Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Tuesday Tipday: Unsick Your Cat!
As you know I've been dealing with some mighty stubborn sick cat issues for the past six weeks or so. And, as of last Friday the kittens all have upper respiratory illnesses. We had to take them to the vet on Sunday to get antibiotics for them. (This would have been a complete budget buster, by the by, had I not lobbied to pay only one visit fee and then presented a coupon I found for our vet that gave us a free initial kitten exam. Meaning? All we had to pay for was the $11.40 medicine. Yes, my friends, couponing works.) They're still wheezy, sneezy and runny, but at least they are a lot more energetic than over the weekend. I take this as a positive sign.
Luanne still has her feeding tube in because she's refusing to go to food and just eat on her own. If I bring her food and water, she'll partake, but has rarely gone to sustenance willingly. Also, she keeps throwing up tiny amounts of food or water once or twice a week. After about a week of no vomiting, yesterday and today she puked again. But, this time? I noticed string in the vomit, i.e. she's actually ingesting that sweater they keep her in (to hide the feeding tube) when she cleans herself. So! Yay for additional issues!
I say all of this to lead you into a brief sick cat maintenance tutorial, via my two years experience with caked up kitty eyes, snotty noses, baby wipes, backside cleanings, forced feedings and worry filled nights.
SICK CAT 101
1) Pay close attention. Have they been sneezing? Are they congested? Do they seem to be eating and playing the same? If you've got a congested cat who doesn't seem to be eating much, get them to the vet ASAP. If they don't eat enough they could end up with fatty liver disease, which can be deadly but is easily treated if caught early.
2) Tricks to get your kitty buddy to eat. Things that might work are changing up their normal diet by adding super smelly wet food and heating it up to really release the odors or even adding clam juice/tuna juice to dry food to up the funk factor for their little noses. I've also heard that pumpkin is something cats like, so you can try enticing them with a bit of that. Just try to get them to eat something. But, make sure not to give them anything with onions or garlic, they have severe reactions to them, which would make the situation a shit ton worse.
3) Syringe feeding is an option. Alas, it is not an easy one. There will likely be much struggling, no matter how much they actually end up liking the food you're forcing on them. Be sure to get syringes and food amounts from your vet so you feed them enough to maintain their weight and health. Hill's Science Diet has the perfect food for this. Scoop it into the syringe and hold the cat steady, making sure their butt is up against something so they can't back away. Put a hand on the cat's head so you can press each side of their jaw with a finger simultaneously. Once you do this the jaw will open easier and you can squeeze the food in. Massaging the cat's neck will encourage them to swallow and not spit out their gruel. Ha! We know tricks, you squirmy felines!
4) Dammit! Nunna that shit worked. Now what? You might need to get them a peg tube. This will make feeding them and giving them water/medicine a lot easier, since you won't be forcing stuff down their throat. Be prepared for an expensive procedure (Luanne's cost $1,340), and some up keep in addition to actual feedings. You'll likely get extremely detailed instructions from your vet, but the biggest things are making sure to flush the tube with a set amount of water before and after feeding, being sure the feeding process lasts for at least 20 minutes and cleaning the tube with hydrogen peroxide at least twice a day. When cleaning, get in there really good and wipe the tube and stomach down so that no gunk cakes up (and it will if neglected).
Phew! now, aside from all that, keep doing whatever you usually do with your cat. Petting them, playing with them, talking to them and watching King of Queens reruns with them. You want to keep them as calm and comfortable as possible while they recover.
So, I hope this helps. But, really, I hope you never need this info. Having sick pets sucks all kinds of ass. Yes, sir. All. Ass.