My cat refuses and gags when I present her with any food and am currently feeding her with a 3ml syringe, which is averaging about 20 ml a day.
A little over two weeks ago a boxspring fell on my 13 year old cat, Princesse. She was rushed her to the emergency cat care clinic, which was all too far away. The impact of the injury was unfortuately centered on her little cat head. She was in the clinic for two days straight and her lower broken jaw (common for cats to break) was set with a wire (will be out for 6 weeks) and there was a concussion (a nice way of saying potential brain damage). Since I got her home she has never really been herself and each day there has been tears of pain and of joy as she learns or remembers the smallest behaivor improvement such as being able to stand up without falling, taking notice of movement around her, or being able to find her litter box.
Her feeding has been an ongoing saga and during the initial emergency care the attending vet physician put in a feeding tube through her neck into her
esophagus. I was able to feed her about 80 ml a day (but she was prone to throw up after those tube feedings sessions 40ml per session). During the first week I fed her water, food, and meds through her feeding tube and the vet decided to pull after a week due to the fact the feeding tube was causing her discomfort and that she started drinking water on her own. Although since the feeding tube was pulled she has not been able to eat on her own and I have been feeding her about every two hours with about 5-6 ml per session resulting in 20 ml a day as mentioned above. She gags at any food presented to her and I wonder if perhaps her olfactory bulbs were damaged from the primary injury, but tons of online reading leads me to think that cats are picky eaters and gagging specifically has been seen in both jaw injury and also concussions, which my cat has both.
In reading other posts I have seen others having success with placing small chunks of boiled foods in the cat's mouth. The act of boiling removes both flavor
and smell and makes the meat more tender, which eventually led the cat to begin eating on their own.
I have also read other posts where others have had success with medicating with ciproheptadine, an apetite stimulant.
I was hoping to get feedback on both of these options and/or perhaps any advice.
If I can't get her to eat then the vet has led me to believe she will need fluids, through IV, which I believe will be another set back for her. She has always had a very sensitive stomach, even for a cat and I worry about her long-term recovery and want to make the right decisions at every step.
I think you're doing a great job taking care of her!
I don't know about your questions, but we had a cat once who had to to IV fluids and he did great on it. It wasn't for the same exact issue, but it gave him an additional two years of a happy life! So, IV fluids should not be bad for her, but will help her to get hydrated and possibly to feel better.
Be patient with her as you already have and keep loving her. It sounds to me like her prognosis could be very good. What does the vet say about that?
Has Princess been back for any rechecks since the initial visit to the veterinarian? I am concerned that she is really not getting enough nutrition with the 20 ml per day.
I doesn't surprise me that she vomited after the 40ml per session feeding as that is a large amount to get into a cat at one time. Using 12-20ml at a time several times a day is usually more effective at getting the nutrition she needs into her.
Take a moment and post this question over in the Ask A Vet Expert forum and get some ideas from our doctors over there. I am sure one of them has dealt with a similar case and can probably provide you with some great insight.
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