure is what she wants to do. She’s been scratching at that thing since she got the tube in, and I suspect that’s how the tube got worked loose.

    Right now, she’s wrapped with gauze, with that rubbery broken-arm stuff over the top.

    And giving her a pill: Oh, my. Last night, she was spewing and foaming and growling. If she got half the dose of antibiotic, I’d be surprised.

    Anyway, we’re seeing our vet tomorrow, but in the meantime, I’m open to any insight!


    Comment by anne | May 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Eddie shredded his wrap every week, which was one reason I kept taking him in to get it rewrapped. Oddly, he scratched at the side opposite the site of the tube insertion.

      The insertion site heals amazingly fast, almost overnight. Eddie didn’t scratch at it once the tube was out. My vet used a dab of honey instead of standard medication on the site, because she said it worked just as well and didn’t seem to irritate her patients’ skin. She normally doesn’t go into the holistic side of medicine, so I thought that was telling. In any case, maybe the Neosporin is annoying your cat.

      The good news is she’s eating well and acting like a normal cat, instead of a sad, sick little thing. So this means the tube-feeding worked and you’ve saved her life.

      Unfortunately, acting like a normal cat also includes resisting pills. I don’t have much trouble pilling cats, and what I do is to offer a treat immediately afterwards, so they make the association between medication and treats. That takes several days, but they do figure it out and resist less. Eddie gets Greenies, which are inexpensive and available at most pet stores like PetSmart, etc. The other thing is, I don’t make a big deal of it. I just walk up to the cat with the pill in my right hand, bend over, pull the upper jaw up with my left hand, pull the lower jaw down with a finger of my right hand, and push the pill in as far as possible.

      Two things about pilling a cat: the pill has to be on the center of the tongue because their tongues aren’t mobile like ours are, so if it fall off to the side they have no choice but to spit it out. And second, push the pill as far back as possible to increase the likelihood the cat will swallow the pill.

      I asked Dr. Carter about a possible choking hazard if I pushed the pill back too far, and she said that’s all but impossible. Their epiglottis, the flap that separates the esophagus from the trachea, is pretty stubborn, to the point where inserting a tube through a cat’s mouth is difficult during surgery, for example. I don’t know if I explained that accurately, but the bottom line is that it’s all but impossible to push a pill into a cat’s trachea; it will go into the esophagus like it’s supposed to.

      Anyway, I hope some of this helps. And good luck at the vet appt. tomorrow. Please report back and let us know what happens, okay?

      Comment by esheley | May 16, 2009 | Reply

  61. Thanks, Elizabeth. I just ambushed her with a pill just now and it worked! Your advice helped me be aggressive about shoving it way down in there, in the center. She swallowed it, gave me a resentful look, then I carried her over to the faucet for a drink. Now she’s back at the food bowl . . .

    Yes, I’m almost ready to say that tube-feeding worked. My only reservation is that her blood work was a little wonky last week–low RBCs and high WBCs–and I’m watching her like a hawk to make sure she’s truly eating. She’s always been rather casual about food–just dry cat food, with no interest in treats or wet food or tuna or any of those things that other people’s cats turn inside out for. But she does seem to be eating plenty of dry food.

    The other thing that worries me–and perhaps I’ll just have to accept it–is that we don’t know why she stopped eating in the first place. We don’t know why she got hepatic lipidosis. Her other organ systems checked out okay, there was no obstruction, she responded to tube-feeding . . . maybe I should just count my blessings. But I do wonder why this happened and worry that it could happen again if there’s some underlying problem that no one was able to find.

    By the way, your Eddie looks just like my Betsy. A gorgeous black cat. Every household should have at least one. And am I correct that you’re in Sacramento? Betsy’s 24-hour care and tube-placement was handled by the Bradshaw Veterinary Clinic in Elk Grove–we’ll see those awesome folks tomorrow–and I’ve had drop-in stuff handled by our regular outpatient vet.

    This continues to be such an eye-opening journey, both in terms of veterinary care (it is SO not an exact science and the Internet is your friend!) and the importance of being aggressive–both with treatment of hepatic lipidosis and with asking the hard questions about weighing cost and possible suffering against the reality of the prognosis.

    Comment by anne | May 16, 2009 | Reply

  62. Hi everybody, thanks again for all your advice and insight these past couple weeks. We took Betsy to the vet today and she had gained 3 more ounces since her tube fell out two days ago. The vet removed her neck wrap and said all she needs to do is keep eating and grow that neck hair back. She ran a CBC so we can check on the red blood cells and white blood cells, but she said our cat looks great and that she expects nothing but a full recovery at this point. She gave me an appetite stimulant to help keep Betsy motivated to eat–Betsy is eating, and she’s eating enough, but she needs to be reminded. Eating is not that important to her, it seems, and it needs to be. (She’s more interested in lying in the sun, sparring with her roommate, watching whatever’s going on outdoors, drinking from the faucet, weaving around our ankles.) But Betsy’s up to a good weight (12.3 pounds), has glossy hair again and tons of energy. Two weeks ago tonight, I was sure my cat wouldn’t live through the night. Tube-feeding saved her life. Elizabeth, thank you again for your initial post and to everyone for sharing your stories. This blog has been a wonderful resource.

    Comment by anne | May 18, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m so glad Betsy is going to be on her own now. The appetite stimulant will help her transition from the tube-feeding to eating on her own.

      And thanks for sharing your story here. I think the accumulation of stories is a valuable resource for those who stop by, whether they post or not. Based on my WordPress stats, it looks like I get a lot of lurkers on this thread, so I think there are people other than those who weigh in who are tube-feeding. Since no two cats are alike, it may help to have all the various experiences recorded here.

      Good luck to you and Betsy!

      Comment by esheley | May 18, 2009 | Reply

  63. I just brought my cat home, tube ready. And I just gave him his first feeding. I probably went too fast – 25ccs in about 5 minutes. But he’s holding it down at this point. And hopefully for a couple of hours; until his next feeding. To be honest, the feeding part isn’t frustrating for me; the not knowing what I’m doing – and having a semi-unhelpful vet – is wickedly frustrating. I have to pill him at half-hour intervals for an hour before feeding him, but I think I’ll do alright with it.

    It’s just nice to see there is a lot of information on the internet about the process. And I know I’m not the only one who is having a tough time of it.

    But, Patches is the best cat I’ve ever met. And I’m gonna make it happen for him.

    …now if only he would stop jumping on things while high on pain meds…

    Comment by Bill | May 19, 2009 | Reply

  64. Good luck, Bill — Patches is lucky to have you.

    No matter how much info we get beforehand, I think we all feel like we don’t know what we’re doing at first. And the vets lose control of their patients when we do this, which may be why yours is coming across as less than wonderful.

    It sounds like you’re off to a good start. You probably do need to slow it down a bit. We ground up Eddie’s pills and put them in his food — is that something your vet would let you do?

    Hang in there — I know you’ll do great.

    Comment by esheley | May 19, 2009 | Reply

  65. We also had pills that had to be given on an empty stomach (cisopride and denosyl). I crushed them in a plastic baggie, then mixed them with 6 or so cc’s of water and put them through the feeding tube. Then I ran in a few cc’s of water and waited the requisite 30 minutes before starting the feeding.

    I also would recommend slowing down, if only because I actually saw how small the hole is at the end of the feeding tube. I’d had no idea it was so small, and I continue to be astonished that we were able to get Max Cal slurry through that tube.

    Anyone got any great ideas for enticing a cat to eat more? Betsy’s eating, but she’s apathetic about it. We put her in front of the dish, and she eats, but she doesn’t seek it out on her own. Eating is clearly not a priority for her right now. And it needs to be. We’re getting enough into her, but barely. She only likes dry food, doesn’t care much for cat treats. She’s on an appetite stimulant, but I’m not noticing it’s making much difference. Meanwhile, her liver numbers are good, her red and white counts are fine . . . there’s no discernible reason for her to not want to eat.

    Comment by anne | May 19, 2009 | Reply

    • Anne, if the appetite stimulant isn’t doing much, that’s a call to the vet. There are at least 2 commonly used drugs for that purpose, probably more. At least her stats are good.

      As for why she isn’t interested in eating, she might have memories of food making her nauseous. Or she might like the attention she gets from you when you try to make her eat.

      Comment by esheley | May 20, 2009 | Reply

  66. Hey, Bill, how’s it going with Patches?

    Comment by anne | May 21, 2009 | Reply

  67. Wow – my cat Scratchy looks just like yours. She even has a green wrap around her e-tube! I saw your comments about the hair growing in grey. I thought I heard that somewhere before, so I guess it’s true. I might have to give her another shave to even it out before it all grows back, since they shaved only half hear head. They also went all the way around the legs & her belly. So it will be interesting once it grows back!

    Comment by Christine | September 8, 2009 | Reply

    • I had forgotten about this blog until I got the notification from Christine’s post. Wondering how everyone’s cats are doing. Betsy’s fully recovered from her bout with hepatic lipidosis–tube-feeding saved her life. She’s back to her pre-illness weight (13.5 pounds), plump and glossy black, full neck of hair (which, yes, started out gray and uneven but is now just like it used to be, although it did take about four months to grow in). She’s energetic and happy. We still have no idea what caused her crisis in the first place, but we’re really grateful that she survived. And, oddly, she’s bonded more to me than she used to be. Where before she was a family cat–pretty equally affectionate with us all–now she’s mine. She’s still friendly with everyone else, but she sleeps with me, follows me around, hangs out with me while I’m working on the computer at home. It’s almost like she knows on some level that all that time we spent in the bathtub together last spring is the reason she’s still here today. My husband thinks she’s waiting for me to start tube-feeding her again, because she truly seemed to love it in a way that bordered on weird. She would gaze at me and knead my leg and purr in this crazy tone, like she was stoned.

      Comment by anne | September 8, 2009 | Reply

      • That’s funny, because Scratchy does the same thing. She just stares at me like she’s a crazy stalker or something! She’ll also come and lay down on my chest right in front of my face if I’m laying down and she will start sniffing my lips. Wierdo! She was in the hospital for 10 days and she’s been home for about 2 1/2 weeks. I think she’s really starting to like her feedings, so I’m thinking it might be hard to get her to start eating again… As soon as I walk in with the syringes, she lays on her back with her feet in the air and starts purring.

        She was always the shy sweet kitty, but now she has developed quite a diva attitude. She actually chased my pit bull into the bedroom and then sat in the doorway so she couldn’t get back out. Previously, she would not go near the dogs, even when they were sleeping! So I guess that’s a good sign she is feeling better…

        Comment by Christine | September 8, 2009

  68. Christine, it sounds like Scratchy is doing well, which is great. The hair growing back in is one of the amusing parts of all this.

    Anne, Betsy seems to have imprinted on you in a big way. That is so funny.

    Eddie is doing fine, still. He has a thyroid condition now, but we’re giving him medication through transdermal ear gel, which seems to be working. He’s following me around more, but the other cat died a few days after his tube was removed (she was almost 20), so I don’t know if his attention is due to the bond we developed during tube-feeding or due to the fact that he’s now an only cat and has me all to himself.

    Comment by esheley | September 8, 2009 | Reply

  69. Hi all! So glad to have found this website! All your stories have been so helpful. I’m still feeling nervous and scared though. We just brought our kitty, Bonk (he likes to bonk EVERYTHING with the flat of his head hehe), home from the hospital today. He has cholangiohepatitis with a side of hepatic lipidosis. After he was diagnosed we had a really successful week getting him to eat around 5oz of wet food and nibbles of dry, plus pilling 4-5 times a day. Then the weekend hit and he suddenly regressed. Wouldn’t eat. Could barely get an ounce or two in him. We got him back to Tufts and after long consultation decided to go ahead with the feeding tube. He is 14 so we were worried about what it would put him through and how much time he’d have with us after. They assured us that cats tend to do really well with the feeding tubes and his prognosis would be good. We got his blood tests back and his liver values were actually all at normal! But he still wouldn’t eat and he still needed a few weeks of antibiotics. They figured the pilling and stress was causing the anorexia.

    So, the minute we got him home tonight he started scratching incessantly at the bandages…and one of the pieces of padding under the bandage came out (they’d put it above where the tube comes out, to prevent the threads around the tube from rubbing his skin). I’m scared to leave him alone at all for fear he’ll pull it out 😦 He is in a separate part of the house because we also had redirected aggression issues with him and he can’t be around the other cats at all. He has the upstairs and they have downstairs (along with us…). Right now hubby and I are taking turns keeping an eye on him but it won’t be possible to guard him the entire time.

    Then we tried the feeding. They sent us home with Iams Max Cal and told us to mix one can plus 25ml water in the blender, then warm it up and give him 36ml of slurry four times a day. So I followed those directions but oh my lord that syringe kept clogging. The food is so grainy! We only got a few mL in him. So I went downstairs and added a bit more water and blended it some more. That worked much better, but by then he was wide awake and wouldn’t sit still. He actually started growling at us. I was scared he was actually going to snip at me! A very unhappy cat! I think we were lucky to get 10mL total in him. I was able to get the 5mL of water afterwards to clear the tube but that’s it. At the hospital today they said he only got 2 feedings of 10mL, so he hasn’t had much at all. We are really really hoping that the next feeding goes better.

    I’m trying to keep positive and hope that he gets better with this over time! Any pointers or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    Comment by Tara | October 7, 2009 | Reply

    • For Scratchy we fed Science Diet A/D, which we barely had to mix any water in. They first gave us the syringes without the screw tops & that was impossible, so we went back and got the 60 cc syringes that screw on and they work like a charm. They only last a couple days before they wear out & get really hard to push, so we ordered a box of them online.

      For her bandage, she didn’t really bother it at all. We used the nonstick pads with a hole cut to fit around the tube, then wrapped gauze under & over the tube, then the colorful tape. You could put an e-collar on to prevent him from messing with it. She also had a t-shirt on & the ones with a higher collar (like a turtleneck) covered the bandage. Another thing I’ve seen is that people cut the elastic part off a tube sock & put that over the bandage.

      We kept her in a cage the whole time because we were paranoid that she would get her tube caught & rip it out. So it was much easier to feed her in the cage. Sometimes we would put her on the bed to do it & she would move around a lot. The t-shirt helped here, too, since I would just hold on to her shirt to keep her still. but one time the pizza man came to the door & freaked her out & she bolted under the bed with the syringe still attached…

      So she got it out about 2 weeks ago after having it in 5 weeks. The first couple weeks were really rough, but then it was as routine as getting the mail.

      So good luck and hang in there! If you need more advice check out the yahoo group called feline assisted feeding.

      Comment by Christine | October 8, 2009 | Reply

  70. Hi Tara,

    We did one can Max Cal to half a can of water, and we used big, 60cc syringes with an end that fit straight into the tube. The big syringes were a little hard to manage, but they didn’t clog like the 35cc syringes did, or like the 60cc ones with the smaller mouth (those required an adaptor–they called it a Christmas tree–between the tube and the syringe. I had one syringe that just never worked very well. It was hard to manage and clogged all the time. So it was nice to have some spares on hand. Maybe ask your vet for a bunch of different sizes and see what works. I also found that my syringes deteriorated over time. Betsy was on the tube for a little over two weeks, and I got new syringes at least once during that time.

    Our feeding amount was different. Betsy was 11 pounds when she went on tube feeding, and on Max Cal mixed a can to half can water, we were to give her 240 ccs a day. I split that into three or four feedings, depending on our schedule. Warm slurry flows MUCH easier than cool.

    cc’s are the same as ml’s. You probably already know this, but I didn’t, so I thought I’d pass it along!

    The stupid neck wrap gave us trouble, too. Betsy clawed at that thing constantly. Ours had a gauze pad that straddled around the tube site, then a cotton-based wrap that went around her neck and got all fuzzy and frayed around the edges, then that broken-arm material over the top–usually bright green or bright red.

    Good luck with Bonk. Poor guy. Oh, one more thing I just remembered: Betsy HATED being tube-fed on the counter, but she LOVED the process when we sat in the bathtub with her. We laid a thick towel in there and I’d climb in there with her and feed her there. Killed my back, but she didn’t fight it. On the counter, she hissed and growled and basically acted like a cat I’d never met before.

    Comment by anne | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  71. Tara, one more thing: The gauze pad that went beneath all the wrapping on the neck wrap: It was a small thing, maybe 2 inches by 2 inches, and had a plastic-type backing on it. We folded it and cut a slit in it with a slightly rounded spot at the end, so when we opened it up, it had a slice and a little hole that went neatly around the tube entry site. We put Neosporin around the tube entry site, then put on the gauze pad, plastic side against Betsy’s fur, then did the cotton wrap and the rubbery stuff. Then we had some water-resistant tape that we used to secure the tube so that looped around at the back of her neck and ran up between her ears. Betsy’s tube stayed in place and didn’t appear to move at all, then one day it fell out on its own. In retrospect, we think it got loose when we gave her more freedom around the house and she began trying to drink from a tall horseshoe-shaped faucet that she loves. It would’ve been perfect for her to catch the tube loop on that faucet, and we’re relatively certain that’s what happened.

    Comment by anne | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  72. I have to agree with Anne, the larger syringes really make a difference. Talk to your vet about this, because the end of the feeding tube needs to be wide enough to accommodate a larger syringe tip. My vet snipped off the end of the syringe to make the opening wider, too, so that helped with the flow. Once the flow is better, remember to go slowly with the feeding. A cat’s stomach has its limits and if you give too much too quickly, Bonk could end up vomiting it all up.

    The other thing that Anne mentions that’s a great piece of advice is to try a couple of different locations for feeding. I was fortunate in that Eddie would sit on the counter for me, but not all cats will. Some want to be tube-fed on the floor or in the bathtub or somewhere else. The problem is, you’re experimenting at the beginning of the process when a) you’re less confident than you will be and b) the cat is sickest. So it’s a bit nerve-wracking.

    As for the neck wrap, my vet put honey around the entry site of the tube, saying it worked better than any commercial medication she’d ever tried. And Eddie had no infection or inflammation there, so it evidently helped. And after wrapping a lot of gauze around his neck, she covered it with a stretchy plastic mesh material that came in bright colors and clung to itself. She’d wrap that around his neck several times. He would still claw at it — on the opposite side from the tube for some reason — but it took him 5-7 days to shred it to the point that it bothered me. I took him back to the vet each week to get his neck rewrapped.

    Good luck with this, Tara. I’m sure you and Bonk will do fine, but the early days of this process can make a person crazy.

    Comment by esheley | October 8, 2009 | Reply

    • Oh, guys, bad news tonight. Betsy’s back in the hospital, and the prognosis is grim.

      Even as I was posting to Tara yesterday, I was suspecting something wasn’t quite right with Betsy. She slept under my daughter’s bed night before last, and was spending a lot of time hanging out in the garage–kind of like she was avoiding us. She was moving a little slow, too. It was all very subtle–so subtle that I almost ignored it. But, given her history, and the fact that we’ve never known what caused her HL last spring, I decided to have her checked out, just to be sure. Got an appointment for tonight and, sure enough, her weight had dropped by half a pound. So they did a quickie in-office blood panel and 15 minutes later were telling me she needed to be hospitalized. Her red blood cell count is 18%. (Normal is 29 to 40.) The vet told me this is dangerously low–that at 12%, they do transfusions.

      So I let them keep her for the night, to monitor her while we await the “real” blood panel results, due tomorrow. It’s possible it’s a parasite that will respond to antiobiotics (which they’ve already started her on). It’s more likely it’s either an autoimmune disease (IMHA), which CAN respond to prednisone but is likely deadly, or cancer. My hunch is that it’s one of the two latter, and that it was what kicked off her HL last spring. Her lab results from last spring show no signs of compromised RBCs, except on one test that seemed explainable by her liver healing and that reversed itself within a few days. But I suspect whatever we’re looking at now was in the picture in April. It just seems too unlikely for a previously perfectly healthy, 6-year-old cat to develop two life-threatening illnesses in six-months’ time.

      We’re all really upset, and not feeling all that hopeful. Just wanted to share. I’ll post again when we know more. I realize this is off-topic from tube-feeding, but am taking a chance no one will mind too much. I’d tube-feed again if I thought it would save Betsy’s life. Unfortunately, right now it won’t.

      Comment by anne | October 9, 2009 | Reply

      • Scratchy’s protein levels were almost down to 0 (among the rest of her problems with HL and pancreatitis). We were thinking if putting her down since we had already spent a fortune and she was just getting worse and she was completely miserable. They said let’s try one more thing, and even if it helps she’ll have a 50/50 chance of pulling through. So they gave her a plasma transfusion and the next day her protein level stopeed dropping, but it was still really bad. I was braced for the end, but they said let’s try one more transfusion. After that her protein level held steady for a few days and then started to improve. 6 weeks later she is finally off her tube and now just has a bit of a higher than normal ALT.

        So everyone kept telling me not to give up hope, and I thought they were all crazy. I was not ready to let her go, but I started feeling selfish that I was not able to make “the” decision. So after a few days I think I had accepted it and felt ok with it since I did evertyhing I could to give her all the tests & treatments I could.

        Hang in there, and we will be sending good thoughts your way!

        Comment by Christine | October 9, 2009

  73. Oh, Anne, I’m so sorry! And don’t worry about being “off-topic” on this — this is my personal blog, and I say you can post anything related to Betsy here.

    It’s always so hard when they don’t make it. There’s that feeling of helplessness and frustration, especially when they’re young like Betsy. But here’s the thing that ties it all back to tube-feeding: you did everything you could. Regardless of the outcome, good or bad, you did everything you could by trying the tube-feeding. It’s cold comfort when your pet is critically ill or passes away, but you will always know that you didn’t walk away from helping her, even though it was difficult, time-consuming, and inconvenient.

    Please do let us know the outcome. I’m hoping for the best.

    Comment by esheley | October 9, 2009 | Reply

  74. Thanks for the good thoughts. I talked with the vet this morning and the prognosis is guessy at best. She says Betsy “looks great for a cat with such dismal lab values.” She believes it’s either a bone marrow cancer or autoimmune disorder, both of which she’d treat the same way: with prednisone and doxycycline. (Betsy’s RBCs and WBCs are low.) We’re going to bring her home tonight, medicate her and see how she does. Best case scenario, she’ll begin to recover. Worst: She continues to decline and we have her put to sleep. It’s all very frustrating, especially when she was doing so well. Both vets we’ve talked with since last night are scratching their heads over any possible connection between springtime’s bout with hepatic lipidosis and now this anemia, because in May Betsy had no remarkable blood cell count results. And now that’s ALL that’s remarkable. The problem is, they’re devastatingly low. My hunch is that we’re just buying a little time–maybe very little–but I’ve been surprised before. I just can’t see euthanizing a cat who “looks great” just because her labs look bad when the treatment is relatively cheap and not invasive. Since I’ve become a pro at pilling a cat (thanks, Elizabeth), a few drugs are no problem!

    Comment by anne | October 9, 2009 | Reply

  75. Anne, this reminds me of when I took Eddie to the new vet. She said that without the medical records, she wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him.
    These mystery ailments are perplexing. One of my first two cats, Rabbit, was diagnosed with a very rare form of leukemia for which there was no standard treatment. Our vet called a few vet med professors, and one said, “well, I guess you could try removing her spleen.” Can you believe that? Rabbit was a beloved pet, not a science experiment. Anyway, no one gave her more than 6 months to live, and she lasted 27 months.
    So the only advice I’ll give is to let Betsy tell you when it’s time to go, not the lab work. She could end up surprising everyone.

    Comment by esheley | October 9, 2009 | Reply

  76. Thanks for the reminder to let Betsy tell me when it’s time to go. Right now, it’s looking sooner than I’d like, but I’m trying not to jump to judgment before the meds would even have a chance to start working. (Vet said four to five days before her marrow would be able to generate enough cells to make much visible difference.) Betsy’s home, eating nothing, just lying around. She’s alert and friendly–lots of meowing and purring–but clearly weak and tired, moreso today than last night. I’m force-feeding her Max Cal–a process that is less traumatic than I thought it would be, and probably the biggest indicator of Betsy’s weakness. I hold her against my side, force her mouth open, smear the food against the roof of her mouth and wait for her to swallow it all. She hates this, but she only fights me a little. And she’s not growling or seeming that stressed out, and she goes back to purring and talking when we’re done. I figure if I can get half a can or so of Max Cal into her a day, we might stave off hepatic lipidosis if she’s to survive this anemia. I feel like I should give her as much of a chance as I can during these transition days when the meds might be working withour our knowing. Thanks for listening.

    Comment by anne | October 10, 2009 | Reply

  77. Hello. I was wondering if anyone out there has any advice for our situation. Our cat Patchi was diagosed with hepatic lipidosis and pancreatitis over 2 months ago. By the time we found out and got the feeding tube in place she had lost 5 pounds and was very jaundiced. Approximately one month into tube feeding Patchi was showing great improvements. She was eating small amounts here and there and her liver enzymes went from high 300’s to nearly normal levels. After that we decreased the tube feedings but Patchi’s progress plateued and then started to decline. Now she is vomiting much more frequently and gags every time we present food in front of her. I was wondering if anyone out there has advice on whether I should continue as I have been. The surgeon who placed the feeding tube told us he is beginning to lose hope for Patchi’s recovery. Also I’ve been wondering if there have been cases where the cat was on tube feedings for over 2 months and still recovered. Thanks in advance ! It is really helpful to learn about other experiences.

    Comment by Amanda | October 12, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Amanda,

      So Patchi is still on the tube? Is she eating at all by mouth? I wonder if you could dial her back to just tube feeding again and perhaps spread out her feedings to lesser amounts more times a day. We had to do that with Betsy when she was on a food that required too much volume.

      Also, is it possible whatever you’re feeding her is too rich? I remember my vet telling me that some cats cannot tolerate Max Cal, that it’s too heavy/rich for them. (Of course, at that point he was trying to sell me on the merits of feeding Betsy L/D because his clinic was out of stock on Max Cal. Within two days, it was clear that the volumes of L/D required were too great and we found Betsy some Max Cal and she stomached it just fine.) Maybe ask your vet to prescribe the mildest food there is and see if she’ll tolerate more tube-feedings of less volume.

      What do her lab values look like? Does she still have high liver and pancreas numbers?

      I do know that in my online research before we put Betsy on the feeding tube last spring, I ran across people who had tube fed for up to a year. I remember this because I thought to myself that I couldn’t see doing that. That was before I actually had any experience with tube-feeding, and I thought it was a much more involved process than it ended up being. (I envisioned a comatose cat connected to an IV type thing, continuously being fed.)

      Good luck. Believe me, I can totally relate to the heartbreak of hearing that hope is dwindling. Totally.

      Comment by anne | October 12, 2009 | Reply

  78. Wondering how Patchi, Scratchy and Bonk are doing . . .

    Things are actually pretty good with Betsy. She started eating on her own eight days ago–the day after I force-fed her–and her strength has gradually improved. She saw the vet this past weekend for a blood count and her WBCs are normal, her RBCs are at the low end of normal, and all her other blood lines are fine. The blood panel pattern, weird as it is, strongly suggests it was a regenerative anemia (a better prognosis than non-regenerative), and it appears the medication may have bought her enough time for her bone marrow to kick back into gear before her counts dipped too low. The cause remains a mystery–and so, therefore, does the prognosis. It could be autoimmune, which is dreadfully unstable, or cancer–in which case, a decline is looming.

    But for today, she’s looking and feeling well, and her labs support that. Once again, I’ve dismantled the sick-cat bathroom where I was sequestering her at night; she’s got the run of the house again, she’s all over the counters and windowsills, she’s mowing through the cat food (prednisone increases appetite), cuffing her roommate, living her full life with bright eyes and glossy black hair.

    Assuming things remain good, she goes back to the vet again this weekend for another blood test, and she’ll stay on the meds for a couple more weeks at least. But one thing the vet told me that I’m sure rings true: If this is real recovery, we’ll have to be very attentive for signs of trouble, because we don’t know what caused this, which means we don’t know that it wouldn’t happen again. I’m still convinced that this and the HL are connected–I just don’t know what came first. I was thinking that whatever this is had to have caused Betsy to stop eating last spring and thus caused the HL, but her springtime bloodwork doesn’t support that line of thinking at all. Now I’m wondering if she didn’t pick up something infectious during her HL treatment, either through the tube site, in the hospital or in either of the vet offices. But we’ll never know.

    I hope everybody’s doing well.

    Comment by anne | October 19, 2009 | Reply

  79. Hi, your blog post about Eddie have been so helpful. He looks very much like my Bentley. About a month ago, we had a feeding tube placed in his neck. He had stopped eating and was refusing pills (by hiding them in his mouth and spitting them out later). It was tough doing the tube feedings but meds were fine going through. After about ten days, he got a checkup and found that his intestinal swelling and white blood count and anemia were gone. We continued the feedings and the meds. He was improving slowly. His personality started to return and he started to eat little amounts of regular wet and dry food.

    My husband and I went away to a good friend’s wedding for about 3 days. We put Bentley in medical boarding at our vet since he still needed meds 3 times a day as well as tube feedings. When we brought him home from the vet, he started vomiting again, not eating regular food, loose stool, hiding under our bed, etc. We both feel so guilty for boarding him but he needed medical attention that a regular cat sitter probably couldn’t provide.

    At this point, the tube is quite clogged with food and we can’t get meds or food done. I’ve been squirting Coke in the tube and slowly it’s unclogging but very slowly.

    I’m worried about Bentley because he was doing so well and has seemed to regress. Does anyone who has gone through a similar experience with their cat have any advice? Bentley first got sick around Labor Day and a month later, he’s back to square one.

    Comment by Jennifer Chen | October 20, 2009 | Reply

  80. Hi, Anne and Jennifer–
    Anne, I’m so happy that Betsy is doing better. I was worried about her. And she sounds like such a sweet cat, too. Eddie had a mysterious blood panel a few months before he was diagnosed as diabetic. In the scheme of things, it wasn’t so bad – shots are easy compared to pills, which I can do.

    Jennifer, it sounds like your vet should be more concerned about the problems that arose while Bentley was there. Have you talked to your vet? He or she should be able to clear the tube for you, too. I’m wondering if you might want to get a second opinion from another vet, because yours doesn’t sound that engaged. I could be reading the situation wrong, but if Bentley improved, then he shouldn’t have declined while staying at the vet.
    Good luck with this, and let me know how it goes.

    Comment by esheley | October 21, 2009 | Reply

  81. Hi Jennifer, maybe get that tube checked by the vet. Betsy’s had what seemed to be in intractable clog like that and it turned out not to be clogged, but had actually come out of her neck and was jammed against the inside of neck wrapping. We didn’t know this til her tube fell to the floor later that morning and when we removed the neck wrap, there was the spot it was adhered to with Coke!

    I agree that Bentley shouldn’t have declined while staying at the vet, unless stress is playing some kind of tremendous role in his condition.

    Elizabeth, we’re back to the vet with Betsy this weekend to see how her levels are looking. She’s looking a little fat, which doesn’t surprise me, given how much she’s eating. She’s a machine! And, yes, she’s a very sweet cat. Purrs even while I’m giving her the pill.

    I’ve noticed there seems to be a pattern in this comment section: lots of black cats. I’ve counted four or five that have been described as looking like Eddie (as Betsy does, too). I’m no statitician, but it begs the question: Do black cats get sick more often, or are there simply so many black cats in the world that it would then stand to reason that they would be represented in high numbers on any forum about cats????

    Comment by anne | October 21, 2009 | Reply

    • Interesting observation about black cats, Anne. I would imagine their prominence in the population is a factor, but I wonder if there is also a genetic vulnerability related to coat color. Long ago, I read a book on the genetic factors determining feline coloration, and how almost all of those factors link to other traits, including personality and sensory traits. So maybe you’re on to something.

      This, by the way, is the kind of thing we often discuss over on House of Fur (, where I post under a pseudonym. HoF was set up for owners of diabetic cats to discuss feline health issues and also to socialize (usually in a question-of-the-day section). By now, most of the original diabetic cats have passed away, but there are other special needs cats living with various regulars, so we have lively discussions in the health section. If you’re interested in joining, Anne, tell the admin I sent you.

      That goes for anyone else who shows up here, too.

      Comment by esheley | October 22, 2009 | Reply

  82. It’s so good of you to leave this online, to give others in the same situation the courage to see it through!

    And I’m so, so glad Eddie is so much better!

    Comment by Gayle (Gazehound's Animal Communication) | October 23, 2009 | Reply

  83. This was all so helpful. After 5 days in intensive care, our 2 year old cat Izzy is home, complete with 6 meds and a feeding tube. Day one went okay, it’s messy, but I’ll get better. I just hope she does. They still aren’t sure whats up, but she is jaundiced and her liver is enlarged. It appears to fatty liver, but she’s tiny and only 2. I’m so worried about her. She has not interest in food or water by mouth. Any tips

    Comment by Kathy | October 27, 2009 | Reply

  84. Kathy, it sounds like Izzy is getting good care, and you’re right, you’ll get better at this, as will Izzy. It does sound like fatty liver, which is one of the conditions that tube-feeding is good for.
    Eddie wasn’t interested in food or water for a couple of weeks after he became sick. Then he’d sniff it and walk away. He did eat eventually, though, and almost all of them do. If Izzy seems overly content with the tube-feeding, an appetite stimulant might help her redevelop an interest in her food. But you’re not there yet.
    Good luck with her!

    Comment by esheley | October 27, 2009 | Reply

  85. Yep, from what you say, Kathy, it sounds like hepatic lipidosis with Izzy. That’s what Betsy had and we don’t know if she got it and stopped eating, or whether she stopped eating and got it. But either way, she had no interest in food. Water, yes. But not food. The good thing is, once Izzy’s getting enough calories, her liver will clear out, her appetite will return. Betsy started eating a little bit after she’d been on the tube for about a week, I think.

    Tube feeding is messy. That’s why I always did it in the bathroom with Betsy–in the tub, with a roll of paper towels handy and nothing around that could be ruined by splatters of cat-food slurry. Betsy would shake her head because the tube wrapping irritated her, and if I didn’t have that tube capped, little droplets of food would spray everywhere. It’s been six months and I’m still finding pieces of dried Max Cal stuck to the tile in that bathroom.

    Good luck with Izzy. I hope she feels better soon.

    Comment by anne | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  86. Thanks for your wonderful website. My 1 1/2-year old cat, Ariel, got diagnosed today with fatty liver disease. She is getting an e-tube tomorrow morning. I am feeling anxious, but more informed about the process of doing tube feedings with her. I am also encouraged that I have this website to post any questions and concerns that I may have.

    I have consulted with 4 vets through the many tests Ariel has had and everyone is surprised that she has this diagnosis at such a young age, but everything else has been ruled out. I lost a 6-month-old cat, Bella, a little over a year and a half ago to Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) which is 100% fatal. My primary vet is not at all convinced that this FLD is not the precursor to FIP and that my oldest cat, two-year-old Basil is not a carrier of FIP. So, I am cautiously optimistic that the e-tube will potentially help Ariel to be healthy again. Has anyone had a cat eventually get the diagnosis with FIP after being diagnosed with FLD?

    Comment by Dian | October 31, 2009 | Reply

  87. This is a great website! My cat was brought in to the emergency C.A.R.E Center in Calgary, Alberta 2 weeks ago. She was diagnosed with fatty liver disease, and had to have a large mass removed from her stomach. They gave her an Esophagostomy feeding tube, as well as some Zentonil, and Carnitine (which is almost impossible to make her take, and swallow whole! They let her come home once her surgery was done. The minute we brought her home, she went strait to her food, and ate a little… then again in 1/2 an hour. We thought this was great! After the first day, she salivated alot, and still continues to do it regularly. She doesn’t want to eat her regular food now though (only the one day). She still will not drink any water (She was put on an IV in the hospital because of dehydration) Is she getting enough through her tube? I was wondering if anyone has had a problem with their cat vomiting up the feeding tube? Is it the whole thing, or just a piece of it? My cat vomited this morning, and about 1cm of her tube came out (broken off).

    Comment by Amber | October 31, 2009 | Reply

  88. Amber, the tube came out in her vomit? Would that mean that it broke off down in her stomach? I don’t see how it could happen–the tube Betsy had was rubbery and very flexible, and when the vet mentioned the possibility of it being vomited up, I assumed that meant it would come out the incision in her neck. (Which Betsy’s eventually did, but not from vomiting.) This definitely seems like something you’d want to mention to your vet!

    Between the slurry we were feeding Betsy (which was mixed half can water to one can food), and the water I was shooting through the tube to clear it before and after feedings and medications, I worried Betsy was getting too much water. So my sense is that dehydration wouldn’t be a problem with tube feeding unless there’s significant vomiting or diarrhea.

    Dian, my only experience with FIP involved having Betsy tested a few years ago, when we were planning to adopt a second cat. Betsy tested negative. The second cat tested positive, though, and we opted out of the adoption. It was an excruciating decision because the vets explained that the FIP test is not necessarily indicative of active disease or even disease-to-come, it doesn’t mean the cat’s definitely a carrier . . . it CAN mean all that, but a positive test doesn’t guarantee any of that. It’s so commonly positive that cat shelters don’t typically run the test because of people like us–who would run at the mere possibility it MIGHT create a disaster. In the end, despite the unlikelihood that the second cat would infect Betsy, I could not get comfortable with the possibility. Betsy and the second cat never met.

    As far as we continue to know with Betsy, she does not have FIP. She definitely had FLD (hepatic lipidosis) six months ago and she’s now recovering from that mysterious bout with regenerative anemia/leukopenia. Shrugs continue about why, for both illnesses, yet for the moment–after two weeks of tube-feeding last spring, a return to health, then four weeks of antibiotics and prednisone therapy now for the anemia–Betsy was pronounced healthy today by our vet. Her white blood cells have been normal since a week after we started treatment, and her red cells have been steadily climbing and today were at 40 percent, which the high side of normal. She’s tapering off pred now, down to one-quarter of the original dose. A month ago, I thought I’d be putting her to sleep. I think I’m starting to understand that saying about nine lives.

    Happy Halloween, everyone. Let’s keep our lucky black cats safe tonight!

    Comment by anne | October 31, 2009 | Reply

  89. Ariel is doing really well today and it looks like she will be coming home tomorrow. However, the day after surgery (Sunday) was very scary. They let me come and visit her and I was immediately worried. She was very lethargic, nauseated and seemed depressed. The vet tech took her temperature and it was 103.6. She called the vet at home who immediately came over. They ran blood tests which revealed a low red blood count and low potassium level. The vet explained that we could be looking at refeeding syndrome….time would tell. The vet also asked that I make myself available for the next 6 hours as they would repeat the blood work two more times that day. If Ariel’s red blood cells continued to go down, I would have to take her to an all-night emergency clinic for a blood transfusion.

    Long story short–yesterday and today’s news is that her red blood cells have stabilized, she has a normal temperature, she is no longer nauseated, and the feedings are going well. In addition, Ariel is also eating some of her dry food. But the best news is that as of yesterday her bilirubin count has dropped from 11 to 2.6. I read that if a cats bilirubin count drops to half of its original number within 7 to 10 days, there is a 90% chance of survival.

    Any words of advice on making the transition from veterinary clinic to home as trauma-free as possible for Ariel?

    Comment by Dian | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  90. Hi,signing in from New Brunswick,Canada;great site;so happy to have come upon it!!! My eleven and one-half-year-old cat,KoKo,has been diagnosed with Renal Disease(level 4);also heart murmur and anaemia. He had a feed tube inserted last Friday. He is drousy,sleeping a lot;he has not spoken since he came home;he seems cold all the time;he prefers his head to be tilted down,as he gets irritable if he is elevated for more than a minute. He falls asleep right after his tube feeding. He likes to climb up on my chest,maybe for warmth,but soon after seems to have problem with his throat and moves to the top of the couch so he can sleep with his head hanging down. He is receiving Hormone Injections,(Darbepoetin alfa),once a week;to receive his second shot this Thursday;feeding him MediCal Reduced Protein (3/4 can per day). Administering: 4 x per day: mix 1/4 can of food with 30ml of water and 1ml of Amphogel(for fast relief of heartburn and excess acidity),and give it to KoKo;then flush tube with 20ml of water. Once a day add 1/4 tablet of Famotidine (10mg.)which is Pepcid AC. Total of 4ml of Amphojel per day. I mix this up in a Magic Bullet purchased just for KoKo. Our Vet gave us five 35ml syringes to use,one for the food and we use one to administer his water afterward. He came home from the Vet Friday evening,only to be pooping numerous times on my good scatter rug,which is totally out of caracter for him,but I guess it had to come out sometime. Since then he has had only one small stool. We are not giving him as much of the recipe the Vet suggested;we are easing him into it,giving lower doses,but more often. He gages a bit after some feedings,but has not actually thrown up yet. I give him a Tuna treat afterwards,as that is his favourite food;the Vet is not happy about that as she wants him eating ONLY VET FOOD – YUCK!!! He has to be on a low sodium,low protein,low phosphorous food for his Renal Disease. Has anyone heard of Vets resorting to this Hormone (Darbepoetin alfa) for Anaemia,to build up red blood cells??? I googled the drug,and was alarmed to find out that it was once used on Cancer and Renal patients,but on March 22/07 due to a congressional inquiry,Manufacturers were asked to suspend marketing the drug to patients. The FDA released a Public Health Advisory on March 9/07,which indicated a lack of clinical evidence to support improvements in quality of life in patients. It is produced by recombinant DNA technology in modified Chinese hamster ovary cells. It is an erythropoiesis-stimulating 165-amino acid protein. It increases the risk of cardiovascular problems,including cardiac arrest,arrhythmia,hypertension and hypertensive encephalopathy,congestive heart failure,vascular thrombosis or ischemia,myocardial infarction and edema. Also seisures and strokes. I could really use your feed-back on this drug;I have expressed my concern to my Vet,to no avail! I am considering going to see a Homeopathic Vet;I have an appointment for this Thursday,but do not know if I should follow thru with it. She said if I did,KoKo could be dead in three to four months;that he needs to be kept on these Hormones to see if they can regenerate red blood cells. It will take at least three injections to see an improvement in his health. She said if he does not improve he will likely need blood tranfusions.Any advice for a DESPERATE PET OWNER??? My Vet has never treated Renal Cats before!

    Comment by Margaret | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  91. Hi Margaret,

    I would find a vet that has treated renal cats. When Betsy had hepatic lipidosis last spring, our regular vet was the wrong guy to see–we discovered–because as an outpatient clinician, he did not see enough HL from diagnosis to recovery to be able to tell me what I was up against. It wasn’t til I got to a 24-hour hospital, where they saw HL all the time, that I got the benefit of several veterinarians’ experience. It made all the difference in terms of weighing the cost-to-benefit, suffering-to-benefit questions.

    I have not heard of darbepoetin alfa. Betsy has had anemia and is undergoing treatment for it now. I’ll ask my vet when we see her next week. Sounds like something bike racers might use to enhance performance!

    For what it’s worth, Betsy began regenerating RBCs on prednisone and doxycycline. She’s not renal, though, and we have no idea what caused her anemia. So her case might have no relevance to KoKo’s, but I’m passing it along since Elizabeth’s post here about Max Cal gave me specifics to ask my vet about when I was seeking a higher-calorie slurry for Betsy when we were tube-feeding.

    Good luck with KoKo. I can’t imagine a raft of drugs is the best thing for a renal cat–seems like a lot to ask the kidneys to contend with. But I’m no vet, that’s for sure. But if your vet hasn’t treated renal cats before, I strongly encourage you to find a vet who has. Or a clinic with several vets who have.

    Comment by anne | November 3, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Anne, Thanks for your speedy reply! I read previously while doing research that one should seek out a Vet or Vets who have treated Renal Disease;this is my second Vet Clinic;the first Clinic burned his side with a heating pad;did not know this until the new Vet informed me what the scar was from! I am so ‘angry’at the treatment my cat has received to date;he has become their ‘science project’;they have no idea what they are doing,so they are prepared to try anything to see what works,at the expense of my KoKo! I am a believer in Alternative Medicine,have tried it and it worked when I needed it. Why are there not more Vets who practice this? It is much safer than all the drugs these Vets are throwing at us!!! It is thought of as Witchcraft here in this Province;”no science behind it”;this is all I hear from ever Vet Clinic I have contacted. I am going to take your advice and mention to my Vet the drugs your cat was prescribed for Anemia;see what she comes back with. I know she is conferring with a Vet who owned a cat with the Disease;she had it on a Hormone Drug similar to the one I am using,but not as effective. Thanks again Anne;good luck with Betsy! 🙂

      Comment by Margaret | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  92. I’m so sorry I haven’t been here to respond — we’ve been on vacation, and I usually go off the grid and don’t think about this blog until after I return. I’ll try to take a look at the specific comments tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope everyone and their cats are doing well.

    Comment by esheley | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  93. Hi Everyone,sorry I went off on the care of my cat;am a little exhausted,as I am not getting much sleep lately! KoKo went to see my Vet on Thursday;he received his second Hormone shot(Darbepoetin alfa);she perscribed some Potassium tablets(2mg),1+1/2 per day;he lost weight,down to 7.2lbs. She found him to be a bit dehydrated again;she administered a 35ml of water while there. We went alsofor a consultation with a Homeopathic Vet. He recommended an intestinal Probiotic,(Azodyl),one in the morning and one in the evening;treatment for dogs and cats with kidney disease. He suggested Omega 3s(Salmon Oil or Flax Oil),300 milligrams a day;also Calcitriol(a Vitamin D derivative) and Chlorophyl. I noticed a change in him after the Hormone shot;more alert;sitting up more as opposed to a crouching position. That evening I added the Potassium and Omega 3(Salmon Oil) to his feed tube,with his food. He seemed more comfortable,and a little like his old self. We have him up to three feedings of 35ml each;we tried four,but he vomited and had diarrhea in the night. Yesterday(in the night)I tried giving him a 35ml of water in his feed tube;he resisted me all the way;he vomited the whole thing up immediately! I guess I should listen to my cat;maybe KoKo knows best! Today I plan to add the Probiotic,but I will ease him into it;I plan to start with only half of what was recommended. Wish us luck! 🙂

    Comment by Margaret | November 7, 2009 | Reply

  94. Hang in there, Margaret — and no need to apologize for venting. This can be very stressful.
    Eddie got a probiotic with all his other medications. I have no idea how much it did or didn’t help, but he didn’t get sicker from it, which was my “gold standard” at the time. We added it once he began improving a bit.
    Good luck with Koko, take a nap if you can, and please let us know how things go. There are no guarantees with tube-feeding, but if it works, you’ll likely consider it worth it.

    Comment by esheley | November 7, 2009 | Reply

  95. My cat Jorgie is 10 years old has hepatic lipidosis. I’ve been so torn up, cryng all the time, not eating. She just got an Esophageal feeding tube a couple days ago. She’s held down the food except for this AM which I believe it’s because I gave her too much liquid. I had to flush out the tube with some water first b/c it seemded clogged then fed her then gave her more water. She’s been wheezing and I hear gurgling sounds come out of her. I’ve also noticed her drooling if she seems to get upset. Should I be worried? She is my baby. She goes for her test on Wed to see if her levels are back to normal. I pray she’s better. I love her so much.

    Comment by g8torstacy | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  96. Hi, Stacy–
    If you still have questions on Monday, call your vet. This is an extension of hospital care, so in a way you’re taking part of their work home with you, and you should feel free to call several times a day if you need to.
    The wheezing and gurgling sound like she might be getting some regurgitation. I’m wondering if she’s getting too much food at once or if there’s some other problem. If you call your vet on Monday, you could start the conversation by asking how much a cat’s stomach can hold at one time, and then mention the gurgling and wheezing. Tell the vet what you said here, because this will help him determine what needs to be done, if anything. I hope it’s nothing.
    If that gets worked out, Jorgie should be fine eventually. Feeding tubes are a great help in dealing with hepatic lipidosis, and odds are it will help her.
    I cried a lot when Eddie was in the hospital, but once I got him home I felt like I was doing everything I could to help him. You’re in that situation now — you’re doing everything you can, and you’re not leaving anything undone. So next time you feel like crying, remind yourself that it’s a frustrating situation, but you’ve taken it on and you’re fighting to help Jorgie as much as is humanly possible. Please eat something, too — tube-feeding take stamina because it takes a lot of your time. You need to be healthy yourself so you can help Jorgie.
    Please report back and let me know how it goes, okay?
    Good luck!

    Comment by esheley | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  97. Betsy’s tube gurgled. It was a gross, startling noise, but it seemed harmless. She didn’t do any wheezing, though. She also drooled, and that seemed to go along with nausea. I used that as a benchmark for when to stop that particular feeding. The first couple days were tough because she was so queasy that I had to keep her feedings small despite what the vet told me to do. We also had a volume problem because she wasn’t on Max Cal at first, and that increased her chance of vomiting. I agree with Elizabeth–seems like something to check out with your vet. And hang in there. It is very stressful and sad, seeing these cats with neck wraps and tubes. Once Jorgie’s feeling better, though, it won’t seem so pitiful or scary. It really does get a lot easier after the first few days.

    A little update on Betsy while I’m here: She saw the vet two days ago and her anemia is gone and she’s off all meds. Her RBCs, WBCs, protein, all of it, are fine. Her weight is too high–14.5 pounds–but when the only thing the vet’s harping about is weight . . . well, that’s a good day around here! Betsy and her almost-18-pound gray roommate both need to lose a few pounds, so if she can maintain her health through the holidays, I’m thinking Jan. 1, the days of free-feeding will come to a halt.

    Happy Thanksgiving, all in the U.S.

    Comment by anne | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  98. Thanks for the info. I noticed when I held Jorgie’s neck up she stopped making the noise which sounded more like she had nasal congestion. However she has not been coughing or sneezing.

    I started to feed her more slowly and keeping her neck up so the food doesn’t get cought in her throat, and giving her a little less water b/c I noticed the water came up when I gave her the 10 ML of water. It seems to have worked. I spoke to the vet this AM and it turned out I wasn’t giving her enough food. So I’ve increased it to 30 ML 3x a day of a mixture of Hill’s Prescription A/D and LD. So far she’s kept it down. However my worry is that she hasn’t pooped. All she’s done is peed. I informed him this and he thinks maybe it was because her stomach was so empty and the food I was giving her (before today L/D watered down so it could go through the syringe). So Hopefully she goes tomorrow. He also gave me an antibiotic. He says he felt her stomach on Friday and it didn’t seem like she was constipated. So let’s pray. Thank you all so much. It really helps to hear from others going through or who have gone through the same thing.

    Comment by Stacy | November 23, 2009 | Reply

  99. So I went to the vet today. Jorgie isn’t getting any better. She vomited this morning twice. He gave her some nauseau medicine. I came home and it was lunch time so I fed her since she threw up this AM and I wanted to get food into her. So I left for work and called home and she vomited again. I’ve been giving her 30ML 3x a day. The doctor says if she can hold down the food she has a chance. it’s so stressful and hard. I broke down crying and had to leave work b/c i was so upset. It’s killing me. I can’t concentrate on anything. I feel like I’m coming undone.

    Comment by Stacy | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  100. Hi Stacy,

    What about trying Iams Max Cal? It looks like you’re feeding A/D and L/D. Betsy vomited the L/D–I was having to give her SO MUCH because she’s a fairly big cat. (She was 11 pounds at her thinnest and sickest.) The Max Cal, which is a canned food that you have to get from your vet, gives them a much bigger caloric wallop–I was able to cut Betsy’s feedings nearly in half volumewise, and that made all the difference. She stopped the vomiting. If you’re doing 30 cc’s of L/D at a time, you might be able to do 20 of Max Cal, for example. My vet didn’t actually have the Max Cal, and many don’t carry it, but even if your vet doesn’t carry it, you could probably call around to larger vets–especially 24-hour hospitals–and find it and ask your vet to call them and okay your purchase.

    I also force-fed Betsy Nutri-Cal (totally different product from Max Cal)–that goop in a tube that you can just buy at pet food stores. It’s mostly corn syrup and empty calories, but I figured a few extra calories in whatever form could only help. I just swiped it across the roof of her mouth, which forced her to lick it away.

    If she’s vomited twice already, maybe give her a break from feeding til tonight. Her tummy might just need some time to settle. I had to do that with Betsy on our worst day, and it scared me to death because I imagined the HL getting worse, going untreated. In retrospect, it was a bigger psychological blow for me than a physical one for her, I think. Because if I was feeding her upset stomach, just to have her vomit or not feeding her upset stomach, the net result was the same: no food. But at least with the second option, she could get a little time to rest, for her stomach to settle. I’d recommend you let her sleep away the afternoon, then definitely try again tonight, but with a lesser volume and more slowly.

    I don’t know how fast you’re feeding, but maybe go even slower. With Betsy, when she was looking nauseated (salivating, licking her lips, hunching up like a loaf of bread), I squeezed in no more than 3 cc’s at a time, with a 3- to 5-minute wait between pushes. We had maybe one day like that before she seemed to turn a corner. (On good days, I did 5 to 7 cc’s, and toward the end when she had begun eating on her own, 10 cc’s at a time.) We had one day that was so bad, I was sure I’d wasted my money, put her through hell, put myself through hell, all for nothing. So virtual hugs to you. I know how the bad days feel and my heart goes out to you and Jorgie.

    Comment by anne | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  101. Anne,

    Thank you so much for the advice. I will definitely call my vet tomorrow and see if he can get me the Max Cal. Jorgie right now is 11.6 lbs. I feel guilty b/c of her princess life I brought it on. I guess that’s how a parent feels when they have an overweight child. She is my child. I’ve had her since she was 3 months and now she’s 10.

    As for feeding, I was doing aroudn 3 cc’s then waiting a minute or so. I can always tell when she’s close to throwing up b/c she starts to smack her lips. I would stop and pet her till it seemed like it subsided. I think now I’ll just stop if that occurs.

    Little did I know it would be this stressful and upsetting. It really helps to hear from others going through the same thing. So you know you aren’t the only crazy person out there. Thanks so much. It truly touches my heart.

    Comment by Stacy | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  102. Hi Stacy,

    Are things looking any brighter today? I hope so!

    Comment by anne | November 25, 2009 | Reply

  103. I’m sorry I haven’t been here much; I’ve been swamped with work and deadlines.

    Stacy, there are no guarantees with this, but you are doing everything you can. It’s not easy, especially at first, but it does get better.

    Going slowly is a good idea. The one thing that sticks with me from tube-feeding Eddie is that I had to set aside a lot of time for it.

    I can tell just based on the way you describe things that you’re getting better at this — you’re watching Jorgie and reading her cues. The two of you will train each other how to do this best.

    And the Max-Cal is great stuff if the goal is to get calories into her. It will make feeding easier for both of you.

    I’m not going to be able to get to comments for a few days, but please know that I’m thinking of you. And get your vet’s home and/or emergency phone numbers in case you need them. Just having that on hand will help.

    Good luck, and hang in there! Persistence pays off, and the few gray hairs it gives you are worth it.

    Comment by esheley | November 25, 2009 | Reply

  104. I can not thank you all enough. Today was a much better day. I gave her the before feeding Metoclopramide this AM at around 2 PM. So far she’s held down the food. I was worried for a while b/c yesterday if we picked her up she would vomit. I heard her around 2 AM vomiting.

    After she vomited yesterday I just let her be and didn’t feed her till this AM. I felt that if I gave her anything she would just vomit it up.

    I have a hunch that it might have been Zeniquin that I started her on Monday with. The vet says to just give her 1/4 tomorrow.

    I still have to give her Denamarin. I wanted to get her stomach settled with food first. I’ll attempt that tomorrow. I got her to hold down 20 CC of AD this AM and almost 30 CC’s around lunch time. She spent most of the time under the bed, but came out around 3 PM and hopped on the bed. I thought she was going to vomit b/c I can tell the look on her face, but she held it in. She is now in the linen closet. Poor thing tried to jump up on one of the shelves and couldn’t make it.

    I tried getting Iams Max Cal. No one had it in stock here. I called around 20 places with the help of the Iams customer rep telling me which vets carry prescription Iams products. I did order it today from a local vet. It won’t be in till Tuesday b/c of the Holiday weekend. But hopefully she will do as well as she did today.

    Again thank you all for your advice and support. No tears were shed today as of yet and it’s almost 6PM ET.


    Comment by Stacy | November 25, 2009 | Reply

  105. Hi Stacy, glad to hear things are a little better today. Your comment about Jorgie trying to hop up on the shelf reminded me of how weak Betsy was during her bout with HL. This is gross, but she couldn’t pee properly. Could not assume the appropriate position because her back legs were too weak and she ended up standing there in the litterbox and peeing all over the wall. I had to rig up a system with the litterbox in the corner of the bathroom, then wall off the walls with trash bags that dropped down into the litterbox and beneath the litter. It worked to keep the mess contained and, fortunately, within a week, she had her leg strength back.

    Too bad about the Max Cal not being available–I had trouble finding it, too, and then when I did, that vet practice wouldn’t sell it to me without permission from my regular vet. I was astonished–why would I fork out almost $4 a can for prescription cat food just for fun?! Maybe, if everything continues to well with Jorgie’s feedings over the holiday weekend, by the time you get the Max Cal she might try eating a little of it on her own. I dragged some of that back out when Betsy came down with this anemia problem in October and she happily ate that when she wouldn’t eat anything else.

    That Zenoquist’s an antibiotic, no? Maybe if it makes Jorgie sick, there’s a different one she could take if she really needs an antibiotic. I might also question the vet about whether she really needs it–seems the last thing you want is a broad-spectrum antibiotic “just in case” if it’s something her liver has to work to process.

    Good to have a day with no tears, huh?! Sending good thoughts that it continues that way!

    Comment by anne | November 25, 2009 | Reply

  106. Sorry–Zenoquin!

    Comment by anne | November 25, 2009 | Reply

  107. I am so happy to have found your blog. Our cat Sam came down with HL and came home from the Vet’s on Wednesday after an 8 day stay with a feeding tube. I am feeling so guilty as I just didn’t see the signs until he was too sick and could barely move. He is on AD 105 ML 4x a day and we haven’t had any real issues expect for tonight, he vomited for the first time after being home for three full days. He has been tolerating the tube feedings, 7ml per minute every 3 1/2 to 4 hours and now this. I am beside myself. He did eat about 1tbps of dry cat food prior to the feeding, but he has done that before and tolerated it just fine. Now I am worried about his next feeding. Do I halve it, like the vet said or do I give the full one as he vomited at 12:45am and his next feeding won’t be until tomorrow? I had a dog that passed two years ago and never really knew how much I loved Sam until this happened. Sam came with my husband when we got married, but since this illness he seems more mine as I am the one taking care of him. Thanks for your site it really helps to see that so many others are going through the same.

    Comment by Catherine | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  108. I now have Jorgie on so many meds. I changed vets b/c the one that I was going to didn’t put in the e-tube but I also felt at times I knew more than he did. On Friday I took her to the vet who inserted the e-tube. He gave me info that my old vet didn’t tell me. Like changing her bandages daily. That it’s ok to feed her as much as she could handle. That the 30 cc 3x per day was too much for her initially. So she is now on Famotidine(Pepcid), Ondanestron(Zofran), liquid form of Metoclopromide (Reglan). They were shocked that my vet didn’t run the full blood test. Her Belly Rubin test ws high also. So on Monday she goes for an ultra sound. I pray they don’t find a tumor or gallstones.

    Her red blood cell count was very low so they think she might have haemobartonellosis which is carried by fleas. She’s a total indoor cat and I haven’t seen any fleas so not sure how she got it. They gave me Doxycycline which she is taking once a day.

    I only wish I took her to this doctor initially. But I can’t look back. I can only look forward and hope her new vet can help her.

    Comment by Stacy | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  109. Catherine,

    I know what you are going through. I’ve been going through this for a week now. Jorgie spent 3 days in the hospital and wouldn’t eat when she came home then she got an e-tube put in Friday (8 days ago). The first two days it seemed like she was ok, but started to vomit on Monday. It’s so stressful because each time I feed Jorgie, I’m afraid she will vomit. I am hopeing we can get the right meds and feeding schedule so she can get better. Everytime I see Jorgie move, I get all tense hoping she isn’t about to throw up. I love her tons and want to do all I can to get her better.

    Comment by Stacy | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  110. Thanks for your encouraging words. Jorgie is lucky to have someone that loves her so much. Sam has been eating a little and it’s extremely hard to judge how much I should feed him if he’s eaten some prior to his feeding. Also right now the only food that he will eat is the McDonalds of cat food, Fancy Feast and Deli Cat. The discouraging part is that he’s only nibbling, about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of crap. The scariest part is not knowing how he got this. I am planning on doing a biopsy if he starts to show signs of improvement at his next visit to the Vet’s, 4 days from now. I am also worried about returning to work tomorrow. I spoke to the vet and she told me to feed him the 105 ml in the morning and 105 when I return in the evening. But after that since I am trying to jam in two more feedings, she told me to cut back to 70 each, but will he be getting enough nutrition? How long do you go between each feeding? I feel so out of sorts. I am happy when I see him eat, scared and nervous as I am feeding him, but most of the time I am just really worried and sad that he’s so sick.

    Comment by Catherine | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  111. Hi Stacy and Catherine,

    You guys are in the thick of it right now, that’s for sure. This tube feeding is so not an exact science, and one thing I discovered was that the vets really didn’t have any firm answers for us.

    Stacy, I also had two vets for Betsy. (Still do, actually.) Our vet around the corner from us–so convenient–is outpatient only, and he just did not have the experience with HL that was required. If I had done what he said, I would’ve paid $3000 for exploratory surgery, it would’ve showed an enlarged liver and Betsy would have died trying to recover from surgery and I would’ve had no money left to treat her HL. Fortunately, I spent hours on the Internet that night researching HL and knew I needed a second opinion from a 24-hour facility (because, unfortunately, that’s where most HL cats spend at least a few days so that’s where you find the vets who have experience with HL). I drove Betsy 40 minutes away to a huge 24-hour facility where numerous vets could weigh in on her condition and they weren’t afraid to give it to me straight. Or as straight as they could while admitting that they didn’t know why she had it, how she would respond to treatment or how much, ultimately, I would have to spend. They were able to drill down pretty fast to the basics of our situation: 5-year-old previously healthy but overweight minimally vaccinated indoor cat with high bilirubin, jaundice, weight loss, mild dehydration, anorexia, vomiting. Some of her other liver enzymes were abnormal, too. But the key to their recommendation was her age (unlikely that she had cancer), her energy level (alert and social), my willingness to tackle the job (even if it meant taking my cat to work with me so I could tube feed her) as long as their was hope, and my unwillingness to put her through it–or pay for it–if hope was truly minimal. I also was unwilling to pay for procedures or tests that would provide information that wasn’t going to impact treatment. I opted out of an expensive ultrasound, for example, because I wasn’t going to treat my cat for cancer. Sure, it might give the vets some information, but it wasn’t going to change the treatment plan that I was willing to undertake. I had to be able to go toe-to-toe with the veterinary team and ask the hard questions, even if my voice quaked. I told them, very directly, that I was willing to go to the moon to bring my cat back to health, but if that couldn’t be guaranteed, then we needed to go through line-item by line-item and discuss the cost and the suffering potential for Betsy. By the time we were done, I’d gotten the costs reduced significantly (by refusing tests I considered unnecessary), and I had a much better feel for the level of hope we were looking at. Those vets never made me any promises, but we did reach several points of raw honesty.

    One thing my vets said was that it did not matter what Betsy ate as long as she kept it down. The key is calories. One vet who I grew to like very much told me very candidly, “Quit worrying about whether what she’s eating is good for her. I don’t care if it’s Twinkies–if it goes in and stays in, it’s good for her!” So I wouldn’t worry about Kitty McDonald’s. It’s calories. And the meds–the antinausea stuff was key, and tied back to the initial premise: It’s all about getting calories in and helping them stay there. We also had a liver support med for Betsy, but my sense was that it was gravy. Couldn’t hurt, might help, but the main thing was food. Calories.

    That hemobart diagnosis is interesting to me, because my cat has had mysterious difficulties with low RBCs. She had one low RBC during tube-feeding–at about the same point that Sam’s at now–and the vets wrote it off as part of the liver-healing process. And no one thought any more about it until five months later, when Betsy fell ill with severe anemia (low RBCs). Hemobart was considered, and she was treated for it because doxycycline works and is cheap. She also was treated with prednisone (for autimmune disorders). We don’t know which worked, or whether her bone marrow started kicking back in on its own, but she’s either recovered or in remission right now. I am convinced there’s a connection between last spring’s HL and this fall’s anemia. And my vets agree that’s likely the case. But no one knows why. And that is very unsettling because it means I’m always waiting for it to happen again.

    The web was my friend during all of this with Betsy. It’s how I found Elizabeth’s blog and I can tell you without a doubt that I would not have undertaken tube-feeding without having read through this and other personal-experience descriptions on the web. Because when I first heard “tube feeding,” I thought it sounded barbaric and over-the-top, not to mention impossible to carry out as a mother of two who works full time.

    Given that this is not an exact science and the key is calories in, I’d recommend you monkey with the feedings however you must to keep the calories staying in your cat, and split up the feedings in such a way that you can fit them into your day. In my experience, there were only a few really difficult days where the feedings consumed nearly every non-working moment. It was those darn 105-ml feedings of L/D. It took me over an hour, and I was bookending my days hunched in the bathtub with my sick cat, and trying to fit two other feedings in during the day, too–AND keep my cat from puking! I went way short on sleep, and had my 12-year-old handling one feeding after school. And Betsy just plain did not get enough calories until we got her onto the Max Cal. She got enough to keep from getting worse, and maybe enough to allow her some healing, but her real recovery took off once we got her on that food that allowed us to feed her less and still get enough calories.

    Comment by anne | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  112. Thanks Anne. I think for me when speaking with the vet I just felt it was worth it to do an ultra-sound. He looked at the other vet’s xrays and it wasn’t as clear and I just feel by knowing will help me. I have already spend a lot and felt that if we knew better what was wrong, I could make an informed decision as to how much pain she would have to go through and how much more money it would cost. He warned me about the cost and gave me choices. I also think Jorgie isn’t able to keep too much in b/c she hasn’t pooped in at least a week. She is getting an enema on Monday.

    Yes I have spent tons on her. If she has cancer I don’t know what I’ll do. I think she’s too weak to survive it. I will make the decision when it comes.

    It kills me to see her like this. Needless to say my Thanksgiving was not that fun. I want to grasp at any good sign. Like her using the litter box instead of peeing on my pillow the other day. Or her cleaning herself.

    I’ll report on Monday. I get the Max Cal on Tuesday so I pray. I have my fiancee doing the nightly feedings. It’s still so tense b/c I am so afraid she’ll throw up.

    Work has been pretty good but I know the understanding will wear out soon. I just wish she would get better. I am planning on going to see my fiancee’s family over xmas. We already have the tickets. I told him if she’s on the upswing I’m not going. He understands. The other day I asked him if he knew what I wanted for xmas. He said yes, for Jorgie to get better. I know they pick on our stress. It’s so hard sometimes. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve loved something as much as her.

    Comment by Stacy | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  113. Anne thanks so much for taking the time to write your story. It helps so much to see that others have and are going through the same thing. Did you find feeding the max cal harder as it’s granier? Sam is on the AD and now I am scared I am not getting enough calories in him. He had half his prescribed amount this morning (52) due to the vomiting last night, and I am not sure whether to try 105 at 4:30 or 70… I am just so scared he’ll vomit again. Did you see a lot of vomiting?

    Stacy, I am praying for Jorgie and hoping you’ll pray for my Sam. I told my husband the exact same thing, that all I wanted was xmas was Sam to recover. I can’t help but feel stressed and I know he picks up on it especially when I am feeding and feeling so tense and worried he’ll vomit. His regular vet went away for Thanksgiving and told me she would think about him while she was gone. She’s lovely and keeps telling me she’s hopeful and I try to keep hoping, but this sure is a roller coaster ride. She said she’d call later today and I think I’ll ask her about Max-cal. If sheer love could could make Sam healthy he’d be his playful self again.

    Comment by Catherine | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  114. Catherine,

    I will pray for Sam. It’s so difficult. I know how you feel about the vomiting. So far today I’ve only gotten 26 ML in her. I keep thinking she needs more. She looks so nauseauous. She keeps shaking her head when she stands up. It really breaks my heart. I look for any sign she’s getting better. Yesterday she looked slightly better. Today she doesn’t. I came home from lunch and she looked so pathetic. I started to cry. A matter a fact I am crying right now.

    I keep trying to keep it together but somehow I can’t. I have to force myself to eat.

    Hugs to you Catherine and everyone who is going through this.

    Comment by Stacy | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  115. Hugs to you as well, Stacy. Now I’m crying too. I just got another 90 ML in him, but it’s just not enough. He’s suppossed to be getting 105 at every feeding, but he started licking his lips and I got so nervous. I wish I was a millionare and could allow him to continue to be hospitalized with the best of care and the proper feedings. I wish you could as well. It’s so hard to see them so weak and sick. I follow him around to make sure he’s not vomiting after his feeding-he must think I am a total psycho! I must confess I cannot wait for his vet visit on Thursday and am hoping they have some wonderful news for me. He did go to his food dish on three seperate occasions and ate about 4 to 5 bites each time. I can’t wait until we are both writing about them eating enough so we can skip a feeding! I have to believe it’s going to happen for us both! Jorgie and Sam and all the other kitties on this site suffering with HL are going to be healthy again! Keep your chin up and know you are doing the very best you can. Jorgie is a very lucky kittie to have an owner that loves her enough to give her a fighting chance.

    Comment by Catherine | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  116. Catherine,

    You’re lucky that Sam has a little interest in food. Jorgie has none. I could never get 90 ML at a time in her. I have to do like 15 within a 30 min span. I feed her around 5 times a day. I just got 10 in her and I was happy. So she’s now up to 40 for today. I have a book that I write down the times I gave her the meds and her feedings.

    Yes hopefully one day we are writing that they are better.

    Likewise for Sam having an owner like you. But in a way I’m the lucky one. She has given me so much love in the lat 10 years.

    Comment by Stacy | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  117. That’s wonderful news Stacy, another 10, every 10 counts. How much did you vet say she needed per day? Do you get up in the middle of the night to feed? I am thinking I may need to start that as I am returning to work tomorrow and worried about getting all his calories in for the day. He actually ate 2 tbsp all on his own today… Jorgie will soon, it takes some time. I have a buffet of food out for him in the kitchen and bedroom-hoping to tempt him. It must be so hard for them as they feel sick and who wants to eat when they’re sick?

    I keep a journal as well with everything, including his bowel movements. You are absolutely right, we are the lucky ones, they are always there for us when we need them. It’s only fair that we help we they need us.

    Comment by Catherine | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  118. Catherine, yes, we had vomiting for the first few days after Betsy was home from the hospital. She did five days in, and she vomited at least once a day for the first three days home. Always at night. And, no, I had no significant trouble with the Max Cal. I diluted it just like I had diluted the L/D. I had one faulty syringe that couldn’t do the Max Cal, but it might not have been able to do L/D, either. The bigger syringes worked better, even though they were a little harder to manage.

    I also recall many feedings those first few days where I just had to stop because she looked sick. Getting 90 in instead of 105 doesn’t sound that bad to me. There were a couple days I was lucky to get half feedings into her, then she’d vomit to boot!

    Stacy, I totally would’ve gotten an ultrasound if I’d thought–or if my vets had thought–there might be something to see that would change the direction of treatment. Because Betsy’s only 5, cancer was so unlikely that the most an ultrasound was LIKELY to show was something enlarged, like her liver or pancreas. And the blood work was already telling us her liver was problematic. It’s such a calculated risk, and very individual. In my case, I opted to use my funds on treatment rather than further testing because the stuff they would’ve tested for would either have been untreatable or treated exactly the same way as we were already planning, and the likelihood of “untreatable” was practically nil given her age and physical condition. In your situation, an ultrasound might really help you know what you’re dealing with. At the risk of being obnoxious, I might recommend you ask about costs. My corner vet wanted to charge $400 for an ultrasound and the hospital vet quoted me $160. Pretty different, and the difference was because my corner outpatient vet had one specialist who came in from UC Davis to do it with a high-level machine, and the hospital had an onsite machine that wasn’t quite as high-level, but three onsite docs could perform it and the resolution was adequate for 95 percent of their diagnoses.

    Has Jorgie been evaluated for an obstruction? That was something strongly considered in Betsy’s case because her liver enlargement clouded the x-ray (and why my first vet recommended exploratory surgery), but ruled out when x-rays were rerun and looked cleaner. Betsy didn’t poop for several days because she’d eaten nothing, but once she started tube-feeding, she did–and I remember being thrilled about it because it basically confirmed that she was clear. Jorgie’s not pooping surely has gotten your vet’s attention?

    Both of you, hang in there. I really feel your pain, and have lived it. Like Elizabeth says, there are no guarantees, but with tube-feeding, you can be sure you have done everything possible. I am praying that both of you get to come on here in a few days with good news. I can say from experience that we had some very dark, depressing days with Betsy before things suddenly began to look better. So be gentle with yourselves.

    Comment by anne | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  119. Anne

    The ultrasound will cost me around $400. But I feel like I am on a time clock and don’t really want to take her to another vet even though based on your cost estimate I would save a good amount.

    No I don’t think my original vet looked for obstructions. I think all he did was take the xray which my new vet said wasn’t that clear.

    Yes Jorgie’s pooping has concerned my new vet. The old vet was like well she hasn’t eaten that much and he felt her stomach and said it felt empty. The new vet said that even still she should have pooped some. So tomorrow she’s getting an enema. I mixed pumpkin with her food but that didn’t do anything.

    Catherine — I was not getting up to feed her. Even though it’s been almost 9 days, I still feel like we’ve changed her formula so much as in introducing new meds that I haven’t found the right combo as of yet. I might though since I too will try to go back to a normal schedule at work. I’ve been lucky that I can work from home.

    I will report back on Jorgie’s ultrasound. I hope it can give me some answers. I feel like she was robbed at least a week b/c she was not in the proper care. However I am thankful to my old vet for being available when needed.

    Comment by Stacy | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  120. Stacy, do keep us posted on the ultrasound. And I can see why you’re feeling up against the clock, especially if she’s not pooping. I was just so astonished at the price difference! And by profession I’m a writer/reporter, so it’s in my bones to get the information out there when I discover something like that! I don’t feel my around-the-corner vet is ripping people off; just using a higher-resolution machine and more specialized personnel.

    Will they do the US before they do the enema?

    I sort of did middle-of-the-night feedings with Betsy–for a couple days there, I was doing midnight and 6 a.m., and believe me, with each feeding taking an hour, and meds that had to be administered 30 minutes prior to feeding, that felt like middle of the night.

    I’m not sure how they figure the caloric requirements. (I recall my vet doing some complicated equation later on in the process–after Betsy’s tube fell out–to figure out how much dry food Betsy needed to be eating.) On L/D, we were supposed to feed Betsy 130 cc’s four times a day for a total of 520 cc’s (!), and I broke it into 105 cc’s five times a day. It was just way too much. She was vomiting up her whole nighttime feeding and pooping about four times a day and peeing huge volumes. Maybe all that movement helped her heal, but it was barbaric! On Max Cal, I could do 90 cc’s three times a day or 60 cc’s four times a day. Betsy weighed 11.2 pounds when she was diagnosed; her normal weight was 13.5. The caloric requirements they gave me for Betsy always seemed high compared to everyone else on this blog, but I always assumed it was because Betsy’s a pretty big cat. They also had brought her volumes up slowly while she was hospitalized and didn’t release her until she could tolerate more than three-quarters of the caloric intake required.

    Sending good vibes and prayers for Jorgie’s ultrasound tomorrow.

    Comment by anne | November 29, 2009 | Reply

  121. Does anyone have any advice on how long I can go between feedings with my kitty? I started back to work today and the vet wanted me to give Sam 105 ml in the morning (which I did) and another when I get home at 6:30… after than two more feedings of 70 ML each. My question is, if I give him 105 at 6:30, how long can I go between feedings without making him sick?

    Comment by Catherine | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  122. Sorry I wasn’t here through all the discussions over the weekend. I originally did this post because, when I told someone I was going to tube-feed Eddie, she said, “oh, I could never put my cat through that.” I wanted to show that the cats don’t suffer from the tube and that this can be done by “mere mortals” who haven’t been to vet med school. OTOH, it’s not always easy.

    Catherine, I called my vet with every single question I had while tube-feeding Eddie (who is just fine now, a year and a half later and closing in on his 15th birthday). I would definitely call and ask about the feeding. If you can’t take off work, you can’t take off work. So there has to be a solution, even if it means getting up once in the middle of the night. The way I look at it is, you’d do that for a child, and if you’ve decided to tube-feed, you’re probably making that level of commitment to the cat.

    I vaguely recall Dr. C saying something about more frequent feedings with smaller amounts if I had to go off of her preferred schedule. I think there’s a limiting factor here: the amount of food the cat can hold in his or her stomach.

    I’m self-employed but often work away from home, and while I was tube-feeding Eddie, I cut back to 5-hour days with one of my clients. I only had to put in one 6 1/2-hour day during that time. So if you can get an hour or two of leave to take at the end of the day, that might help, too. (I’m trying to be creative here without knowing exactly what you do and what kind of commute you have.)

    I’m hoping Jorgie and Sam and everyone else develops a nice healthy appetite ASAP. On the ultrasound front, I had Eddie in the vet ICU for 4 days, which was insanely expensive. So my vet and I drew the line between tests that could provide useful info and those that would provide science geek info. Every practicing vet has to have been a science and math geek in school, and my feeling is that we shouldn’t pay to feed their science geek curiosity unless it’s going to result in information they can apply to helping our pets. Having said that, Dr. C sold me on the ultrasound. It showed absolutely nothing, but that was a data point we both felt we needed. (FTR, I love science geeks. I just don’t want to pay for “nice to know” and “what if” testing.)

    Another thing to consider, and I was the one to bring this up with Eddie, was sticking an appetite stimulant into the mix of medications. It wasn’t appropriate right off the bat, but I kept asking about it, and eventually we started giving him one. I mixed it into his Max Cal with some other meds, and it helped him transition to regular eating. So I’d start asking about it early so that the vet thinks about it as part of the overall plan.

    I hope we get some good reports today. Beginnings are rough, though, and it’s hard to do anything more than just blunder through them. You’re probably all doing a much better job of it than you think.

    Comment by esheley | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  123. Hi Everyone,

    I have some very sad news. Jorgie got her ultrasound today and she had a tumor by her pancreas and gallbladder. I decided to let her go. I said if she had cancer I won’t put her through it.

    I’m so upset at my old vet for not suggesting the ultrasound from the beginning. I could have saved her from having to have the tube and the vomiting. It was a lot of wasted money and I could have saved her the hurt. What is sad is today she had a couple of her treats. I thought she was possibly going to get better.

    Thank you all for your support. Please keep the website going. It was so helpful to get advice and support. Unfortunately I don’t have a wonderful story to tell. I loved my little girl so much. She was my first pet by myself and was there for me whenever I needed her. I will miss her greatly.


    My prayers go out to you Catherine and all others who has a sick cat.

    Comment by Stacy | November 30, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Stacy,

      SO SORRY to hear your ‘sad news’!!! Jorgie was very lucky to have you as her owner;I am sure you did all you possibly could for her,with the information you had available to you at the time!!!

      We are all hanging on to hope for our own cats. My KoKo is still here;…he is skinny as a rake. He recovered from an infection at the entrance to his feed tube;plus an infection at his burn site on his left side;a burn received from a heating blanket at the previous Vet Clinic he was at.

      He is still on Hormone Shots,(a needle a week);it does not seem to be helping with his Anemia though. Our new Vet thinks she may have to wean him off them. She wants to put him on ‘Fortekor’ next to see if his condition improves. My other Vet (Homeopathic),stated that his colleagues who have used this product confided that it will either help a cat with kidney disease,or it could send it over the ledge. A decision will have to be made this Thursday,after his bloodwork.

      From what I am reading from all who have cats on ‘feed tubes’,my thinking is you are feeding your cats way too much in one feeding. I know this is what all our Vets want us to do,but what good is it if they are throwing it up;…noone wins! In the end it is harmful to the cat;stressful on the owner;…it’s a no win situation!!! I will only administer a maximun of 25ml a feeding of food/water mix,followed by a syringe of 20 – 25ml of water. An hour later I give him a syringe of 35ml of water only (my KoKo is a renal cat with a heart murmur and anemia). I administered a product called Phos-AC,30C,on the recommendation of my Homeopathic Vet;supposed to last him six weeks,but in KoKos’ case it may only help him for 3-4wks.;(dissolve 5 granules in 1/4c.water;give 1ml.once;do not repeat). It was recommended to treat his symptoms. He showed improvement a week later;…more social;not as cold all the time;got his appetite back (he could eat a can of Salmon a day now,plus his tube feedings);he is back to drinking water off a saucer;we also give him water by syringe.I am to monitor him to see if his symptoms return,then I may have to repeat;of course I would run this by my Homeopathic Vet first;I keep him updated by phone as his Clinic is in another City. My husband and I are taking it day by day;it is very difficult at this time of the year to find the time required for KoKos’ schedule;…but we do and we must,until our Vets tell us different! Good Luck to you all!!! 🙂 Margaret

      Comment by Margaret | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  124. Hi Stacy,

    I’m so sorry about Jorgie. These are the saddest days, when we must let a pet go. It is a blessing that you got the ultrasound and I’m thankful it showed the problem–as bad as the news was to get, it’s good you got some firm information and could use it to make the best decision for Jorgie. And nice that Jorgie took the journey after a couple of treats–must be they tasted yummy to her. You’ve been an awesome companion for Jorgie and she was as lucky to have you as you were to have her. I hope you’re taking the day off work today and taking care of yourself.

    Comment by anne | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  125. Stacy, I’m so sorry. This is a really hard thing to go through, so please do take care of yourself. Stay away from people who don’t understand, and seek those who do.

    Hillary and Rabbit were my first cats as an adult, and when Rabbit died I was devastated. But eventually, I came to feel that she wouldn’t want me to be unhappy. There were two things people said to me that have stuck with me over the years. First was when our vet said that there is honor and courage in loving a being whose lifespan is shorter than our own. Second was when an older friend said that opening my heart to another cat was in no way disloyal to the cat who died.

    Take this all at your own pace. In my community, there’s free pet bereavement group therapy offered at my local animal shelter. You might look around and see if there’s something like that where you live. It really helped me. One of the best pieces of advice was to put together a kind of memorial — a part of a bookshelf, a small video, whatever.

    I hope you take some small comfort in knowing that by tube-feeding Jorgie, you literally did everything you could.

    Comment by esheley | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  126. Stacy,
    I am so sorry for you. I lost my dog 2 years ago and was devastated as well as my cat Sam, who probably missed her even more than me, they were best friends. There truly are no words to find to comfort you now, but please know Jorgie is at peace, no longer feeling sick and wouldn’t want you to be sad because she loved you so. You tube fed her because you wanted to help her feel better and she knew how much you loved her. Please try not to be too hard on yourself you did the bravest and most humane thing you could for her, you let her go. I know it seems like you’ll cry forever, but I promise you will one day think of her with laughter instead of tears. Big hugs to you.

    Comment by Catherine | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  127. Everyone,

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. It has been very hard. I balled all day yesterday. Today I am feeling a little bit more like myself. It was definitely a tough time, but you have all helped me tremendously. Even though I just started to blog the response was so resounding. I hope others going through this will find this site. It’s truly comforting to know you all are out there.

    I don’t think I’ll visiting for a while, and hopefully if I do it will be to offer support but Catherine my prayers are with Sam and Margaret for Koko. I wish everyone I have corresponded with and those I have not the best of luck. Hope they all get better quickly.


    Comment by Stacy | December 1, 2009 | Reply

    • Stacey, KoKo and I want to wish you and yours a very Happy Holidays! Even though you cannot spend it with Jorgie,remember he is up there looking down knowing you did your best for him! Keep his memory alive;place pictures of him throughout your house. I lost my Chinese Shar-pei(Yangtze,16yrs.old)about five years ago. He will always be #1 in my heart;he and KoKo were great friends and I know KoKo misses him too. I have his pictures in a special place;when I think of him,which is often,I glance over and smile,saying his name under my breath. It was so hard to let him go,but we had no choice;we have to let go in order to heal. We will meet up with them again some day;…won’t that be a party!!! Merry Xmas and A Happy New Year! 🙂

      Comment by Margaret | December 20, 2009 | Reply

      • Sorry Stacey,I made a mistake;I should have said “she” when referring to Jorgie;…please forgive me! Enjoy the Holidays!!! Again,please forgive the mistake!

        Comment by Margaret | December 20, 2009

  128. Hi everyone, Sam had a visit to the vet’s today and gained two pounds, he’s now 15.2. His fighting weight was 19, when he went to the vet’s and was diagnosed he was 11 lbs. Came home after 8 days at 13lbs. Not happy he is overweight but vet says we will worry about that later. She cut his feedings back from 4x a day at 105ml each time to 3x a day at 70-50ml because he is eating about 2-4tbsp of food on his own. He has a lot more energy and shows no outward signs of jaundice. Saturday his test results come back and we are praying they look good. If they do, we will go ahead with a biopsy so we can rule out any cancer of the liver, as we still don’t know why he got this. An ultrasound only showed an inflamed liver which the vet says comes along with HL. Fingers crossed and praying lots. He has only vomited once in 8 days and has been so much better. Everyday seems to be just a little bit better. I am so thankful to all of you for your advice and support, it helped so much when it was most needed.

    Comment by Catherine | December 3, 2009 | Reply

  129. That’s great news, Catherine. Betsy’s overweight, too–moreso now than before she had HL, I’m embarrassed to say. (She doesn’t eat that much. She’s just a lazy indoor cat.) Weird thing, though–you see the numbers going up on that scale when they’re recovering from HL, even if the numbers go too high, and you’re grateful for every ounce because it means the calories are staying in and the kitty’s no longer chewing on its own fat for fuel and clogging up that liver. I hope Sam’s lab work comes back looking good and that a biopsy is clean. Sounds to me like he’s turned a corner.

    Comment by anne | December 3, 2009 | Reply

  130. I have the greatest news. The vet just called with Sam’s tets results, and the greatest news to report! Sam’s liver labs came back very close to normal. We are on the mend!

    He ate 1/2 cup of dry food yesterday during the day while I was at work and at another 5 tbsps of dry and about 1ounce of wet overnight. The vet says I can probably cut back on his feedings even more, as he sometimes seems very uncomfortable with the amount of food he has in his little tummy, even though he’s a big guy. I am so happy right now I could cry!

    Comment by Catherine | December 5, 2009 | Reply

  131. That’s great! And it’s great that he’s eating on his own. I’m so happy for you.

    Once the amount he’s eating on his own exceeds the amount he gets via tube, you’ll probably end up talking to the vet about taking the tube out. Some cats apparently prefer being tube-fed and don’t like the transition, but most seem to want to go back to normal.


    Comment by esheley | December 5, 2009 | Reply

  132. To everyone who helped me during my kitty’s illness, I want to thank all of you so much. Sam will be getting his tube out in 2 weeks time! His second set of blood tests came back normal, but we agree with the vet that we will leave the tube in for another 2 weeks to make sure he is truly better, but I know my cat, and I know he’s all better, back to his old self again, eating like a pig (18.8lbs to date), sleeping lots, playing and generally being the ever annoying, loveable pest he was before this terrible disease grabbed hold of his body. He has gained back all the weight he lost and almost all the muscle. We are feeding him 30ml a day just to get the remainder of his antibiotics down him. When we first brought him home the day before Thanksgiving, he was on 7 medications twice daily, including an appetite stimulant. Now he’s down to just two and his appetite has returned full force with no stimulant needed, actually he seems to eat more now than ever!

    My husband and I are overjoyed to have our big guy back, I cried tears of joy today with the results of his blood work. Our vet is thrilled with his progress and can’t believe it. He came home with us from an 8 day stay at the hospital having shown no improvement(actually his tests came back worse and worse every time they tested him). Our very lovely and caring vet wouldn’t give up and said she was taught in medical school to treat the animal not the number and that’s just what she did. Sam’s bandage was changed yesterday and he is proudly sporting what looks like a camouflage scarf. The vet brought him out to us and said that he was a tough trooper and it was only fitting he get a “Rambo” bandage. I am was like a proud parent, HL might have robbed him of muscle and fat, but it never robbed him of his wonderful spirit.

    Again, thank you so much for this site. I cannot express gratitude enough, it truly helped us through our darkest days with this horrible disease. I will continue to check back from time to time and see if I can be of any comfort to anyone else who may be dealing with HL and let them know there truly can be a light at the end.

    Comment by Catherine | December 18, 2009 | Reply

    • Catherine, I’m so glad to hear that Sam has pretty much recovered. That is a great feeling, isn’t it? You’ll be so thrilled when that tube is out!

      Betsy’s health history this year continues to be a mystery. She’s so obviously healthy right now that it makes me wonder how long she wasn’t feeling well before she came down with HL last spring. Because nowadays–since her treatment for HL, then for anemia–she’s fat and hungry and glossy and playful in ways she hasn’t been since she was a much younger cat. It’s made us see that she was less engaged in life for at least a year before her HL diagnosis last April, and we didn’t even realize it. Just thought she was turning into a lazy older cat who was casual about food and preferred to be left alone. Since her treatment for anemia in October, though, she’s BACK. I’m constantly finding stuff she’s batted to the floor so she can play with it. She gallumps around the house with her tail all zappy and wild. She hoovers her way through the kitchen in hopes of finding something yummy on the floor. Does sentry duty on the windowsill to make sure she’s at the ready with some hissing and growling if our outdoor semiferal cat ventures onto the porch. Talks and talks and talks.

      Happy holidays, everybody!

      Comment by anne | December 19, 2009 | Reply

      • Wishing everyone a Happy Holliday Season from KoKo and Margaret(Canada). Glad to hear Catherine that Sam is doing much better! Thank you everyone for your kind words and support for KoKo!!! We were at the Vet on Thursday;his HT # is up to 26 now (went from 16 to 20,to 22 to 26);she wants to get it up to 30. He is still on his Hormone Shots(#7),and finally seems to be coming around. He is taking an interest in things again;it has been a long haul and we are not out of the woods yet. His weight is still at 7.6lbs.but we are increasing his feedings as well as the quantity,slowly;he seems to be hungry all the time;I think it must be the Hormone Shots. If I try to give him more than 35ml of food/water mix in one feeding,chances are he will throw it all up. We are increasing his feedings to make up the difference. Because of all the Meds he is taking he may have to keep his feed tube indefinately;as he has to be kept on a low protein diet,…which he seems to dislike. We sneak in a little Salmon as a treat to keep him from getting depressed. Our Tree is up and we are looking forward to another Xmas with our precious little KoKo!!! Merry Xmas and A Happy New Year to all!!!

        Comment by Margaret | December 20, 2009

  133. Cahterine, I’m so glad this worked out for you! It sounds like you have a great vet, but you have to credit yourself for your persistence, too. Not everyone is willing to put in the effort to tube-feed, since it takes so much time and can be so frustrating at first.

    I hope Sam is with you and your husband for many more years.

    Comment by esheley | December 19, 2009 | Reply

  134. Boy, I wish I had found this site a couple months ago!
    I have been tube feeding Purrcy since the week before Thanksgiving and went through all of the trials and tribulations that you all have gone through.
    Purrcy stopped eating consistantly in the middle of Nov. and I had made an appointment to take him into the vet, but became ill with the flu myself. I asked my LP to take Purrcy in for me, but he said that the cat was fine and cancelled the appointment. I guess I should have dragged my sick butt out of bed.
    By Sat. I noticed that Purrcy was jaundiced and called for an appt immediately. I took him in the folowing Monday and he was diagnosed with FHL and spent the week at the vet being force-fed and rehydrated. They sent him home with me on Friday night and I force-fed him every 2 hours and attempted to keep him hydrated. By Sat night I knew it just wasn’t going to work – he was stressed, I was stressed, and he was dying before my eyes – so I took him to the nearest 24/7 emergency clinic at 9pm. Leaving him in a strange place so sick was the hardest thing for me, but I was out of options. They stabilized him over Sunday and did an abdominal ultrasound Monday morning. The ultrasound showed pancreatitis, inflammed liver and gallbladder and an unusually thickened common bile duct. Surgery was recommended that very afternoon, and I gave them permission to do it.
    The surgery took over 3 hours. The surgeon called me and explained what she had done. She had bypassed the common bile duct by taking a piece of his duodenum and created a new “duct” with it, she also biopsied the liver, the bile duct, and some areas of the small bowel. She said the bile duct walls were uncommonly thickened and that at that point she could not rule out cancer.The histopathology results take about a week. At the same time an e-tube was placed The surgery is called a cholangiocystoduodenostomy, and evidently is relatively new. At the same time an e-tube was placed.
    Purrcy was on strong pain meds following the surgery ao he was very sedated for a few days. They started tube feeding the day after the surgery at 25% of his DMR, and increased him daily until he was getting 4 tube-feeds/day.
    I brought him home on Saturday, less than one week after the surgery.Later that week I got a call telling me that the pathology was negative for cancer! So continued treatment was absolutely in order!
    Since then I have continued the feedings and am now down to 2/day.
    He is eating fairly well on his own, so the feedings are basically supplemental at this point. He has gained almost 2 pounds (dropped a few ounces when I stopped the third feeding)and now 10.3 pounds. His weight when he came home was 8.7.
    It has been a long road for both of us with many dips in the path and a few curves, but we’re going to continue this together, Purry and I, until he’s completely better!

    Comment by Meohmy | January 23, 2010 | Reply

  135. To all of you animal lovers: I’m so thankful to have found ths site. It has really helped me. My big boy, Casper is now on his second day of tube feeding. I feel more confident now that I’ve done this several times. He ate some baby food today and I was so happy, but then he vomited when I was feeding him. do you know if this is to be expected after not eating for 6 days? Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the support!

    Comment by jules | February 27, 2010 | Reply

  136. Hi, Jules–
    Glad you are finding this helpful.
    Vomiting often means that you’re feeding too much at once, or too fast, or letting air into the syringe. So take it slow, and fuss with the syringe until the air bubbles are out. What I usually did was hold it point up for a bit until the bubbles got to the top, then pushed them out. There’s potential for mess, but that’s part of tube-feeding and one of the reasons I always threw an old t-shirt over my clothes.
    The other thing is, don’t be shy about calling your vet with any or all questions.
    The baby food sounds like great progress, and Casper is lucky to have you. Good luck, and please keep us posted!

    Comment by esheley | February 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you-yes i kinda figured that out and the last 2 feedings I had NO bubbles and I also slowed it down. I think I went too fast because Casper was so fidgety. It was much better this time. and guess what? He has been eating!!! 🙂 Fancy feast salmon and cod and also some of his presciption super-food!!! As others have posted, it made me cry! We go to his vet tomorrow and get his test results back (crossing my fingers for idiopathec HL) and for her to check the site and re-wrap him. If I figure out how to post a pic, I will! Thank you again.

      Comment by jules | February 28, 2010 | Reply

  137. good news! (mews)……Casper’s tests came back and he has borderline irritable bowel, a temporary thing-it seems he ate something that disagreed with him and destroyed his appetite and he also has a slight thyroid condition which he has medication to rub on his ear daily. So no worries of cancer or any other terminal condition. I just need to tube feed him until he is eating regular and his weight is back up. BTW- he purrs the whole time getting his feeding and then he gets a long belly rub afterwards! Thanks for your time and advice and all the best to you.

    Comment by jules | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  138. Hello,
    I am very grateful to all the articles on tube feeding, but has anyone had a cat with a broken jaw & had to tube feed due to this? The jaw is wired together (slightly open) and she is being tube fed. This has to happen for 6 weeks and I was wondering if anyone had this same esperience… and did the cat eat again after removing the tube for this long period of time? I am so distraught over my Izzy, as she is my only child, and only 1 1/2 years old. thank you. Bonny

    Comment by Bonny | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Bonny, so sorry to hear about little Izzy!!! My cat,KoKo was being fed by ‘feed tube’ from Sept.’09 – Jan.’10. He had it changed twice,as the tube tends to toughen after a few weeks. My KoKo is a Renal cat;he had Anemia,and also has a heart murmur;he is over 12yrs.old. We were able to keep him alive,while administering all his Meds via feed tube. As a result of Renal Disease he had stopped eating and drinking;lost interest in life itself! The last tube he had removed we decided to not replace;he crashed over a week later(he was dehydrated),with all the symptoms we experienced way back in Sept.’09. He spent a day in Hospital on IV;we now are administering ‘Sub-Q Fluids’ under his skin,3x a day(at home)to help keep him hydrated. He is SO BRAVE AND HAS BEEN THRU SO MUCH;we love him like a child!!! Oh yes,they have him still on Hormone Shots,every 2 and 1/2 He is hungry all the time;eats constantly;we wait and see the outcome. I caution you;if Izzy has to have her feed tube replaced,make certain every precaution is taken to prevent infection near and around the feed tube opening. If you notice a ‘pouch’forming under his skin,near or around the opening;or smell a strange smell;he may have an infection;get him to the Vet,or call ASAP. KoKo had an infection each time his tube was replaced;he is on a Antibiotic again(Baytril);administered now in a ‘Greenie Pill Pocket’. In reality we maybe should have kept his feed tube;he was doing so well we wanted to give him a break;the Vet tried to put a new one in,but after a week of having the last one removed,the opening had grown over;she stitched it up. We may consider it down the road;he is not well enough to consider surgery again at this time. He had originally had seven bad teeth removed,at which time he received a severe burn under his skin as a result of laying on a heating pad on his side,either during the surgery or while recovering from surgery. We changed Vets after that happened! KoKo suffered for a long time,as my two Vets were trying to allow the burn to heal from the inside out;wrong decision. Only after the Vet exposed the wound and started a ‘sugar’treatmet,did KoKo feel relief;he started coming around. Just want everyone to be aware of the complications of animal surgery;our animals cannot talk to us;they may be suffering in silence. To wrap it up Bonny,HANG IN THERE;you and Izzy have a bumpy road ahead;all worth it in the end! I firmly believe Izzy will be anxious,when the time is right, to be back eating on her own. Has your Vet suggested a ‘Probiotic’ for Izzy to keep her stomach healthy;KoKo is taking “Azodyl”(for cats and dogs),administered in two Greenie Pill Pockets.I do not give him all my Vet recommended,he tends to throw up if I do;instead I open the capsule,conceal some of the powder inside one,add another pill pocket to the top of it and blend them together as one;making sure my hands do not smell of the Probiotic when I hand him his ‘treat’;…so far so good! For now Izzy could have it incorporated into her meal,administered by syringe.Izzy is very young;you have that working for you both. GOOD LUCK TO YOU & IZZY! Margaret and KoKo 🙂 Hi,to everyone;I continue to read all your comments! 🙂

      Comment by Margaret | March 2, 2010 | Reply

      • Hello everyone & thank you for your comments.
        THIS IS AN UPDATE ON IZZY. I tube fed her every 4 hrs. for the 1st week, then it was down to 4-5 times per day for the last 3 weeks. She finally had the brace removed off her mouth, and the tube came out 1 week later. It became infected the last day & she had to go on antibiotics for another week. She was a little slow to start eating, but she is doing fine now. She lost a total of 1 LB, but will probably gain it soon. She is now a happy cat again. She never threw up during the month of tube feeding, nor did she have diarreah. While she had the brace on her mouth, she was not able to eat at all by mouth. The whole procedure was about 4K, but I have my best friend back again. No person can ever imagine the stress and anxiety of trying to keep their best friend alive, until they experience it. It is truly a sick feeling to see your pet in such a miserable condition. Thanks again for all the caring support from everyone. Bonny

        Comment by Bonny | April 2, 2010

    • Hi to all you ‘tube feeders’: I would like to pass along this important observation. In all the time my KoKo had his feed tubes,one thing I watched for while feeding him via syrnge;…if he began ‘smacking his lips’ we knew to hault the feeding,cause he was preparing to ‘vomit’. This is a sure sign he has had enough food;or he may even be experiencing an infection. We decided not to fed KoKo the amount our Vet wanted;he could not keep it down;we did it slow and easy,eased him into it. A couple of times KoKo had a bad case of vomiting from one end and diarrhea from the other,with lots of strange noises. Sure enough,not to long afterwards we discovered a lot of green puss coming out of the feed tube site,having to be put on Antibiotics. One other observation I made;my cat always seemed to fear being sought out by other animals;he was constantly nervous if he had an odour;he was constantly searching for a crevice to crawl into;a closet to hide in,etc. Try not to leave them alone at night;they are aware they are vulnerable to other animals;even though they are house cats,they still have that fear. They get very stressed when they are afraid!Provide an area for them to feel secure and safe. Give your cats lots of hugs;pick them up and cuddle them a lot. I believe that is what truly gets them thru in the end. KoKo quite often lays on my chest while I am watching TV in the evening;he has his best sleeps then. They need their sleep,if they are to recover. He sleeps on the edge of my bed at night. Hope this has been helpful! Good luck to all! Margaret and KoKo 🙂

      Comment by Margaret | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Margaret,
      thanks so much to take the time to tell me about KoKo. Gosh I feel so fortunate now to only have a fractured jaw, as I know it will not be as long as poor KoKo to heal. I will not have to have the tube changed as it is only going to be in for 4-5 wks, and the vet just called & said maybe 3-4 weeks, depending on how she is healing. Young cats are supposed to hear quicker & she is only 1 1/2 years old. I have some incredible pix’s of the teeth/fangs epoxied together, but can’t figure out how to put them here. If anyone wants to see the pix’s send an email to me at and please indicate in the text Izzy Pix’s. Thanks again, Bonny

      Comment by Bonny | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  139. Hi Bonny,

    I would guess that if your cat is being tube-fed because of a broken jaw, she’s miles ahead of these cats with hepatic lipidosis and other nausea-inducing conditions and that she’ll happily start eating once her jaw is unwired. I’ve never had a pet with a wired jaw, but I had a roommate who had one once and she was hot to get back to regular eating once she could quit having smoothies through a straw jammed between her teeth. I do remember her jaw was very stiff at first, which would probably be similar in a cat–I bet the vet will leave the tube in place until Izzy is showing she can chew without difficulty after the wires come out. Good luck!

    Comment by anne | March 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Dear anne, thanks so much for all the encouragement. I don’t know if they will be able to leave the tube in, as they said it was not the kind of tube that they can eat with. Did your tube go directly to her stomach, or was it in the esaphagus? This should only be for 4 weeks, no more than 5 weeks, so I am hoping no problem in the eating dept. I have a picture but I can’t find out how to display it here. It is amazing dental work as her fangs are sorta epoxied together, making her look like dracula.

      Comment by Bonny | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  140. To everyone tube feeding:
    I don’t see any comments (unless I missed them) about “following” tube feeding with 6 cc’s of water. This washes out the tube so it does not get blocked. (5 more minutes to administer)
    I have been blending the food/water ratio in a blender on “food processor” mode til silky smooth. I use a spoon to smash all the bubbles out as the bubbles are harder to get out of food, but easy with the 6cc’s of water. Just turn the syringe upside down & flick the sides a few times with your finger & the bubbles will float to the top- then squeeze them out.

    Comment by Bonny | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  141. To everyone tube feeding:
    I don’t see any comments (unless I missed them) about “following” tube feeding with 6 cc’s of water. This washes out the tube so it does not get blocked. (5 more minutes to administer)
    I have been blending the food/water ratio in a blender on “food processor” mode til silky smooth. I use a spoon to smash all the bubbles as they are harder to get out of food, but easy with the 6cc’s of water. Just turn the syringe upside down & flick the sides a few times with your finger & the bubbles will float to the top- then squeeze them out. Also, be very careful if you cut his bandage on his neck to change it,as my vet accidently cut his feeding tube Sun. After nearly fainting, we taped it together & it is working fine, but best to be cautious. Bonny

    Comment by Bonny | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  142. Casper has had his tube for about 2 1/2 weeks. He is eating on his own now but not as much as normal. I think this is b/c I’ve been tube feeding him 20cc 3 times a day and his tummy is full. I’m wondering when the right time is to take out the tube. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    Comment by jules | March 8, 2010 | Reply

  143. Jules, this is something to talk to your vet about. It’s great that Casper is eating on his own, but you’re right, he’s eating less because you’re still tube-feeding him. The question to ask your vet is what, if anything, you should do if Casper doesn’t eat quite enough once the tube is out. Other issues are his weight, whether he’ll be on a special diet once the tube is out, and whether or not he’ll get some kind of appetite stimulant. I was terrified when we removed Eddie’s tube, imagining all the things that could go wrong, but he switched over to his food bowl as if he’d been eating from it all along.

    Bonny, this is my personal blog, which is set up under WordPress (and all this discussion takes place under just one post), and I don’t think WordPress allows you to post pictures in comments. But I believe the comment sections will allow you to link to a photo on Flickr, Facebook, or some other place, so why don’t you try that?

    Your suggestion about getting the food to a smooth texture is a good one. Eddie was given food that was already kind of “slurpy”, but I think a more uniform texture might have made the bubbles easier to get rid of.

    Comment by esheley | March 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Hello and thank you for your input. Casper is not eating so great now and I think I’ll wait to have the tube removed. He is sure sick of the tube and the wrapping around his neck and scratches like crazy trying to itch his stitches. It may be why I’m so anxious to have the tube removed. I fed him 15 cc’s today and will feed him another time today, but will wait til he’s eating more on his own before I pull the tube out. The vet is not pushing either way, but warns against pulling it too soon in case he is still anorexic. He’s normally a huge 24 lbs. and is now 18. I know, still big but not his huge self. He likes to lay around and eat obviously. He’s a little cranky but I think he can endure the discomfort a little longer for his some weight…….thanks again.

      Comment by jules | March 10, 2010 | Reply

      • HI Jules,
        My cat did not eat instantly when the mouth brace came off, as the vet left the tube in for that extra week. He did not want me to feed her with the tube, as she would be full and not want to eat. I had to remove the tube due to an infection starting, and once the neck wrap came off, she acted like a new cat. She was abolutely miserable with tne neck wrap. However, I did have to feed her about 5 different varieties of canned food during the day to keep her interest. At first she only licked the juice, and tuna fish worked the best. One week later, she is eating the meaty part of the food too. She still prefers tuna. She is just starting to gain some weight back. She only weighed 10.8 LBS when we started this, and one month later, weighed 9.2, so I was getting a little nervous. She did not have a lot of spare to start with. I hope your kitty recovers nicely. I will keep my fingers crossed for her. Bonny

        Comment by Bonny | April 2, 2010

  144. Bonny, my cat’s tube was esophageal–went into the side of her neck. She had it for 10 days. Should have had it for probably about three weeks, but it fell out. (Jules, this might be relevant to your question, too.) She ate on her own, but very apathetically. We had to remind her to eat and I had to get a high-density dry food that didn’t require much volume to give her adequate calories. The vet agreed that the tube should have been in longer, but with lots of management, we were able to get enough calories into Betsy that her HL didn’t return and she continued to heal.

    The bubbles in the syringes were pretty easy to solve. I warmed the slurry and that made it pretty liquidy, which enabled me to just hold the syringes up and let the bubbles rise to the top. I had to be careful the slurry was cool enough to administer into Betsy. I did follow each feeding with about 10 cc’s of plain warm water.

    Betsy’s doing well these days. Fat, active. She’s had some skin issues–weird scabby spots that appear out of nowhere and disappear on their own after a few weeks. But her HL hasn’t returned, and neither has that mysterious anemia she had last fall. We’re just grateful for every day we get with her. She’s only 6, but I feel like she’s lived a good many lives already.

    Comment by anne | March 10, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks and I’m glad Betsy is fat and happy. I can’t wait for Casper to be the same. But I plan on leaving in the tube for another week. I’m so afraid he’s going to scratch it out. He goes through the bandages in no time! The site is very red and moist and the bandages have some blood on them so I’m going to have the vet take a look at it. but the good thing is he woke me up at 3:30 a.m. ate 1/2 can of a/d food. Good luck and thanks to both of you.

      Comment by jules | March 10, 2010 | Reply

    • HI Anne,
      Izzy has recovered nicely and is eating again. I wrote a longer update to Margaret is you can find the reply.
      thanks again, bonny

      Comment by Bonny | April 2, 2010 | Reply

  145. Big day 4 Casper today! He had his tube removed and is doing well except he hates the bandaging! 3 more days and it can all come off. If anyone is wondering or reluctant to tube feed, just know it’s totally worth it. It saved his life, I’m sure!! He actually seems to miss the time we had “bonding” when I fed him with tube. He waits at the door to the little room we did this out of the way of the other kitty we live with. It seems strange and kinda freaky, but it’s so good for a sick kitty.

    Comment by jules | March 23, 2010 | Reply

  146. Hi, Jules again……Casper has had his tube out about a week and he’s not eating so much. I’m offering a/d wet food, baby food, fancy feast, you name it. did your kitty take a while to start eating normal? He just doesn’t seem his old self yet and it’s been over a week. I’m calling his vet tomorrow but I’m so worried! Thanks for listening.

    Comment by jules | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Jules, You need to get in touch with your Vet ASAP;if the tube has to be reinserted it may be still possible;otherwise the opening may already be healing over. With KoKo it was only a week or less and it was too late to put a new tube. If they are not eating they can lose weight and valuable muscle. I went thru the info on this site but could not find out what Casper’s health problem was originally. You mentioned feeding Casper ‘Baby Food’;did you mean baby food from a jar? If so,be aware some of these baby foods contain ‘ONION’;onion and garlic are toxic to cats;as well as nuts. Now that we are approaching Easter,’Lillies’ are extremely toxic to cats!!! If they bite on any part of a lilly plant their kidneys can shut down within a few days;a cat can be dead within a week. We removed KoKo’s feed tube after a few months;he crashed a week or so later;we left it too long and could not reinsert a new feed tube. Being a stage 4 renal cat,he was too fragile to go thru another surgery. We were administering sub-Q fluids under the skin 3 times a day,to keep him hydrated. That seemed to work for a few weeks,but he stopped eating altogether;we put him in hospital on IV for two days;he was too sick to recover. We put our beloved KoKo to rest last Friday. We miss him desperately!!!Sometimes cats get tired of the food they are used to and have to be tempted with Salmon,Tuna,Shrimp(no spices);until they get used to eating on their own. If I could go back,I would have kept KoKo’s feed tube in;he did not like it but it was keeping him alive. Hope this helps Jules;good luck with Casper!!!

      Comment by Margaret | March 31, 2010 | Reply

      • Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. I am so sorry to hear about Koko. I know how hard it is but you know you did everything you could for him. This morning Casper woke me early and wanted to eat. He did very happily and drank some water, but did not eat much. A couple days ago, My vet suggested I give him 1/4 of a pepcid ac a day which I have. I am going to bring him in today because I’m worried about the weight loss. He looks kinda skinny since I am used to see him weigh a hefty 22 lbs! No he never gets garlic or onins. I’ll check the babyfood! He does not have a renal problem, but it taking medication for hypothriod. He doesn’t seem fragile just disinterested in food. I will keep you up to date! Thanks you so much for sharing your experiences.

        Comment by jules | March 31, 2010

      • I am so sorry to hear about KoKo, I could just cry. My heart goes out to you. Bonny

        Comment by Bonny | April 2, 2010

  147. I didn’t have this problem, Jules, but my vet mentioned it as a possibility. Some cats seem to prefer being tube fed. An appetite stimulant might help — ask about it if the vet doesn’t mention it.

    And I would call the vet ASAP. Is there any reason to believe that Casper is nauseous or has a queasy stomach?

    As for food, Eddie goes off occasionally, and the general advice is to give him anything he’ll eat. I’ve held him on the kitchen floor and forced fingers full of wet food into his mouth, though that wasn’t connected with the tube feeding. He’s never shown any interest in baby food. Last time we went through this, I gave him the appetite stimulant, but the thing that got him eating again was clam juice, poured off of a can of minced clams. (Go figure.) Then he ate a few minced clams, and was back eating normally within 24 hours.

    So try whatever you’ve got. Just make sure it doesn’t have anything like onion or garlic in it, or anything else that’s toxic to cats.

    Good luck, and please let us know what the vet says and how it goes from here.

    Comment by esheley | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi esheley, Thanks so much for your advice. I am bringing him to the vet today.He does seem to have an upset tummy and the vet suggested pepcid, and I have been giving him 1/4 a day. I will definitely try the clam juice! And ask about the apetite stimulant. Thanks very much and I will keep you up to date.

      Comment by jules | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  148. Betsy was a sluggish eater after her tube came out. I think a lot of it was that she was recovering from the HL, still very tired and just wasn’t that interested in making the effort to sit over that dish and eat. She also only likes dry food, so there was all that chewing involved. (Don’t you ever just feel too tired to eat a salad–all that work!) I made it easy for her. Wherever she was, throughout the day, I dropped a little handful of high-calorie kibble near her nose. She’d lift her head and eat a few bites, then go back to sleep. It was like we had to remind her to eat.

    We found this great dry cat food that carried a full day’s calories in about half a cup. Orijen. They carried it at the high-end pet food place. Not Petco or Petsmart. (Betsy went off of it once she fully recovered. It was like she never wanted to see that stuff again.)

    Margaret, I’m so sorry to hear about KoKo. I’m sure you miss him very much.

    Jules, good luck with Casper. Sounds like a trip to the vet is happening today? Keep us posted.

    Comment by anne | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, thanks for the advice. I will go find that food today. Before this whole episode, he always liked iams light dry food. so maybe the kibble will entice him. He does act a bit tired but gets lively now and then. Thanks so so much!

      Comment by jules | March 31, 2010 | Reply

      • Hi Jules, I was doing some research today;came across a site you and others might be interested in; Also try google…’How to Stimulate a Cat’s Appetite’,by Karis Welty;and ‘How to Get Finicky Cats to Eat’,by Ilene Springer. Some good reading in both articles. I found them while on site I found with KoKo there were days he did not feel like eating on his own,but if I handed him a piece of food he might eat it,whether by spoon or from my fingers. I also added water to his dry food;he began to prefer it that way. Be patient,try everything you can;just keep Casper eating. Maybe have the Vet check his Iron and Pottasium levels. KoKo was low in both at one time or another. His energy increased after his first of two shots of Iron. KoKo was also on Pepcid Ac,1/4 tablet a day,plus Amphojel(aluminum hydroxide gel),for stomac acid to keep ulcers from developing. If Casper is in a crouching position all the time,that could be an indication that he is experiencing stomach pain. I am no Vet but I know KoKo maintained that position whenever he was in pain. Good luck with Casper!!! 🙂 Margaret

        Comment by Margaret | March 31, 2010

    • Hi Anne, Thank you so much! It has been very difficult for my husband and myself;…we cry a lot. We are looking into Himalayan Cat Breeders in our area;I am not so certain I want to start over again;KoKo was 12yrs. old when he was put to rest. A new kitten requires a lot of work;would not be considering declawing this time around;means he would be destroying most or all of the furniture. 🙂 However,the search is keeping me occupied for the time being. Thanks again!!! Margaret

      Comment by Margaret | March 31, 2010 | Reply

      • Margaret,
        I see you are looking at Himalayan kittens. Is that what KoKo was? If so, maybe you should change breeds, to not be reminded of you best friend. I hear that Maine Coon crosses are really neat. I think Izzy is this cross & has an incredible personality. Also, while you miss KoKo, there is nothing that takes your mind off loosing your friend, as looking at a fluffy faced kitten. They are so precious when young. Bonny

        Comment by Bonny | April 2, 2010

      • Margaret,
        if you get 2 kittens, they will entertain themselves, and you will only have to sit back and laugh at them. Bonny

        Comment by Bonny | April 2, 2010

  149. Jules, if you find the Orijen, ask if they have some samples. Otherwise, it’s an expensive experiment if Casper hates it. When I explained the situation to our feed place, they gave us a bagful of different samples. When we discovered Betsy liked the Orijen, I went and invested in a bag, which was like $18 for not that much food! We ended up using it up on our semi-feral outdoor kitty, who will eat anything. Beggars . . .

    Comment by anne | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • I’ll google it today and find it….Casper seems fine right now, he’s in my lap as I type this! purring away…..but not eating much. Many thanks for the tips! We are going to the vet in a couple of minutes. thanks again Anne.

      Comment by jules | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  150. How much was he eating before the tuba came out? My vet made sure Scratchy was eating for a week before he would pull it out, since he said it doesn’t do any harm to have it in & not using it. The hard part with her is that she is a very sneaky eater. Before this espisode, I have never seen her eat in 6 years – not even treats or table scraps or anything! So I kept her in a cage while she was on the tube so I could monitor her eating & then I learned that she takes about 2 bites at a time through the day, and then in the dead of the night she’ll eat a bit more. She pretty much went from not eating a single bite of anything for 6 weeks to eating a full bowl, but I did have to offer her about 10 different foods. Then I tried giving her old food again & she wouldn’t eat it as much. The one she liked was blue buffalo purple or pink bag. They are high calories so they don’t have to eat as much. My other cat only eats it if I put a little water on top to make it mushy, but Scratchy has yet to eat any mushy or wet food. One other thing someone said to stimulate their appetite is to have toy mice by their bowl. It sounded crazy, but I was desperate & actually after putting a couple stuffed mice in her cage she started eating a few days later, so who knows… While she was on the tube she had a lot of medication, so that helped her appetite & helped keep her food down – pepcid, metoclopramide, clavamox, etc…

    We also went to the vet once a week to weigh her to make sure she wasn’t losing any weight, and I was writing down exactly how many calories she was eating. Plus being in the cage helped so she wasn’t burning any calories running around too. If she had stopped or slowed her eating, I would not have hesitated putting the tube back in.

    Comment by Christine | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Christine,
      this is GREAT information! He was eating about a can and 1/2 daily of the a/c food while I was still tube feeding him. I cut down the the tube feeding for a week before I had the tube pulled and he was good for a couple of days before he became anorexic again. I just got home from taking him to his vet (it’s a VSM specialty place). He has lost another pound so here what they did: Hydration (I suggested cause helped another time so well), shot for nausea, blood test to check to see if the fatty liver problem has returned, The plan is to give him an appetite enhancing pill mirtazapine every 3 days, if still not eating then syringe feed him (he’s pretty tolerant of most of these things,) and see how he is at the end of t/week. As soon as I let him out of his carrier, he went to his food and started eating wet a/d food. Not alot but I can tell he feels a little better. The cage thing wouldn’t work with my guy……he is very big, although now a mere 17.5 lbs! and a very vocal cat and it would cause major social problems with his buddy, Karma. I asked about putting the tube back in and we agreed it would be the next option if this plan doesn’t work and if his blood tests come back positive for fatty liver again. I will use your food advice see if he likes it. Thank you so much and I post how he is doing. Cats rule! I’ll post a pic of them soon.

      Comment by jules | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  151. Yeah, mine is about 13 lbs, so she’s pretty big. But I kept her in a big dog crate, so she had her litter box & a big bed and everything. She didn’t mind, since she doesn’t like the other animals anyway 🙂 Her medicine was liquid so I could put it in her tube. The anti-nausea & heartburn ones I gave 1/2 hour before feeding, so if the shot doesn’t work you could probably try something oral that they get more often.

    Good Luck & I hope he turns around soon! I know how stressful and sad (and expensive) it is to deal with.

    Comment by Christine | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  152. I don’t think you can post pictures here, and I’d prefer that people just give links, but I think links are a great idea.

    Right after Eddie went off his tube, I wrote another post about mirtazapine — apparently it makes cats a little wacky the first day. I think most people who come to this post are getting a direct link to this post, but if you go to, then go to the archive dropdown box and go to July 2008 (and maybe August), you should see my other posts about Eddie and the aftermath of his tube-feeding. It’s been almost 2 years now, we’ve switched vets, and he’s doing fine except for being about 1.5 pounds underweight.

    Anyway, I hope the new regimen works. Sometimes the post-tube-feeding part requires a lot of creativity on the part of the vet and the owner.

    Comment by esheley | April 1, 2010 | Reply

    • Casper is doing well today. The vet suggested the mirtazapine and after one dose of that, and some hydration (which I asked them to do, as it helped before), he seems to be doing much better. he’s been actually eating bites of his food, not just licking it. He hasn’t had any wierdness due to the mirtazapine at this point. He is much less lethargic and acting much more normal. If it doesn’t continue to improve I will syringe feed him and finally if that doesn’t work, I will tube feed him again. I think the ONLY reason he took a turn for the worse after the tube came out is that he has a thyroid condition that is totally treatable with a transdermal cream that ran out. He missed a couple of days of it and they did not have the cream so they gave me some pills instead. He vomited from them and they made him feel sick and THAT is when he stopped eating again. So now he is back on the transdermal cream and mirtaxapine and it seems to be the right rx for him. he’s happy, not hiding in the closet and starting to eat much better! I am hopeful he is out of the woods and since he does not have a terminal illness, I’m not going to stop trying and I think he knows it somehow! Thanks so much for all your help. p.s. he’s got that same skinny shaved neck look but he doesn’t care nor do I. It’s his new punk look!

      Comment by jules | April 1, 2010 | Reply

  153. Hi Bonny, Thanks for your kind words!!! In answer to your question;”yes,KoKo was a handsome Sealpoint Himalayan”. We have had a number of cats over the years,but KoKo was SPECIAL! We miss him every day!!! When they get to be 12 yrs.old you have forgotten what it is like to start all over;…the’KITTEN STAGE’;it frightens me to think about their need to ‘scratch furniture’. These days people do not have the nails removed,like we did back then. Did you have it done? In my mind I thought once KoKo was gone I would likely get another dog;we had a Chinese Shar-pei before and along with KoKo;we loved him with all our hearts too. My husband says he would prefer to get another cat;he is quite heart broken over KoKo’s passing. It would have been nice to have had KoKo here for Easter. The little guy just seemed all worn out;I felt I had no choice but the one I made. Our house has such an empty feeling now. I would like to take some time before deciding on a new pet. Thanks for all the comments!!! Happy Easter to all you tube feeders and pets!!! Good luck to all! 🙂 Margaret

    Comment by Margaret | April 3, 2010 | Reply

    • HI Margaret,
      it has been awhile since I have been on this site, so I am wondering if you ever decided on another kitten. To answer your question, Izzy was not de-clawed and I have a 20 yr old sofa but it is the expensive chair in the bedroom she loves to scratch. For a while I lined it with aluminum foil, as that keeps them from scratching, but gave up as it looked ugly. They are like our kids and the material things just don’t matter. Have you looked at Maine Coons? They are really personable and have medium hair with a thick tail and a little bit of a mane, like a lion. I think Izzy is 1/2 and she is an incredible little attention demander. Really a fun, loving breed. Well, I hope you have a kitten by now. Let me know what you get, if you get the chance.
      kittens are so much fun and very entertaining. I wish Izzy would never grow up. (she turns 2 this June) later,

      Comment by Bonny | May 5, 2010 | Reply

      • Hi Bonny, I have not visited this site in awhile;hope you and Izzy are doing fine! So sorry to hear the sad news about Eddie!!! 😦 I wanted to update you on my news.We are preparing for the delivery of 2 kittens(male&female);set to arrive after the end of July. Male is a seal-point Himalayan;female is a Chinchilla Persian. If that is not enough,we also have our name on a male Miniature Schnauzer puppy;to arrive here around the end of July. I feel it is important for them to be introduced all at the same time;maybe this will eliminate any ‘grudge’ on the part of the kittens. I am hoping they can all become ‘great friends’! Of course with the Himalayan and the Persian;I am hoping they will grow to ‘love’one another!!! :)That’s it for now. Margaret

        Comment by Margaret Mironenko | June 22, 2010

  154. My cat was diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis a couple weeks ago. Since then, I have been to this site many times. Like a lot of people posting Avery will take a couple of steps forward and one back. Luckily from reading the posts here,it has helped me from getting disheartened. Today I noticed that one of Avery’s eyes was cloudy. I was wondering if anybody else experienced that. Thanks so much.

    Comment by Amy | May 29, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Amy-
      How old is Avery? Does he have any other conditions? Eddie’s eyes are occasionally somewhat cloudy, which is associated with his diabetes.
      This might be something to bring up with your vet. I’d call him/her the next time the office is open.
      I was never shy about calling my vet, by the way. I’d call her several times a day at first. This is an extension of vet hospital care, and they really need to be our partners.
      Good luck and let us know what you find out.

      Comment by esheley | May 30, 2010 | Reply

      • Esheley-

        Avery is 10 and has never had any other issues. Her vet is closed today and tomorrow but I took her to a vet that a friend works at. They redid her blood work and it looks great! Apparently, her eye had a great deal of pus, so she has an infection. They are not sure why. She is now on more antibotics and 2 different types of eye drops. Thanks so much for your help!

        Comment by Amy | May 30, 2010

  155. Hello all,

    So glad to have found this site. I’ve read it top to bottom to gain as much knowledge as I can and I feel a little better now about my cat’s e-tube feedings.

    I have a 13 year old male cat, Copy that had a CT scan and e-tube put in on Thursday night. We took him home Friday afternoon and he’s been doing a great job with his feedings. Friday he had a 1/3 of his normal intake, yesterday he had 2/3s of it and today we are giving him full amount, which equals one can. We have been rinsing the tube with only 3 mls of water and I’m thinking that is too low now after reading everyone’s posts here???

    Copy has lost some weight since his 13 year check-up in February, going from 11.15 to 9. We thought he had a UTI and the emergency vet treated him for one without finding a blockage. A week later we thought he was looking thinner and his regular vet took a look at him and did an x-ray to look for a blockage. Instead she found two masses near his lungs and it was aspirated on Thursday and we are anxiously awaiting the results. They are thinking either lymphoma or carcinoma. We don’t want either, but if we would have to pick I’d say lymphoma and we would treat him ASAP. Carcinoma doesn’t offer us many opportunities for treatment and I’m crushed at the thought of it.

    So, I have a few questions if you all would be kind enough to provide your input. Copy went into the vet on Thursday with his normal perky/frisky attitude and came out pretty down and out. Not surprised given his CT scan and e-tube surgery, but it’s now Sunday and he’s still exhausted. He’s gone the bathroom a few times (done both), but sleeps and sleeps. I called the vet today and she doesn’t know what to say since we still don’t even knoww the extent of his diagnosis. Did all of your furry loved ones act pretty sleepy and tired for a few days? How long until they were up and about and inquisitive as they normally were?

    Also, he’s making sort of a wheezing snoring sound occasionally when he sleeps and it’s worrying as well.

    He’s done awesome with the feedings, kept it all down (though he never really had a problem with vomitting before).

    Any words of advice/encouragement would be embraced.

    Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this.

    Bridget and Copy Cat

    Comment by Bridget | June 6, 2010 | Reply

  156. First of all, Elizabeth, I’m sad to read about Eddie, but I know he’s had a wonderful life with the most loving care. Sending good thoughts for a peaceful transition tomorrow.

    Bridget, I don’t know quite what to say about Copy. My cat had a different diagnosis–primary hepatic lipidosis, which meant they couldn’t find anything else wrong with her–and was much younger than Copy (5 years old) at the time of her e-tube placement. She went into surgery pretty perky despite having lost 2 pounds and having jaundice and terrible liver numbers. The surgery, the e-tube, the veterinary hospital stay, her illness–it all seemed to catch up with after we got her home, which was a full four days after her surgery, and she slept like she was dying. Head plastered to the floor, breathing heavily, slowly and noisily, was so weak she couldn’t support herself to pee properly in her litter box. I was sure it had all been for naught–the decision-making, the trauma to her, the expense–and that she wouldn’t survive the night. But she did. And she made a full recovery.

    I hope you get some hopeful answers and that Copy is perking up.

    Comment by anne | June 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Feeling a little better about his perkiness this morning. He started coming around last night and is acting normally now. Was up at his normal 5:30 begging for food, but now he’s scratching the around the wrapping and tube on his neck like crazy. Poor guy just hates it being there.

      Hopefully we’ll have some lab results this morning and will be treating (if it’s lymphoma) ASAP.

      Thanks for the response, Anne.


      Comment by Bridget | June 7, 2010 | Reply

  157. Good morning,

    I didn’t notice your update yesterday and wanted to let you know that you’re in my thoughts. May Eddie be at peace…


    Comment by Bridget | June 7, 2010 | Reply

  158. I am so sorry you lost Eddie recently. I have lost two pets in my arms as well.

    It is 5 AM and I can’t sleep trying to decide if we will need to put a feeding tube in Abbie, or it is time to let Abbie go. She has what appears to be small cell lymphoma affecting her small intestine. It is treatable with a 2 year prognosis, however, she currently won’t eat or drink until we can get it under control.

    How long did you do this for Eddie? Of often did you feed him?

    Two years is what I stand to gain but I am not sure if this is fair to the cat.

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Will–

      I’m sorry to read about Abbie. I think the big question you’re facing is what those two years would be like for her. Would she feel good most of the time, or would you be constantly trying some new treatment to make her feel better? If you can get your vet on the phone to discuss quality of life, that might help.

      I never felt that tube-feeding strained Eddie. It did strain me, although I committed to it and always felt it was the right decision. It was a month of scheduling my life around being home to feed my cat, which I had to do anywhere between 4 to 6 times a day, and my vet urged more frequent feedings whenever possible. One limitation, which another commenter brought up recently, is stomach size. You can only give them so much at a time, which means feeding often.

      This also means having some flexibility with your employer. I work from home most of the time, but I remember being stuck at a client’s office an hour’s drive from here when a meeting rolled back 90 minutes and the main speaker (the company CEO) rambled on for another 30 minutes beyond her scheduled time, making me 2 hours late for a feeding. I kept telling myself on the way home that if I got pulled over or had an accident, that would delay the feeding even more, so I had to drive normally and not panic. I imagine everyone who tube feeds ends up having an incident that causes a worrisome delay.

      I hope things work out with Abbie, Will. Another question for the vet is, what’s the longest a cat has gone with this kind of lymphoma? I try not to be stupidly optimistic, but I do think it helps in these situations — the cats pick it up from us. One of my first cats, Rabbit, was given 6 months to live but lasted 27 months. Good things happen in addition to the bad.

      Comment by esheley | June 22, 2010 | Reply

      • Abbie is at the vet now being evaluated. I very much appreciate your quick reply. It was definitely helpful advice but even more so to hear from someone today. I am a little distraught.

        It’s odd she seems so well in behavior but she just won’t eat. I had tried to syringe feed her but she started to develop food and feeding adversion. The only thing that will really save her is the feeding tube.

        Thanks again for your support.

        Comment by Will | June 22, 2010

    • Hi Will. It sounds like Abbie is being evaluated now.

      I tube-fed Betsy for two weeks. (We should have gone longer, but her tube fell out and, luckily, she was well enough into recovery that we could persuade her to eat enough after that.) I do not feel like tube-feeding caused Betsy to suffer. If anything, she grew to love it after just a few days. There were certain things that made it work for her, and others things that we discovered she hated–we could not tube-feed her on the counter, for example, but she loved it when we did it in the (empty) bathtub. The first few days are tough, because you’re working out the details like volume and timing, but once we got past the volume issues (read: nausea), I do not believe Betsy suffered anything more than a little annoyance with the neck wrap. The initial surgery and hospital stay was hard on her.

      I’d say your bigger question has to do with the lymphoma and what her life expectancy truly could be. It’s so hard to weigh everything–the expense, the possibility that your cat will suffer, the concept of hope–at a time when you’re distraught and facing a vet that may or may not respect the dilemma. I found that going to a large 24-hour veterinary facility worked in my favor–our smaller outpatient vet had no idea about the prognosis with hepatic lipidosis because he had never treated a cat from diagnosis to recovery. (Because cats who recover from HL need 24-hour care, so he simply didn’t see them in his practice.) At the large facility, there were numerous vets to weigh in on Betsy’s case, and they had lots of experience with HL cats and could tell me how Betsy compared to other cases they had seen. They also worked with me on tests and procedures to keep the costs as minimal as possible; because they had lots of experience, they could tell me which things were recommended, but could be skipped.

      Keep us posted. Wishing the best for you and Abbie.

      Comment by anne | June 22, 2010 | Reply

      • Thank you Anne. Good advice, we also took Abbie to a large 24 hour hospital in here in Atlanta (GVS) and you’re right they were very knowledgeable and caring. Expensive facility but top notch care. So far we have spent $3000 but she is worth it and has never cost me any grief or money in 10 years. Well, okay there was the one chair she clawed but I never liked it anyway. 🙂
        Essentially, there were really only 3 choices, bring her home to perish from starvation and dehydration, euthanize her, or do the feeding tube. I realize she has cancer, but it is a slow growing cancer with a two year prognosis. Although she will not eat, she is otherwise acting normally and enjoying looking out the window and scratching on her Alpine Scratcher so putting her down just seemed illogical, therefore as I type this she is having the tube put in. We pick her up tomorrow.

        We of course love Abbie very much. She is a sweet, petite little girl, gray with blue eyes. I want to be able to say that I gave her the opportunity to live without overly burdening her daily life and judging by how angry she was to be back at the vet, Abbie is not done just yet.

        Thank you all for your emails. I now understand what great connections people can make virtually. You have made me feel much better.

        Comment by Will | June 22, 2010

  159. Hang in there, Will, and let me know what the vet says.

    Comment by esheley | June 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you! The vet agreed the feeding tube was a good option for her. I have outlined it above.

      Comment by Will | June 22, 2010 | Reply

      • Hey, Will, keep in mind she might seem worse after the tube goes in–at first. Betsy went in for the tube surgery very alert and pretty energetic, considering how ill she was; when she came out, even after the anesthesia wore off, she was groggy and shaky, slept so hard that I thought she was dying. This went on for several days at the veterinary hospital, and a day or so after we got her home, so for a good four days after her surgery. It was alarming, but in retrospect, I think the tube-placement was invasive, there was a lot of stress involved in the hospital stay, and she was so calorie-deprived and ill that she needed the rest. Scared the heck out of me, though!

        For tube feeding, see if your vet has Iams Max Cal–it’s a higher-calorie food, which means you give less than you would a standard food. It made a HUGE difference in Betsy’s recovery and in our ability to tube-feed her without losing our minds–and our jobs.

        Is she also on steroids for the lymphoma? I have a friend who felt like he prolonged his cat’s life by 18 months by treating his lymphoma with prednisone.

        Keep us posted! I really think the insight shared on this site helped me save Betsy’s life last spring.

        Comment by anne | June 22, 2010

  160. Hi Elizabeth
    I just came across your post googling about cat feeding tubes and it is so helpful. I’m glad to hear that it helped Eddie recover and live another two good years but of course very sorry to hear that he passed away a few weeks ago.
    One of our cats has just had a feeding tube inserted today after two months of too-ing and fro-ing with appetite stimulants (and other stuff) which worked for quite a while but then seemed to stop having an effect. We went to see her earlier and she was still a little groggy from the procedure but awake enough fro us to stroke and she responded well to that, purring when her tum was tickled. She has several days ahead of her at the vet hospital while they feed and monitor her, then hopefully she can come home and we can start the feeding. Your post is really helpful in letting us know what we will be having to do over the next few weeks.
    We have a mixed diagnosis, we know she had fatty liver disease from which she should recover if the feeding works but she is also FIV+ and here in the UK there are no approved drugs for that and of course it may or may not be causing complications. We will see. Like you the feeding seems worth it as it gives her the best chance of pulling through.
    Thanks again for your post.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | June 22, 2010 | Reply

  161. Linda, good luck with your cat. The fatty liver disease should respond well to tube-feeding, as it often does, so maybe that will happen before the FIV creates additional issues.

    Will, how are things going? If you discuss Prednisone with your vet, also consider asking about Prednisolone, which is more easily absorbed by cats. That’s what Rabbit was on when she outlasted her prognosis by 21 months.

    These cats often seem pretty weak at first, but a cat getting a feeding tube is very likely to be critically ill in the first place. It’s sad in the beginning, and that’s the time when you’re making your rookie mistakes on the feedings, and it’s also taking forever, or so it seems. But in a few days, you’ll have your routine down and your cat will start perking up. It’s really gratifying when they start acting like themselves again, and it’s absolutely thrilling when they start wanting to eat on their own.

    Comment by esheley | June 23, 2010 | Reply

  162. Thanks for your thoughts. She is still at the vets at the moment but they say she is fine with the tube and feeding is going well. I visited again today and she was much livelier than I expected. She was very happy being stroked and and also got up to come brush up against me a fair bit. She has a bowl of dried food and she kept sniffing that and actually ate two tiny bits while I was there so clearly the tube isn’t bothering her. My husband went to visit later and she was much more sleepy and inactive.
    We aren’t sure yet what meds she will be on when she comes home but I’ve noted what you say about predninsone/prednisolone in case that comes up.
    At the moment I’m just a little nervous about doing the feeding but I’m sure we will get used to it. Fortunately the vet hospital is literally 5 minutes walk away so its very easy to go back if we need to.
    all being well they say she should be able to come home on Friday so fingers crossed.
    Thanks again.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | June 23, 2010 | Reply

    • Hello everyone, it seems Linda and I are on the same schedule today. I picked Abbie up and arrived home with her just 15 minutes ago. She is resting under the bed as I write this. Of course, I cleaned under there and put her favorite blanket under the bed as well. This way if I need to pull her out I can just pull the blanket.

      Abbie too is doing well. I gave her the first feeding at the office with the Colleen the Tech instructing me. I was nervous at first but it went well. It was easier than I thought. Elizabeth I took your recommendation and got new nausea medication. Since her liver is fine we are sticking with the Prednisone but transdermal cream, not pills.

      Thank you all for your support. Linda, let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!

      Comment by Will Wallace | June 23, 2010 | Reply

  163. PS: I prayed to Eddie to look after Abbie. I feel like he was checking in on her. I told the vet office about this site. They were impressed.

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 23, 2010 | Reply

  164. I’m glad you found it easier than expected, Will. That was the thing that inspired me to write this post in the first place — I didn’t want people to be put off by the notion of tube-feeding where it’s appropriate. I’m hoping Abbie and Linda’s cat both thrive.

    I’m sure Eddie will do what he can for them, too.

    Comment by esheley | June 23, 2010 | Reply

  165. Hello,
    to everyone wondering about the tube feeding-It saved my Casper’s life. He was suffering from fatty liver due to a thyroid problem. He was not eating or drinking anything!! And he’s a big boy-22 lbs!It was hard at first but it became a “bonding time” for us. After I calmed down, he did and we went to a quiet spot in the walk in closet and I tube fed him on his favorite blanket. He purred much of the time as if he knew it was necessary and as if to let me know he was not mad at me! This was in Feb 2010 and he’s had the RadioCat treatment and he’s doing great, eating, drinking and talking to me all the time like normal. he goes in monday for his follow up blood tests to see if his thyroid is normal now. If your cat has a thyroid issue, I totally recommend the Radiocat (ask your vet) treatment. It’s a little pricey but is less than paying for his tapizole for the rest of his life. And alot easier on them. p.s he’d now a normal 17 lbs. Normal for a large cat. Don’t be afraid of the tube feeding. It can be a very good thing!

    Comment by jules | June 23, 2010 | Reply

  166. Actually, it was this blog that made me realize this was the right thing to do for Abbie, who was not eating or drinking anything. You are right, it is not scary at all and so is Jules in that although I have only fed her 2 times so far by tube; it is very bonding. I think it is sort of like bottle feeding a baby. Anyway, Abbie is doing well and Daphne my 12 year old Himalayan is happy to have her home.

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 23, 2010 | Reply

  167. Greetings,

    I am curious how your first few days of tube feeding went? Abbie seems to be uncomfortable, trying to find the right position to sleep. She also seems very out of it, groggy, and generally grumpy which is to be expected. My questions are:

    How long was it before your cat begin to act more lucid and normal? How often did you feed her each day and how much? When did your cat have its first bowl movement?

    Abbie has urinated twice since she has been home. She has not vomited. As recommended by the vet, I have started her out with 20 ccs/mls each feeding, with 5 feedings each day: total 100 ccs/mls. The goal is 200 ccs/mls a day which I am trying to build up to but so far, it has been difficult for her to take the 20 each feeding. Would love to hear your experiences.

    Thank you!

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 24, 2010 | Reply

  168. By the way, Abbie weighted 10 lbs initially and is down to 8.5 lbs (she’s petite). Her blood work was normal all around. No issues. IAMS Max Cal is what we are feeding her.

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 24, 2010 | Reply

  169. Hi Will,

    I bet Abbie’s neck hurts and she hates the wrap. The grogginess, like you suggest, is probably normal from the surgery, the vet experience, her general weakness from being unwell and not eating.

    Betsy began to seem like herself again four to five days after her tube was put in. We had volume issues with her, so she was having bowel movements right away. (We were shoving so much into her because we had a lower calorie food at first.)

    Betsy weighed 11 pounds (down from 13) and I think our daily goal was 260 cc’s.

    When you say it’s hard for her to take the 20 cc’s each feeding, in what way is it hard? Does she get mad? Does she seem nauseated? Where are you feeding her? Betsy was incredibly grumpy when we tried to feed her anyplace open–on the counter, even in the middle of the floor. But she loved it when she could hide out with walls on almost all sides of her: between the wall and the toilet, for example, or in the bathtub. Nearly broke my back, getting in and out of that tub with her and sitting there for 30 minutes, but she would come trotting when she saw me with those syringes, and she’d hop right in the tub and “assume the position.” But if I tried to put her on the counter, she got really grumpy.

    If 20 seems to be making her sick, could you scale back to 15 and do it more often? This is how we had to do it at first with Betsy. Less slurry, more often.

    Sending good thoughts. Keep us posted!

    Comment by anne | June 24, 2010 | Reply

  170. Hi Everyone

    Daisy, our cat came home today at last. She had the tube put in Tuesday and has been at the vets since being cared for. They are happy with the way she is coping with being fed through the tube.

    We have just done our very first feed and it went okay. She wriggled a bit near the end but not too much. We are doing 5 x 20ml feeds a day. She was about 9lb before all this happened but as she is a very small cat she was probably over weight at that level. She is down to about 5.5lb and probably needs to be back at about 7.5lb.

    We are feeding her Royal Canin Convalescene Support Instant (don’t think you have it in the US). It a powder we mix up with water and seems quite easy to use.

    She seems quite confused and mostly wants to sit under things but hopefully as she gets used to be being back home she will perk up.

    Will, I hope all is going well with Abbie’s feeding.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | June 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Hello Linda,

      Abbie and Daisy are the same size. The vet wanted me to feed her 200mls a day which I believe is way too much. She just will not tolerate it. The most I have been able to get into her is 400mls and the her tummy is essentially full. Is Daisy nauseous at all? How many mls do you put in her a minute? I can only put in 1ml per minute with Abbie or else she gets sick. Do you have any issues with that?

      I will say Abbie has perked up (4th day). In fact, it was easier to feed her when she was not so alert. She too likes to hide under things.

      I hope Daisy feels better soon.

      Comment by Will Wallace | June 26, 2010 | Reply

      • Sorry typo, that should be 40 mls, not 400!

        Comment by Will Wallace | June 26, 2010

      • Hi Will

        Sorry to hear that you are having some problems with feeding Abbie.

        I know we are using different foods so its hard to compare but I did a little searching on the web and on a kcal/kg basis it looks like the food you have is half the calorie density of the stuff we are using (tho I might be misunderstanding the way the info is presented). This might be why the vet wants you to feed more. What do the guidelines on your pack say? What the vet has told us to do matches the pack guidelines for Daisy’s weight.

        We are feeding 100ml in total per day and we are splitting this across 5 feeds at roughly 3 hour intervals. So 20ml per feed plus the bit of water to flush the tube at the start and end. It takes about 15 minutes in total so we are doing just over 1.5ml per minute including the water. She seems okay with this. She sometimes makes a gurgling sound during feeding and after with some coughing but she hasn’t been sick. We were told by the vet that if she starts to lick her lips during feeding then thats the first sign she is uncomfy and may bring some back up so to wait or slow down.

        She wriggles a bit when we open and close the tube to put the syringe in but I’m guessing this is the small change in pressure it must create in her stomach. She then settles down.

        Overall she is quite lethargic still but can get about to use the litter tray but mostly she is still just resting.

        200ml per day seems like a lot of volume for a small cat but 40ml seems low if you mean in whole day. Do you think the tube might be partly blocked? We were told that a small amount of coca cola will clear that. Also if she is being sick then I think you need to call the vet and discuss.

        I’m not sure that helps at all but if you can’t get here to take the amount needed in a day and is being sick then you really need to speak to the vet again.

        Hoping Abbie settles down to a good routine soon.

        Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | June 27, 2010

  171. Number 1 rule if you’re having problems with tube-feeding: call your vet and talk about it. This is an extension of critical care, and the vet should be available to talk to you as frequently as you need.

    Number 2 rule is that it’s better to go too slow than too fast. This is time-consuming for the owner, although it eventually gets better. I would feed Eddie 5 cc’s at a time, then wait a full minute, feed 5 more cc’s, wait another full minute, etc. It’s been almost 2 years now, but I remember being told to give 4-6 feedings a day, with a target of 200cc’s total for the day. But I couldn’t do 40 at a time, so I gave Eddie 30 to 35 cc’s and added a feeding for 6 to 7 daily feedings. He was small, so he probably had a small stomach.

    If you haven’t already, ask the vet about adding anti-nausea medicine to the mix. I would grind that and some other meds with a mortar and pestle, then mix them into a small amount of water and cat food, making sure that was the first thing in the syringe. The meds varied by feeding, so I ended up writing it all on a piece of paper that I taped to the kitchen cabinets.

    Also, ask for the highest caloric density food your vet will prescribe. Eddie had canned food that was already liquified, and when I opened the can, there’d be a thick layer of fat floating on the top, which I’d have to stir in. At this point — and it’s still a crisis point, though the peak is presumably over — you just want to get calories into the cat in whatever way works.

    Finally, I had multiple syringes of varying sizes because sometimes the problem is the syringe. They’re cheap; the vet should just give you a bunch of them. And yes, a small amount of Coke will unblock a tube. Pull the cat aside at a time when you’re not feeding her, squirt in a few cc’s of Coke, and give it an hour or so to work.

    Linda, we do have the Royal Canin brand here in the States. I think it’s a Canadian product, or at least it’s manufactured in Quebec on this side of the pond, and it’s highly regarded by the feline chronic renal failure people (a whole other topic). I don’t know that the product lines between the US, Canada, and the UK are identical — it would seem unlikely with all the different pet food regulations, etc. The powder you’re using sounds like a great product.

    Even though we’d lived in this house for 10 years already, Eddie found new hiding places during his tube feeding. Even when he began feeling better, he hid more than ever.

    I hope Abbie and Daisy start feeling better soon and that the feedings become easier for everyone, feline and human.

    Comment by esheley | June 27, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you both for the advice.

      40ml was for the one feeding. 200 mls is the goal for the entire day. I can only get 1cc per minute in her. She has declined since yesterday afternoon. I simply picked her up to move her and she vomited. Later in the evening I tried to give her 20cc but after 5ccs she vomited. Nausea is her real problem. Consistent nausea from the small cell lymphoma. She also has not had a bowel moverment, but does urinate.

      I think as others have posted, with a terminal illness such as Abbie’s, we may have simply reached a point that this is all we can do. I love her so much, but now I believe I may be make her life miserable.

      Comment by Will Wallace | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  172. Oh, Will, I’m so sorry. This sounds horribly, horribly familiar, and I hate that this is happening.

    I’ll hope for a miracle. At the very least, I sincerely hope you can take some comfort from the fact that you did literally everything you could for her. That was honorable, generous, and loving.

    Comment by esheley | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  173. Will, I’m so sorry to hear this.
    Poor Abbie definitely needs to be seen by the vet again to see what they can do and I really hope there is something they can do to help the nausea and improve the feeding.
    Whatever happens you have done everything you can to help Abbie and have loved and cared for her wonderfully well.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  174. Will, I assume your vet has you pushing an anti-nausea medication into her feeding tube as well? Also, is it possible the Max Cal is too rich for her? It’s great stuff if it’ll stay down, but if it won’t, you might be better off trying a milder food.

    I’m sorry to read that Abbie’s not doing so well. Sending good thoughts and hoping today’s a better day for her.

    Comment by anne | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  175. We are still hanging in there. I took your suggestion and took her off the Max Cal and put her on Recovery. That definitely helped. I have also decided it is impossible to shove a pill down a nauseous cats throat. They will just vomit. We will have to find another option for her chemo meds. I am able to give her prednisone as a cream applied to the ear. She also tolerated her antibiotic okay today with food but administering 1cc every minute. Lastly, she will never eat as much as they are attempting to put in her. I know my cat and she never ate this much as a healthy cat. Like Daisy, she is a very little girl.

    Thank you all again. Not to be overly sappy but this site has ended up really being a great support to me. We made it through another day.

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  176. I’m glad you’ve got a second wind, Will.

    If you can grind up the pills and mix them with the slurry that’s going into the tube, it’s possible she’ll keep them down better.

    The other thing is, you do know your cat better than any vet does. They know the medicine and science, but you know Abbie. If it’s too much food, stand your ground like you’re doing. Even with the very best vets, we have to be advocates for our cats. At this point, getting her stable and not vomiting seems like a reasonable goal. Weight gain can wait until that happens.

    Good luck getting through the night, and I hope tomorrow is a better day.

    Comment by esheley | June 27, 2010 | Reply

  177. Things are sounding a little more promising, Will!

    We pushed anti-nausea meds and liver support meds through Betsy’s tube. The anti-nausea ones had to go in half an hour before a feeding, so I ground them up and sent them through with water. It was hard to get all the pill in that way, but it seemed to help.

    Thank you for updating. I was hoping you would, and that things would be looking up.

    Comment by anne | June 27, 2010 | Reply

    • Hello Anne, yes the anti-nausea medication makes all the difference. We are giving her Metoclopramide liquid 1.5 mls up to 3 times a day. Online it says you can give more but I hear diarrhea can be a side effect if you give too much and no one wants that! She tolerates it very well through the feeding tube.

      Comment by Will Wallace | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  178. Hi Will
    Glad to hear that you and Abbie managed a little better yesterday with meds and food. Definitely do the grinding up and adding it with feed or water. Thats what we are doing with Daisy’s antibiotics and liver support drugs. They don’t dissolve in the fluid but you can get them to be dispersed enough for the vast majority of the tablet/powder to go down.
    As Anne and Elizabeth both say you know your cat better than the vets and as she is small 200ml does seem a lot. Daisy is okay with 100ml over 5 feeds at about 3 hour intervals of the stuff we are using but I don’t think we could feed her more often, more in one go or more in total. 20ml in one 15 min feed seems as much as she is okay to take so as Abbie is small I’d be surprised if she would be okay with much more. Also Daisy was a real nibbler when she ate properly so small and often is the way she is used to eating.
    Hoping today is another step forward for you.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  179. Today seems to be a good day. I find Abbie is more nauseous in the morning so I go slow and immediately give her the anti-nausea medicine. She was always a nibbler too so I basically give her 10mls every hour or so, sometimes only 5 depending on her mood and she likes that a whole lot better. She actually came out today and lay next to me on the bed!! What a treat that was. Then she was sleeping in the closet fully stretched out with her head on the ground. Another small triumph. She was really relaxed and snoring. So no telling where this will end up, but today has been a good day. That’s enough for me.

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  180. Linda, how is Daisy?

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  181. Oh Will that is great news. I’m so glad Abbie is doing better with the feeds and you have found something that is working better for her. Its great she seems more relaxed. Fingers crossed for it continuing.

    Daisy is doing fine we seem to have a nice routine of 5x 20ml feeds that take about 15 mins each spaced out at 3 hours (last one for today just coming up soon). She is a little wriggly sometimes when we are feeding her but she’s being good. Mostly she is sleeping or just relaxing, she’s decided the sofa is where she likes best and is happy to be stroked for a while, then she gets grumpy mind you grumpy is possibly a good sign!. She is walking about a bit but is a bit unsteady if she decides to go to fast. it seems steady progress so far.

    Hope your day continues well.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  182. I am glad Daisy is doing so well. These little girls are more frail I think. Abbie gets wiggly too. I find if she is sleeping or her head is turned it is harder on her. “The meatloaf” is really the ideal position. Sometimes I brush her or comb her so she will associate something she loves with feeding time.

    So we can chalk this up to a good day for Abbie. I came home and she was sitting in the sun by the window. Wow, I almost lost it. Later she then she rolled over on her back entirely! Of course that was when I was trying to feed her, but I just came back later feeling it was more important for her to feel normal and relaxed rather than eating at that moment.

    Good night from Atlanta, GA.

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  183. So glad to hear Abbie had a good day, Will. Incredible, isn’t it, how their status can make or break our day during this tube-feeding process? I remember the first day Betsy sat at the top of the stairs like she owned the place–something she always has done when she’s fat and happy. It was truly a banner day.

    Hoping the good news continues!

    Comment by anne | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  184. Hi Will,
    I’ve been keeping up on your progress. It’s a day to day thing and it’s amazing what the anti nausea meds can do. Even a quarter of a pepcid helped mine. My big boy took 25-30 cc’s at a time. so your little girl just probably needs less of it more often. I found that the syringe of water afterwards seemed to help as well. also, it helps to associate something they love with the feedings. a blanket, or soft toy and then a belly rub and good kitty comments throughout. Everyone wants to do well. Including our kitties! hang in there….you have lots of support out here!

    Comment by jules | June 28, 2010 | Reply

  185. Yesterday was a great day, however, last night was a different story BUT with a happy ending.

    At midnight Abbie was trying to go pooh. She was really struggling and this strain was causing her to vomit. Imagine a cat running around violently vomiting and crouching trying to have a BM all at the same time. It was really awful. Finally, I noticed something “hanging out of her” and assisted in removing it. It was dried, petrified hair. Like a rock or a mummy. Worse some of it was still stuck. Over 30 minutes she tried and tried but at that point we had to rush her into the GVS Emergency Clinic. We waited 2 hours but at 2 in the morning Abbie got the assistance she needed. She had been very constipated. We took her home, she fell asleep, and today she is one happy cat. Almost like her old self. I can only think she had been uncomfortable for days.

    So anyway, today is another good day. I have included a link so you can see for yourself. We are all tired but happy.

    Feeling relaxed

    Comment by Will Wallace | June 29, 2010 | Reply

    • Aw, Will, what a pretty cat Abbie is!

      I’m glad the constipation thing got handled. I guess that is a big risk with ill animals. My husband and I once had to give an enema to our dog while she was recovering from being hit by a car. Not a fun experience. He got the business end of the dog, while I had to hold her shoulders and keep her calm. But it worked. 🙂

      I bet you’ll see some better feeding and improved energy levels now.

      Comment by anne | June 29, 2010 | Reply

    • Oh, and Daphne insisted I upload a picture of her as well, just so you know Abbie is not the only cute cat in the house.

      Comment by Will Wallace | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  186. Wow!

    Poor Abbie. And poor you, with all that worry and anxiety.

    I’m glad everyone’s better now. Maybe this was what Abbie needed to have happen in order to tube-feed successfully. I hope this ends up being a huge turn in the right direction.

    She’s a beauty, too, Will.

    Comment by esheley | June 29, 2010 | Reply

  187. hooray for you and abbie!! Maybe… simple terms………too much moving in and not enough time to move it out! Glad you are both feeling better.

    Comment by jules | June 29, 2010 | Reply

  188. Just dropped by to say we’ve had a our first check up with Daisy since the tube feeding started. The vet was happy with her progress. She had put on about 1/2lb which they seemed pleased with at this stage. We will continue the same feeding routine this week and then next week they will probably do a blood test to see how the liver function is. So at the moment its all nice and steady here.

    Will – hope all is well with you and Abbie now her constipation has been sorted. I hope she is feeding much better.

    And thanks to everyone her for your support so far.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  189. 1/2 pound for Daisy! That is really great for little Daisy. Is she having successful BMs (you can tell that is my focus these days)? It is amazing how “nice and steady” feels.

    Abbie had a BM last night so that was a relief. She continues to feel better and her nausea has abated. We had another good day today. Abbie wanted me to let you know how please she is.


    Comment by Will Wallace | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  190. Hi Will
    Hope all is still going well with Abbie.
    Daisy was doing okay with BM, about every other day and quite small so that seemed fine. The vet had given us some for of laxative but we hadn’t used it and the vet was okay with that.
    Today Daisy was sick about an hour after her first feed and she’d done a BM just before that I think. the next few feeds were okay but she’s just been sick about 2 hours after the 4th feed and she’d def done a BM. So now I’m thinking she’s a bit bunged up like Abbie was so I’ve started the laxative with her and hope that sorts things out.
    Anyway thats it here for today. I’m going to skip the last feed as she was only just sick and see how we fare tomorrow.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 3, 2010 | Reply

    • I am sorry Daisy is not feeling well. I have noticed the stress of a BM upsets the whole track including the tummy and I believe it is particularly acute in smaller cats. Are you giving her the liquid anti-nausea medication before the feedings? I noticed this really helped a lot when Abbie had nausea. Abbie’s constipation was really more about the long period of not eating and dehydration prior to the tube. Perhaps the caloric intensity of the food is upsetting her tummy a little.

      Comment by Will Wallace | July 3, 2010 | Reply

  191. Hi Will
    Thanks for your thoughts. We haven’t any anti nausea drugs as we haven’t needed them so far. If this doesn’t right itself with the laxative then I’ll talk to the vets and see if we can have some. As you say the BM definitely seems to cause the sickness rather than the feed.
    It could also be the calorie density of the food, i don’t think she’s dehydrated as she was on a drip in the hospital and the food is quite liquid so hydration should be okay.
    I”ll let you know how we get along.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 4, 2010 | Reply

  192. Another thought is if she was on antibiotic this can cause a reduction in the intestinal flora which sometimes produces diarrhea sometimes constipation.
    If you do not have anti-nausea medication handy you can also give her 1/4 tablet of basic Pepcid (tablet=10mg Famotidine, so 2.5mg) crushed in her food each day. This helped settle Abbie’s tummy. Good luck and I will be thinking about Daisy.

    Comment by Will Wallace | July 4, 2010 | Reply

  193. My issue today is the wrapping/bandage around Abbie’s neck. She has gotten so well that she is focused on it and want’s it off. By the end of the day she scratches at it and begins to pull the stuffing out from underneath like an old rag doll.
    Does anyone recall collars that are available for tube fed cats? Wrapping the bandage each day is troublesome.

    Comment by Will Wallace | July 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, just a couple of things to share with you about the bandage. My kitty HATED it! He would try to get it off constantly shredding it like crazy. I worked on his wrapping almost daily. I got the same type of bandaging at the drug store. I used a little neosporin on the skin that he got to. I took him in to the vet to have it wrapped every week so they could also check the site. Pepcid -1/4 tablet once every few days really helped with the nausea. Well-we finally got through it and after Radiocat treatment for his thyroid, I am sooooooooo happy to tell you that his tests came back and all is normal now. This was a long process (started months ago) but it was so totally totally worth it. hang in there! I think it is harder on us sometimes. Cats are wonderful resilient souls!

      Comment by jules | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  194. I’ll track done some pecid (or whatever the equivalent is called here in the UK) and give that a try. Only sick once so far today and not too badly. Much more lively as well. She wants to be outside but so far we haven’t let her. We’ll see if she improves a bit more I might let her out though am concerned she will do a disappearing act!
    Hope you find a way to sort the collar problem out.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 4, 2010 | Reply

    • As you have probably read here, the anti-nausea medicine I have been using with Abbie is Metoclopramide. She tolerates it well.

      Comment by Will Wallace | July 4, 2010 | Reply

  195. Its seems pepcid is a prescription only drug in the UK and as she’s continuing to be sick I think its back to the vets today to see what they think. Fingers crossed that they have something that can help.

    Have you found a way to keep the collar in place yet Will?

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  196. Sorry poor Daisy has to head back to the vet. I know she must hate that. Perhaps you can just call in the request if you have not left already. Let me know how it goes.

    Well, our theory about a full bowel and nausea continues to hold true. Abbie got a little sick last night and then this morning when I gave her 10 mls of water and her anti-nausea med, she threw it up. Immediately afterward she went to the litter box and had a large BM. To test our theory, 30 minutes later I was able to give her 40mls of food. Empirical evidence holds true. As a status report I am able to get 130 mls of food in Abbie each day.

    Comment by Will Wallace | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  197. Daisy is back at the vets. I took her in today after her being sick the last few days. Seems the feed tube had come loose so they think it may have slipped into her tum a bit and irritated it, although the x-rays did not show it in her tum so they aren’t sure. They have re-sutured it and kept her in for observation. They will do small feeds this evening and if she takes those fine will try larger ones tomorrow. If not they will investigate further. They are also giving her some anti-acid meds (Zantac).
    Disappointingly even the few days of only being sick some of the time and taking some feeds okay has set her weight back a bit.
    On a better note they did a blood test and that shows an improvement in her liver function tho not back to normal.
    So its wait and see again.
    The BM thing def seems and issue as at least 3 of the times she was sick she’d been to the litter try just before had to either do a BM or to try.
    Will – hope Abbie is doing okay, fingers crossed for no more sickness for her today.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  198. I’ve been away for a bit and I’m not going to be online a lot this week, but let me get back on some of this.

    Will, I took Eddie in to have his collar rewrapped every 5-7 days. (The vet put a spot of honey on the insertion point, which she said was based on folk medicine but worked to prevent infection.) Eddie would tear at his collar, and the better he felt the more he’d tear at it. The funny thing was, he’d scratch the opposite side from the insertion point. The vet showed me how to rewrap in case he ever completely unwrapped it and I couldn’t get in to see her. The vigor with which he attacked the collar was one way of gauging how he felt, although the main thing was that he was eating on his own some. (I guess I should talk about that a bit? There’s another post on this topic, probably from July 2008 also, that may address the transition. Everyone comes to this post and looks no further, but there are at least two more related posts from summer 2008.)

    Linda, I hope Daisy is doing better at the vet. The improvement in the bloodwork is very encouraging. The setback with the tube and some of the side symptoms are all much more manageable, so the important thing is that she’s healing internally and getting stronger.

    Also, just as an FYI, in the 1990s the US Food and Drug Administration began allowing the retail sale of some drugs that were previously available only from a pharmacist. A lot of these were drugs for the digestive system, and Pepcid and Zantac were among them. It never surprises me to learn that other countries have kept them as prescription drugs.

    I’m looking forward to a good report on Abbie and Daisy when I check in tomorrow.

    Comment by esheley | July 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you for the update on Eddie’s collar/wrapping. I have experienced that same thing. Any secrets to keep him from scratching through it?

      Comment by Will Wallace | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  199. Changing Abbie’s bandage today I noticed her feeding tube was not secured, it easily slid in and out of her neck. Damn! I was so disappointed, she was feeling so well and acting normally the thought I had to take her into the vet for stitching was a real blow. Hopefully, I will have her home soon.

    Comment by Will Wallace | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  200. Thanks Elizabeth, its such a roller coaster doing all this, but hoping we are getting there. Daisy was seeming more like her old self these last few days despite being sick so hopefully this is just a small blip. I’ve been reading some of the other comments and wondering is we’d started going too fast with the feeds, I don’t think so but I’ll be extra careful when she is back home.

    On prescription drugs they have de-listed various things from the late 1980s onwards here (back then nurofen/ibuprofen was still listed!). Oddly enough having just looked zantac is no longer prescription but pepcid is. I guess different governments have different sets of tests and different pressures to de-list stuff.

    I’m wishing they’d put the tube in sooner but I guess they don’t do it until they really have to, we had appetite stimulants before the tube and the started to work then tailed off. I’m encouraged by the blood results, its the direction we need it to go in.

    Will I’m sorry Abbie’s tube has come loose too, obviously a common issue.

    We are so lucky that the vets (and hospital) is literally five minutes walk from us, makes it easy to back when needed.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  201. Glad you’re back Elizabeth and thank you for he update.

    Abbie did very well today and came home no worse for the wear having her tube secured. She was hungry and had 40mls right away, purred and took a nap. Whew, what a relief.

    We are lucking having the vets so close so that makes it easier. Hope Daisy is on the mend soon. I believe less is more in the beginning with food.

    Comment by Will Wallace | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  202. Will – Hope all is going well with Abbie.

    Daisy came home on Wednesday after lots of complications with the tube, she now has a finer tube inside the original one because the original one was leaking.So this makes feeding a bit slower.

    She is on zantac, an antibiotic some special vitamin food gel and a laxative. Feeding is a bit up and down. some go fine, some she drools, she has been sick twice and both times I think its lack of BM related. so far the laxative hasn’t fixed this. I’m just hoping it does very soon. She lost all the weight she had gained in the few days of feeding problems which isn’t good.

    Today’s feeding routine has not been brilliant so I think I’m going to speak to/go to the vets tomorrow.

    So we are kind of back were we were after the feeding tube first went in except with her not seeming to take the feeds so well.

    She actually seems quite lively even though feeding isn’t great.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Hello Linda, I was away for the weekend in New York, sorry for the delay.

      You have had a rough time of it lately. I was upset to hear about Daisy’s feeding tube issues. I absolutely understand how that feels. I hope she is feeling better and you’re getting some rest.

      Poor little kitty.

      Comment by Will Wallace | July 11, 2010 | Reply

  203. Abbie is doing very well on her feeding tube and has gained a lot of weight. Now my worries are, when will she eat again and when is it right to remove the tube. That, however, is a way off since her aversion to eating food is still very strong. She “yacks” every time she smells it. I tried chicken last night, she tasted it, then REALLY yacked and I had to calm her down by moving her to another room. Aside from that she is very normal; a love bug.

    I really hope Daisy is okay. Still worried about her.

    Comment by Will Wallace | July 14, 2010 | Reply

  204. Hi Will
    Thanks for your concern its been quite a week on the Daisy feeding front and also mad busy with work so sorry not to update you.
    We went back to the vets and they did an enema on Saturday and she stayed in overnight so they could monitor feeding. She came home Sunday and feeding went okay but then on Monday morning I found she and been sick during the night. We looked at the pattern and we thought maybe one of the drugs was making her be sick so we stopped all of them as none of them is 100% critical if that makes sense (zantac, antibiotic, laxative). So we’ve just been doing the normal feeds no drugs and so far all of those have stayed down. She came and smelt the cat food in the kitchen this morning and that seemed to make her nauseous as she brought up some bile but when we fed her 20 minutes later she was fine.
    We have a vets appointment to check on progress this evening and we’ll discuss the drugs then to see what they recommend. Because of the set backs over the last week my focus is simply on feeding her and it staying down and building strength/weight and then see what happens.
    Fingers crossed for some weight gain.
    Glad to hear Abbie is doing okay on her feeds and has put n weight. Hope you get some good advice on transitioning back to regular feeding we’ve still got that to come.
    Thanks again for your concern and support.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Yes, every time Abbie smells food, she yacks and almost vomits. Also, as I have mentioned before, she tends to vomit when she has not had a BM. That has been consistent. She is eating hardily now which is good.
      Thanks for the update on Daisy. I was worried. My mother reads this blog now and she was concerned about Daisy too. Hang in there.

      Comment by Will Wallace | July 15, 2010 | Reply

  205. Vets check up went okay. Daisy had put back on the weight she had lost from being sick so that is some progress. After discussing with the vet we have reintroduced the laxative (lactulose) and also the nutrition gel. One or other is causing a problem as she’s been sick after one feed and is drooling some of the time.
    So we are going carefully. I’m concerned about the BM as she hasn’t had one since the enema which is not great. She is mostly resting but when she does get up she is being a little odd and going in circles. We now have some of the Metoclopramide so I might start that since she has been sick.
    We are currently doing 4 x 20ml feeds as thats as much as she seems to be able to take. hoping to be able to increase it to five over several days.
    Good to hear Abbie is eating hope the sickness starts to diminish.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | July 16, 2010 | Reply

    • I am wondering if you should have another enema done? I know when Abbie was constipated she exhibited the same behavior and was not able to each much.

      Comment by Will Wallace | July 20, 2010 | Reply

  206. Long overdue update. Abbie’s tube cracked last weekend and we had to have it replaced. She was no worse for the wear but it was nerve racking. They inserted a narrower tube down the old tube which concerned me based on previous posts, however, it was actually fine. She seems to like it better. News of news is she has started eating on her own from time to time. It is sporadic but when she does she eats quite a bit. She still does not drink water. She has had no nausea for several weeks. Things are steady. She has started snoring.
    Hope all is well with Daisy.

    Comment by Will Wallace | August 2, 2010 | Reply

  207. Hi, Will–
    Great report on Abbie, especially the lack of nausea. That’s really important, about as important as her eating on her own — because they won’t eat if they feel nauseous. You’ve turned a corner with her, and this is cause for celebration and some self-congratulation, too. You’ve saved your cat’s life!
    I was a bit nervous when we made the transition from tube-feeding to letting Eddie eat on his own. IIRC, we reduced the number of feedings to match what he was eating. I’m assuming you’ve talked about that with your vet? Anyway, it sounds like things are going great.
    And I, too, hope Daisy is doing well.

    Comment by esheley | August 2, 2010 | Reply

  208. A long overdue post from me too. We didn’t need to do another enema as Daisy started to do BM okay on her own (with the lactulose). Feeding has been going fine although she didn’t add much weight she stayed static. Blood tests showed a good improvement that the vet is happy with although levels not back to normal and she seems to be happier in herself and sleeping a bit more normally and looking more comfortable.
    In the last few days we have had tube problems. We already had a thinner tube inside the original one due to a split only a week into feeding. It was working fine but the vet did a routine swap to a new thin inner tube and its keeps blocking after only a few feeds and has been swapped again and still causing problems. So when it got to needing to go to the vets for the third day in a row we decided to try her with normal food and hurrah she ate a fair amount. I have been and talked to the vets today and we are carrying on getting her to eat in small portions with some of the powdered food we were using for the tube mixed in. We will review each day to see how we are getting along. Right now we can’t get anything down the tube but am hoping she will eat enough to keep stable each day.
    She has stopped being sick about a week or so ago which is also good.
    Am closely monitoring how much she is eating and we will see how we fare.
    Still a long way to go but it does feel like we are getting somewhere.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | August 2, 2010 | Reply

    • That is good news! I am happy Daisy is feeling/doing better. The tube issues can be completely stressful. Does she scratch at her neck dressings? An ideas from your vet when it is okay to have the tube removed?

      Abbie has been eating normally, if not vigorously for a week. Now, it seems as if our main problem is the dressing and tube itself. Everyday she scratches it SO much it has wrapped around her neck. Twice she has done it so much the stitched have come out.

      The good news is Abbie and Daisy are eating! That is great.

      Comment by Will Wallace | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  209. Typos, previously, sorry. Anyway, I would love to have the tube removed in Abbie soon.

    Comment by Will Wallace | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  210. Hi Will

    Rather unplanned but Daisy’s tube was taken out last night but I have to check with here regular vet what happens next today.
    So since last update she has like Abbie been eating okay but not vigourously. They replaced the blocked tube but that didn’t last long as she started scratching at the bandage, shaking her head and so on and it can’t have been secured so well to the outer tube so it came out on Friday! As she was eating we carried on and I have been weighing here each day, she is staying static roughly.
    She has been fighting like mad with the bandage so we re did it Sunday and then again Monday then yesterday we noticed the tub seemed to be on the wrong side of her head so we took a look and it was hanging a long way out. went round to the vets and they said it was nearly out and would be annoying her throat so they removed it, and dressed it all.
    Will be speaking to the regular vet today and we have an appt tomorrow anyway to see what next.
    I don’t think they would have been intending to take it out yet as they still want to put weight on,
    Day by day she has been acting more like a normal cat including playing and grooming and now she even wants to go outside.
    We shall see.
    The bandage definitely seems to become a problem once they start to improve tho I’m not sure when the tube would have come out if she hadn’t managed to dislodge it so far.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | August 11, 2010 | Reply

  211. I hope Daisy is still doing well. Abbie continues to eat well but fusses with the bandage continually. I tired of having to replace it. I think on Tuesday when she goes to the vet I may have him remove it. She has been eat regularly for 10 days, no nausea. How are Daisy’s lab results?

    Comment by Will Wallace | August 12, 2010 | Reply

  212. We went to the vets last night and they are happy with Daisy’s progress. We are aiming for her to put on some weight but at the moment we are hoping that will happen fairly naturally so they decided against appetite stimulants for the time being. The wound is healing fine and she is so much happier with the tube out and bandage off, almost her normal self. The visible jaundice is gone and the blood a few weeks ago showed good improvement but still some way to go. they will repeat bloods on next check up which is a month away – a whole month it feels so exciting! We will of course be monitoring her closely but the improvement over a few weeks ago is huge.
    I know how maddening it is when they are pulling at the bandage all the time. I hope they decide it can go on your next visit.
    Hoping Abbie keeps up the progress on feeding.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | August 13, 2010 | Reply

  213. Will, it sounds like Abbie is ready for tube removal. It can be nerve-wracking for the owner because of fear that the feedings should continue, but Abbie sounds like she’ll do well without it. Good luck!

    And Linda, congrats on your progress with Daisy. You’ve done a great job with her!

    Comment by esheley | August 13, 2010 | Reply

  214. Interesting site. Our 14 year old female, Rocky, had been throwing up. She’d already had an ultrasound which showed thickening of the intestinal walls back in March, but she was doing well and they said to just see what happened. When she started throwing up worse, we did an endoscopy and biopsy the beginning/middle of August which came back inconclusive.

    On presnisolone, Flagyl, and Pepcid. She was doing ok but not great, but then collapsed one evening. Back to the hospital overnight where she got IV fluids. They never figured out what it was and said maybe a seizure. Released the next day, we took her to another vet. He put her on an injectable anti-nausea med. She started eating really well and was gaining weight – for about a week, when she started throwing up repeatedly every few hours. Poor thing cried as she threw up. We took her in and she evidently had a bowel obstruction of dried poop. They gave her THREE enemas to clear it. She was leaking and still throwing up when we tok her home. Back to the hospital for several days. She got an NG tube for liquid nutrition and stopped vomiting but still wasn’t eating. They sent her home with us to see if a change in the environment would help. It didn’t, and so the next morning, we took her back to have a feeding tube placed (the one that goes directly into her stomach from her abdomen).

    We thought we’d never go that far, but thanks to web sites like this, we realized it wasn’t as bad as we might have thought. We’re now done with day two of her feeding and it has gone pretty well – easy enough and no vomiting. But we haven’t really seen any improvement yet. She’s still so weak she can barely stand. She can’t get on the bed herself and basically when we put her there, she stays there all day until we put her in the box so she can pee. She hasn’t yet pooped and I fear she may be blocked again, though she’s gotten solid food (through the tube) only for 2 days now. We’ll talk to the vet tomorrow. BTW, a SECOND lab (from the second vet) looked at the biopsy samples and said that it is PROBABLY intestinal lymphoma. They’re doing a DNA test to find out for sure. In the meantime, she’s on chemo. Started the first treatment and will start her second of 6 weekly treatments on Tuesday (3 days from now). Then every other week.

    She used to be a proud, lively (still chasing balls and jumping up on the window sill) 8-1/2 pound cat. At her lowest when we brought her back from having the feeding tube placed, she was down to 5 pounds 9 ounces. She’s now up to around 5 pounds 14 ounces or so (a couple of feedings ago… haven’t weighed her in the last two). Still has a long way to go.

    I’m hopeful but concerned.

    Comment by Jeff | September 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Oh, almost forgot to mention… we had a roughly 12 year old female tabby named Tigger we’d rescued 8 years ago off the streets (so we were never sure how old she was) that was diagnosed in November 2009 with oral squamous cell carcinoma. We kept her comfortable and happy until she started to have diarrhea which meant the medications keeping her well were getting the better of her and we put her to sleep in February.

      And our beloved 11 year old male Chartreux named Felix was diagnosed with severe heart disease and heart failure back in November or December… they didn’t expect him to live over night but with meds, he did really well for a long time. In fact, on meds, he started jumping up on a shelf over 3′ high that he hadn’t been on in YEARS. He threw a blood clot (saddle thrombus) on May 3rd and we put him to sleep two days later on May 5th, 2010.

      We adopted a then 6-1/2 week old male kitten in June… born amazingly on May 5th, the exact day our Felix died. He was UNDER a pound… now he’s almost 5-1/2 pounds at only 4 months old today. Aptly named Cinco.

      And we still have Blanca, who is Rocky’s sister from the same litter.

      Now, though, we have to keep Rocky separated from Blanca and Cinco (mainly because Cinco wants to play all the time and playing to him means chasing her and jumping on her and she can’t even stand up).

      Comment by Jeff | September 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Hey Jeff. I am right there with you. Reading your entry is pretty much the same scenario Abbie has gone through. I expect it is small cell lymphoma (intestinal lymphoma, or SCL). Abbie went for two weeks throwing up. She also had the petrified pooh blockage, and the same initial stages you have had. Anyway…

      What I can tell you during the first 4 days of the feeding tube being inserted, your cat will be tired and weak. After all, it is surgery. Her tummy has shrunk so start out slowly on the food and then watch what works best for her. It is trial and error but you will begin to tell. When she does pooh, about 4 days after the enemas, move her quickly away from the box as I found they are very sensitive to smells (nausea) as the odor may induce vomiting. Also, avoid any strong cooking or odors in the house (imagine what it is like when you are nauseous). Most of all stay calm and she will as well. Also, you know your cat so as you go down this path, if something does not feel like the right approach, it probably isn’t for your girl.

      Abbie had a neck feeding tube. She pulled it out after 2 months and now she is eating on her own, not as much as I would like, but she is eating. So my point is, there is hope, however, SCL is cancer and chemo for animals is to prolong life, not to cure it. You have given her a chance to live longer and you are very brave for making this effort. So take it from me, it is a long way to go, but really the best advice I got during this and continue to try to remember is to simply take it day by day. Try not to think too far ahead, or too much in the past. A Zen statement but one that has worked for me.

      Comment by Will Wallace | September 5, 2010 | Reply

      • Day three on the feeding tube was supposed to be an entire 6 ounce can mixed 1:1 with water spread over 4 feedings. That’s about 88 ml per feeding. We did about 80 first thing in the morning, then about 70 the next and about the same the third. Within a couple of minutes, she threw up. She HAD started to show a LITTLE improvement in her energy, but she still couldn’t squat in her box more than maybe a minute before she’d have to lay down. After throwing up, though, she’s barely been able to move.

        The good news is she’s pooped a few times – soft, but firm enough to pick up with a kleenex or scooper. She’s also been peeing up a storm – about 3 times last night on our bed because she couldn’t get down.

        We gave her less food today (about 55-60 ml per feeding), and she hasn’t thrown up, though she was doing the “chewing her cud” thing partway through dinner and we stopped for awhile.

        One fill-in vet I had called last night finally got back to me this morning. She said that perhaps TOMORROW, we might want to try mixing one can of food with HALF a can of water and see if that works – less volume for the calories. Tougher to go through the syringe and tube, though. We’ve got a really good immersion blender, though.

        But she hid under the bed for several hours today and went under there again tonight. Not sure how I’m going to be able to give her the 4th feeding tonight at 1:00 AM (last was 7:45 PM or so).

        We’re frustrated and she just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. We’re starting to think that we really shouldn’t be putting her through much more of this.

        Comment by Jeff | September 7, 2010

  215. Hi Jeff,

    I still get these e-mails even though it’s been over a year since we tube-fed our beautiful black cat back to health. I just wanted to say, the first few days are so hard. It wasn’t til about the fifth day that our cat began to show any improvement at all, and several of the days before that, I thought she was dying. The volume we were supposed to feed was too much, so there was vomiting and too much pee and too much poop (which may have actually helped flush out our cat, who had hepatic lipidosis), but she had trouble crouching in the litter box and it just seemed like her system was taxed by all the liquid. MaxCal ( a high-calorie prescription canned food made by Iams) was our saviour, because it enabled us to feed less volume and still get a high number of calories into her.

    We had better luck with bigger syringes. (60 ccs versus 35s) Less clogging. And I’m not sure how the enteric tube works (our cat’s was esophageal), but our original system had a “Christmas tree” triangular piece on it–an in-between piece that was supposed to help the syringe deliver the goods through the tube easier, but we found with the bigger syringes, it was easier to take out the Christmas tree and just pump the slurry straight into the tube. Again, less clogging.

    Good luck! I’ll send good thoughts for Rocky and hope tomorrow’s a better day.

    Comment by anne | September 7, 2010 | Reply

  216. Hi Jeff
    Just read your posts. Like Anne I’d suggest you try and track down something with a really high calories density so you don’t have to feed as much volume each feed.
    We used Royal Canin Convalescent support which is a powder you mix with water. its really easy to feed but I’m not sure you can get it in USA. But definitely try to get something that means the volume you have to feed is less.
    And the first week or so is worse and really tough going with being sick and all sorts but then our cat settled and was even purring when we fed her (she had oesophagal tube). So I’d definitely say persist for longer because they suddenly seem to turn a corner and make a big improvement.
    Good luck thinking of you and Rocky. I know how hard it is.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | September 7, 2010 | Reply

  217. Jeff,

    Good advice from Anne and Linda. I used Royal Cannin Recovery and put more food less water. I was never able to get into my little cat the amount they wanted me to. Your girl is particularly small so going easy is a good idea. Right now, getting her strength back is more important than packing on weight. Moreover, we had an issue with food aversion. If you force to much food on her, they begin to associate food with bad feelings; so slow if better in my opinion.

    It is bad in the beginning, and Anne and Linda both know I questioned whether I was doing the right thing, but Abbie is sleeping next to me now so I feel it was right. Seriously, my heart goes out to you and the stress you are under but hang in there.

    Comment by Will Wallace | September 7, 2010 | Reply

  218. Also Abbie hid under the bed a lot. It is stressful trying to get them out. For a while I would limit the rooms she can go into. Also I put boxes and things under the bed in the center so she could go under the bed but not too far, not so far that I could not reach her.

    Comment by Will Wallace | September 7, 2010 | Reply

  219. Second attempt… I had finished posting and was about to hit “submit” when our 4 month old kitten ran across my keyboard and deleted it all (I’m not sure how he manages that but he does).

    First, thanks to all for the kind words and encouragement.

    Rocky had seemed to be a tiny bit better yesterday (Tuesday). She was more alert and more ornery when I’d try to do things like give her eye drops. But she still had trouble walking and standing. She pooped and then just didn’t have the energy to walk out of the box so she plopped herself down in it.

    I brought her to her 6:00 PM chemo treatment – second treatment, but the first bringing her there because the first was done while she was still in the hospital. They took some blood to make sure she was ok for the chemo and found that her red blood count was extremely low – 12%. Under about 20% and they won’t do chemo. Last week, it had been 31% – still very low, but far better.

    The oncologist was looking more and more frustrated as she poked and prodded. Later, I asked her if she was able to recover. She’s a very sick cat and we’ve got a far worse chance than if she had been otherwise healthy. She said that she’d normally not give up until after the first course of chemo (6 weeks) but in her case, she’d probably wait only a week to see if she’s getting better at all (and then continue if she were getting better and end it if she weren’t). Her “critical care” vet (two of the separate specialty businesses in the same facility) said that he’d understand if we decided to put her to sleep now, but said that he’d probably wait a bit if it were his own cat. They wanted to give her a transfusion. So that’s what we did and she was admitted last night. I had to make a second trip home and back there so I could get her meds for them to give her as well as the food she’s been “eating” (through the tube – Natural Balance Venison and Green Pea LID).

    We got a bit of good news later in the evening; evidently, someone had misread the machine and her blood count was actually 18%, not 12%. But that’s still too low to do chemo and dangerously low overall – and a reason for her to be so weak.

    This morning, she was at 30% which is still low but much better. However, she’s got a fever of 103 point something which they’re trying to treat.

    I’m afraid that she’s just SO sick that she’s not ABLE to get better. I really wish the first vet hadn’t just gone into a “wait and see” mode and had been more aggressive and decisive in treating her, rather than waiting for a couple of months to do an endoscopy (once she had already been throwing up a lot and was losing weight fast). Or that he hadn’t just taken the “don’t know” from the lab as acceptable and just waited to see what prednisolone did (because if it were cancer, the prednisolone would probably help for a short time – which is what it seemed to do).

    I’m hopeful, but realistic. There’s a good chance that she’s not going to recover and that we may have to put her to sleep later this week. We’ve had 13 great years with her, but it is never enough, and she was just SO full of life, even at her fairly old age (14), that it just doesn’t seem fair that she wouldn’t have at least a few more good years left in her.

    Her twin sister (they don’t look alike, though) has been really depressed and has nearly stopped eating herself. We’re afraid that SHE may get sick. She’s just not a relaxed cat, so if she were to get sick, there’s not a lot we could do (feeding tube, etc.) because she just wouldn’t tolerate it. We’d end up losing a FOURTH cat in less than a year.

    Comment by Jeff | September 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Hey Jeff. I am really sorry you are going through this stress and anguish. You have made the best decisions you could based upon the information you received. It is good to be hopeful, our cats are much stronger than we realize. She may choose to go but you have done all you can. Keep us posted, hoping she does better over the next few days.

      Comment by Will Wallace | September 8, 2010 | Reply

      • Thanks. Picked her up this afternoon. They had given her 1U of blood last night and did her chemo (Elspar this time) this morning. Her hemocrit went up to 31% so that’s the low end of normal. She seemed a little more alert and inquisitive, but still can’t really walk well and has about zero energy. We fed her (tube) when she got home and she’s due for another tonight. We’ll see.

        Truly sad is that her twin sister, Blanca, hasn’t really eaten in days. She’s obviously seriously upset. She’ll eat a few bites here and there but that’s about it. So we tried syringe feeding her a little tonight. Only about 15 ml, but that’s better than nothing and hopefully, she’ll either start getting used to it and/or start eating better. It would REALLY be horrible if Blanca ended up getting sick merely because she’s depressed and upset at the changes in the house.

        Comment by Jeff | September 8, 2010

  220. Hi Jeff,

    I’ve been following your posts about Rocky and now Bianca. Our cat, Betsy, who we tube-fed for hepatic lipidosis a couple years ago, had an episode of crushing anemia a few months after the tube came out, after she had been (seemingly) healthy for several months. I thought we were going to have to put her to sleep, but she responded to antibiotics and prednisolone and made a full recovery. She also is a much younger cat than Rocky (now 6 or 7) and did not seem to have any other diagnosable issues. She tested negative for that bacteria that causes anemia (I forget what it’s called, but your vet would know), but they treated her as though she had it anyway because the test can be guessy, and she responded. I’m not suggesting that’s all that might be going on with Rocky, but if her sister is now going off food, might it be worth having her checked out for something infectious? Or, the other possibility with Betsy was that it was a hereditary autoimmune disorder. If you’ve got a twin sister who’s presenting with anorexia at the same time . . . maybe there’s more going on than stress?

    During the time that Betsy had the anemia, she was very weak and wouldn’t eat, and I wasn’t about to let her develop hepatic lipidosis again (which they can get when they don’t eat), so I force fed her. Cracked open a can of MaxCal, stuck my finger in a sandwich bag and scooped that stuff right against the roof of her mouth so she was forced to swallow it. I did this for two days, a quarter of a can at a time, until she started eating on her own. She didn’t much like it, but she didn’t fight me so hard that it seemed cruel. I just remember the vet telling me that cats HAVE to eat or they start using their fat as fuel, and that clogs their livers. And it doesn’t matter what they eat–they just have to have the calories.

    Hoping things start to improve at your house soon. You’ve had way too many losses, that’s for sure.

    Comment by anne | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  221. Hi, Jeff–

    Sorry I couldn’t weigh in sooner. You’ve gotten some great advice from people who’ve dealt with this more recently than me, and there’s very little I can add, though I do have a few thoughts.

    I want to address Blanca first. When I adopted my new cats in late July, they wouldn’t eat at first. This made me extremely nervous after what I’d been through with Eddie, but the adoption counselor for the rescue group I adopted the cat from had a great idea that worked: stinky fishy food. The smelliest food I could find was Mack & Jack — a combination of mackerel and skipjack tuna — and that got them off their boycott. You may have to go to a specialty store to find it (not the supermarket or Petco/Petsmart). It’s irresistable. Brands I can think of off the top of my head are Weruva, BFF, and Tiki. Also, I think you’re smart to try to force some food into her. Consider putting out flavored water from canned fish (make sure it doesn’t have onion or garlic in it). The last thing Eddie would consume was the water from cans of minced clams, for example. Usually once they start eating something, they’ll keep eating enough to not go into actual anorexia. Also, Blanca is sad and upset, so she needs some extra attention even though you’re giving Rocky a lot of time. Interactive play usually helps, and talking to her. However, also keep in mind that she is eating some on her own and not outright refusing to eat. You have a situation with her, not a crisis.

    As for Rocky, the first few days of tube-feeding are the hardest. If it doesn’t work, you at least know you’ve tried everything and you can take some comfort in that. Eddie lived another 2 years after his tube came out, which made one aspect of his death easier to deal with, in that when he did finally go, I felt like there was nothing I’d change in how I’d handled him medically. However, our cats are tougher than we realize. Rocky is already improving and may surprise everyone by bouncing back.

    I do think you’ve got some issues with the amount of food you’re supposed to give him at any one feeding. Frequent small meals seem to work better than forcing in all that food all at once. And it’s almost impossible to feed them too slowly. Tube-feeding a cat takes a lot of time out of your day, and I think that’s one thing we owners are reluctant to admit because we want to put our cats first. But this is taking away a lot of your personal time. Yet another 5-10 minutes per feeding isn’t going to change the big picture of how this affects your day, while it could make a huge difference in how much food Rocky can keep in his system.

    You’re doing everything right, we just have to hope Rocky’s body cooperates. Good luck, and please keep reporting back.

    Comment by esheley | September 9, 2010 | Reply

  222. Rocky seems to be doing a very slight bit better; when I went to feed her in the afternoon Thursday, I found her sprawled out on our quite tall bed! Which, of course, means that she had enough energy to jump up there. Her feeding tube had pulled out from under her “sweater” and was hanging, but she was fine.

    Unfortunately, though, she hasn’t had much energy since. She’s more alert than she’d been at her worst, but she still doesn’t move much. And she peed and pooped in the bed last night, even though we’ve been periodically putting her in front of her box (and she turns around as if to say, “Uh, I don’t have to go…” right before walking away.

    She also was hiding under the bed and in the closet for awhile.

    Mary (long-time fiancee) fed her this morning and probably did it too fast (her own assessment) because she threw up. After she did that (a “bout” rather than just a single barf), though, she seemed ok and stopped. We decided to give her some sub-Q fluids… the oncologist actually said on Tuesday that she looked a bit dehydrated.

    Blanca seems to be holding her own in terms of what she looks like, but she’s still obviously depressed and upset. I curled up with her on the sofa late last night, we cuddled, and then I fell asleep with her for a couple of hours. She’s been a bit better about getting force-fed, too… complaining, but she looks like she’s almost expecting the next bit (we’ve tried both a syringe with Rocky’s 2:1 food/water mixture and just putting a few chunks of plain canned food in her mount with our fingers). We normally give her Wellness without any seafood plus a little CD dry (she is prone to struvites), but lately, we’ve been doing Wellness with salmon and Newman’s Own with seafood. She’s been smelling the plate like she wants food but then showing no interest, as if just to piss us off.

    Hanging in there… barely… (me, that is)

    Part of it is feeling guilty… Rocky needs a lot of our time, both in terms of direct care and just trying to BE with her. But that makes us feel guilty about leaving Blanca. And when we spend time with Blanca, I feel a little guilty that Rocky may need me more. And when either of us are with the kitten, I feel guilty that we’re not with the girls.

    Comment by Jeff | September 10, 2010 | Reply

    • Hey Jeff, how are the kitties?

      I am a little surprised your vet has not recommended a high calorie food for you to feed her instead of traditional food. Cannin Recovery and IAMs are both high calorie and blended very fine for syringe feeding.

      My cat too showed interest by smelling food but would not eat. This is the food aversion behavior I was referencing earlier. They sense they want to eat, but they may associate it with feeling bad. I found with my other cat, that when I fed the healthy cat, Abbie our sick cat was motivated to eat simply because Daphne was also eating.

      Try spending time with them as “pride” if possible, all together. Instead of individually. Easier said than done, I know but the tend to feel better as a group. Is she still hiding under the bed?

      Comment by Will Wallace | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  223. Things seem to be looking up – getting better very slowly.

    Rocky has still been VERY weak and barely able to walk. I joked today that she looks like a drunk with cerebral palsy (and no offense to anyone who has it). She reminds me a little of Stephen Hawking… it seems like the Rocky I know is in there somewhere but her body is preventing her from coming out.

    But she’s tried, anyway. The other day, she looked like she wanted to jump onto our big dresser (and the day before, she HAD jumped onto our smaller dresser, which is just as high). So we put her on there and she stood up like she wanted to climb into the window sill (we had opened the windows). So we put her in there and she sprawled out, happy as a clam.

    She’s gotten off the bed herself a few times.

    Both yesterday and today, she’s wanted to go out to the “front” of the house (we live in a 2+2 condo with the kitchen, dining room, and living room in the “front” and a door to the hallway, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms). So we let her and she walked into the kitchen and plopped herself right down in front of where her plate goes. We offered her some food and she sniffed but didn’t want any. And yesterday, she opened one of the kitchen cabinet doors and climbed in to snooze (which she’s done for YEARS).

    Today, she curled up in the sun and then I later found her sprawled out on the dining room table in the sun once the sun had moved and she could no longer sprawl out in it on the floor.

    Unfortunately, that meant locking the bratty kitten in the back where he often wreaks havoc in my office (one of the bedrooms). Yeah, we love the little boy, but he’s a brat (he’s 4 months old and nearly 6 pounds).

    Surprisingly, Blanca has started eating again. She’s never been a good eater, and seems to prefer dry no matter WHAT we do. She tends to eat a little, walk away, come back 15 minutes later, eats a little more, etc. Been a pain since the kitten can now get onto the kitchen counter where Blanca eats (Rocky and Cinco, the kitten, ate on the floor… we used to have Felix, our big boy, eat on the floor and Blanca on the counter so HE couldn’t bother her).

    But at least we no longer have to try to force feed Blanca.

    Rocky goes in for her third chemo treatment tomorrow. We also finally got the results back from the lab. Definitely T-cell lymphoma, which is what we expected.

    Due to the idea of it possibly being partly food allergy related and/or foods at least contributing to her intestinal irritation, the vet had put her on a limited ingredient diet. She’s actually getting 183 Cals per can and she’s getting a little less than a full can a day. He wanted her to have 160 Cals per day and depending on exactly how much we give her (making sure not to let her get nauseous), she tends to have anywhere from around 150-170 a day.

    Comment by Jeff | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  224. I am really pleased Blanca is eating. Wow, that is a relief! I am glad Rocky seems to be exhibiting some normal behavior too (opening the cabinets, lying in the sun etc). Abbie also has T cell lymphoma like Rocky and her recovery was very, very slow. You’re doing the right thing.

    Comment by Will Wallace | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  225. Another update…

    Rocky isn’t doing too well. She went in for her third chemo treatment on Tuesday (two days ago) and the CBC showed she’s VERY anemic again. The week before, her red blood count was around 13-18% (depending on which measurement method they used) and they admitted her to the hospital where she got a blood transfusion of 1U of blood. She got her chemo the next day and was released with a red count of 31%. Tuesday, it was down to 11-13%. They gave her the Elspar chemo again since the others can cause destruction of bone marrow.

    She HAD been doing a bit better… walking around a bit more, being fussier. holding her head up and being more interested in what’s going on around her, and had even jumped up on the bed and dressers a few times. Now, she does jump off the bed to go to the bathroom, but can’t make it back and usually lays near whichever box she’s gone to. And when she’s not going to the bathroom, she’s just laying there, head down, usually eyes open, staring into space and moping. I wouldn’t feel so bad if she were just sleeping quietly, but she just looks so MISERABLE.

    The good news is that her weight is up – we weighed her this morning and she’s 6 pounds 10 ounces. A significant improvement from the 5 pounds 13-15 ounces she’d been hovering around last week, and an improvement even since Tuesday when she was 6 pounds 6 ounces.

    So she’s getting nutrition, and when she walks, she seems to be walking better and is getting stronger, but the anemia is killing her – both literally and figuratively. Another hospital stay for another transfusion is going to be around $1,500 and we’re fast running out of credit card balance (and not sure how to pay it off, either). I wouldn’t mind so much if it actually helped, but since the blood they infused seems to have disappeared, there’s obviously something going on. We don’t SEE any blood (fresh or black) in her stool or elsewhere. The oncologist put her on yet another med Tuesday – Carafate (similar in function to Pepto-Bismol, it would seem) – thinking that she might be losing a little bit through her intestines.

    Her oncologist is on vacation until next Tuesday. Her internist/critical care doctor works Sunday through Wednesday, so he’s not in for another 3 days. So the two we most trust aren’t around. A “fill-in” oncologist this morning said to bring her in ($$$) to check her blood count. It was low two days ago. I don’t expect any different today. How we TREAT it is the question, not whether she’s anemic. We KNOW she is.

    Wit’s end here… one step forward, two steps back, emptying wallet, and she’s miserable the whole time.

    Comment by Jeff | September 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Oh, and we took Blanca to the vet yesterday to see about putting her on Prozac (she’s been OCD her whole life, pees on the sofa, and had been not eating for several days, started eating again for a few days, and now is sort of picking at her food a bit and not eating too well).

      They took blood and urine to make sure there’s nothing wrong with her, but they also found she’d lost a POUND since last year. There’s just no WAY we could go through this with her, too.

      We’re hoping it is just her being, well, nuts (she’s lovable, but we know she’s always been a little coocoo) and that once on Prozac, she’ll mellow out and start eating more regularly (as well as not peeing on our sofa daily).

      Comment by Jeff | September 16, 2010 | Reply

  226. How frustrating! And with both cats, too.

    I really don’t know what to say about Rocky. With Blanca it’s obvious that you need the Prozac to work, and that might solve a number of problems. For my two new cats, I went to and got some calming drops that I put in their water, and it really seemed to help. You might check into it.

    But Rocky, oh, that’s a tough one. I ran my credit card up to the limit on Eddie, but he had a prognosis and his treatment was working. When he got sick again this spring and we had no idea what to do, I couldn’t bear it, and that’s when I finally let him go. But then again, Rocky has gained weight. So you’re in a tough spot. I really hope he improves soon, because this is clearly hard on him, you, and Blanca.

    Comment by esheley | September 16, 2010 | Reply

  227. Hey Jeff. You are in a tough situation with Rocky. Abbie has the same disease as you know. She takes Leukeran (1 pill every 3 days) and Prednisone (we use a topical prednisone treatment in the ear twice a day). For Blanca you may want to ask about Prozac as trans-dermally. It is so much easier than trying to give them a pill.

    I certainly understand your stress around Rocky. I wonder what would happen if you simply put weight on her for a while yet postponed an aggressive cancer treatment at this phase doing Prednisone only.

    Comment by Will Wallace | September 16, 2010 | Reply

  228. I had a vet tell me once, that when they are miserable and you are miserable, it is time to stop doing what is making them miserable. It is certainly difficult and a fine line to tell when that is. I almost reached that point with Abbie until she pulled her feeding tube out herself. She was no longer vomiting so did not put the tube back in. That was over a month ago and she is still with us. Granted she is a skinny cat but for however long I have her she is happier. Perhaps the tube alone is enough for now with Rocky. I know I shouldn’t make suggestions, but that would be my thought.

    Comment by Will Wallace | September 16, 2010 | Reply

  229. Got the lab results back for Blanca. Vet left a message right before leaving so we’ll have to call Friday to get the results. Vet said that overall, her blood work was fine but that there were some things she wanted to talk to us about (doesn’t sound good). But she’s good enough to be put on Prozac, so we’re having it compounded.

    Rocky was about the same red blood count today – 11-13%. But they found some fluid in her abdomen and around her lungs. Not blood, fortunately. An ultrasound also showed some thickening of her heart muscles. Could very well be due to the anemia, which is either from internal bleeding (unlikely), slow internal bleeding into her intestines (possible due to the cancer), a particular parasite that can lie dormant since she was a kitten, or her own body attacking the blood (also a good possibility). They’re giving her multiple treatments awaiting the lab results.

    If from the anemia, then once they give her another transfusion tonight (yeah, she’s back in the hospital – $$$), her heart will get better. They’ll check with an echo tomorrow morning. If it is her heart that’s just giving out, then that’s bad.

    If from the anemia, then they can keep her going long enough to find the exact problem and eliminate it and she should be well on the road to recovery (she HAS been gaining weight, even after they removed about 2 ounces of fluid from around her lungs). And then her prognosis – while still an uphill battle and guarded – is that there’s a reasonable chance she could live a good life for quite awhile. If a real heart problem, then it is time to call it quits and stop her misery.

    She doesn’t seem to be in any pain or anything like that; “miserable” is just really weak. Part of it is that she simply LOOKS bad because she’s lost a bunch of fur around her neck, it is thinning in a few other places, and she’s shaved on her belly, around her butt (which is also seemingly losing fur), and around several of her legs (so she looks like a frenched lamb chop). Plus, of course, that Borg-like tube coming out of her side.

    I hate that she’s miserable in any way at ALL, and I’d NEVER want to keep her going just to give more time with her if she’s going to be miserable. But I do think it is reasonable for her to be miserable (though not in serious pain or anything like that) for a short while if she’s got a lot of good time ahead. There’s the promise of that, but we just don’t know. We don’t want to put her to sleep and then wonder if she could have gotten better, but we also don’t want to go too far and have her be miserable for no reason.

    Comment by Jeff | September 16, 2010 | Reply

  230. Hi Jeff,

    I hope you get some good solid answers this morning from the vet and that the news gives you reason to have some level of hope and confidence. It’s so hard to weigh misery against exhaustion against hope against money. I remember sitting down with my vet with the long list of procedures they wanted to do to Betsy and asking the hard questions about hope versus cost versus suffering. They didn’t really have a lot of solid answers for me, but I gathered a lot of information in the process of determining what I could get comfortable with. Tube feeding seemed so barbaric, my cat was nauseated (which to me equals misery), the cost was astronomically high. But enough hope was there because of her (relatively young) age and her condition going into tube-placement surgery. And I was at a large veterinary hospital where they saw lots of cases of hepatic lipidosis and could give me some idea of what they’d seen in other cats that had come in in similar condition to Betsy. I felt a little cold, approaching it almost scientifically. “On a scale of one to 10, how severe is Betsy’s condition?” That sort of thing. A few months later, when Betsy had survived HL but then was struck by crushing anemia like Rocky, I listened to the vet tell me all the dismal numbers and I said out loud, “Oh, my God. I just don’t think we can go through this again. We may have reached the end with this cat.” I was ready to have her put to sleep because I felt like there was no hope, that she’d suffered enough. And the vet said, “But for having such horrible numbers, she looks really good. You have to consider the animal, not the lab work.” So I opted for the most conservative, least costly treatment (steroids and antibiotics to treat hemobart or an autoimmune condition), declined any further testing or transfusion, and took my cat home to either recover or die. She recovered and we’ll never know why.

    Comment by anne | September 17, 2010 | Reply

  231. Tonight, Saturday, September 18th, at 8:42 PM Pacific, Rocky lost her battle. We had to put her to sleep.

    She’d had fluid in her abdomen (and it was actually nearly leaking out her feeding tube stoma – it would soak a gauze square in 15 minutes). She’d had fluid around her lungs, presumably from the anemia. She’d been getting anemic fast (a week after a transfusion). After her second transfusion, she still was getting up only to move across the bed or to go to the box in the bathroom to poop (she was always caring enough to want to make a stinky poop someplace we weren’t all sleeping). Otherwise, no energy and she always looked upset and out of it. She hadn’t said a word in weeks and she’d ALWAYS been a VERY vocal cat. And she pretty much wasn’t purring at all and really didn’t want to be cuddled.

    They tested and there were no cancer cells in the fluid, which was good. The echo showed only minor heart abnormalities – and nothing that would have caused the fluid (pleural effusion) around her lungs and nothing that they thought would have been bad enough to even consider treating at all.

    No visible red or black blood in her milk chocolate colored stools, which were large and about the consistency of toothpaste. Not quite diarrhea, but loose enough to get on her fur under her tail and me have to clean her. Might I add, fur that was coming out in tufts. Along with the bald spots on the sites of her neck, and the shaved legs from the IVs that she’d had.

    No crypto, no toxo, no blood-borne parasite that causes anemia. Not likely bleeding into her intestines. Basically, they thought her immune system was destroying her own blood but they didn’t know why – and on a 1 mg dose of prednisolone, they couldn’t up that (and that much should have kept her immune system at bay).

    Still no appetite at ALL, still had to be very careful how much to feed her or else she’d start getting nauseous (she actually threw up this afternoon because we probably fed her a little too much and/or it had some bubbles in it.

    She was getting FAR too many meds… Flagyl, Pepcid, Clavamox all twice a day (Clavamox replaced with doxycycline the last day or so). Anzemet injection once or twice a day as needed for nausea. Prednisilone once a day. Cobalamin (B12) injection once a week. Hi-Vite (vitamins) twice a day. Carafate three times a day on an empty stomach (one hour before or two hours after a meal). Denamarin once a day on an empty stomach. Two other supplements twice a day. Plus, of course, the venison and green pea mixed 1-1/4 can to 1/2 can water, which is tough to push through the syringe.

    Basically, she was very sick, no energy, feeling miserable, unhappy, and the cancer didn’t seem to be getting better on her third chemo treatment, she was getting other symptoms, and no one knew what was causing them or how to treat them because nothing seemed to work.

    So we made the decision to put her out of her misery tonight after something like 2-3 weeks on a feeding tube.

    My whole face hurts now from crying. 13 years with her just wasn’t enough time.

    Blanca’s blood work showed one thing that was elevated that COULD indicate kidney problems, but another kidney indicator was normal. Could also mean dehydration, and she hadn’t been drinking enough so that was probably it. Her urine sample was normal so they don’t actually suspect kidney problems.

    So they wrote the prescription for Prozac which we picked up today from the compounding pharmacy. Triple fish flavor or something like that. Squirted it into the back of her mouth. She started chomping and licking and started drooling like a rabid dog. Ran around the house, dripping saliva (mixed with the sticky medicine) all over. Not quite sure how we’re going to get her the meds.

    Good news is she’s been eating pretty well – at least as well as SHE ever does. She keeps coming back and wanting more, eats a little, and walks away. But she’s been eating most of a quarter can plus a BUNCH of dry every meal so she’s probably been eating somewhere between 3/4th of a can and a full can (equivalent) daily (some dry, some canned). We hate to give her dry (Hills C/D), but she turns her nose at the canned most of the time.

    Our little boy eats a patty (up to a patty and a half) of Stella and Chewy’s raw chicken dinner for breakfast and dinner. Plus maybe a quarter small can of Wellness kitten food if he complains. And the anywhere from another quarter to a half at least once or twice more during the day and/or evening. Blanca and Rocky both USED to eat raw (the “BARF” diet) when they were much younger but then we stopped and went to good quality canned. Blanca now won’t touch the raw.

    Comment by Jeff | September 19, 2010 | Reply

  232. Jeff, I’m so sorry. I thought you might be at this point with Rocky because it sounded so much like what I went through at the end with Eddie a few months ago. But I didn’t want to say it outright.

    Here’s the thing I hope you’ll consider: by tube-feeding, you did everything you could have done. It’s cold comfort right now because you’re missing Rocky, but when you think about the end with him, you won’t be wondering if there was anything else you could have done. You tube fed. It took a lot out of you, and it was very frustrating, but you did it. You also paid for a lot of expensive vet visits, treatments, and testing, and you were persistent and logical in the way you handled that. I really admire the way you went about dealing with the situation. You did the most you could to bring Rocky back from the edge. Unfortunately, Rocky was too sick, and that wasn’t anything anyone could change.

    I want to shift over to Blanca. Eddie lived with Priscilla, a cat who was 6 years older than him. When Priss was 13, she was diagnosed with borderline chronic renal failure. It sounds like her kidney numbers were slightly worse than Blanca’s. There is a website called KatKarma (you can Google it) that ranks cat foods by phosphorus content, and that’s where I went to find better food for Priscilla. We ended up on a combination of Wellness canned and Royal Canin Senior #28. After six weeks on that diet, her kidney numbers went into the normal range and stayed there for another 6 1/2 years, until right before she died at almost 20. That’s anecdotal information, but I thought I’d share it.

    Again, I’m really very sorry about Rocky.

    Comment by esheley | September 19, 2010 | Reply

  233. Jeff, I am so sorry. You did all that you could with great sacrifice. This is very upsetting to hear. Our thoughts are truly with you and your family. I will pray Blanca holds up and recovers.

    Comment by Will | September 19, 2010 | Reply

  234. Hi Jeff, I’m so sorry to hear about Rocky. Not surprised, given all you had been going through, but sad that you’ve lost another friend. Like Elizabeth said, you can take comfort in knowing you did everything you could. Rocky just had too many things working against her and it was time for her to go. I kept hoping she’d have some sort of response to the anemia treatment, so she’d have a chance for that chemo to work.

    These are truly the saddest days, when the limitations of love and modern veterinary medicine become so painfully obvious. Rocky was lucky to have you.

    I hope Blanca continues to eat and is calmed by the Prozac. Sounds like the youngster is thriving.

    Take care of yourself. Again, I’m so sorry to hear about Rocky.

    Comment by anne | September 19, 2010 | Reply

  235. Jeff
    I’m so sorry to hear you lost Rocky.
    You did all the right things and your very best for her.
    Sometimes though there is simply too much else going on with the illness that even all those things aren’t enough and so saying goodbye becomes the kindest thing.
    We had to say goodbye to Daisy the day after my last post. Even though the fatty liver had been fixed there was too much else going on that simply couldn’t be treated and came back very quickly.
    I hope that Bianca starts to steadily improve it sounds like she is already. We use Hills dry food here and both our cats have always loved it so maybe you shouldn’t worry about giving Bianca that, its good balanced food and the main thing is that she eats well and settles and improves.
    My thought are with you over the loss of Rocky.

    Comment by Linda/goodshoeday | September 20, 2010 | Reply

  236. Update:

    I figured I give you all an update on our situation since Rocky died from complications of intestinal cancer on September 18th this year.

    Our little kitten, Cinco, who we got at the age of 6-1/2 weeks back in June, born on May 5th, which was the day that our boy Felix died from saddle thrombus, is 6 months old today. And big – he’s already 8 pounds, 2 ounces.

    Blanca has been on Prozac for a month or so. She still pees on the sofa regularly, but she hasn’t really been peeing on the bed, which is a good thing. She HAS had some major household disturbances, recently, mainly a new addition I’ll get to.

    She hadn’t been eating too well for a few days (after the new addition) and had lost a few ounces. The vet prescribed an appetite stimulant and boy, did THAT do the trick. She ate more that day than I think I’ve EVER seen her eat – and the good canned food she never seems to want to eat (she usually prefers the crappy Science Diet C/D prescription dry). Now, two days later, she’s still eating better than normal and was up to 6 pounds, 10 ounces yesterday and then down to about 6 pounds 7 ounces tonight – which is still up from her low of 6 pounds, 4 ounces a few days ago. I figured 6 pounds 10 ounces was artificially high, anyway – probably, she just hadn’t pooped much in a couple of days. I’d like to see it creep up, but she’s been hovering around 1 pound 6 ounces or so since the Prozac which is better than losing. And with the appetite stimulant, she may slowly start to gain again.

    The new addition: A week and a half ago, our next door neighbor rang our bell at 9:15 PM. She’s a real estate agent and while at one of her properties, she found a crying kitten under a car in the street (makes me cry just thinking about it). None of the neighbors there knew anything about a momma cat or a kitten, so she took her back home. Rnag our doorbell knowing that we have cats and because we apparently have “Sucker” written on our foreheads. 🙂

    She’s this beautiful little orange tabby with a white belly and white socks and boots front and rear. She was a little larger than Cinco was when we got him at 1 pound, 6 ounces compared to his 15 ounces.

    The trip to the vet that night showed that she was overall healthy, but had a bunch of fleas (yeah, we figured that out in about 2 minutes) and worms. They gave her a dewormer, gave her a REGULAR bath (and she looked SO different without all the dirt), and sent her home. The plain water bath must have killed off a lot of the fleas because flea combing has turned up only a couple of fleas since then and none recently.

    She’s a handful. Typical fiesty redhead. She and Cinco really hit it off. When they’re together, they’re play fighting and jumping on each other, chasing each other around, and nipping at each other. He likes to lick her butt. She’s actually probably more ruthless than him and hurls herself at his head from across the room. We actually keep her in the bigger bathroom most of the time… when she’s a bit bigger and can better defend herself, we may let them out together more and more until we’re sure they won’t accidentally do real damage to each other.

    Blanca isn’t happy she’s here. “Why the heck did you bring this KITTEN into the house? This is MY house! I don’t need no stinking KITTEN here!”

    But fortunately, the Prozac seems to help and she doesn’t really seem to care much unless the kitten is nearby – especially if she’s on our bed when Blanca is.

    The new kitten, by the way, is named Punkin (originally Pumpkin, but I wrote it on the fridge whiteboard the other way once and my fiancee liked that much better and insists we call her Punkin).

    Oh, and the really weird thing… when Rocky died, we joked about how weird it would be if 6 weeks from then, we adopted a 6 week old kitten. Well, 5-1/2 weeks after Rocky died, Punkin quite literally showed up on our door. Her age? According to the vet, somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks. The really weird thing is that some of the unusual things Rocky would do (“chewing her cud” against your finger or hand, for instance) Punkin has done. And Cinco is the ONLY cat besides Felix that I’ve EVER heard that has intentionally eaten a piece of tomato (and come back looking for more). Really makes you wonder.

    Felix and Rocky were always best friends (we called them “Frick and Frack” after the famous clowns) and after Felix died and Cinco came to us, right off the bat (literally walking into the house) he started jumping on Rocky and playing with her. Very soon, they became best friends and used to curl up together… until she got sick and we had to keep them separated. Now, Cinco and Punkin were immediately best friends from the first time they were together and started jumping on each other and playing with each other (at first, we thought they might be fighting but then realized that he’s not biting her very hard and his claws aren’t out).

    Comment by Jeff | November 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Oops… Make that Blanca has been “hovering around SIX pounds 6 ounces” – not ONE pound 6 ounces…

      Comment by Jeff | November 6, 2010 | Reply

    • There is a theory that animals have a collect spirit, that they are all of one collective soul. I am not sure how true that really is but I will say if have definitely seen it in my cats. Regardless, you are very fortunately to have found your new kitten. There is no better tribute to Rocky than rescuing another little soul. Good for you Jeff.

      Comment by Will Wallace | November 15, 2010 | Reply

  237. Jeff, that’s wonderful. It’s amazing how the right cats always find the right people, and that’s clearly what happened with Punkin. Congrats! (And good luck with Blanca, the Prozac, and the sofa.)

    I still miss Eddie, but the new cats have captured my heart. I suspect Eddie will always be my once-in-a-lifetime cat — a vet recently told me that she loved her favorite cat as much as she loved her child, and I think Eddie was like that for me. But new cats are a great distraction!

    Anyway, I’m glad things are working out for you, Jeff.

    Comment by esheley | November 7, 2010 | Reply

  238. hi ive been reading the comments on this page for days now!
    my kitty fluffy had surgery for an inner ear infection, he came home and would not eat after it. so i brought him back to the er, he then had a sedated oral exam they saw some small inflammation, so they went ahead and placed the e-tube.
    ever since hes been home alls he does is sleep sleep sleep
    and i really dont think he enjoys his feedings at all
    i make sure its warm for him and i go very slow, every time i feed him he just lays there and sleeps afterwards, and he also hates the bandage around his neck. did you have these problems? does it go away? will he get used to it? i feel so bad i dont want to hurt the little guy:(

    Comment by jen | November 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Jen, sorry I couldn’t respond sooner.
      How is Fluffy doing?

      Sometimes cats do sleep a lot after they’ve had a feeding tube inserted, but you might want to call the vet and ask. It’s really important to keep in contact with the vet while tube-feeding. I called and asked every question that popped into my head.

      Eddie hated the bandage around his neck and clawed at it a lot. I had to get it replaced every 5 or 6 days, but that got us going in to the vet regularly, and at that point she wasn’t charging us for visits, so it was sort of okay. I was always afraid he’d yank out his tube, but he never did.

      It takes most cats several days to get used to the feedings. They’re odd to the cats, I think, and cats don’t like change. But they do like full stomachs, and that helps.

      I hope Fluffy improves. Please keep us posted!

      Comment by esheley | November 15, 2010 | Reply

      • Sorry I have been absent from the site. I recently relocated to so I have been occupied.

        Abbie slept for 3 days straight after her tube placement so I agree that is not unusual at all. Around the 4th day she came out and finally wanted attention. I also agree that they well absolutely get used to the feedings and Abbie began to enjoy them. It was feeding and attention all rolled together. I will say the always hate the bandage. It was my main source of stress. Abbie was continually scratching at it. Learn to change (you will become the expert) even more than the vet when it comes to your cat. One thing I was told from this site which absolutely proved to be true is you likely “know” what is ultimately best for Fluffy. You know her better than anyone.

        Fluffy will improve. Go slow, slow on the feedings. Eventually, you will be able to increase the speed when she becomes accustom to it.

        Warm regards,


        Comment by Will Wallace | November 15, 2010

  239. Sorry for the typos, trying to reply from my blackberry. I meant learn to change the bandage. It is pretty easy after a while. Not too tight!

    Comment by Will Wallace | November 15, 2010 | Reply

  240. As an update Abbie is doing very well. Although her feeding tube is out and she eats eagerly, she still won’t drink water so I mix water in her food and she gets her fluids that way. I know she has intestinal cancer (like Rocky) but it is slow growing. She is very happy and a little love bug.

    Comment by Will Wallace | November 15, 2010 | Reply

  241. Sorry I havent gotten back sooner. I swear the vet knows my voice now when i call! I have been dealing with Tufts in Grafton. So on Tuesday I brought Fluffy back in for a checkup. The doctor was very concerned that he doesnt seem to like his feedings and also that he wasnt eating on his own yet. So she did more blood work to see if there was any signs of infection and also to check his liver. His first surgery on Nov.4 was called Tympanic Bulla Osteotomy in both of his ears. It was a very evasive surgery near all of the nerves. So when I brought him back two days later for not eating they thought maybe it was neurogical(thank goodness its not!) He can swallow because they syringed fed him and he could swallow. So they put the tube in, He has had it in for 10 days now. I brought him back in on Tuesday for a E-tube checkup, they did more blood work to check for signs of infection, and also his liver. All tests were good, the doctor thinks that maybe he is still in a lot of pain from his first surgery, but she was still very concerned that he wasnt eating on his own yet. And he shows no interest whatsoever . And this sleeping sleeping sleeping!!!
    So much to my surprise today when i got home from work I had a very wide awake kitty at the door waiting for me! I was so happy.
    From yesterday to today he was showing a twenty five percent improvement. I have tried everything to get FLuffy to eat, so much to my surprise i put some turkey and hamburg on a plate and he was very very interested, he only ate about 2 quarter sized pieces though, but thats plenty enough for me!The funny thing is he chews and spits it out picks it up chews and finally eats it. So we did his feeding tonight and guess where he is hiding sleeping somewhere, I feel so bad! Showing all signs of improvement i feed him and he goes right back to sleep, I actually tricked him today instead of using the big syringe i used the water syringe only 5cc’s every ten minutes or so so that way he could walk around with it. I know the feeding tube is saving his life right now, but why oh why does it have to be this bad for him? I will be bringing him to my own vet tomorrow to have the bandage changed, because he cant stop scratching it, Im glad though because I feel good when they look at the sight. Thank you esheley and will for your tips it really helps. I am hoping he continues to eat and eat and eat!!!! That way i can bring him in Monday to have the tube taken out, he and I will both be very happy with that outcome!!
    How long were your kitties feeding tubes in?
    Glad to hear Abbie is doing well

    Comment by jen | November 19, 2010 | Reply

  242. Good news Fluffy continues to eat more and more every day on his own!!! Im so happy, Im not sure if hes still in a little pain or not but he seems to be getting better and better as each day goes on

    Comment by jen | November 25, 2010 | Reply

  243. Hi, glad to find your site!

    Our kitty Georgie is having a tube put in today, he has lost weight due to pancreatitis. He has poor appetite and is down to 7.2 pounds.

    Comment by IndyRose | December 2, 2010 | Reply

  244. Just an update… Punkin is growing by leaps and bounds. She weighed in at 3 pound, 13 ounces today at probably 14 weeks old. She’s a bundle of energy and what’s really weird is that she seems to exhibit a BUNCH of the same odd traits as Rocky (our 14 year old with cancer who died on September 18 and who was the reason I found this site).

    Blanca (Rocky’s sister) is still doing well at 14, holding her own on her weight, though it fluctuates by 3 or 4 ounces, and still peeing on the sofa regularly and occasionally on our bed. She’s still not thrilled with Punkin.

    Cinco, now 7-1/2 months old and over 9 pounds when we last weighed him 2 weeks ago (meaning probably at least 9-1/2 pounds now), has generally been doing well except for the last few days. He seems to be sick, but we’re not sure what’s wrong. He’s been eating, and meowing for food when it is time, though not as much or as ravenously as he used to. He’s also VERY lethargic, not jumping up on anything but the sofa or a chair, not playing at ALL, and not playing with Punkin. We found two poops the last few days we think are his that were quite long (probably 3″) but a little on the dry side and “segmented” as if they were individual smaller poops stuck together rather than a single, long one. We haven’t seen him vomit at all, if you rub him, there’s nowhere that makes him cry or complain, but he looks like he hasn’t been grooming much and he looks like he’s periodically chewing or licking in the air for a few seconds – almost like he burped.

    We’re worried about him, of course, and are probably going to take him to the vet tomorrow (of course, he’d start getting sick right before Christmas when all the vets are understaffed and usually with interns). He was like this about a month ago, though not as bad, and the vet ran all sorts of tests and found nothing wrong. Slightly higher temp (about a degree, I think), but bacterial tests and several viral tests all came back negative. No sounds of a heart murmur or breathing problems. He got better, though seemingly not quite 100% to being as much of a boundless ball of energy that he was.

    We’re not sure what it might be… perhaps a huge furball (since he IS half long haired – and half short… odd mix), but that would probably cause a much greater loss of appetite and probably vomiting. Or possibly just teething pain, but he doesn’t seem to have problems eating.

    I HOPE the vet will find out what’s wrong and that we can treat it because I hate seeing him like this.

    Comment by Jeff | December 25, 2010 | Reply

  245. I recently had a feeding tube put in my 2.9 year old pride and joy, Polly. She’s been very ill since the beginning of December. I finally took her to an internal medicine specialist. After an endoscopy, colonostopy and biopsys the doctor said it looks like food allergies. I have a feeding in her since she lost weight and Hills D/D venison and pea wet food. Since she was fully cleaned out it took a couple days for her to do anything other than urinate. Friday morning I found she had diarrha and then today, which seems a little thinker but she still hasn’t had a solid bowel movement. Could this be because I’m feeding her too fast?

    Thanks so much in advance for your input.

    Comment by Melanie | January 22, 2011 | Reply

  246. I don’t think so. Do go slow, however. Sometimes if they have not eaten for a while it can take several days before they have a BM. Abbie had very hard, rock like fecal/fur obstruction that finally came up. She had been dehydrated. Check back with your vet.

    Comment by Will Wallace | January 22, 2011 | Reply

  247. I have just had my cats feeing tube removed and when we thought we were out of the woods with him he managed to lick the site and get an infection. Were working through that now.
    Anyway for those who have pets that vomit and have diarhea I know first hand what a food allergy can do to a cat. My cat came up with the symptoms so quickly, the vets – and I mean more than 4 were stumped. We opted for exploratory surgery, which showed IBD. It was all from a food allergy. I put him on VanDykes Duck and Green pea (Petco)and so far, so good. One kernal of anything with turkey or chicken, even the broth makes him vomit. So if anyone wants to try this – it really made the difference for him. We tube fed him for two weeks, and he began to eat this new food. It has been a life saver and the vet said he will be on it forever. Please make sure you read the ingredients if you decided to try another duck flavored food. Many of them contain chicken and turkey.

    Comment by Sandy Thompson | March 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Correction to the above – Food – VanPattens Duck and Green Pea

      Comment by Sandy Thompson | March 14, 2011 | Reply

  248. Update on Purrcy.
    He first became ill 11/09 and had a feeding tube placed after his surgery (cystocholangioduodenostomy). His tube stayed in from Nov to the middle of Feb.
    He has chronic fibrosing cholangiohepatits and has had frequent flare-up infections of his liver.
    He is being managed by an internal specialist and we see her every 3 months or so for a physical and labs.
    His liver enzymes have been within normal limits for the past 4 months! Hooray!

    Never a very good eater, Purrcy is fed frequently through out the day – sometimes I have to put down a kitty buffet to tempt him.
    He has been maintaining his weight at around 10.7 lb. (at the end of his tube feedings his weight was actually just a bit over 11 lb!)

    I have not been an active poster here, but I check in every so often to see how things are going.

    My deepest sympathy to those of you who have lost beloved cats – I know how hard that is.

    For those of you still struggling (as I am) best of luck!

    It has been an emotional, exhausting, and financially draining battle for me with Purrcy, but I would do it all over again if I had to. Our cats are so much a part of our family and I can’t imagine a life without them!

    Comment by Meohmy | May 29, 2011 | Reply

  249. By the way – Purrcy was 12 yo when he got sick and he’s now 14! I’ve had 2 Birthday celebrations with him! I really thought that I was going to lose him in the beginning, so I am delighted and thrilled that I still have my boy!

    Comment by Meohmy | May 29, 2011 | Reply

  250. For future tube feeders…my vet(s) advised me that because the Max cal or any high cal foods are efficient foods and produce less waste then “normal” cat foods. It is evidently not uncommon for cats to produce less stool while being tube fed. I know that this was the case with Purrcy, and I did worry, but eventually he did start to move his bowels.
    You definately Do need to keep an eye on this!!

    Comment by Meohmy | May 30, 2011 | Reply

  251. My 16 year old cat, Lily, stopped eating after she was boarded at a new vet’s facility (I’ve recently moved about 20 miles from my old house) for four days. But even before that, she was not eating in her usual way — but the boarding definitely made it worse. The vet facility never mentioned that she wasn’t eating well when I picked her up. They were not very professional and I’ve now gone back to my old vet.

    After doing a lot of research on the web and speaking with my previous vet, whom I love, I agreed to put in a feeding tube. She has had it for three days. The first two she had the max cal, and now she is having max cal mixed with a/d. She threw up once today, and I think I put it in too fast. But altho she is getting food and fluid, she still is sitting in what a friend calls “a meatloaf position,” only getting up to pee and to drink water. Is this normal behavior for a newly intubated cat after three days?

    I so appreciate this site and have learned so much here!


    Comment by Sue B | August 27, 2011 | Reply

  252. I have been tardy in responding to this site….apologies.

    Yes, you were likely going to fast with the food. This takes a lot of patience and practice but you will get the hang of it. Yes, the meatloaf position is normal the first few days. Your cat just had surgery so she is still recovering. Actually, she may be that way for a week or more. Additionally, my cat tried to hide (crawling under the bed etc) so do your best to limit access to hard to reach places or it will just stress you out trying to get to her. Since your cat does not appear to have cancer or another terminal illness, try to get her interested in food as soon as possible. Baby food helps but don’t push too much as they are like humans and still may associate food with discomfort and vomit. Be cautious but persistent. My little girl is healthy 1.5 years later (with a cancer diagnosis). It was worth every penny and all the difficulty. Email me if you would like.

    Comment by Will | September 1, 2011 | Reply

  253. By the way I have had wonder luck with Royal Canin Recovery cat food.

    Comment by Will | September 1, 2011 | Reply

  254. By the way I have had wonderful luck with Royal Canin Recovery cat food.

    Comment by Will | September 1, 2011 | Reply

  255. I just found this site, and am interested in opinions…. My cat Mikey has had her e tube in since the beginning of August. It was initially inserted to get her thru Hepatic Lipidosis.which we thought resulted from not eating due to stomatitis. She had her teeth removed but did not continue to eat on her own after that, thus the e tube. Since then we have discovered that her adenocarcinoma in her ear is back after surgery last December AND she has undifferentiated carcinoma in her salivary gland……(fine needle aspirate)………

    She has gained a little weight and her liver values have improved. Her attitude is good except for extreme itching at the ear with the tumor, and the side with the tube site. This causes a lot of bandaging and rebandaging…

    Thing is, my vet who I have been with for a long time…. now feels that I am carrying this too far… and is not willing to do surgery to remove the salivary gland. I did read up on it and it is a very complicated surgery with lots of nerves and vessels present…

    She still grooms herself, is sociable with us and has good bathroom habits. She is NOT amused with bandage changes. ….. I have the Kitty Kollar with the pads. also she will rattle from her voice box sometimes when she breathes so those are the two negative things bothering her…..other than the fact she STILL won’t eat on her own…. She comes to find me for her feedings and purrs thru out…

    I wish SHE could tell me what she wants…. She is such a special cat with lots of personality, 13 yrs. old.

    Any thoughts??????????????

    Comment by Lisa L Kurklis | September 30, 2011 | Reply

  256. Hi, Lisa-
    I would get a second opinion, and maybe a third.

    You want to have confidence in your vet, and it’s possible to lose that confidence even after a long-term relationship. I don’t think you’re at that point, but it wouldn’t hurt to get another perspective or two.

    What I’m reading in support of your vet’s stance is that a) the surgery is complicated, b) Mikey has a variety of health issues, and b) you’ve had Mikey on a tube for almost 2 months, which is a long time.

    What I see in support of doing the surgery is a) you love Mikey, b) Mikey has most normal behaviors and doesn’t seem to be in much distress, and c) you’re willing to keep going.

    We all love our pets, so if you visit another vet, consider emphasizing your b and c.

    I would also consider a vet of a different demographic. Younger vets have the most recent info in their heads but tend to over-test, at least in my experience. I don’t know if there are gender differences across the board, but that’s been my experience.

    Good luck, and please report back on what happens!

    Comment by esheley | September 30, 2011 | Reply

  257. eshely, thanks for your input…! We had reached a similar pt. with an e-tube a 1 and a half ago, but it didn’t end well. It was my eight month old Felv positive kitten, Serendipity. At that time the tube was inserted in order to give us some time for a new treatment to work. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. Serendipity DID tell me with her eyes that she was ready to go. My vet and I had differences of opinion on how far I should continue to treat an Felv kitty, “around here people don’t treat their Felv cats”. Fortunately she was working with another vet at the time who convinced her that we should give Serendipity a chance. That person does still work with her…. do I risk starting another conflict, within the practice?

    Mikey has had an abdominal exploratory, in which only a highly fatty liver was found, no TUMORS…. so the tube was inserted at the same time.

    I live close to a university vet school, but definitely can not financially handle all the testing and the possible surgery that they would do there. Not to mention I used to work in the radiology dept at that vet school, and did radiation therapy with my boss at the time. I swore I would never put my animal thru what some of the oncology patients were put thru. So here I am 15 yrs later ….. changing my mind on how far I would go??????????

    You can tell how conflicted I am…. leaves a third option, another local veterinarian…which I shall start to do some research on.

    thanks again for the input and the ear !

    Comment by Lisa L Kurklis | October 1, 2011 | Reply

  258. Hi Lisa,

    Is there any harm in continuing what you’re doing, simply feeding her by e-tube? It’s been a couple years since we were in this situation with our cat, and her tube was only in for 10 days (before it fell out, a little too early, on its own), so I don’t remember the drawbacks of long-term tube-feeding.

    I wouldn’t worry about inciting a conflict in your veterinary office–that’s for them to work out, in my opinion. If you don’t feel Mikey is ready to go, then I’m not sure why your vet would be recommending discontinuing treatment unless there is a severe drawback to continuing as is.

    Comment by Anne | October 1, 2011 | Reply

  259. Thanks Anne ! Nope, no harm in that ! We just are gonna take it day by day….. as long as the tube remains secure…. which is always a question each time I change her Kitty Kollar. the tube is attached now by a mattress suture, going down into tissue below and then back up to the surface. I try not to make the K. Kollar too tight, but that is a fine line to tread, because she itches and sometimes it spins completely around. Electrical tape is my friend, it sticks well and still pulls apart when you need it to. I put a strip across the button hole where the tube comes thru, and a strip or two across the velcro closures just in case. I’m open to any hints that anyone else uses…..

    To all who are nursing e – tube kitties….. keep on, keeping on…………….. 🙂

    Lisa and Mikey

    Comment by Lisa L Kurklis | October 3, 2011 | Reply

  260. I tube fed Abbie for 3 plus months. It was a challenge. The tube came out 3 times, it itched, she scratched, it would spin around her neck and in general it was a stressful time. Thankfully I lived a mile away from the 24 hour animal hospital. I would often use a little cortizone cream to help with the itching. After all this, Abbie recovered and is sitting next to me as I type this, tube free. Hang in there. It was all worth it for me.

    Comment by Will | October 5, 2011 | Reply

  261. Will, I am really happy for you that Abbie recovered !!!! I might try a little cortizone cream for that itching…..

    Lisa and Mikey

    Comment by Lisa L Kurklis | October 7, 2011 | Reply

  262. Thanks so much for sharing this. A week ago today, our 10-year-old cat Sadie was attacked by a dog. She suffered a lot of damage, worst of which was a jaw broken in a couple places. An oral surgeon operated on her and said she would be able to take food by mouth with her jaw fused – but she had no interest. Two days later she went back to the e/r for a nasal/gastric tube, but that is a liquid feeding that can only be done in the hospital. We kept her on that to give her time to stabilize, hope no complications or infections showed up, etc. This morning the surgeons placed the e-tube (amazing she made it through anesthesia again!) and she should come home in a couple more days after they are sure they’ve got everything stable with her again. I am not nearly as worried about doing the e-tube as I had been about syringe feeding. I was terrified that I would choke her with the syringe food, and she was hesitant to swallow anyway. The docs will give us good information and a demo on the e-tube feeding.

    Thanks for sharing your experience to know it can have a positive outcome. After all Sadie has been through, the docs are pretty sure that if she gets the right nutrition and rest she will come out of this ok. If we had known the severity of the damage to her up front, we may not have taken things this far; but the x-rays and exams looked like things were simpler than what was found once surgery was underway. She has been responsive to us all along, purring and rolling over for belly rubs, so she is still fighting!

    Comment by Carolyn Matthews | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  263. Hi Carolyn,

    I’m glad that Sadie is making it thru her surgeries ok, she must be quite the fighter. One key to feeding thru an e tube is a little blender, to blend up the AD or whatever they give you to feed her…. eliminates lumps and clogs in her tube…. There is a yahoo group called Feline Assisted Feeding Group that has helped me so much on our e tube journey. Not to steal you away from this blog, but just to add to your resources. they have tons of ideas, and links to supplies, food etc. Lots of good wishes that Sadie mends fast and can ditch her e tube soon….. !

    Lisa and Mikey

    Comment by Lisa L Kurklis | October 12, 2011 | Reply

    • My fifteen year old cat had all her teeth removed. She was losing weight, and would not eat on her own. We finally had a feeding tube put in. Her tongue kept going from side to side and she would paw at both sides and cry. She had no interest in eating. We took her back to the vet and they found a sharp bone under her gums. They filed it down and gave her a more thorough check and found nothing else. It has been several days since this last surgery and she still paws at her mouth and refuses food. Has anyone else ever heard of this? The vet said it has never happened to any animals they know of and admitted they are stumped.

      Comment by deb | October 12, 2011 | Reply

  264. All,

    I thought I would share my experiences with tube feeding. I had to tube feed my two year old baby Polly (through to esophagus) after dealing with dehydration, constipation and anorexia. I adopted her when she was about 8-12 months old. I fed her good quality (so they state on the bag) dry food for over a year because she wouldn’t touch any type of wet food and all of a sudden she became extremely ill fast. She endured a colonoscopy, endoscopy, enemas, and fluids under her skin for various weeks. I thought I was going to lose her. She is only 7lbs to begin with and was losing weight so her specialist (I don’t even have a specialist) suggested a feeding tube until we figured out what was going on since she was not eating, she was losing weight, constipated and dehydrated.

    I tube fed her around the clock for about a month. We found that she was allergic to the “good quality” food and now she eats special wet food that I need to purchase from the vet. It took her a while to get used to it and eat it, but she did after about 3 weeks. I ONLY feed her and my other cat wet food now because of the high carbohydrate content in dry food and the dehydration factor if a cat doesn’t drink enough water. While it is less convenient to feed wet, Polly cannot touch a crumb of any other type of food and my other kitty is actually a piggy in a cat suit, so I have to feed them separately. My other cat gets a holistic wet food while Polly gets her food special from the vet.

    The tube feeding did save her life. What I found while tube feeding her was:

    1)Feeding her too fast would get her sick. A tiny bit per a couple seconds. (the vet will let you know how much. Every kitty is different). Wait a little and then dispense a little more. It would take me about 30 minutes to feed her
    2) If there’s medicine that you need to dispense, you can always dissolve (make sure it’s fully dissolved) in luke warm water if it’s a pill or just dispense in the tube if liquid so that your baby doesn’t have to deal with gross tasting drugs or pilling
    3) The correct temperature of the food is imperative. It needs to be room temperature – make certain it’s not too hot or you will burn them, but not too cold so it moves through the tube easily.
    4) Flushing the tube before and after use with a little luke warm water keeps the tube clean and clear. 4) Keep a very close eye on the incision and entrance of the tube to be sure that it’s not infected. I did have to run her to the vet in the middle of the night because of infection.
    5) Make sure her dressing is changed and clean every other day.

    I never thought I would be able to administer this, but knowing the alternative I was going to make sure I tried my hardest. It is scary, but it is done at home often and you will get through it. Good luck to all.

    Comment by Melanie | November 9, 2011 | Reply

  265. Thank you for this blog. My 12 year old kitty was just diagnosed on Monday night with liver disease. After being sent home with meds, the next morning she was unable to keep down any of the meds, hadn’t eaten in a few days and was in worst condition than the night before. After calling the vet, I rushed her in and she has been there ever since. She has been on an IV since Tuesday morning and force fed by the techs. They are now able to give her the meds orally, rather than the injections she endured, however still has no interest in food.

    Yesterday, one of the vets advised that we should move forward with a feeding tube and felt confident that it was the best way to get her to recover quickly. He said we would give her one more night and hope she started to eat, but she still has not. This morning, a second vet at the same hospital advised that she feels that I should bring her home and continue trying to force feed her, rather than the feeding tube. She also said that since my kitty, Niki, is 12 years old and they can’t be 100% sure she doesn’t have liver cancer, she thought force feeding would be best. I feel completely confused and know that time is not on my side! I need to make a decision, but having never dealt with having a cat with a feeding tube or having to force feed an animal, this is all new to me. Any advise you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    I am not willing to operate on her to determine ‘if’ she has cancer. I want to make sure she has the best quality of life possible and putting her through that to determine ‘if’ she does, seems unfair to her. I am, however, willing to do whatever else I can to try to help her recover and have a healthy long life, and I am torn which is a better way to go! From those of you who have tried both, force feeding vs. a feeding tube, which do you advise??

    Thank you in advance and please keep Niki in your prayers. 🙂

    Comment by Kim | February 10, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Kim,

      Just a little background on what I have been through. My little girl Polly whom I adopted when she was between 8-12 months old had to have an esophacal feeding tube for about a month last year. I had her for about 1.5 years when she became very ill. She stopped eating, became constipated, dehydrate and started to throw up a couple times a month. She was only 7lbs, she’s a thin framed baby, which is most likey caused by all her medical problems. We continue to battle symtopms that are between food allergies, environmental allergies and irratible bowel syndrome. I have started administering fluids at home recently, so I am well versed in feeding tubes, pilling, and administering fluids. I too said whatever it takes and didn’t want to put her through the exploratory surgery, which is the procedure where they open them up from top to bottom. We ended up going through an endoscopey and colonoscopy so that they could take bioposies.

      Now for my exprience. We decided to put a feeding tube in her since she was down just under 6lbs until we could figure out what was going on with her. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I did because you do everything you can to help your babies. She had it in for about a month. I had to feed her around the clock. We changed her food to a limited ingedient wet food (I thought I was doing good by getting the Science Diet Indoor Dry. I tried getting her to eat wet, which she always turned her nose up to), added water, which her specialist advised the amount), put it in a blender because you want it to be thin enough to move through the tube, and heated just a tad to room temp. Then you will slowly push through the tube. It would take about 20 – 30 mintues to administer. The vet will tell you how to keep the tube clean, etc. I would change her dressing every other day and keep an eye on infection. I did have to run her to the vet one time because I didn’t wrap it tight enough and she pulled it out a little, which caused it to get infected. We had to do this for about a month. She was able to eat normally with it too. I had to wait until she finally broke down and started eating the wet food. You can also push medication through the tube (liquid and pills w/water) so that you don’t have to stress your baby out more by pilling. The vet would tell you if and how to do this.

      I was nervous about how she would heal when the tube was taken out, but we didn’t have any problems. He took it out and she didn’t even have to wear a cone or anything. He gave me antibotics and it healed within a couple of weeks. I didn’t have to cover it or anything.

      The specialist also gave me a drug called Mirtazapine,which is a food stimulant. I am not sure if it would hurt Niki under her condition, so maybe you can ask the vet if you could try this first? Polly has had good results with this. It makes her very hyper and chatty and gives her energy. She is comical on it, but it does make her eat. I only gave it to her from time to time when I saw she wasn’t eating. Not sure what the side affects would be for Niki.

      Feeding tubes are great. A lot of work, but it’s worth it. However, every situation is different so I will pray for you and Niki that she gets better. Whatever you decide for your baby is the right decision. I kinow how confusing and difficult this is. I am still working hard to get Polly in a better state and won’t give up. Sometimes I feel like I have no more hope, but I won’t quite.

      I just wanted to share my experiences with you. Please let me know if you have any questions and keep me posted.


      Comment by Melanie | February 11, 2012 | Reply

      • Hi Melanie,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post and share your personal experience. As you have experienced, it’s so hard to know what to do without having ever having gone through this! We just want our babies to be okay and sometimes it’s so hard to even know when something is wrong.

        After talking with both vets several times, I made the decision to move forward with a feeding tube. The vet did the procedure Saturday, and I’m waiting for him to call me back this morning and hopefully discharge her so I can bring her home. Although I know she still has a lot of recovering to do, knowing that I will be able to have her back at home brings me some peace. She is a fighter, so I am optimistic that she will pull though this!

        That is a great idea regarding the Mirtazapine. I will ask him about that, as I am hoping she will start eating on her own quickly and anything that can help jump start that appetite, I am open to. I won’t give up on my little girl and am glad to hear you’re still optimistic with your little one. They need us. 🙂

        How long has Polly been going through this? I will also keep her in my thoughts and pray for her speedy recovery. You sound like a wonderful pet owner and she’s very lucky to have you in her life. I really can’t thank you enough for your support and kind words. I will keep you updated on Niki’s progress and let me know about Polly too.


        Comment by Kim | February 13, 2012

      • Hi Kim,

        How is Niki doing? Yes, the more we can do at home, the better for our babies. I have never even given an animal a pill before Polly and was so scared to even do that. The general vet didn’t even show me how to do this, so I had to go home and found a great utube video on how to give a cat a pill. Thank God for the internet sometimes. Blogs and videos from people who have and are going through all of this is priceless. Learning how to administer fluids to Polly has saved her and I am so thankful I learned how to do this. The tube as you can see from this forum is a live saver and all the assistance everyone gives us along with tips and support help us do the best for our precious children.

        Polly stared getting sick a year ago around Christmas time and we got everything under control in about 3 months. For about 8 months was doing well and then boom, 12/12 of 2011 she had a relapse. I’ve been working hard to get her better. She is sill not there, but with the fluids and tweaking her meds, I am hopeful we are on our way to better days. I have a notebook and chart each day how much she ate,when she has BM and consistency, the meds she took and any other notes for that day. It makes it easy to refer to and see what’s going on. All in one notebook…it’s my bible for her. I hope Niki is doing better. Let me know when you have a chance. Niki is lucky to have you and I know she’s getting the best care with you by her side.

        Comment by Melanie | February 14, 2012

      • Hi Melanie,

        Niki appears to be coming around! When I brought her home on Monday, she was so weak and frail. So much so that she couldn’t even jump up on the bed or have a BM. She would take a few steps then lay down, or try to use the litter box and get so tired that she laid down next to it. She pretty much slept the entire day in our spare bedroom, and I would periodically check on her to give her food, water and love. Normally she sleeps glued to my side, but she chose to sleep in the other room.

        Tuesday morning I went in and she hadn’t moved from night before but was bright-eyed, meowed at me (she always vocal, so this wasn’t anything new) and seemed to have more energy than the day before! I stopped home around lunchtime to feed her a second time, and she was relaxing in our foyer enjoying the sun, so I was pleased to see she had been up and moving. I was also pleasantly surprised to see she had a BM. I can honestly say, I haven’t ever been so excited to see cat poo! Her demenor in the early evening was also good and alert, and she actually ate 3 cat treats. That was the first time she had shown any interest in food! By last night, she was aggitated, probably from the commotion of our dog wanted to see her and also me interupting her constantly for food and water. To my surprise, she snuggled up next to me and slept with us all night.

        This morning, again she seemed to be perky, although she did vomit before her first feeding. I offered her water and a spoonful of wet food. After sniffing the food, she promptly vomitted. I waited a little while then gave her the first tube feeding, then we curled up on the couch for about an hour before I got ready for work. I’m heading home in about an hour to feed her again and check to see how she is doing. I would say overall, I see a slight improvement. She is still very frail. She doesn’t particularly like me adjusting her when I am giving her the feeding. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s uncomfortable or just annoyed that she is comfortable and I’m moving her. She has always followed me around the house and wanted to be with me, so I see some of that desire coming back which I find encouraging. She also has started a little bit of grooming, so I think that is good. How long was it before you saw a significant change in Polly?

        One other thing I wanted to ask you about. I’ve noticed almost a wheezing/stuffiness sound. When I picked her up on Monday, I thought she might just be congested because she did have some dried mucus around her nostrils. It’s not terribly loud and it’s not all the time. My boyfriend thought it might be from the tube. Did you encounter any of that with Polly? When I mentioned it Monday, the vet tech said she’s on a strong antibiotic so it should clear up fine, but I just don’t want it to be fluid in her lungs since I am giving her food and water. Before I contacted the vet again, I wanted to check with you to see whether you encountered this too.

        I think it’s wonderful how commited you’ve been to Polly’s recovery! She’s very fortunate to have such a loving and dedicated mom! I’m hoping before you know it, we will be sharing recovery stories with eachother and discussing how great they’re doing.

        Comment by Kim | February 15, 2012

  266. Hi Kim,

    Too funny about never being so happy to see a BM. That is me every day now. That is one of the issues Polly has…her little digestive system and insides just don’t work properly. I stress out every day and think about it all day praying that I go home and see that she defecated. I pray it’s the right consistency too. And when it doesn’t happen, my stomach is all in knots until I see that gold!

    I am so happy to hear Niki is doing OK. I would say it took almost a week for Polly to get a used to the tube, but she never got over it. Poor girl would sit there so unhappy with the bandage on. When I would change it, I would spend some time massaging her neck for a while, which she enjoyed. I did hear gurgling from time to time. That was from the tube. She never got sick or had any upper respiratory infection from it. Do call the vet to double check, but I did hear it too sometimes.

    I wish they would understand that our goal is to get them healthy and only want that for them. And you know, I think they do know sometimes. When they talk to use and snuggle close, that’s the award right there. Niki is a lucky kitty too…and I do hope that soon we are sharing more positive experiences. Yours is actually great news. And by the way…Polly threw up a couple times too and it was because I fed her too quickly. I think you will see that from time to time until they adjust. Just write every move she makes down and go over with the vet so they know her patterns. Keep me posted. 🙂

    Comment by Melanie | February 15, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Melanie,

      Since it’s been a few days, I thought I would give you an update on Niki and check to see how Miss Polly is doing.

      Last week Niki’s demeanor was more like her normal self. She was very affectionate, particularly in the mornings, she showed some interest in wet food and treats (no water yet) and appeared to be more active than the days prior. By active, I mean rather than lying on the bed all day, I would come home at lunch and find her looking out the window or resting somewhere else. I felt like I had the tube feeding down, although it always seems to be a messy process, and she ‘tolerated’ it. She was sleeping with me every night and was bright-eyed and vocal when she saw me waking up (this is the typical Niki that I was accustomed to).

      By Saturday, I noticed that she was increasingly agitated, especially during feedings. She also seemed more lethargic and aloof. I didn’t want to read too much into it, as I wasn’t sure if the commotion of having us home and the dog out and about (he is crated during the workdays) was just too much for her. She had no interest in food, treats, water, or even snuggling at night which has always been her favorite thing. She truly just wanted to be left alone. I had to fight with her during feedings and she even tinkled on the carpet, which she hadn’t ever done before.

      I took her in yesterday for them to check her out and retake blood work. Boy was I disappointed with the results. She lost more weight, she’s now down to a tiny 6.2 lbs, and her liver enzymes are as bad as they were a week ago. A medicine that they felt would really help with the inflammation of the liver, Denamarin, was still on backorder (it’s been on backorder for 2 weeks), so I left there feeling like someone took the wind of out my sails.

      I made a few calls and was able to get the meds from another animal hospital out of the area and finally gave her the first dose this morning. I am really praying that this will help her get back on track. I was so shocked by the results I got! It baffled me that I’m tube feeding her 4x a day, yet she still lost more weight. I’m still determined to do whatever is needed to get her healthy, as long as the doctor continues to be optimistic and give me hope. He said that liver disease can be tricky and will take time to recover. I’m just hoping next week when we go back again, I see some encouraging results.

      Comment by Kim | February 21, 2012 | Reply

      • Hi Kim,

        Thank you for the update. I have been thinking about you and Niki. I know it can be so disheartening and baffling when you don’t see the results you want but you are doing such a great job. I have been looking for a new general vet for my little girl and finally found a mobile vet who specializes in cats and has a lot of knowledge and experiences with little ones with digestive issues. She is coming to the house next week and is going to give her opinion, so I too won’t give up. We just keep plugging along, thinking of anything and everything to get our babies comfy and happy.

        As for her weight, remember that you are adding water to the food and making it thinner so it can be fed throught the tube, so just hang in there. When she starts eating on her own, that will help her weight too. Polly didn’t actually gain a lot of weight until she started eating on her own too.

        Please keep me posted…you will be in my prayers 🙂

        Comment by Melanie | February 23, 2012

    • Hi Melanie,

      I wanted to give you an update on my beloved Niki.

      Sadly yesterday morning, she passed away. She was the most amazing pet and I will forever miss her. The bond we shared was so special and I feel so blessed to have had her in my life. As expected, I’ve had a difficult time with this and know it is going to take some time for me to accept and cope with it.

      To give you a little bit of history about what has transpired the last month….She overcame the liver disease and we were able to remove the feeding tube. She seemed to be doing great! Her demenour was more like her normal self, snuggling and chatty, eating regularly, and this continued for a couple of weeks. I was convinced she was back to normal and was thrilled. When we went in for follow up bloodwork, her liver enzymes were great, but her kidney’s were slightly elevated. I told the vet that out of no where, she had been developing bad behavior and urinating around the house, which was not like her. He said perhaps it was a UTI, so we put her back on anti-biotics. He also suggested a kidney friendly diet, just in case something was going on with the kidney’s, but he thought it wasn’t anything alarming so to just pick something with low protein up at the local pet store.

      I noticed that as time went on that she wasn’t eating as much and was getting pickier about what she wanted to eat. Recognizing that it was so important for her to eat, I tried different types of her brand of food, tuna, basically anything to spark her interest. Sometimes it worked, other times it did not. I also noticed that she was less interested in cuddling with me at night, which for her was a routine that we had done for the last 12 years. It reminded me of her behavior when she was first diagnosed with liver disease, so I knew something was wrong.

      Saturday morning I took her into the vet. He reran bloodwork (he had just done bloodwork 9 days prior) and discovered her kidney enzymes were completely out of wack. She also had a 104.1 fever, had lost about 6 ounces of weight and was dehydrated, although she was constantly drinking water. He informed me that she now had acute liver disease, so we injected some water under the skin to keep her hydrated, gave her an antibiotic shot and told me to give her the antibiotics and iron. He asked me to call him with an update on Monday, and to bring her in Wednesday.

      By Monday, she hasn’t eaten in at least 24-36 hours, didn’t want to move from under the chair, and was clearly weak. I tried to encourage her to eat although she had no interest, but she continued to drink large amounts of water. I took her in Monday morning because I felt her condition had worsened. I prepared myself for the worst. The vet told me that he felt we could overcome this and that it was up to me what I wanted to do. He said the options were to admit her for 3 days so he could run IV fluids and antibiotics to ‘jump start’ the kidneys, or I could say my goodbyes. Of course, with the hope he gave me, I chose to admit her.

      Tuesday morning, I got the call that she had passed away. They said she did well throughout the night, but she was cold. They moved her to a warming box to keep her warm and that at that time she was doing okay. When they checked on her at 8am, she had passed. He told me his best assumption is that she had lymphoma, but the only way to be sure was to do an autopsy, which I would never do. When I went by yesterday morning, she looked very peaceful so my only hope is that she died while she was sleeping and didn’t suffer. As you can imagine, I am devastated, as I thought after overcoming the other problems, that she would be okay. Apparently she was much more sick that we realized.

      I pray she is in a better place now and realizes how important she was to me, and hopefully one day we will be reunited. She was more than a pet, she was my kid, and I already miss her so much.

      Comment by Kim | April 4, 2012 | Reply

      • Dear Kim,
        I am truly sorry for your huge loss. You are a great mom and did all you could possibly do to keep her happy, healthy and strong all the while insuring she maintained her dignity. I really appreciate you reaching out to me informing me what’s been occurring and that she’s in heaven with all the other angels. I know it must be difficult and almost unmanageable. I have been thinking of you two and praying, which I will continue to do for both of you. She is at peace and now will be doing all she can for you to give you strength and to watch over you. Our animals are our children. I am single without two legged children and am blessed with two little four legged ones that give me so much, basically a reason to live…a reason to go home. I believe they will always be around us when they are not physically through their souls. Please know that no one else could have ever given her a better life and kept her safer and happier than you…that’s why SHE picked you. We don’t pick our four legged babies….they pick us and she knew what she wanted and needed. By the way….where did you and Niki meet? I always love to hear about situations where fate has transpired.
        My prayers are with you and Niki.

        Comment by Melanie | April 4, 2012

      • Dear Melanie,
        Thank you again for your kind words. When I first found this blog, I was so conflicted and overwhelmed with Niki’s condition. I was looking to find a place to gather information so I could make an educated decision regarding whether to move forward with the feeding tube. Not only did you help to put my concerns at ease with sharing your personal experience, but you have also been a support system to me along this crazy rollercoaster. Whether you realize it or not, your guidance and encouragment the last couple of months has meant so much to me. You are a very special person with such a kind soul. I am so grateful to have met a complete stranger who now feels like a friend to me. 🙂

        I adopted Niki from the SPCA in Central Florida in April/May 1999. I had only lived in Florida about a year and new I was ready to save a life. When I went into the humane society, I looked at all the cats and of course they were all precious. I had no idea how in the world I would decide which one to take home! So I went around to all the cages to see which had been there the longest. It was between Niki (who was named Nala at that time) and another long-haired black cat named Miss Prissy (I can’t believe I remember that). After I got a glimpse of Niki’s big green eyes and she let out a loud meow, that immediately won me over. She was clearly miserable in that cage. She was all eyes and ears, noisy as can be, and very skinny. I held her for few minutes and knew she was the one for me. They didn’t know exactly how old she was at the time, but my guess was somewhere around 9 months.

        For about the first year she would race around my apartment, getting into all kinds of trouble. Eventually she got more comfortable with me and that’s when I knew she loved me as much as I did her. From that point on, Niki has been my life. I, too, do not have any ‘children’ and we do not plan to have any, so she has always been my heart and soul. Up until she got sick, she would still play, chase our huge boxer, come when I called her, and in a lot of ways, was still very kitten-like. She saw me through some of the hardest times of my life, and some of the best. Every step of the way, she loved me unconditionally. There wasn’t a night, until recently, that went by that she wasn’t glued to my side, following me around the house, sharing my pillow or snuggled up with her mommy. She woke me up almost every morning by touching my face with her paw or licking my nose. She would greet me when I got home from work and after the most stressful days, I would bury my face in her fur and she would just pur away all my concerns.

        I feel so fortunate to have saved her and for her to have saved me. It still doesn’t feel real to me yet, and it’s been a rough couple of days. Just 2 weeks ago (or less) she was doing great. It goes to show you how quickly things can happen. I think those few weeks after the feeding tube came out that she was doing so great, were such a gift. It’s clear to me now maybe that was her way of holding on a little bit longer for my sake. I wish I had been with her at the end, but all I can do is remember the good times, know she’s in a better place now and look forward to us meeting again at the Rainbow Bridge.

        Although she is gone in the physical sense, I would still love to hear how Polly is and keep in contact with you. I don’t think I’ve ever said that to a stranger, but as I said earlier, this experience has created a bond. Please keep me in the loop on this blog, or you can also email or look me up by email on Facebook. My email is:

        Thanks again for everything and I hope to talk to you soon! My prayers are with you and your little Polly.

        Comment by Kim | April 5, 2012

  267. Kim,

    How is Niki doing?

    Comment by Melanie | February 29, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Melanie,

      This past weekend was really bad with Niki. She has started to vomit again and was very lethargic. I called the vet and he said he would be there all day Saturday and if she continued to vomit to bring her in and he would recheck her liver enzymes. I debated on taking her in, but I knew we had our weekly checkup on Monday and I wanted to give the Denamarin enough time to really work before he checked her blood again.

      Monday morning we went in and I had a terrible feeling that the visit would not go well. I found out she had lost a tad more weight, but nothing alarming. She is now down to 6.2 lbs. Her liver enzymes were much better (FINALLY!), but he was concerned that her demenour off and she still had no interest in food. He felt around her belly and her spleen was slightly enlarged and the blood work showed that now she is also anemic, so he recommended we do an Xray to check for masses. Fortunately, the Xrays looked great! So he said to continue with the medications she is on and also gave me iron drops to add.

      Amazingly, Tuesday morning, she started eating! And she’s eating a lot! I don’t know what changed overnight, but I feel like (fingers crossed) we may have turned the corner! Talk about a blessing. 🙂 I pray things continue to get better and better.

      How is Polly doing? I hope you’re also seeing some improvement and getting some great news.
      Thanks for checking on us!

      Comment by Kim | March 1, 2012 | Reply

      • Kim,
        Great news about little Niki! I understand how one day could be so different than the past. You wake up one day stressed, hopeful and losing hope at the same time and then boom…you see the best gift you could ever get! Keep me posted. You are doing a great job.

        Polly was seen by the mobile doctor last week who only deals with cats and treats various patients who have megacolon and digestive issues. The priceless value of her is that she comes to the home and sees our babies in their normal state, so the stress of going to a vet wasn’t masked with Polly. Polly was happy and playful, but still sat like I thought she was in pain and groomed her normal, consistent ways so the doctor was able to see all this. Polly gained a couple ounces and is it 6lbs, 9 oz, which I thought she lost. I was happy. She saw she did have some type of allergies so she told me to take her off of the allergy meds since they aren’t working and doing more harm than good and is going to give me Omega oil to give her instead. She also told me to cut down the miralax and give her pumpkin in her food instead, which Polly likes! She’s having the best stools I’ve seen in months now and daily! She also told me to try Natural Balance Limited Ingredient foods so that I can save some money by not buying the perscription food that’s so expensive…same ingredients basically, so I will try that soon. She showed me how to check her tummy to check for stool and rubbing my finger across her gums to check for hydration, so I can keep a closer eye on things. Polly has been becoming her chatty, active self the past couple of days. She’s only on one pill now and the probiotic, so we are trying to do this with a more natural, healthy approach. I am happy about the results I’ve been seeing.

        Keep me posted with Niki. Thanks for the update a well wishes for Polly.

        Comment by Melanie | March 9, 2012

  268. Thanks for all the great information on your page. My sweet american shorthair kitty, Mochi has been going through a bout of acute pancreatitis. He had not been eating and was losing weight, and has been a life-long vomiter. Ultrasound showed stomach lining thickening and his liver enzymes are elevated. He was in the hospital a couple of times and they pumped him up with IV, etc and sent him home again. At first we got him to eat with metrazapine, but that’s not working any more. He is on pred, and he seems go by the dishes as if he’s “browsing”, but rarely touches the food. When he does, its just a few licks. He’s also not drinking much, and I think he is starting to lose weight again.

    So now, our only alternative at this point is an endoscopic biopsy of his stomach to make sure of the diagnoses, and they are going to place a peg tube at the same time. They said the one he will be getting will come out by his stomach, though, unlike most of the ones I’ve seen on cats on line with it coming out near their neck.

    I’m very afraid and apprehensive about this, but there is no other way to get enough nutrition into him for his needs at this point, and he keeps getting thinner. I think it’s best to do it now while he is still mobile rather than waiting further to see if he eats more, and him possibly getting sicker and liver problems, etc. So he goes in tomorrow morning for the endo biopsy and peg tube placement, and I’m hoping this will help to get him over the hump and eating again. He is nine years old, but was very active like a kitten until about two-three weeks ago when all this got going. I feel I need to fight for him and give him this last shot, so he can get enough nutrition and hopefully make his way to health again. He is so dear to me and I just can’t see giving up on him without a little more fight. He’s doesn’t seem to be in pain any more, just not eating, so I feel this is his best shot. It’s still scary to think about the tube feeding, but I have my blender at the ready to do what I need to do to try to save him! (The vet’s office said the food he will get will need a blender…).

    He goes in tomorrow, so keep good thoughts for him for good recovery. He is so sweet, and i just don’t think it’s his time yet, so hopefully this goes well and will help him recover and start eating again.

    Thanks for having this info here. It helps not to feel so alone and scared about doing this for my sweet kitty. I was afraid I might be adding to his torture in some way by tube placement, but this info and knowing that others have done it successfully gives me more hope that it will be the right thing to do. Thanks for listening….



    Comment by Deb | June 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Deb, I hope things are going okay with Mochi. It’s been a long time since I have tube-fed, but I would do it again. I, too, worried about adding to my cat’s misery by tube-feeding her–it just sounded so barbaric! But she actually enjoyed the process once we got over the first day’s challenges and figured out the best place and position for her feedings. It’s been three years since we tube-fed Betsy and she’s still fat and healthy. Hopefully Mochi’s doing better.

      Comment by anne | June 14, 2012 | Reply

      • Thanks for your reply and well-wishes, Anne! So great to know that Betsy is chubby and healthy!

        As it turns out, luckily Mochi missed having the feeding tube by about thiiissss much….for now. He did have an endoscopy in which all looked normal in his stomach and intestines (even more confusing). As it turned out, the vet had me give him some Reglan the night before the procedure, and he then suddenly perked up quite a bit and even ate a little on his own! They offered him food the next morning and he ate a little on his own, but then threw it up. The vet recommended waiting a little longer on the tube feeding since he is showing some interest, with which I agree for now. She also didn’t want to do it in case he continued with the vomiting.

        I guess after all he’s been through, the poor guy was just nauseous, and he does have a history of things moving through his digestive tract very slowly. So I think the reglan was just the ticket for him. He came home for the endoscopy and has been acting almost normal! Yay! However, the eating issue is still a little hit and miss, so I will probably be supplementing with some syringe-feeding for a while til he gets his weight up a little more. Even at the best of times he’s never been that interested in food, so getting him to eat a lot is a challenge. Added to that, the vet is trying to get him to switch to a novel protein diet with no corn by-products, all of which he hates, so we’re having our challenges….But I’m glad to have him around, challenges and all!

        So, the PEG tube is not totally out of the possibility picture yet, but I’m keeping my hopes up that he continues to eat enough to be completely well again without it. He definitely is having much more energy to fight us when it comes time for administering meds, so that’s a good sign I guess. I’m sure that after a month of tons of vet and hospital stays, and being poked, prodded and anesthetized, he’s had just about enough for now—can’t say as I blame him. But I’m willing to do anything it takes to not let him die just because of not eating enough or hepatic hyperlipidosis. He’s too young and frisky and otherwise healthy for that.

        Thanks again for your reply and concern. It’s nice not to feel alone in this, as we don’t have any friends or family that are cat owners, so most just don’t get it about how hard this can be…


        Comment by Deb | June 14, 2012

      • After the tube-feeding experience with Betsy–like, about six months later–she had a weird episode of anemia. I think I detailed it here in this blog. Her blood count was terrible, her gums were gray, she was listless and wouldn’t eat, and I am sure it was somehow connected to the hepatic lipidosis she’d had six months before. (Either that was kicked off by one of these bouts of anemia, or this anemia was somehow brought about by that hospitalization/tube-feeding situation.) In any case, she wasn’t eating, again, and I was determined to keep enough calories in her so that she wouldn’t get HL all over again. Syringe-feeding did not work. What did work was force-feeding in a different way: I opened a can of Max Cal (high calorie mushy wet cat food), wrapped my hand in a plastic bag, and basically smeared the stuff on the roof of her mouth so that she had no choice but to lick it off and swallow it. I fed her that way for a day or two, which gave time for the prednisone to kick in, and she recovered. Oddly, she’s had NO trouble with HL or anemia since that time.

        Glad to hear Mochi has avoided the tube for now, and I hope he continues eating on his own and recovering. Especially if he’s relatively young, he has a good chance of recovering just fine. Betsy was 6 when we went through all this, and that was a factor in my decision to tube-feed her. I wouldn’t have done it just to buy her a couple more weeks. But we were looking at a long life span left to go!

        Comment by anne | June 14, 2012

      • What are you feeding yuor cat? I suggest a raw food diet. Yeah, some vets don’t like it because that’s not what they’re taught – or who brings them free samples and takes them out to lunch and pay for conferences. But cats would NATURALLY eat a raw diet.

        Our now 2-year-old had a bad case of the calicivirus when he was still a kitten and was in the hospital for several days. He’d have bouts of being sick and really listless and then we switched him to a raw food diet. He really perked up and has been fine ever since. Calicivirus never goes away, and cats will periodically have a bought (basically, like the flu) and he’s had a few episodes where I can tell he’s not feeling great, but it usually lasts only a day or two and he never stops eating (like he did when he was really sick – he lost a good 6-12 ounces in less than a week, and he was still just a 4 or 5 pound kitten at the time).

        Our cats mostly eat Primal venison, Primal buffalo grind (not a complete food so you can’t give it every meal but they LOVE it), and Rad Cat chicken, turkey, and lambl. Our extremely picky 16 year old (who just had kitten-like blood test results) likes the Rad Cat, though she still mostly eats Orijen dry (which is a grain-free dry).

        Comment by Jeff Sherman | June 14, 2012

  269. Hi – thanks for detailing this. My Stammy has broken his jaw and I will have to tube-feed him during his recovery as he will not be able to eat for himself. I am pretty nervous about this, but your post gave me some insight into what is going to be required. Thanks and it gives me some courage to do this as I want my boy to recover as quickly as possible.

    Comment by Stephanie | July 21, 2012 | Reply

    • How is it going? Persevere, it worked for us. Abbie is a health girl 2 years later. It took 3 months of tube feeding but she made, you can too.

      Comment by Fred Wallace | August 5, 2012 | Reply

  270. This is all so helpful and I am happy that there is a place to find experiences with all of this. I am tube feeding my kitty that got the liver disease after a series of unfortunate events. The vets are very positive about his recovery and he is doing amazing. I am wondering how long it will be before he even shows interest in food. He has grown such a dislike to eating before the cernia injections that we also give him, he was vomiting just at the sight of food. Does anyone have any stories on the transition period. I can’t wait to have my old murple back without the tube. He loved eating and running around. Although he is happy and his old self I am eager to have the tube out. Just curious. Thanks for having this site!

    Comment by heather | July 25, 2012 | Reply

  271. hi i find this site very educational. i have a 10 year old female cat that was fine until last sat. it was then that she decided not to eat /drink. i took her to the vet on monday thinking it was her teeth ( she has the disease that causes problems with the teeth .she had a few pulled yrs ago) the vet gave her sq fluids and drew blood. ( ihad to wait till wed to get the results) the vet mentioned three diseases it could be . turns out her liver enzymes were thru the roof. and she again received sq fluids.and gave us pills to stimulate her appetite. i crushed the pills with small amount water and used syringe to administer .tried force feeding her with syringe A/D food. on friday she took some wet food on her own. and she wanted some cheetos ( she always loved a few bites of a cheeto) we felt encouraged. on sat i took her back to vet to get her fluids to find she is now jaundiced. and lost a few ounces.i took her back home and tried the syringe feeding only to have her vomit some back ( think she got some of it) she doesnt appear extremely sickly. she watches us and moves room to room. today she got excited when she saw me eating cheetos so i again crushed some she ate it and came back for more. i then tried her other favorite peanut butter she smelled it and took a few licks.should i be encourged by this? this cat never liked treats nor wet food. she sniffs and turns away from it. any suggestions of foods to try to entice her to want to eat the a/d she is not liking? the doctor felt no masses yet said it could be liver cancer and found no other abnormal lab values. but she has the hepatic liver lipidosis. she was around 13 lbs now down to 11. thanks in advance for any suggestiions..needless to say i love her so much and dont want to see her sick

    Comment by aileen | August 5, 2012 | Reply

    • I need to come back to this site more, since Abbie was sick it is hard to read these posts. The good news is, it has been two years and she is great and well. Forgive my absence. That said, my comments to you Aileen is you would be surprised how animals, especially cats can get mentally blocked on things. If they associate food or water with pain or not feeling well, they stop. You are smart to entice her, let her get over the mental association. Hepatic liver can make them lose their appetite. Also, I am assuming the checked for intestinal cancer (common in cats). Lastly, sometimes it is as simple as a stomach virus that can cause the vomiting. Good food helps too. Abbie has been eating Royal Canin Recovery for 2 years. She loves it. Mix some water in it so she stays hydrated. Abbie eats, but never drank water again. I have to give it to her in her food. Best of luck.

      Comment by Fred Wallace | August 5, 2012 | Reply

  272. I have been tube feeding my cat who has cancer. He has been on A/D and has been losing weight. I did some research and found out that a can of A/D has 179 calories. To maintain his weight I would have to feed him 2 cans. I discovered that Iams has a veterinary maximum calorie food that has 333 calories per can. My vets were not even aware of the much higher number of calories in the food. I just started feeding him it today and it is very easy to put in the syringe, the right consistency, no need to add water. I thought I would share this with others trying to get their sick pet receive enough calories. Since I encountered this problem I am certain others have too and maybe this information can help others trying to help their tube fed pet gain weight. Now I have to wait and see if he will gain weight.

    Comment by Lynn | August 14, 2012 | Reply

  273. I wanted everyone to know that my cat gained 2 pounds in 1 week on the Iams veterinary maximum calorie food. Unfortunately, he passed away in my arms on August 22. The cancer did not get him, he died of heart failure. One minute he was fine and the next he was gone. I am still finding it very difficult, but the information may help someone else. He would have maintained or gained weight throughout his illness if I had been aware of this food.

    Comment by Lynn | September 29, 2012 | Reply

    • I am so sorry Lynn to hear of your loss. Maximum calorie is a great food, Royal Canin Recovery saved my cat’s life. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

      Comment by Fred Wallace | September 29, 2012 | Reply

  274. Thanks for your guide. It is helping me feed my kitty friend Alley. She was hit by “something” and one vet said it looked like a person hit her in the face with a baseball bat. I am horrified by this unlikely scenario and shutter to think about the bad decisions I would make if I found out it was true and the identity of the guilty party. Her bottom jaw looked like it was missing when she first came home which was obviously several days after the trauma (whatever it was) had occurred.

    Sorry if this is too graphic, but she broke her bottom jaw and the roof of her mouth was split in two. Her only option was emergency surgery and a feeding tube since they fused her mouth closed.

    She has an e-tube in and your site helped me get a better concept on how to give her care. She is the sweetest cat you can imagine and I think of her as the cat that has the ability to change other people’s (negative) perspectives on cats.

    Sorry for the long post, just sharing my story and wanted to say thanks for your site.

    Comment by Deaconblues | October 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Oh my! I truly hope no one actually harmed your baby… How is she doing now?

      Comment by Dana Therrian | December 21, 2012 | Reply

  275. I find it amazing that this thread has been going on for a few years! Thank you for the information, it is helpful. My sweet kitty Ranger is 10 years old, and they believe her illness to be fatty liver disease. She quit eating early this week, and began to deteriorate quickly. We had the feeding tube put in yesterday. I’m an emotional mess. The confusing part, is that she appeared to be more active yesterday before we took her in for surgery, but she was more jaundiced. Makes me wonder if I should have just force fed her instead of having the tube put in. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be this invested in a cat. There has been a little wisdom from each of you that has helped me today. It’s the weekend, and the vet’s office does not open back up until Monday. Kind of scary feeling on my own. Ranger is still sleeping on my bed, she has slept constantly since she came home last night. Can anyone tell me when I should expect her to have a BM? I’m concerned with what to do putting in all this food, and her constipation. I don’t think she has gone in a week. Thanks for the info.

    Comment by Stefanie | November 10, 2012 | Reply

  276. Hi Stephanie
    I know how difficult it is to be suddenly faced with tube feeding. I hated it and was afraid at the beginning but trust me when it your cat’s or dog’s life on the line, you learn to master it a bit each day and then it becomes a part of your routine like brushing your teeth. With tube feeding while your cat is ill, it is their lifeline. You control the food ensuring they are properly fed, hydrated and medication if necessary. My guy did not poop very much either when he was first tube fed and the stools were small. I wonder if it is because the food is nutritious so there is less fecal matter. At this point you are not certain when the last time he went. If he is constipated, then you cannot wait too long as it can become serious. If he is sleeping with you, try placing a litter box in your room and keep him in there so you are aware of his litter habits. If she just came home yesterday was the vet aware she had not had a bowel movement. If she had the tube put in yesterday, she would also be a little more sluggish for a few days after anesthesia. Make sure she is getting enough food and a few syringes of water with each feeding. This is a very emotional time with all the changes for both of you. If you are really concerned, I would call an after hours clinic or your own vet if they provide emergency services. My sister’s cat had fatty liver disease and was on a feeding tube for about a year. She was probably around the same age as your cat. Just to give you a little hope, her cat lived until she was 21 years old and was only on the feeding tube that one time. You will be a pro in no time, I was horrified when I started too. When in doubt call the vet as it is not worth taking a chance even if it is nothing. My vet gave me his number and told me to call anytime even at 3:00 am if I was worried about something.

    Comment by Lynn | November 10, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Stefanie, I still get notifications from this thread, even though it has been years since I tube-fed my cat. Betsy also had fatty liver disease and seemed to deteriorate pretty significantly right after the surgery. In fact, the day we brought her home from the vet, I thought, “Well, it was all for nothing. She’s going to die.” She was so lethargic, she threw up every time I fed her, she got really stressed and angry when I put her up on the counter to tube-feed her. We had to make all these modifications, just to keep the stress low and the mess low (like feed her in the bathtub, which for some reason didn’t upset her, and rig up some litterbox arrangement with plastic protecting the wall because she was too weak to crouch to pee and it arced toward the wall and made this huge mess, and keep her in the bathroom, where she couldn’t escape under a bed to hide out and die). I don’t remember how the bowel movements went, although I do recall that we couldn’t get enough calories into her to nourish her, let alone create any poop! In a way, it’s good you have the weekend to get settled with this, especially if you work. For us, getting on a schedule was a challenge. I worked full time and the feedings had to be spread out JUST SO to keep Betsy from vomiting, and they took so long! By about the third day after she got home, I got her on Max Cal, which is a higher-calorie food, so you can feed them less. I also scraped fingerfuls of Laxatone (hairball grease) onto the roof of her mouth, figuring calories were calories, and that stuff’s high calorie. She quit vomiting so much, could pee normally, gradually got stronger and stronger. We should have tube-fed her longer, but her tube fell out after just 10 days, just as she was starting to eat very small amounts of food on her own. Long story short, she survived. We have no idea why she got so sick, but I’m sure she wouldn’t have recovered without intervention and force-feeding would not have worked. I think even those 10 days on the tube-feeding gave her just barely enough of a jumpstart back to health. It was about six months before she was back to normal, and we had to employ a few methods to get her to eat (like bring food to her wherever she was resting in the house–you know, make it really easy for her).

      Good luck with Ranger. Do they know why she has fatty liver? They never knew with Betsy, and I didn’t want to pay for a bunch of expensive diagnostics. They pulled blood and did an x-ray, but beyond that, all the decisions I made were based on Betsy’s age (6), her condition going into this (excellent but fat), her labs (dismal) and decided to treat the animal rather than the numbers. Her numbers said she would die; her physical condition suggested she had a chance. I decided to put my money into treatment rather than diagnostics (mostly because the vet told me that 6-year-old cats don’t usually have cancer).

      Sending good thoughts for a healthy recovery for Ranger. You’ll get in a groove with the tube-feeding and it won’t seem so daunting after the first couple days. Really.

      Comment by anne | November 10, 2012 | Reply

  277. Ranger is not losing weight, and holding down her food. Took her to the vet yesterday, and vet said everything looks good. The only problem now, is that she is not happy with me, and starts to drool and foam at the mouth when she sees me coming. She drools and foams at the mouth every feeding as well. The doc said she will “poop” in time, she was not compacted when we went in, so that was a good sign. She is still wanting to hide all the time, and gags any time I put food up to her nose. We have not done any testing beyond the blood work, so there could still be underlining issues, but so far the doctor is optimistic. He said to give it a month, and if she still in not eating on her own, it’s prob. another issue. My husband was laid off from is job, and we just exhausted our emergency savings fund. At this point if this does not work, we will have to put her to sleep which breaks my heart. At least this way we are giving her a chance to fight, but each day is extremely long, and I dread her feedings, especially since she is so stressed out. Did any of you experience the drooling and foaming as well?

    Comment by Stefanie | November 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi
      Good sign Ranger is not losing weight. Personally, I would not try and put the food near her face if it upsets her. She is probably hiding because she does not feel well. The drooling and foaming was not something I encountered. Remember, this is all new to her also. My guy was not thrilled the first few weeks either. I dreaded feeding time also as you have to do it 3-4 times a day. I bought 2 huge syringes from my vet that fit in the tube. I would warm up the food to body temperature and made sure there was no air bubbles in it by tapping the full tube on the pusher end then push up the food until it came to the tip. Both of us would be there to feed him. We took turns and one of us would speak to him softly and pet him while the other slowly pushed the food in the tube this way he would focus on the person cuddling him without watching the other one feeding him. He was fed on our bedroom as it was calm and quiet. If you have air in the tube or push it in too fast it can cause vomiting or an upset tummy. I have no idea with the foaming and drooling- mine would smack his lips. I assure you that over a bit of time you become a pro at tube feeding. It feels like forever and your days revolve around feeding times. My sister’s cat would not eat and was tube fed for a year and then started to eat on her own. I know how stressful this can be on it’s own without having your own personal issues on top of it. What kind of food are you feeding her? Some are not so easy to pull up in the syringe without getting air in it. Good Luck and don’t give up.

      Comment by Lynn | November 14, 2012 | Reply

  278. Maybe folks here who have had experience with tube feedings can assist me too. I’ve got an older kitty that has some rather odd issues going on. I found out she has a lung mass, but no idea if it’s malignant (could not do a long needle aspiration for biopsy and I refuse to do invasive surgery) and also a tumor on or near her esophagus. I’m going to assume this is cancer, though I don’t know if it’s metastatic and she’s just unfortunate enough to have two different kinds of cancer occurring at once.

    I don’t intend to force her to stay alive with cancer, but her other issue is an esophageal stricture that makes it impossible for food to reach her stomach. I had to feed her watered down canned food and then hold her up for about 15 minutes afterward, but she wasn’t getting enough nutrition. So during an endoscopy, I asked that she get a feeding tube placed – my short term concern was keeping her nourished and, hopefully, comfortable. She put on a whole pound in less than 48 hours! She handles food going in just fine, but for some reason, she is sensitive to the tube.

    Unfortunately, she seems to have a strange reaction to the tube – when she came around following surgery, she developed a small fever, was lethargic and the area around the tube insertion point was swollen. She’s also drooling a LOT. Since then, her fever has come back down, but she’s still kind of out of it and still drooling. Due to said drooling and coughing up of mucous (which she did before), the vet wants to possibly remove the tube.

    This is my question: Would it be wrong of me to keep the tube in to bypass the stricture? My initial hope was to keep the tube in (because she has an appetite and wants to eat) as palliative care. I didn’t want her to just starve…and aside from vomiting, she was acting overall okay (jumping on things, grooming herself, drinking water, etc.) I just wanted to keep her fed until such a time when she was obviously ready to leave me. I simply don’t know if I’m keeping her best interests in the front of my mind should I keep the feeding tube (which is the esophageal tube).

    Comment by Shadow | November 28, 2012 | Reply

  279. Just a quick update, Ranger is doing sooooo much better! On the night of Thanksgiving she surprised us, and was eating out of her food dish on her own! She is handling the feedings in her tube like a champ and is no longer drooling or foaming at the mouth. She even started playing a little bit. The vet wanted to take the feeding tube out yesterday but I asked for one more week since she was just starting to improve, and I would hate to lose progress by taking it out too soon. I’m still a little nervous about having the tube taken out, she is hungry, but finding things that she will take more than one bite of has proven to be tricky. I just wanted to update because I know that I have done SOOOO much reading through out this illness, but rarely found out the final outcome of the kitties that I read so much about. It is so scary when you are in the middle of it all, but thus far, the fight has been worth it, and I am so glad we went with the vet’s suggestion of the having the tube placed. He did not have very good bedside manor, but I truly believe that he saved Ranger’s life. We still don’t know what her liver is looking like, or will look like long term, but it is encouraging to see improvement.

    Comment by Stefanie | November 29, 2012 | Reply

  280. I am new to this site. On November 20th I realized my kitty Joey was very ill. It was late so I waited til morning to take him to the vet. I found he was rather despondent and completely uninterested in food, not like him at all. The next morning we went to the vet who was closed for the entire week so we went to an animal ER. He was immediately checked into triage. four days and 3,700 dollars later, he came home with me. I was terrified of the feeding tube and the fact he wouldn’t potty at all. He was home Saturday night until Monday morning. Joey didn’t want me to touch him so I decided to check him into my vet’s nursing care for the week. It was so stressful and I was so worried about EVERYTHING! I visited him every night for about 2 hours and built a great relationship with the staff and reassured Joey that he’s still my baby boy.

    I took him that Friday night since he took while to tube feeding. Thankfully he continue to handle the feedings well. It has been a month now. He still has the tube in but I have managed to coax him to eat for about a week or so. He was down to 13.5 lbs at the start of this ordeal. He was 14.56 last Wednesday and 15.18 lbs today. I have only tube fed him once this week. I was worried one day so i convinced him to let me do about 40cc. He hadn’t wanted to be tube fed all wee so i had my fingers crossed. I literally sit with all three of them while they eat each meal, which turned out to be just as time consuming and more than the tube feedings! lol Sometimes he wants to chow down on his own but it doesn’t last long so I end up hand feeding. Yup! Wet food is disgusting but he nibs at it this way more than he does with a spoon so I just accept it… At times I think he just enjoys all the special attention but hope he learns to enjoy food without me sitting with him again. Lol Joey hasn’t eaten all that much tonight though… Ugh 😦

    His activity level has increased. He and his sisters are also enjoying a lot of play time since I needed a way to get them to like each other again!

    My vet says that if everything goes well over the weekend and Christmas then he can take the tube out on Wednesday. I am both excited and terrified… Worried that he’ll tire of me following him around with food or that his liver chemistries have slipped (didn’t do them this week but on the 10th they were almost completely normal). I guess I am just worried. Period. 😦

    Has anyone found a way to keep them interested in eating after the tube comes out? It seems he has a slight issue swallowing the pâté, did anyone else notice something like that? If so, did tube removal increase the amount of pâté their kitty consumed?

    Ok, thanks for any feedback and my apologies for the novel! 🙂

    Comment by Dana Therrian | December 21, 2012 | Reply

    • Dana, my cat Betsy had hepatic lipidosis, too, and followed similar patterns as Joey. She only tube-fed for 10 days, though, because her tube fell out. When that happened, she was just beginning to eat again. I was worried that she would lose weight and backslide into bad liver numbers, so I did a lot of the same stuff you’re doing. Betsy only eats dry food and she had gone off her regular stuff–probably reminded her of being sick–so I went to the high-brow pet food store and explained my situation: I had a gravely ill cat who needed a high calorie dry cat food, but I couldn’t commit to a whole bag just yet because my cat might eat none of it. They gave me a whole bunch of sample-size bags of different high-calorie foods and, lo and behold, Betsy liked one of them well enough to pick at it. She was weak, but recovering. She slept a lot, and by this time, she didn’t seem so much sick as just really low on energy. So I brought the food to her, wherever she was, at various points during the day. She only needed a quarter cup of that food a day, so I would bring her a tablespoon here, a tablespoon there, and just set it next to her. I also fed her cat treats. And Laxatone, that hairball remedy that is basically just grease. But it was calories, so I rubbed a dollop of it on the roof of her mouth every morning and night. Gradually, she fattened up again and stopped sleeping so much. It took her several months to get her energy back. And oddly, once she had recovered fully, she went off the high-calorie food. REFUSED to eat it. Went back to her old Costco stuff.

      Comment by anne | December 21, 2012 | Reply

      • Thanks, Anne! Do you recall the high cal dry food? I am fairly certain Joey has been sneaking “stoop” cat’s food at night (food I give the cat that sits on my steps and watches my cats). I saw the bag wasn’t clipped last Sunday so I clipped it back up. Joey woke me up at 3am then ran to that bag. Now I just leave it open. I am sure the girls are also getting their fill but Joey seems to only go for it at night so I let him. He also loves cat treats. He has devoured an entire bag recently….

        Comment by Dana Therrian | December 21, 2012

      • Dana, the cat food was Orijen dry, the fish flavor. And if I were you, I’d just leave that bag open. If the rest of ’em are loading up, so be it!

        Comment by anne | December 22, 2012

  281. Oh Joey also drooled at first but noticed it decreased when his chemistries improved. I think it is their liver making them nauseous?

    Comment by Dana Therrian | December 21, 2012 | Reply

  282. I think Joey threw up last night. It looks like it might be bile? It was sorta watery and had a tint of green. I’m assuming it was him. It is hard to tell with 3… The ER that originally treated him never addressed what to do about pancreatitis and I had to go back to my vet once they returned from vacation because the hospital costs way too much. The Internet says cats with pancreatitis and HL don’t have such a great prognosis… Now I am very worried. He didn’t eat much this morning so I did a 60cc tube feeding. I later noticed the other too didn’t either which leads me to believe they all indulged in “stoop” cat’s bag of food. I think the bag is less than half full so decided this would be a good time to mix it with some high calorie food.

    Anyone have a cat with pancreatitis and HL? They said it could have caused HL but then again said HL could have caused it. I didn’t really understand how that would work since HL is from not eating?

    Comment by Dana Therrian | December 22, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Dana. I think if they’re talking about removing Joey’s tube, you want them to run one more set of labs before they do that. Just to make sure his liver and pancreas numbers look okay. The other thing to keep in mind is that even when they’re getting better, these cats are really ill, and it takes a long time for them to recover. It doesn’t happen on a smoothly gradual scale–there’s a lot of good days and not-so-good days, especially as they’re just beginning to eat again. Sometimes on bad days, Betsy didn’t eat much and she might vomit (and I’d worry that she wasn’t going to recover). Next day, she’d be back on the road to recovery (and I’d have hope). She didn’t have pancreatitis that we know of–her blood tests didn’t indicate it, and I didn’t pay for any diagnostics beyond blood and x-rays. Because she was relatively young (5 when this happened), the vet believed we wouldn’t see cancer, and that an ultrasound might show further inflammation beyond her liver, but the facts remained the same: she needed calories if she was going to recover from hepatic lipidosis. So that’s where I put my money: into treatment. She spent five days in the hospital to get stabilized and have the tube placed, then did 10 days on the tube at home before it fell out. It was probably about three months before she seemed wholly like herself again.

      She did have a setback six months after treatment. Not a hepatic lipidosis setback, but a weird thing where she was acting a little weird and just seemed ill. Really hard to explain, but I’d had a lot of experience with her as an ill cat by now, so I knew when I saw her hanging out in the cold garage, wide awake, rather than sleeping on our bed, or when she would sit down and her bottom would drop to the floor quickly, like her legs weren’t strong enough to ease it down like normal. Just really subtle stuff. But I wasn’t sure whether she was eating or not. (We have a second cat and they free-feed.) I took her in, they ran labs, and her liver numbers were fine, but they discovered she had anemia. Terrible anemia. She spent a night in the hospital while we waited for the big-lab test results, which confirmed the quickie blood test and gave the vet some differentials. There was no explanation for the bad numbers, and Betsy’s condition was very good, considering how low her red blood cell and white blood cell counts were. But the vet said, “Let’s treat the cat, not the numbers.” (The numbers said she was dying, probably of a blood cancer.) But Betsy herself was pretty feisty. Again, any signs of illness were so subtle that the vet said she would never in a million years have thought she was examining a sick cat. The vet gave me three options for what was causing the bad blood counts, and the treatment for any of them was cheap–antibiotics for one possibility (hemobart infection), prednisone for another possibility (autoimmune disease), and if it was blood cancer, treatment wouldn’t matter. I took Betsy home and treated her with antibiotics and prednisone, force-fed her with Max-Cal (the high calorie wet food she’d had as slurry when we were tube-feeding), and within a day or so, she began eating. Within a week, her blood numbers were almost back to normal. Weirdest thing ever. The vet and I agreed that the two incidents–the hepatic lipidosis and the anemia–had to be connected. It was just too much of a coincidence that a previously healthy cat had these two gigantic illnesses within six months. Either she had an episode of autoimmune anemia before her HL, and that’s what caused her stop eating. Or something about the tube-feeding triggered an infection or autoimmune anemia, and it took six months before her numbers plummeted. We’ll never know. It’s been three years and I still watch her for those subtle signs of illness.

      Keep me posted on Joey. I know the stress of those early-recovery days.

      Comment by anne | December 22, 2012 | Reply

      • Hi Anne,

        I had an out of town guest this weekend. Joey immediately joined our company and even insisted on sitting on his lap or between us the whole time. My guest said that he has a confident strut and seemed well.

        Joey was 15.18 lbs friday and 15. 20 lbs yesterday. We ran chemistries again; not only were they all normal, they were all WELL within normal I could hear the excitement before the vet and tech reached our exam room! Joey wasn’t happy about going back to the vet but he was a real trooper as they poked him not once but 4x trying to get blood. I felt terrible for him. He wanted to sit on my lap while we awaited the results, a cleat indicator that he had enough.

        I think he picked up on the good vibes though because when we put him back on the table he was purring. He seemed to take “good” boy to heart and was more than cooperative when removing the bandage and the tube. Unlike the previous times, he immediately hopped back into his carrier and was ready to go. His little sister also warmed up to him too. She started snuggling with him immediately and Joey’s bed is now a free for all, which was not the case before. The 2 girls never attempted to steal his spot until yesterday. I think the whole family is excited.

        His incision has scabed over and he asked for dinner before his sisters, as well as woke me up at 4am for a snack. I am working from home today. He is sprawled out asleep next to me now. 🙂

        Comment by Dana Therrian | December 27, 2012

      • Thanks for the update, Dana. I’m thrilled to hear this! It sounds like all is going well and Joey is well on his way to recovery. Tube-feeding works! Sounds to me like you saved your guy! 🙂

        Comment by anne | December 27, 2012

  283. This is a topic which is near to my heart.
    .. Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?

    Comment by モンクレール | December 27, 2012 | Reply

  284. We took Ranger in today and had her tube removed. She is eating very well, and appears to be on the mend. After all we went through having a tube put in, I left the tube in for 2 extra weeks just to make sure she would not relapse. So far, so good. I remember moments of losing hope and thinking that we were going to have to put her to sleep. I am amazed, but will probably be nervous for a while. We took a picture of her sitting on her favorite chair by the Christmas tree. Having her with us was the best Christmas present I could have ever asked for! Does anyone have suggestions for healthy foods post feeding tube? Dr.’s believe her reason for Hipatic Lipidosis was being over weight. I want to get her healthy without shocking her system and making her sick again. Thanks again for making this site, it really kept me going when I feared the worst.

    Comment by Stefanie | January 4, 2013 | Reply

    • Is he eating normally or not enough? If you don’t think he is eating enough then Evo dry kitten adult has a lot of calories in a small portion. It is 602/cup so just over a quarter would do and had good ingredients. If he is eating normal and you want to supply healthy food, Well wet foods have protein and many are grain-free.

      Did the vet say why he stopped eating?? Joey stopped because he had pancreatitis the HL developed and made him worse. His chemistries are all completely back to normal since we treated for HL but I still must ensure he doesn’t get sick or stop eating again because of pancreatitis. This is a cycle I don’t want to reoccur.

      GOOD LUCK!!

      Comment by Dana Therrian | January 5, 2013 | Reply

  285. Joey still seems to be doing great! He’s been front and center for all meals as well pushing me when he doesn’t like the flavor of Wellness wet food. I guess he doesn’t fancy the turkey because he begs for other food when it’s turkey day. I still leave out a tiny bit of the Evo dry kitten food to ensure he’s getting enough calories.

    The girls have taken over his new bed but he doesn’t seem to care, must be because he prefers my lap!

    Today they took turns playing in the snow on the balcony. 🙂

    Comment by Dana Therrian | January 5, 2013 | Reply

    • Everyone’s stories are heart-warming and encouraging. Like your babies, my 11-yr-old cat Camper–who has HL, pancreatitis, and gallbladder issue, is having a long, difficult road to recovery (actually, it’s a little too soon to say she will recover, but I’m hopeful). We’re only on week 1 of her feeding tube, but it was the best decision. I found a collar made just for cats with e-tubes: This has helped me keep Camper and my other two cats from bothering the tube. They also sell good o-ring syringes. I don’t mean to be a commercial for them, but it really has been much better than bandages. Thank you to everyone for all the advice and insight.

      Comment by Camper's Mom | January 26, 2013 | Reply

      • Camper’s Mom,

        It is really early on but I’m hopeful Camper will make a full recovery. Joey is completely back to normal, if not healthier now! He rough houses with his sisters and runs around more now than before. It took a good 5 weeks or so but all the time and effort was more than worth it to see him happy and healthy! Good luck and keep us posted!


        Comment by Dana Therrian | January 27, 2013

  286. My cat has been losing weight over the last few months, though it was hard to tell at first, because she has so much hair. When we boarded her in mid-April she was 10.5#. Last week she was down to 8# and not eating much. I took her to the vet who took all the blood and urine tests. We thought it may be fatty liver from not eating much, though secondary to some other condition. We found out she had a severe bladder infection and she was put on antibiotics the next day. Without a major improvement in her condition after 2 days, we scheduled an ultrasound and possible liver needle biopsy and a feeding tube insertion. The ultrasound found periodic thickening in the walls of her intestine. He thinks it is probably cancer, but there is a chance that it is inflammatory bowel disease. She has a history of potty problems that could have been related to this, so we are being hopeful and positive, until we find out otherwise. We opted not to get a biopsy as this would have been an invasive surgery in her stomach, in addition to the insertion of the feeding tube. The treatment is the same anyway. They are giving her steroids. She is 14 years old so we did not plan on doing chemotherapy if they found cancer.

    She had the tube placed Wednesday morning and I brought her home on Wed. mid-afternoon. I did her first tube feeding about 2 hours later (they had not fed her). She tolerated it well and I did not have any problems with her reacting to it at all. She is mostly sleeping and laying down so it is pretty easy to tube feed her. I kink the tube a little to keep out the air. It hasn’t been messy at all. Yesterday I tube fed her 4 times, with no problems. Today, 3 times so far with no problems. I was supposed to have taken her in today to have the bandage checked and changed, but it is a 40 minute car trip for her one way, and it would be her third in a week. I said it was too much stress, and she was already on antibiotics, so shouldn’t develop an infection. So they are having me come in on Monday, which I am very thankful for. They will show me how to change the bandage. I should add that my Dad had a feeding tube before he passed away, so I do have some experience with this. And my mom, who was in her late 70’s when his tube was put in, and deathly afraid of doing anything new, was able to learn how to do it fairly easily and her and my brother fed him that way for 4 years. If my mom can tube feed a person, YOU can tube feed a cat!

    My cat gets up a couple times per day and drinks water from her fountain and pees in her litter box, so things are working ok there. I am hoping she will regain some strength from the food and become more active next week. At this point I have no idea how long she will have her tube in or whether she will improve, but we are staying hopeful that she will get better, even if it ends up being only for 4-6 months (if it is cancer).

    Comment by L | June 28, 2013 | Reply

  287. My cat, Mr. Noodles, is currently being fed with the feeding tube. I have to schedule my day around him, which is perfectly fine to me, as he is worth it. Your story about your cat put tears in my eyes when I read he passed in your arms. I had to have another cat put to sleep last week and it was so hard and I miss him so much. I found this page when I was looking up better food to use with the tube feeding of Mr. Noodles. From what I have read here, it seems a vet in Pearland told me wrong about how to feed it. I have been feeding him every 4 to 5 hours…starting with 6cc of water, then 12cc of Gerber baby food, then flush with 6cc of water. Seems like, from this page here, I need to be feeding him more. If you have any advice, please do contact me. I have a webpage set up for Mr. Noodles and you can see and read more about my story here. Thank you!!!

    Comment by Todd Hopkins | March 11, 2014 | Reply

  288. So happy I found this site! Our Missy stopped eating.. A trip to Vet & today she will be home with E-Tube!! I’m anxious, but hopeful! She has no diagnosis.. I had applied small amount of diaper rash cream on her ear that had a scratch on the top. I didn’t realize that ingesting Zinc can be toxic to cats!! No level of Zinc showed in her bloodwork.. Low grade temp for a couple days.. 103. Ultrasound showed nothing.bladder small & soft.. So..scary not to be sure why she is refusing to eat or drink. While she was sedated, Vet was able to examine her mouth,teeth,throat..again, no sign of any problems.. Missy is about 6 years old.. We have 3.. Princess & Lucy.all close in age.. Indoor cats.. Princess & Missy we inherited after my Son was killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2012.. They are my Grand-Kitty’s!! We love them all.. & I agree on the task I have ahead with Missy.. She’s worth the work.. If it all fails, at least I’ll know I tried everything I possibly could!! We are at $2000.. So far!!
    I also feed a small Feral Colony in my yard.. 5 Ferals.. A few weeks ago, one of the kittens was spay..( I did TNR program with All of them).. The Kitten was returned to outdoors & within that week was attacked by a large animal.. She made her way to my deck… I had to take her in & she was euthanized.. That was a sad day..Again, thanks for all the great info!! Much appreciated!!!

    Comment by Flo D | April 24, 2014 | Reply

    • Our Missy is much better!! Eating like a champ one week now!! E tube will b removed next week if she stays well!!
      We are so happy to have her back to her old self!!! Thanks again for all this info it helped me thru!!

      Comment by Flo Domijan | May 28, 2014 | Reply

  289. Can anybody tell me how to secure the bandage with the tube in it. I have fiddled with her neck several times each day and am now in tears because she sits patiently while I readjust. I can’t get a kittykollar without waiting a long time. Please, any suggestions. The end of the tube keeps slipping around from the top of her head.

    Comment by Lyn | November 10, 2014 | Reply

    • Hi Lyn,

      I know this is a stressful time but you guys will get through it! It has been almost 2 years since my Joey battled this disease and he’s doing great!

      I took Joey in weekly to have his tube incision checked and bandages secured, but you can do it yourself. Make sure you are using the antibacterial cream liberally. You need a large supply of gauze, medical tape, and the colorful wrapping stuff that is like a bandage. Wrap with gauze, tape it at an angle that won’t get caught should she venture under chairs or other furniture. Lastly, secure with a good supply of that colorful bandage stuff that the vet uses.

      Keep us posted on her progress!make sure you flush the tube with Luke warm water, feed slowly, and be patient! You an do this!


      Comment by Dana | November 10, 2014 | Reply

      • Also,I didn’t see whT food you are feeding kitty, but should be a high calorie wet mixed with milk thistle- both from vet office. I blended it in my blendtec then warmed it in a hot water bath. Temperature is very important or it will induce vomiting. Joey spent 4 days in at Medvet and 5 days at my vet office (they were on vacation when he got sick). Aggressive feeding got him out of the tube the day after Christmas. He was eating on his own before the month was up but I was too terrified to take it out before the holiday in fear something would happen. Hope this info helps!


        Comment by Dana | November 10, 2014

    • Hi. Sorry u r in tears!! I know that feeling!!! Missy is doing GREAT!! I’m sure your cat will pull through this!! I have to b honest.. I never removed bandage to double check Missy’s feeding tube!! She went each week & Vet changed bandage.. It was fine.. Added note: STEROIDS(Prednisone) was our MIRACLE!!! She was eating a few bites after just a couple of doses!! She had not eaten for 6 weeks… Recovery was speedy after that!!! Best of Luck!!! 🙂

      Comment by Flo D | November 11, 2014 | Reply

  290. Thank you so much for your post. I rescued 5 kittens from a feral mother (it took me 2 years to befriend the mother cat) to stop the cycle of kittens everytime she was in heat. I planned to keep the mother and had homes for all the kittens. I was advised to keep them for 3 months, and was in a county program for all to have shots and pediatric spay and neuter. Unfortunately, the mother and one of the kittens had leukemia, and had to be put down. That meant the 4 remaining kittens needed to be checked again 3 months later. I was already so attached, and I kept them. I saw both fathers of the litter, and I have a boy and girl that are black and white, and a boy and girl who are part Mainecoon. The mother was an average sized gray and white cat, and a wonderful mother. Buddy, who was the runt, but became the largest at 27 lbs, was diagnosed with a fatty liver and anorexia. He was gravely I’ll and just 6 years old now. For the past week I have been feeding him through an e-tube, and I surely relate to everything you said. He’s responding and starting to gain strength, which makes every moment of his treatment worthwhile. He is the sweetest of all his siblings, and I was afraid I would lose him. He’s not out of the woods yet, but his chances go up every day. He’s such a good boy, and I’ll do whatever it takes to give him a good quality life, despite my fear of the e-tube procedures, which are every 6 hours. He even receives his various meds the same way. It’s been almost a week, and I, too, have learned certain methods for his treatment regardless of my fears (which are minimal now). His siblings, Skunkers, Pandora (Pandi Sue) and Gidget (Gidgi Marie) seem to know he’s sick and respect his boundaries. I love my fur babies enough to do what it takes to make them well. It fills my heart with joy to see Buddy gaining strength, and hopefully on his way to a full recovery. I love them all so much! Debi 11/9/15

    Comment by Debi | November 8, 2015 | Reply

  291. Wish I could make a decision so easily ,my cat has what is defined as stable metastic endocardinoma and stopped eating. We thought it was as the cancer but turned out to be poop in her intestine. She would not eat for 5 days and now we need to decide if an e-tube makes sense. I’m heartsick over this.

    Comment by Jen Roberts | March 3, 2016 | Reply

    • So very sorry to hear your troubles with your cat.. E-Tube is a commitment for sure.. We kept Missy Alive for 6 weeks.. It was difficult & expensive.. The Vet ended up trying her with Steroids & it was Magic!! If you go with E-Tube you may need a family memeber to help out with feeding times… Best of Luck.. You will be in my thoughts..

      Comment by Flo Domijan | March 3, 2016 | Reply

      • Did she survive after 6 weeks

        Comment by Jen Roberts | March 3, 2016

      • Yes! That was 2 years ago & she is doing great!! Gained back the couple of pounds she had lost! Best of luck… Whatever you decide… Everyone has to make the decision that best fits…

        Comment by Flo Domijan | March 3, 2016

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