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CAT with ARF (acute renal failure) having feeding problems need suggestions

December 6th, 2012, 11:29 PM

I took up fostering a cat for the neighbour on Sunday, 28 October 6 PM, and it has turned into quite a handful. When the cat named Jet was dropped off, they said he wasn't feeling well and put it down to the upheaval of a move that they were going through. It seemed to make sense at the time, but by the morning I knew I had a sick cat on my hands. The neighbour mentioned when they left that he hadn't been eating properly for some time, and he seemed to be losing some weight along with having bad breath. They put some so-called favorite food down for him before they left, but he would have nothing to do with it. He made no attempt to touch it that day or the next. I first thought it might be stress, but with further examination of the cat, I realized that he was having a major problem.

I set up a safe room in the basement for him, to separate him from the rest of the house and the other five cats I have, and some place where I could work on him, and keep him quarantined until I could find out what his problem was. Jet was really in bad shape - he appeared to have 1 foot in the grave and another on a banana peel. His breath was so bad it would almost turn your stomach, his mouth was full of ulcers, and he had a severe case of body order, and his fur felt like a wire brush. He wasn't eating and you couldn't persuade him to eat, but he was doing some drinking. When he used the litterbox he would pass a large amount of urine, and he wasn't having bowel movements, and he was sleeping all the time. I ended up having to make a high-protein food for him which I would administer as a purée through a syringe along with supplementing him with some homeopathics.

When he came into the house he weighed 17 1/4 pounds - at the end of two weeks he had lost 2 pounds. I have since stabilized his weight loss, and had a basic urine test done which had some issues requiring follow-up bloodwork. The diagnosis was early-stage 2 ACUTE RENAL FAILURE.

His health has bounced a long way back since he first came. Jet is now running and playing with the other cats in the house along with bugging us especially for food every four hours, and that is where the problem begins. Jet is 5 1/2 years old and has survived on a very poor grade of food all his life, and with being syringe fed for over a month he is quite happy to carry on with this arrangement. I am not though, and I have tried everything that I can think of to get him eating on his own from his bowl. I have tried several of the top brand canned foods, homemade foods that I use for our own animals, and even his own foods that he grew up with which he will not touch now at all. (Really can't blame him.)

I'm hoping there's someone out there that would have some ideas I could try to resolve this food problem with Jet, or at least shed some light on the problem, because I think his owners will be looking for him around Christmas time when they return to the area. With Jet being force fed, I don't think they would put up with it for long before they would have him put down, and I really do not want to add another cat to the family at this time. I don't want him put down either.

December 7th, 2012, 12:42 AM
Have the mouth sores cleared up? If not it's likely still painful to eat normally & easier on him to be syringe fed

Have you tried adding some tempting treats to the top of the food?
- freeze dried chicken such as PureBites
- pinch of catnip
- pinch of parmesan cheese
- dab of melted butter
- a crushed cheerio or krunchie
- bits of deli meat
- bits of BBQ chicken especially if warm
- add a teaspoon of warm water

Slightly warming the food by placing the dish in a bowl/sink of hot water - just be sure the food & dish isn't hot

December 7th, 2012, 01:11 AM
Yes the mouth has really healed up well. When we got him, his gums were bleeding and very red. Now his mouth is a nice whitey-pink colour. As far as we can tell his mouth is free of ulcers now. When we had him to the vet last week, she was very surprised at how good a shape his mouth was.
We have tried just about everything we can think of with the food. Haven't tried the catnip on the food and we know he likes it because it's on one of the scratchy things our cats use all the time.
We've tried nutritional yeast - we've used it before with our other cats - but it didn't work. The food is always warm when we give it to our cats.
Human food of any sort doesn't pull his trigger at all.
I've put butter on capsules when administering vitamins and he's not impressed with that, but haven't tried melted butter on the food.
Thank you for the suggestion and we'll give them a try.
One of these days, this cat has to start to eat something on his own.
Any other ideas graciously accepted.

December 7th, 2012, 07:34 AM
This website is awesome for tips on dealing with anorectic cats:

Some more tips at this link:

And this group is worth joining for the amazing collective knowledge of cat owners in similar situations:

December 7th, 2012, 06:57 PM
...Some more tips at this link:

That's a superb site...a little further exploration using that info:

When any issues discovered through bloodwork are effectively treated and under control, there are two others worth exploring when a cat is still inappetent:

A) Stomach acid is very common...some ideas: Of those, the two most common and simple treatments are 1)raising the food dishes and 2) Pepcid-AC

B) The second is to use an appetite stimulant:

That same site also has a list of potential causes for "Loss of Appetite" - it might help as a "checklist" for you: (halfway down the page)

One of these days, this cat has to start to eat something on his ownAND HE WILL!

I have to tell you how heartening it is to read your story of nursing this little guy....what a very lucky kitty! Kudos to you:angel2:

December 8th, 2012, 07:47 PM

I would like to say thanks for the input on my problem with feeding Jet. There is a lot of information on those websites to be digested(no pun intended), and I am trying some of the feeding persuasion techniques but to no avail to this point. What is going to be interesting is to find out where we go from here with Jet's human companions. I shall keep you informed when I know the outcome.