- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


advice on tube feeding a cat

heidi van s
May 10th, 2006, 03:36 AM
I have already been in contact with some members about the problem I have with my very sick cat, Socks. Does anyone, or maybe one of the vets on the forum, have some tips and advice on this matter.
The question is: How does one know if the cat's body is rejecting the feeding tube, it's in the esophagus? My cat has been tube fed for 12 days now and still no signs of him wanting to eat on his own yet. Since Sunday he has kept all his feeds down every day until this morning, he brought up his first feed. Yesterday I took him back to the vet, he had a temperature. What's causing this is anyone's guess.
I would be very grateful for just some advice and tips on this tube feeding problem.

May 10th, 2006, 07:33 AM
This is unfortunately way out of my field,I cannot help you:sorry: but maybe someone else can.
I was glad to see you were posting again,even though the news were not great.
The fever points to an infection,as I am sure you know already,poor Socks and you:sad:
Hopefully Socks will improve,this must be very stressful for him and you.
If love could cure,Socks would be a very healthy cat:love:

heidi van s
May 10th, 2006, 08:25 AM
hello chico2, Thanks for your support. I can't understand why there isn't anyone out there, and it's big wide world, who has had experience with this kind of thing. Maybe someone will still post a reply! I can't remember if I posted the latest on the progress with Socks and I hope I am not repeating myself. It was by sheer coincidence that I took him to the vet yesterday. I had to order his special food and had to retuen at 5pm to pick it up, but while I was away at the vet my daughter told me that Socks was scratching at his neck. I decided to ask the vet if I could bring him along just to make sure there was no infection in his wound. All was fine, except the vet took his temperaure,as a precaution, and it turned out that it was high! When he was weighed at he clinic before I brought him home his weight was 3.8 kilos and now it is 4. I am over the moon, that's why, although I am disheatened a bit, for my kitty's sake,I still remain optimistic! On Friday when he has his last blood test the results will be a huge indicationas to how he is progressing.
Once again , thanks for your kind words!
It is very much appreciated!

Lucky Rescue
May 10th, 2006, 08:42 AM
Cats generally will not eat if they have a fever. Have you tried putting food directly in his mouth, since he's keeping it down?

You could blend some canned food with a bit of water to make a paste, get one of those popsicle type sticks, open his mouth and put a small glob of food on the roof of his mouth with the stick. He should swallow it.

I know nothing about your cat's condition, but I'm sure the vet could tell you if this might be a good idea. The longer cats go without eating, the harder it is to get them started again.

heidi van s
May 10th, 2006, 09:18 AM
hello, I have posted the thread about Sock's condition. It started with vomiting and I was away in the USA at then time. When I returned I took him to the vet. It's a long story. Anyway, an x-ray, echo, and biopsy of the liver, pancreas, stomach wall revealed nothing. There were specks of fat which were scattered all over the inside organs but the vet was baffled, no signs of infection etc only that he had some kind of infection in either the stomach or intestines. He didn't eat for days, this eventualy went into weeks which resultedi n him now being tube fed. We have tired numerous things to get him to eat but to no avail. I even pureed chicken brest every bit of fat removed an dblended it with water. My daughter put some on his lips which he had to lick off but he was not impressed. I tried again today but every time we do this with whatever food, he makes as if he is going to vomit. Maybe its just á matter of time!I will try the popsicle stick, I just don't want to make him ill as it is on a wish and a prayer that every time I feed him hopefully it stays down! After this mornings mishap he has kept the last feed down and now here goes the second one!

May 10th, 2006, 09:53 AM
I think I emailed you before about tube feeding. I've been through it with two of myu cats. One had an upper GI tube and the other had the tube into her esophogus. This can sometime take weeks of tube feeding before the cat will eat on its own. The fever is probably a bacterial infection but you must ask the vet.

When I tube fed Morgan I diluted the food with a bit of warm water and put it in the blender to make if as watery as possible - easier to inject into the tube.

I got my other cat (Upper GI tube) to start eating by (OK this sounds crazy) tieing a piece of raw liver onto a string and I swung it if front of him. His kill instict took over and he attacked the liver - make sure your cat doesnt swallow the string. I then untied the liver and he ate it.

You could try this.

heidi van s
May 11th, 2006, 12:45 AM
Hello Kerrye,
Tube feed day no 14
Yes you did email me! Yesterday Socks didn't have a wonderful day with his feeding but the vet did say that some days he may not keep down every feed. He brought up his first feed so I fed him his second feed later than scheduled. He only brought up a small amount, but the other feeds were fine. I must just persevere. My cats have only ever eaten dry cat food so I really don't think that he raw liver would work, I could try it. It's just still so frustrating. My daughter opened his mouth this morning and popped one dry food piece into his mouth and it went down the hatch but that was all. I am going to try and get a popsicle stick as one of the other members suggested ,and place some food on it,and place it in this mouth (roof of his mouth). I have thick pureed chicken.One thing I can say is that the 200g that he has put on has made such a difference to him already, he still has to put on far more. When he came home from the clinic last week tuesday he was extrememly weak and very wobbly on his legs, at least now he can walk about and he is purring again and being more sociable. I am going to phone my vet today and ask him about all this other medication which he is still getting. Primperan , half an hour before every feed. Prednisolone, and Ursochol for the liver ( but apparenetly his liver function is 100% restored) but a final blood count tomorrow will tell if he can come off this medication.
Thanks for your advice!

May 11th, 2006, 06:43 AM
Hi Heidi
Just another suggestion. Try tuna water - cats usually can not resist this stuff. I buy the cheap tuna packed in water and give that to any of mine that are sick (of course after a vet checkup). Also try warming the food you are injecting into the tube. Push the food into tube very slowly - sometimes if your inject it too fast they can gag.

Good luck

May 11th, 2006, 07:16 AM
Heidi,I am glad we have someone with experience with this sort of thing,thank's Kerrey:thumbs up
Socks might learn to love canned food,in my experience with male cats,or cats in general,canned moist food is essential in their diet...but first you have to get Socks healthy:fingerscr
Please keep us posted..
Any more pics of Socks?

heidi van s
May 12th, 2006, 04:18 AM
Hi Kerrye, I have just tried the canned tuna bit, I put some in a bowl and put it in front of him and I thought that he was going to throw up! I took it away faster than a streak of lightening! He had a bit of an upset this morning. He did get sick. I thought that perhaps it was because his last feed was a bit late, much later than his normal time. He was also straining to defecate and because he is still fragile maybe the straining put extra pressure on his stomach etc. Did you find this with your cat when his night schedule had been disturbed? During the day, if it is half an hour to one hour later than normal it's no problem. Nights seem to be a problem? Or maybe it's just coincidence. I had to take him back to the vet this morning at 8am for a blood test.The results will be in this evening. He was also weighed and now he weighs 4.1kg, so he has put on 100g since Tuesday total so far 300g.I am over the moon..... it's just the eating thing! I was also thinking that maybe because his weight had dropped so dramatically since he had first taken ill, it could be that his weight must still increase more before he is actually feeling very much better before he can stomach food.I can't remember what he weighed but I know it was inbetween my other 2 cats weight ( 6.5 kg and 4.2kg) If he weighed say, 5.8 which I am sure it was about there, that means that he lost 2kgs which is a huge amount.
Thanks so much for giving me more advice. It is greatly appreciated.

heidi van s
May 12th, 2006, 04:39 AM
hello chico2, I am truly grateful for Kerrye's posts, at least I don't feel so alone with coping with Sock's codition! Here are some pictures of socks which I have just taken! Sorry I have tried to upload but the file is too big. I will have to work on it and send them later on as I have to go out just now....
Best wishes

May 12th, 2006, 09:53 AM
Hi Heidi

Sorry my emails are so far between. I use the email at work and write during my break and lunch hour.
My cats also gagged at the tuna water - if they weren't ready to eat on their own. Just keep up with the tube feeding - great that Soxs is gaining weight. It does take time - some cats get over it quickly and others take a while. Just keep feeding him warm blended food through the tube at a slow rate and he will eventually start to be interrested in his food. Hopefully you are using a vet perscrition tinned wet food. I think the one I used for PigPig and Morgan was made by Walthems. Check with your vet to make sure that the food has all the added extras he needs.

Good Luck - and hang in there.

heidi van s
May 12th, 2006, 02:55 PM
Hi Kerrye, Thanks again for all your encouragement. I have the results of the blood test that was done today. I no longer have to give Socks the liver medication but I have to up the cortisone because some of the results were better than last week's and others worse. They cannot tell me what is causing this as we have done everything that is possibly human to sort this out, it's an unknown phenomena . I have faith that Socks will get better. As I mentioned he is putting on weight and I have to take him back on Wednesday for another blood test.I spoke to the vet on the phone, I had just finished a tennis match so I will chat to him next week and get the exact details. Will let you know the outcome!:thumbs up
Keeping positive.

May 12th, 2006, 03:41 PM
Heidi,I guess you got some good and some bad news,but I am sure everyone here is rooting for Socks and his recovery,I know he is in my thoughts every time I get on the Forum.:love:
As for the pics,if you have photo-program,mine is Adobe Photo-shop,you can click on Image or edit and resize the pic.

heidi van s
May 13th, 2006, 12:13 AM
Hello cihico2, I do have Adobe Photoshop but it's on the other pc. I have another program which I will try and of course I could take some more oics and reset my camera to take email size shots which I should have thought of in the first place! I rushed home last night after my tennis match to feed Socks and he kept everything down! As you saw in my post I have to double his cortisone dose and I wonder what side effects this has. Does it make a cat dozy? My local vet is open at 11am so I am going to phone. I am lucky in that the vet at the special clinic where Socks underwent the investigations and the iv treatment, as well at my vet ,and she has a partner , so the three of them are discussing and basically treating Socks.
all the best
heidi:thumbs up

heidi van s
May 13th, 2006, 05:29 AM
Hello, chico 2 here is a picture of socks. I have just spoken to my vet again because I was concerned that Socks seemed to be breathing a little faster than usual, but apparently this is due to the increased cortisone. He has taken all his feeds today but I did try some special tinned food from the vet and placed in on a popsicle stick and put it in his mouth, he actaully threw up. Well it obviously is not the right time yet! I am trying all the time to encourage him. I am really tired today! feeding Socks comes first but also having to do the family chores etc as well.
Anyway, have a good weekend.
heidi :thumbs up

May 13th, 2006, 06:54 AM
Thank's Heidi,he looks beautiful,although a bit disgruntled...:love:
I've had cats most of my life and never experienced what you are with Socks.
I've given meds and insuline-injections,but that's are an :angel: for not giving up on socks.
Here are my 3 guys crossing their paws for Socks:fingerscr

heidi van s
May 15th, 2006, 10:14 AM
Hi Chico 2, your cats are absolutley beautiful! Thank you for sending me their pics. I have another 2 cats and I will add theirs too. The black cat, Scruffy, is a female and the grey is Patches(although he doesn't have a patch on him)he is a male and they are both 15 years old. To give you an update on Socks. As I mentioned in my last post he is on a double dose of cortisone and we see the vet on Wednesday morning again. Socks has been generally keeping all his feeds down, with just a small mishap here and there. The cortisone doesn't really agree with him, I can see that, but it is necessary until Wednesday evening when we get the results. He is still not interested in anything to do with the sight or smell of food. Believe me, I have tried everything I can possibly think of so far. I have bought a tub of ice-cream vanilla light, my vet's sugesstion, to try and entice him but as soon as I bring it within smelling distance to his nose he wants to throw up or starts heaving. Not good and I don't want to add to his misery by resulting in him having another vomiting episode, he does this with all foods.
The cortisone makes him drool and it has also accelerated his breathing as well but the vet said that this happens. The poor cat, he is reallly in a sorry state. I wanted to cry last night! I am desperate for him.
I will send you the pics tomorrow. I have to take them first!
With best wishes

heidi van s
May 17th, 2006, 12:27 PM
to Kerrye, chico2, luck rescue and everyone else on this forum. Thanks for all your support and advice and best wishes. Sadly, Socks passed away in the early hours of this morning. We are devastated! Our hearts are broken, we loved our Socks and in the end he just couldn't fight anymore. He was too weak. He died at home with us but sadly we were all asleep and only found out at 7am when I went to see how he was (my daughter checked up on him at 3.30am this morning).
We have agreed for the 2 vets to do an autopsy because this may throw more light on why his condition progessed like it did. It may help others in the future.
He will always be in our hearts and we will never forget him.He was a truly brave cat.

May 17th, 2006, 12:34 PM
Oh Heidi, how sad, you worked so hard to keep him going. But he was just too tired and slipped away. Don't beat yourself up, you did everything you could, it was just his time. Think of him as healthy and playing around you, like he did in the old days.
He thanks you.

May 17th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Hi Heidi
I'm very sorry to hear about Socks - The two of you put up a very good battle. The autopsy hopefully will shed more light onto why he was failing. There was probably more to his illness than the vet was able to detect. Cats are very tricky at hiding any illness and they usually don't let down their guard until they are very very ill.

Take care. I know how difficult it is to loose one of your babies.


heidi van s
May 17th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Hi Kerrye,
This is a very, very sad day for us.Especially the way I found Socks. There is a huge void in the house, well there has been since he had been in the clinic because he normally was such a vocal cat always talking to us and he used to follow us around like a dog! He stopped all this I suppose it was just that he felt so ill all the time.He used to sleep on my bed every night curled up in my arm on my one side and our other cat ,Patches, inbetween my husband and I! Even my husband who was never a cat person, loved Socks, he was so special.
The vet phoned me this afternoon and they will do the autopsy tomorrow. I know it takes time to come to terms and it's especially hard for me becasue he was my cat and I prayed that he would get over his illness and I was always positive that things would improve. I tried so hard to will him to get better and it has hit me emotionally because of all the time I spent with him in feeding and caring for him. I just want to have him back in my arms again so feel his soft fur, his purring and his meowing.
Thank you for caring so much.

May 17th, 2006, 01:43 PM
Oh Heidi,I am so sorry,I feel like we knew Socks and you..I am crying for you and your loss,but Socks is ok now,no more illness...
Most of us here have experienced losses and it is heartbreaking,but know you did your very best for Socks..he'll be watching over you,hugs to you and your family.

Lucky Rescue
May 17th, 2006, 05:40 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss, but glad Socks is no longer suffering.

RIP little guy.:(

heidi van s
May 18th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Thank you to all of you for your kind messages. I went to the vet this afternoon because our grey cat had hurt his eye! I thought we had all this behind us. Nevertheless it isn't serious. My vet showed me the pictures of the autopsy her colleague and the vet from the special clinic did on Socks. It was truly shocking! They said that they have never seen anything like this before. Normally cats who have eaten fish all their lives get fatty necrosis but our cats have never eaten fish! When the first echo was done there appeared to be fatty necrosis on the internal organs,stomach wall etc but the rampant way this has progressed was from initially a few millimeters to patches of 5cm to 10cm it had even spread into the layer under the skin next to the stomach wall. If we had known, I think,we would have probably put him to sleep. I am so heartbroken that by tube feeding him we not knowingly prolonged his suffering. I would like to hear from anyone who knows of this or has knowledge of how this arises. The vets don't know how or why this could have occurred.

May 18th, 2006, 01:28 PM
Hi Heidi
Did the vet say that Socks had yellow fat disease because that is usually cuused by consuming too much tuna and also a lack of vitamin E. If it was yellow fat disease that poor little Socks had maybe you should check what cat food your other cats are eating. Have a and see how much fish is in the food. Cats do need fish for the taurine content.

take care

heidi van s
May 18th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Hi Kerrye,
The vet didnīt say that he had yellow fat disease because my cats have never eaten fish. Socks especially would not eat anything other than Iams dry food and it was mainly the chicken and lamb flavour that they ate unless there was something in this food that caused this. All my cats have been eating the same food most of their entire lives! The other 2 cats are 100% fine. The vet has just phoned me from the special clinic who did the biopsy and the autposy with my local vet. The fatty necrosis developed at such an alarming rate and they have no answer as to why or what has caused this. He also said that maybe there was something in Sock's makeup that reacted against the food or maybe he ate something in the garden such as a plant that sparked this whole thing off. He didn't have pancreatitis or anything else, the biospsy showed everything to be normal and his liver, once he had been tube fed had also normalised. He said that here have only been 4 cases of this reported. I did change my other cats' food in fear of this!
Sadly, nature took it's course.I am just so bitterly sad that Socks had to go this way. I will never ever forget his last night ,he vomited but he didn"t even have the strength to stand up, I had to hold him so that he didn't choke.
He will always be my angel!

May 18th, 2006, 03:58 PM
Aww Heidi,I am so sorry,but we always blame ourselves,for what we did or did not do.You had no way of knowing there was no chance for Socks to survive,you are not a vet.
I've never heard of fatty necrosis:confused: but I will look it up..
I would just think with all the tests done on Socks,the vet would have seen what's wrong,but that too is hindsight.
Don't beat yourself up,Socks is no more suffering and I am sure he had a wonderful loving life with you.:love: