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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in practice,
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How long should I force feed food and liquids to my cat who

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How long should I force feed food and liquids to my cat who lost his appetite when he had a fever? I started force feeding food on March 18 and I started subcutaneous fluids on March 29. He has fibrosarcoma (tumor removed 5 months ago but is back). He has high WBC, NEU, MONO, BASO, PLT and GLOB. No signs of cancer in chest x-ray. No more fever. My vet advised giving baby food but I've read that it doesn't have all the nutrition a cat needs. I don't know why I'm force feeding if he's never going to eat on his own again, and I don't know if I'm feeding him right. What am I accomplishing--no one can tell me if my cat is dying--will he get better as a result of force feeding? I'm so confused.

Hello Deb, I'm Dr. Bob.

I'm so sorry to read of Sugar Bear's illness.

I think you are quite right to question what you're doing for Sugar Bear.

The quality of a pet's life, present and future, is the main factor in determining whether to take heroic steps to prolong their life.

If Sugar Bear is being stressed and made uncomfortable by your efforts to get nutrition into him and the prognosis is very poor, then it is time to consider letting him go.

Before considering that, though, have you tried an appetite stimulating medication like valium or mirtazipine?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
My vet has not recommended an appetite stimulant or any particular kind of cat food--just baby food. He has recommended a stomach ultrasound (over $400) to look for cancer. He did not think the fever and high WBC had anything to do with the fibrosarcoma. My vet has NOT said that Sugar Bear is dying so I really don't know what the prognosis is. Blood results do not show organ failure and the chest x-ray is clean. He was close to being his normal self after getting fluids for a few days and so I've been hopeful. Yesterday he would only eat deli ham--he did not want to be force fed. Consequently, today is not a good day. He's weak and slow. Without a definite prognosis, how long is long enough to force feed my beloved Sugar Bear?

Since he is slightly interested in eating I would suggest asking your veterinarian about the possibility of using appetite stimulants. If he would eat by himself, and had a number of good quality days ahead of him, I would say let him go like that, as long as he and you are both comfortable.

Force feeding hurts the bond between pets and owners, because the pet doesn't understand that what is being done is for their good. They soon become afraid of us and resent our approach.

This is not a good way for them to live out the final period of their lives, in my opinion, but only you can decide, for both of you, how long is long enough, should it come to that.

If I may be of further assistance, please let me know.

Dr. Bob

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