Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Feline hepatic lipidosis is CURABLE

When I had my old site, I always had a lot of people contact me to thank me for the information. Most people said they were very relieved to know that other cat owners were able to cure their pets of feline hepatic lipidosis.

I think it's important for people to know that fatty liver disease is CURABLE. There is no reason why you can't get your cat through this! It takes a lot of time and patience, and if you are too busy or otherwise unable to force feed your cat throughout the day you might have to hospitalize her for the time being... But it's better than losing one of your best friends.

A fatty liver will start working normally again once it gets enough protein running through it on a daily basis. At that point your cat's appetite will return and she will start eating on her own again — providing you also take care of whatever made her stop eating in the first place, of course. For Cleo, that was a safe place to live and eat, where the dog couldn't harass her. For your cat, it might be dental work or treating another disease that was making her feel sick.

Force-feeding has to be done frequently and in small quantities, or your cat will be more likely to throw up her meals. One of the effects of feline hepatic lipidosis is to make the cat feel extremely nauseous, which is why she doesn't eat on her own. This will also cause her to throw up if you give her too much at one time.

If your cat is not drinking on her own, you may need to also give her fluids intravenously. I had the vet give me an IV bag and a bunch of needles, and I gave her fluids myself — every night at first, then every other night, and finally every 3 nights or so. As she started feeling better, the first thing she did was to start drinking on her own, which was good because I hated giving her the IV.

The point here is that there is HOPE for your cat. Don't give up, don't put her to sleep because you think it's better than suffering. You can get her well again, and probably within only a month or two. Feline hepatic lipidosis is a completely reversible condition!


  • At October 13, 2008 at 6:29 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

    It's been three months for me and Meagan...she got the diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis and I've been tube feeding her through a tube in her neck. She showed interest in food after a few weeks so the vet said to feed her some and tube feed her some. When I backed off on the tube feeding, she stopped eating. This happened twice. So, I took her to another vet who has added more meds to help. I don't know how much longer my poor kitty can take this. It's so hard on her.

  • At October 13, 2008 at 7:09 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...


    Good for you for switching vets! Three months is a long time. How much was she eating on her own when you backed off the tube feeding? I would suggest next time you try backing off, keep track of how much she eats on her own and if it's not enough, tube feed her the rest at the end of the day (twice a day if it's too big a meal). Don't wait until she starts eating completely -- take it day by day, set a quota that she needs to get and then make sure she gets it every day. It may be that she's getting ahead of herself and is interested in food, but still too ill to eat it on her own -- and the only way to fix that is to feed her high-protein food for long enough that her liver stops trying to process fat for energy.

    Best of luck to you and Meagan!

  • At October 14, 2008 at 6:19 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

    I think you're right...she wasn't eating enough before I backed off. How much was Cleo eating before you backed off? Your ideas about setting a quota are most appreciated! About how much would you feed Cleo a day all together?

    Btw, thank you so much for your blog. You don't know how much it means to read about someone who has been through this, too. It gives me hope when I'm most exhausted, and I know Meagan is, too. :o)

  • At October 15, 2008 at 8:10 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...


    Cleo went directly from force-feeding to eating on her own, but I think I waited too long to start offering her food again. She was extremely cranky about it the last week or so I was force-feeding her and I think she was trying to tell me she'd prefer to eat on her own. :o)

    My goal was to give her an entire can every day, but that all depends on the type of cat food. Some are more nutrient dense than others. Check the label and see if it tells you how much to feed according to the cat's weight. If it doesn't say, you could call the manufacturer (there should at least be a number on the can) and ask them.

    Please feel free to comment all you want and I'll do my best to respond quickly. I know how helpless it feels to have a cat with fatty liver, so I'm glad my blog is helpful for people who are going through the same thing I did. :o)


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