Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When a Cat Stops Eating

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a cat walk up to their food, sniff it or barely taste it and walk away. Cats can be extremely picky but there’s a fine line between picky and sick. Just like humans there’s a certain amount of calories a cat must have each day to function properly. But the difference is that a cat can easily develop hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) if they’ve gone longer than 48 hours without food. For some it takes less than 48 hours and it’s a matter of not having enough calories even though they’ve been picking at their food from time to time. In order to determine how many calories your cat should be getting, it almost always states the daily caloric intake for your cat’s weight on the back of the can or bag of food you’re feeding.

Healthy cats will once in awhile become picky and not eat that much. For instance, in the summer a cat will not burn off that many calories as it’s too hot for playing or exerting itself. And it won’t eat as much as it normally does, but it will still eat. Or cats can even develop a 48 hour illness just like people do and may not eat as much because their stomach needs to rest. But if you have an already sick kitty, let’s say with a condition like chronic kidney disease, and they suddenly become overly picky or stop eating altogether, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and quickly. With diseases such as CKD nausea and even vomiting often play a big role in not eating so ask your vet about using something like Pepcid A/C or even Cerenia.

Some kitties are put on prednisone or prednisolone and that usually jump starts their hunger pretty well along with working on any inflammation going on in the body. Sometimes pred is not enough and an appetite stimulant is a must. There are two kinds; one is cyproheptadine which is an antihistamine but also has the side effect in cats of making them hungry. The other is mirtazapine which is an anti-depressant and usually makes them ravenous, but can also cause hyperactivity and restlessness. Cypro acts the opposite and can be rather sedating. If none of these things are working it’s time to learn to syringe feed your cat. It’s fairly easy and can literally save your cat’s life.

Syringing can not only get the right amount of calories in them but can also turn on that hunger switch. You may need to do it several times a day or for several days but for some kitties it doesn’t take long to realize that eating is a good thing and they’ll start eating on their own again. If they are still barely picking but are showing an interest in food, keep up the syringe feeding until they look like they are getting back into their usual eating mode. Don’t stop giving the appetite stimulants even though you’re syringe feeding because once that switch turns on for them, it’ll still help them eat on their own.

Always contact your vet when your cat stops eating and take them in if need be. A kitty never stops eating without a reason and you need to figure out what’s going on in their bodies that made them stop in the first place.

For more information on fatty liver disease, see this page of my site:
For instructions on syringe feeding see this page:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Next Step

After four years of doing the website and newsletter, juggling Facebook, guest blogs and now my own, it's time to think about the next step for IBDKitties. I've been asked quite a lot lately "when am I going to write a book". For awhile I hesitated because it'll not only be a lot of work but I already have so much information on my website, I really didn't see what else I could contribute. But after speaking with several friends in the business I'm now giving it some serious thought. 

What I am going to do is ask for opinions on what you all would like to see added in the book. Based on my discussions with others, the book will be a lot more on the personal side and somewhat less on the technical and medical. I'm still not sure I'll be doing this but I'm putting out some feelers to see if it'll be worth the time and effort. 

So with that in mind, please give me some of your ideas and what you'd like to see in the book. Would you like more stories of other IBDKitties? Would you like more in depth writing about me and my Alex and our relationship? I've also thought about taking some of the information I've used in my newsletters over the years and adding the most important items that I feel people really need to learn about. Please let me know what you all think and if you have any ideas. I'd greatly appreciate it! Thank you all for sticking with me these last four years and to all the newcomers whom I've already grown to love and admire for your dedication to your fur children. Let's see if we can take the next step together to help others not only with the ever growing epidemic of IBD and other GI disorders but for the care and health of all of our furry families. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Do You Deserve Your Pet?

Sometimes I hear or read comments from pet owners that just floor me. “It’s just a cat”, “they don’t deserve any better than what I get”, or “I’m not going out of my way to help a dumb animal”. I can’t get over it, it makes me incredibly angry and it’s really difficult to hold my tongue sometimes. For the most part people I’m in contact with are very loving pet parents who would do anything for their fur children. But if you belong to any forums or know someone personally who’s ever said one of those phrases, I’m sure you’ve had your own choice words for them.

I can’t for the life of me, understand why people take pets into their homes and lives when they don’t seem to have any love for them, and they certainly don’t have any respect. Why is it such a luxury to give a household pet a good diet, good health care, and proper love and respect? Why don’t they deserve that just as much as we do? Personally I think their reasoning for having a pet says a lot about them as a human. Do they treat their spouses that way? Do they treat their human kids that way? I am an animal advocate and lover, period! I do not want to hear or read that anyone treats their pet horribly either by abuse or neglect. Amazing to me how some pet owners think neglecting their medical needs is perfectly okay, and not because of lack of money but because they think they don’t really need medical attention.

Some of the things that I read and hear from pet owners disgusts me to the point that I’ve broken off a few friendships because of it. Unfortunately when it’s a relative, we’re stuck with them but a couple of times recently I lit into a few people and told them I was “the absolute wrong person to be making remarks like that to.” When I made that announcement they knew I meant business by the daggers  shooting out of my eyes. Needless to say this past holiday season I quieted the dinner table very quickly at one point. Just yesterday I was in a sandwich shop ordering lunch and talking with a friend who works there. We were talking about our pets when I commented that I can’t have a Christmas tree because my cats would take it down. One of her co-workers chimed in immediately that I should just get rid of my cats. My immediate look of disgust surprised her as I stated as politely as I could that “my cats are my kids and something material like a Christmas tree was not nearly as important to me.” That shut her up.

In the same shop a very broad shouldered and large man making the subs spoke up about his tortoise and how much he loved him. This was perfect and reiterated what I’d just said. He too loved his pet more than anything and hearing that made up for the insult to my cats I’d heard right before that. You never truly know by the looks of someone how they feel about animals. Sometimes we’re repulsed by their comments and sometimes we’re very pleasantly surprised. I always love talking with other animal lovers and appreciate the love they have for all kinds of pets.

This blog entry is basically me venting as I’ve heard quite enough of this lately and I need to talk about it with others who understand my frustration. I can ask anyone if they deserve the love and devotion of their pets but I know for a fact my readers definitely do. I know your pets are all your kids as well and they are lucky to have you as I know you feel lucky to have them. Thanks for listening! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Equal Rights

Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals and I especially love dogs. I was in Petsmart just the other day and saw a puppy that made me lose my ability to speak like an adult. But cats are my life and I still feel like they are not getting the attention that dogs are. If you walk into a store like Petsmart you’ll see about 10-15 aisles dedicated to dogs as opposed to 4 or 5 for cats. There are many more brands of dog food on the market than cat food and don’t even get me started on cat toys. Yet if you go on any forum there are hundreds of thousands of cat lovers complaining of these very things. So why hasn’t the pet industry gotten a clue? There are now cat only veterinary practices due to their special needs; needs that are not being met by the pet food industry by the way.

I’d love to see some specialty foods out there that do not have to be obtained via prescription. I understand there are certain conditions where it would be too dangerous to feed those certain foods without a script from a vet. But unfortunately there are food companies that have that market cornered and it has more to do with money than proper ingredients. There are so many issues with gastrointestinal disorders I really think it should not be such a big deal to obtain foods made specifically for IBD kitties or cats with colitis, megacolon, constipation, etc. And there should be foods available that are ingredient specific to those conditions but actually appeal to a cat’s taste buds. No one likes to see those little noses turned up when they are so sick and need to eat.

Thank goodness we’re entering an age where more men are admitting their devotion to felines. Perhaps this will entice companies to make some cat safe toys they actually want to play with. Though I have yet to see anyone in my area actually walking their cat on a harness, and I can’t see there ever being a “cat park”. The whole territorial thing would send the fur flying! Although I don’t know which is easier to take care of, a cat or a dog, they both come with a long list of pros, cons and questions. Which one experiences more separation anxiety? Cats are more independent but have plenty of other anxiety issues. Cats don’t need to be walked but can easily have litter box issues. You don’t have to play with cats as much or as long as dogs. Cats love it as long as they can stare at you making a fool of yourself for some 30 minutes or so while you try to get them to play. Cats don’t take up as much room; not true as they will spread themselves out all over the house and so will all of their stuff.

Truth is that pets are a lot of work no matter if it’s a dog or a cat. But as a cat owner I’d like to see the industry step up and realize that cats have a huge role in our families and they deserve equal time. They deserve fun, safe and affordable toys, decent and species appropriate food (again, affordable), and better advances in their healthcare, especially as they get older. They deserve everything we can give them as a family just as much as any other pet who would be so kind as to own us.