When Amy Hall noticed that her cat was eating less and sleeping more than usual, she attributed the changes to nothing more than a mood swing. Eventually, the cat stopped eating altogether. She gave it a couple of days and, because she had experience caring for a sick cat, thought she’d be able to nurse her pet back to health.
After her cat had not eaten anything for nearly a week, Amy finally brought the cat to the vet. It turned out that the cat had an obstruction in her digestive tract that was preventing her from eating. Luckily, Amy got her cat to the vet in time, but waiting much longer could have led to the situation having a much different outcome.
When humans or some animals, such as dogs, don’t eat for a week or even longer, their bodies will certainly feel it, but can also handle it. Cats cannot. If a cat stops eating for any reason her body cannot handle it and the situation can fairly quickly lead to liver problems that can be life threatening.
Because cats are not, by nature, complainers, by the time your cat is displaying noticeable symptoms that something is wrong, it’s likely that the problem has existed for a while.
The first rule when it comes to caring for a sick cat is to take it to the vet as soon as possible when something is not quite right. It is better to pay for an office visit and be on the safe side then to wait and then be faced with huge vet bills or, much worse, the loss of your beloved pet.
If your cat has diarrhea or is vomiting, but it goes away after one day, then a vet visit may not be needed. Just be sure to observe your cat carefully. If the symptoms continue longer than 24 hours, or if they go away and come back, then you should take your cat to the vet.
Many pet owners find themselves caring for a sick cat. These owners have taken their cat to the vet, the problem was diagnosed, and they have received instructions on giving medications and when to schedule follow up visits. It is no fun having a sick cat, but there are a few things you can do to make your pet a little more comfortable.
If you have other pets, find a way to isolate your cat from them if possible. Perhaps you could set up a spot for your cat in a room that is not used very often. One pet owner installed a locking dog door on the door to the spare bedroom. Jean Rhodes’ cat was suffering from liver failure. The recovery, which included feeding the cat through a tube, was going to be lengthy, so she went to a bit of extra trouble to make her cat as comfortable as possible. She placed the cat’s food and bedding in the spare room. She could lock the dog door to prevent the other animals from pestering her cat while she was at work, but then she could unlock it at night just in case the cat wanted to come out and be around the family.
In addition to separating the cat from other pets, which is extremely important if the cat has stitches or bandages, it is also a good idea to limit the contact that small children have with the sick cat. Remember that little children’s hugs can be quite rough. Always be present when small children are interacting with the sick cat.
Providing comfortable bedding is another way that you can make your cat comfortable. Be sure to keep the bedding clean and check it daily to be sure the cat has not soiled it. Some cats will begin to sleep in their litter box when they are sick. To prevent this, consider setting up a cage (leave the door open, so she can come and go), so that your cat will have a safe place to hide without having to take refuge in her litter box.
If your cat must be confined to a cage, be sure that there is sufficient bedding and that you check it daily for soiling. Keep the litter box very clean, and wash the bedding at least twice a week.
You may have specific instructions from the vet about feeding your sick cat. If so, be sure to follow those directions to the letter. If not, then it is important to avoid the temptation to give your cat “special” food while she is recovering. Depending on her illness, she may require a bland diet or special food that is available by prescription only. If that is the case, then you should not feed her anything other than those foods. Even if no special diet is required, you should have her stick to eating only to foods that are part of her normal diet. Save the special treats or any changes in food for after she has fully recovered.
Depending on the illness, your cat may be need to be cared for around the clock. If you are unable to do this yourself, you may have to consider boarding your cat at an emergency pet hospital where constant care is available.
Caring for a sick cat is not one of the greatest joys of pet ownership, but it is not as hard as you might think. Just keep in touch with your vet, inform him of any changes, follow his instructions carefully and shower your cat with extra love and attention.