Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Monday, December 12, 2005

Full recovery from hepatic lipidosis

Cleo's recovery from feline hepatic lipidosisMy apologies for not having posted any updates recently. Cleo is still eating and drinking on her own — in fact, she'd probably eat more than her daily quota if I gave it to her.

Cleo is obviously feeling like her normal self, and her behavior shows it. She is starting to resist being picked up and carried again, struggling to get out of my arms when our destination is in sight. She gets lonely being in the study, and demands our attention when we're home; when she's being petted, she gets excited and gives little nips or love bites like she used to. In particular, she seems to enjoy her little love-fests with Michael — she's even started sitting in his lap when he's seated at his desk. And she lets him take some of the best pictures. The little traitor.

Cleo's recovery from feline hepatic lipidosis

Cleo is also playing more... again, I think, because she is getting lonely in the study by herself.

Cleo's recovery from feline hepatic lipidosis

Cleo spends every night in bed with us now. In the morning I carry her back to the study, and the first place she goes is to her bowl to look for leftovers – even before going to litter box after being away from it all night long. Yep, that’s my Cleo!

This morning I left Cleo on the bed and let the dog out first thing when I got up. Cleo waited a few minutes, and then went to the litter box on her own (albeit hesitantly). Afterward I took her food to the study, and she followed me through the living room. I stepped over the gate and started dishing out her food, while she looked through the gate, wide-eyed. Finally, with some verbal encouragement from me, she jumped the gate, rather clumsily. She was rather pleased with herself for it, and held her tail straight up while she ate. I'm hoping that she’ll show a little initiative now that she knows she can get in and out on her own.

Aside from all of the behavioral signs of improvement, Cleo is also looking much less yellow, particularly on her belly.

Cleo's recovery from feline hepatic lipidosis

For comparison, you can look at the picture of her belly from week 1 and see how yellow her skin was then from the liver failure.

Well, that's it — Cleo is doing wonderfully. Hopefully the bacteria in her urine will also have cleared up by the time she visits the vet again on Friday. Then she really will be all better!

Cleo's recovery from feline hepatic lipidosis

For a while, we plan to leave the baby gate up in the study doorway, to give Cleo a haven while she gets stronger. I'm hoping to gradually reintroduce her to the rest of the house, and hopefully instill in her some confidence in dealing with the dog. Prince — my other cat — seems to be somewhat disappointed with Cleo's reemergence — he was avoiding her when she was sick, and seemed quite content being an "only" cat. He was sleeping on the bed every night, all night long as far as I could tell; now he's taken to walking around howling at night again (he's deaf and can be quite loud as a result). Emma, of course, is quite interested in reacquainting herself with Cleo — much to Cleo’s dismay. Cleo seems to feel safe on the bed, though, even though Emma can technically reach her, so that's an improvement. Hopefully eventually they can all be friends.



  • At May 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM , Blogger Ellen Simmons said...

    My cat, Olivia, is currently in recovery from hepatic lipidosis. I found out she had it three and a half weeks ago. She has not started to gain weight yet, but she is so much more alive. She is eating the science diet a/d. I have taken care of her myself instead of leaving her at the vet. I feel confident at this point that her recovery is well on its way. I force fed her for 2 weeks and gave her antibiotics and hepatic support. She is now asking for food, which is something she has not done in weeks. How long is the recovery process? She is still weak in her hind legs and back end. She pees and poops well.
    Thanks for the website, it is support I need right now.

  • At May 24, 2008 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...


    It sounds like Olivia must have started asking for food at an earlier point than Cleo did. Cleo was past the weak stage that you describe by the time she started eating on her own.

    I expect in a few weeks you'll suddenly notice that Olivia is almost back to normal. Just make sure that she is eating enough food every day, and if she's not make sure you force feed her the rest. Getting enough food is crucial to getting her strength back.

    Please let me know how it goes, and feel free to comment again if you need anything else!

  • At June 9, 2008 at 2:21 PM , Blogger the Duzan family said...

    Hi Katharine -
    I found your page while looking for info on hepatic lipidosis...

    My kitty, Evie, was just diagnosed. Her prognosis is not great, but I am refusing to give up on her... Her bloodwork isn't going down, but she is acting a little more like herself...

    Did you ever have Cleo's bloodwork done?

    I am giving her IV fluids, syringe feeding her and giving her Denosyl...

    Just wondering if you had any advice, words of encouragement, etc...

    Thank you for your blog. It gives me hope!

    Katie Duzan

  • At June 9, 2008 at 2:58 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...


    The most important thing is not to lose faith. There were times when I thought Cleo wouldn't make it -- days when she threw up almost everything I gave her or just acted so much like a SICK cat, and not at all like herself. But she DID make it. Remember that when you start to get discouraged, and don't give up hope on Evie!

    In more practical advice, it's important to make sure you get enough food and water into her. Small, more frequent meals work the best because she'll be less likely to throw them back up afterward. Too much food at one time will make her sick.

    You also need to try to figure out why she got hepatic lipidosis in the first place. Sometimes cats will stop eating because they are sick with something else and don't feel well. Have you been able to determine whether she has another condition, or whether she stopped eating for an environmental reason?

    Finally, I did have Cleo's bloodwork done, but I think it was only twice -- once when she was diagnosed, and again when she recovered (to be sure). Personally I think checking it in between is kind of like weighing yourself every day -- you're not going to see much of a difference, and it's only going to serve to make you feel discouraged. Plus, it'll be traumatic to Evie, and I think limiting stress as much as possible is the best way to encourage recovery!


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