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Maya STILL not eating on own - getting desperate

August 13th, 2005, 02:05 PM
(This is a little long, sorry...)

My cat Maya is still not eating on her own, after over two months since the rabies shot that apparently set this whole thing off. A quick overview:

Maya has not eaten on her own for more than a couple of days since the first of June, right after she had her rabies shots. She's had bloodwork, x-rays, an ultrasound and a quick needle biopsy of her liver. She lost 2 lbs. from the first to the end of June. To date, nothing has shown up other than elevation of her liver enzymes (up to 217 at the highest) and some fat deposits around her liver (per the ultrasound and needle biopsy). Nothing has shown any masses or obstructions so far. She was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease that was dormant until the rabies shot, but I think we dodged the bullet of hepatic lipidosis with hand feeding. We decided not to put in a feeding tube since she was allowing me to syringe-feed her.

I've been syringe-feeding her since July 1--increasing amounts of pureed A/D prescription food, and she has been on 10 mg. of Prednisone since July 3 (5 mg., morning and evening). She was at 240 ml a day of the A/D for about 2 1/2 weeks, at which point she was back up to 9 1/2 lbs. (her original weight was 10 lbs.) and her liver enzymes were back down to 57.

On August 5, the vet advised weaning her off the hand-feeding and cut her Prednisone in half, to 5. I dropped her to 120 mls. of food. As of August 12, she had lost 5 oz. and began to lose energy. On the 12th, the vet gave me Cyproheptadine, to give her 2 mg. twice a day. I gave her 2 mg. that night, and after fussing around for about 2 hours, she finally licked a Cheeto and a few licks of a fudgsicle I had, then lapped up quite a bit of the A/D that I had pre-pureed for syringe feeding her. Hallalujah, I thought we were on the other side of the mountain at last.

I had forgotten to ask the vet about still giving her the Prednisone, however, and did not give her any the next morning...only the Cyproheptadine. She cried and mewed but would not touch any food. I fed her a little bit (as the vet had advised the night before) and left a little food out. Again, she didn't touch it, and that night after I gave her the Cypro, she meowed and meowed as if hungry, but wouldn't touch anything. I tried pure meat and squash babyfood (no onions!), four different kinds of wet food, the food she had eaten the night before, tuna, my food...everything. She was not interested. She would typically sniff it and then just turn away and start meowing at me again. Even if she has not eaten for 24 hours, she still will not eat anything on her own.

Per the vet, I put her back on the Prednisone on Wednesday morning and went back to the syringe feeding (she was back up to 200 ml as of last night). They had me take her off the Cypro for three days (three days will be Sunday evening) and then said to try it again.

I've had her to three different vet clinics and an abdominal specialist (seven different vets total), and they're all baffled as to why she won't eat. I don't understand why she would respond to the Cypro one day and then not the next...could it be because I didn't give her the Prednisone? Her energy has declined significantly since last week, and my fear has grown. The next stop, according to the vet, is to take her to the veterinary college for at least an endoscopy.

I do not want to put her through exploratory surgery; is there any other thing that can help to figure out what's wrong with her? Everyone is starting to seriously talk about cancer, which frightens me even more...but I don't understand why that hasn't shown up on any of the tests so far, if that's what it is.

If it is cancer, is there anyone here who's had a cat with cancer (it's probably intestinal or something like that)? How did they find it? What were the treatments? What was the outcome?

This forum has been so helpful and supportive in the time that Maya's been sick and semi-healthy. Any advice or words of wisdom you can give at this stage would be welcomed...I'm so afraid I'm going to lose her.

Thank you,


August 13th, 2005, 03:34 PM

We had a kitty Marilyn with cancer - she was 14 years old, and slowly slowly she started leaving her food, and like you, we tried everything, at one point she was only eating yogurt - after several vet checks with no results, finally one vet at the Animal Medical Center in NYC looked under her tongue, she was quite weak by this time, so she did not object, he found a little sore which turned out to be cancer. We put in a feeding tube, but she did not tolerate it well at all. The treatments on offer were very limited and would have had little success with this type of cancer - we decided that her quality of life was not going to be good from here on in, so we put her to sleep, very reluctantly, but she was quite unhappy...

From when we noticed she wasn't eating normally to the last day, was only about 3 weeks - cancer seems to work quite quickly on little furries unfortunately -

Sorry I don't have any better advice, but hopefully your kitty does not have cancer and will resume eating her food soon.

I see you are nowhere near NYC, but the AMC is a great place, this is where they take all kinds of endangered species, zoo and circus animals when they are sick, even my vet here recommends them - maybe Maya is up for a little road trip?

How is Maya interacting with your other kitty? We had 2 also, and when one came back from the vet, the other protected and cared for it like mad...

Hope she is feeling better very soon

August 13th, 2005, 03:51 PM
WhKnight,I have no answers to Mayas problem and I am really sorry the two of you are going through this.
I did however have 2 cats with cancer,they were elderly 18,19 yrs old and by the time it was discovered it was too late :sad:
After 7 vets,you'd think someone would have an answer to what's wrong :confused:
If Maya is young,maybe exploratory surgery is the only thing left to do,but being weak and ill,could she handle it??
I would think Ultra-sound or x-rays would show up any tumors..?
I wish you and pretty Maya all the best and hopefully a recovery. :fingerscr
Twinmommy's cat Sam,was just a few days ago diagnosed with cancer,in his case it was very bad and he had to be put down,but that is not always the case.
I just wanted to add,this is the weekend,not many people on the Forum to give you advice,so hold on!

August 13th, 2005, 10:31 PM
Hi Whknight

I would ask your vet about the bloodwork that he did. My old vet did routine bloodwork on Sam that didn't show anything. The vet where I went for a second opinion did a complete blood profile. This enabled us to get a diagnosis.

Good luck, and I'm sorry you have to go through this with your baby. :sorry:

August 14th, 2005, 10:22 AM
WHknight,just a thought,I am assuming 7 vets must have checked Mayas teeth and gums,an abcessed tooth or infected gums can cause a lot of problems,I know from experience,but it should be one of the first things a vet checks,so it's probably been done.
Rather than surgery I would,like TM says,get a complete bloodwork done,if it has not been done already.

August 17th, 2005, 05:08 PM
Yep, she got a complete blood panel back in June and everything was good except her liver enzymes, which were at 217 at that point.

They have checked her teeth and gums each time, but I had the last vet doublecheck after your post, Chico2...that thought had crossed my mind, too, as well as whether there was something with her throat that was bothering her.

I put her back on the Cyproheptadine on Monday evening, and a good friend came over to keep us both company (she was also going to take care of my little lass this weekend so I could go camping). She licked quite a bit of the liquified food off her paws, then later that evening she nibbled on a little bit of solid food. Same thing on Tuesday, and I'm trying her again tonight. So we'll see what happens, but again, this is a good, if small, step forward.

I'm hoping this is the real turning point...I'm going to give her a bit more time, then if this doesn't work, it's off to the veterinary college for an endoscopy and who knows what else.



August 17th, 2005, 05:34 PM
I guess you've tried all kinds of food, baby food, cooked chicken and rice? I'd even try some of those rich treats.
Life's no fun when you don't have an appetite.....
D'you think her tummy is bothering her, indigestion? Would probiotics help? Her stomach may be taking a beating from the meds? Catch 22, meds for poor appetite end up adding to it?
You've probably tried all this, just random thoughts. Good luck to Maya.

August 17th, 2005, 08:00 PM
Thank you for the suggestions, Badger...yep, you're right, I had tried baby food, about every canned food on the market (for the record, Maya does not like Fancy Feast or Friskies, LOL). Funnily enough, when she first sank her teeth into something voluntarily, it was one of my baked Cheetos...and then she licked a fudgsicle I was eating (the things we do for our pets). I'm not a big cook, so I hadn't gotten to the chicken, but the same good friend mentioned in my previous post made some chicken broth for her.

She's eaten even more tonight...not a ton, but has gone after the prescription food with some gusto, which is yet another good sign. I'm relieved and intrigued, as the vet cautioned that she might not eat that food since it's what I've been syring-feeding her for the last several weeks.

And so the saga continues, LOL...thank you all again for your wonderful ideas and your support. It's been more helpful than I can tell you.


August 17th, 2005, 08:07 PM
L- Glutamine is supposed to increase appetite. You can get that in any health food store.

August 18th, 2005, 07:56 AM
WHknight,Thank's for the update,I was wondering how Maya was doing,I am elated there is some improvment :highfive: hopefully you will not need any more stressful probing for her.
I also would like to say,you are a wonderful mom/dad(since I don't know if you're male or female :D )to Maya,unlucky in that she is sick,but very lucky to be loved and cared for by you :love:

August 18th, 2005, 08:03 AM
WhKnight, I hope Maya is finally taking a permanent turn for the better. It's amazing how diligent you have been through all of this. Maya is very fortunate to have such a wonderful owner. :grouphug:

August 18th, 2005, 12:09 PM
glad to hear that the Cyproheptadine and L-glutamine I pm'd you about weeks(?) ago are working( I see you tried the one and it looks like it's stimulating Maya's appetite like I said it would ) . I didn't know if you had decided to try them because I didn't hear back from you . With both of those, it doesn't matter what you feed Maya, these stimulate the appetite so much, she'll WANT to eat.

August 19th, 2005, 08:44 PM
(Where's that cartwheel emoticon?)


It is Friday night and Maya has eaten on her own every night this week! I am still feeding her some in the morning, but she is absolutely wolfing down the A/D food at night. Tonight, she didn't even require an "appetizer" of having some food put on her paws. I called the vet today to give her an update and we were both very psyched. I'm keeping her on her current routine to see how she does, but she's currently progressing on her own instead of my having to sort of force her into everything.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of you for your support and your words of advice (I did get your information, justncase, and was going to let you know, but I live in this tiny town and the health food store closes at noon on Saturday and...oh, it's a long story). You have been such a tremendous help through all of this, and every time I see her little face in that bowl chowing away, I can just feel my heart SING.

Hopefully Maya's recovery will spread to other sick kitties. I think CJ really was her guardian angel, and helped me and the vets pull her through this.

Okay, gotta go, she wants me to watch her eat again...

Love and kitty kisses,

WhKnight (I am a kitty mommy, BTW)

August 20th, 2005, 07:01 AM
Who says a White Knight cannot be a female,you certainly have been for Maya and I am jumping for joy(well almost :D )that Maya is doing better!! Great start of the weekend! :highfive:

August 20th, 2005, 08:13 PM
Thank you, Chico2! Today she ate on her own in the morning and at night...I didn't even have to syringe-feed her this morning; I just heated up her food a little and she dove right in.

It's wonderful!

August 20th, 2005, 08:15 PM
That's such good news!!!! I'm so happy for you tonight! :) :grouphug:

August 21st, 2005, 05:22 PM
Dear CJ,

I have been a not-so-well kitty for quite some time now, and I know I worried my mom quite a bit. I wish I could have told her what was wrong with me, but I just didn't know myself. All I knew was that food didn't seem to look very good, and after a while, not eating got to be a habit. I know she got upset a lot of times, but then she got that determined look and started filling up syringes with stuff, and before I knew it, I was swaddled in a towel and gulping it down. It wasn't so bad; I liked having Mom's attention, but I didn't like how upset she got when I didn't eat.

Just like I'm not sure why I got sick, I'm not sure why I got better. I just know that now food tastes pretty good, and I seem to be hungry quite a bit. I feel bad that my sister keeps getting locked in Mom's office (so she won't eat my special food), but I guess pretty soon I'll start eating my regular food again and she and I can mess with each other just like we used to.

Yesterday, my Mom didn't have to feed me at all. As soon as I could drag her out of bed (that hair-pulling trick was a winner, thanks!), she pops my dish into the microwave and I'm off to the races. Today I ate almost a whole can of my special food...and I was hungry even before she gave me my medicine!

Today, my Mom washed the syringes she's been using to feed me and put them away, along with the towels that she wrapped me in and used so she wouldn't get food on her clothes, plus the ones that were on the coffee table to protect it from the food too. She put the blender away, and filed all my records since we won't need them for the veterinary college now.

Our house looks normal again, and I'm feeling great...fatter and sassy. My sister looks a lot less worried, and my Mom has a lighter heart.

Mom says you're my guardian angel :angel: ,so I just wanted to say thank you for making everything okay. I'll try to be a good kitty...well, mostly (I'll probably still pester my sister)...and carry on for both of us.


August 22nd, 2005, 07:12 AM
That's sweet,Maya....know that people all over worried about you and although we have not had the pleasure to meet your beautiful self,were doing cartwheels like your mom,knowing you were getting better :thumbs up
My 3 boys(Rocky,Chico and Vinnie)wish you were here,they think cats are all male :D having never had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful Tortie-cat :pawprint: