First, when we have a cat off food we do need to tread with care. This is because we can see a number of triggers for a cat Sam’s age. The most common reasons will be dental issues and conditions that cause nausea/GI upset.
Now if he has been struggling with his teeth, this would be a real concern for him. That said, cats that have dental pain often selectively graze (choosing softer foods over hard ones) before they totally stop eating. So, if you are seeing him stop abruptly with no warning, then we’d have to be wary of nausea lurking here too. Just to note, issues that would need to be considered with that include bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, metabolic diseases (ie thyroid, etc) organ troubles (ie liver, kidney, etc), and ingestion of harmful items (hopefully less likely at his age).
With this all in mind, I would note that we will want to keep Sam in today. This is because we need to have an idea if he is passing urine (since urine blockages are an emergency for cats and can cause vague signs like this) and we need to see if we can get him eating. If we don’t have urinary issues, general anorexia is an urgent issue that we’d not want to allow to go on >2 days but we could wait for his vet to be open on Monday (as long as he is stable, of course) if this just started yesterday.
In the meantime though, we can try some home supportive. To start, in case we have nausea, you can consider treating him with an antacid. Common OTC pet safe options would be Calcium carbonate (60-120mg every 12 hours), Milk of Magnesia (0.25 tsp every 8 hours), or Zantac (though we often need a low dose or children’s version since our tablets are too strong for cats). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if he has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
Otherwise, in regards ***** ***** we can try tempting him with a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset.
If he refuses to be tempted, since he isn’t vomiting, we can even consider syringe feeding him. To do so, we can water down calorie rich diets (ie Hills A/D, Royal Canin Recovery diet, even canned kitten food) or use a liquid diet (ie Clinicare, Catsure). As well, there are paste supplements (ie Nutrical) that can also be used. And these will all get more into her per bite even if we cannot get much in. So, those are options to get food in over the rest of this weekend.
Overall, a wide range of agents could trigger the anorexia we are seeing. Therefore, in his case, we’d want to start supportive care while keeping a close eye on him. As long as he can urinate and isn’t vomiting profusely (two red flag signs of urgent care being needed), then we can monitor over today with a plan to have a check on Monday with his regular vet. Once they seem him, they can assess his hydration, rule out fever, make sure there is nothing in his stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. As well, since Sam is older, they can also check bloods to rule out organ issues being to blame here. Depending on their findings, his vet can treat him with injectable anti-nausea medication, pain relief, appetite stimulants +/- antibiotics to settle this and get him eating before he wastes away on us.
All the best,
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