Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cats with fatty liver disease: Tinkerbell's story

This post is part of a series about actual cats with fatty liver disease, or feline hepatic lipidosis. If you would like your cat's story to be featured on my blog, please contact me.

Feline fatty liver survivor I first heard about Tinkerbell back in mid-November, when her "mom," Pam, commented here with a link to her own blog, My Tinkerbell.

Tinkerbell had been diagnosed with fatty liver disease at the end of October, and spent nine days in the hospital. When Pam brought her home, she was pretty much on her own, because the vet was so far away and wasn't that great anyway. So Pam felt pretty alone and scared — which, in my own experience and judging by what I hear from others who contact me via this blog, is how pretty much everyone feels when their cat is diagnosed with feline hepatic lipidosis.

I think it's important to note, however, that despite how overwhelmed Pam felt, she was actually doing everything right. You can see if you read her blog post and the comments below it that she had a good handle on Tink's care, despite her worries. I mention this because I think it happens frequently. Having your cat sick with fatty liver syndrome is overwhelming, and recovery can take some time. However, if you don't already know from experience how curable the condition is, you can worry endlessly about whether you are actually doing any good.

As a final testament to how curable fatty liver disease actually is, check out this comment: Tink had pancreatitis. As Pam notes, most "authorities" say that if a cat has both pancreatitis and fatty liver disease, they won't survive. Yet Tink did — Pam stopped force feeding her on November 26th, just in time for Thanksgiving!



  • At December 31, 2008 at 8:28 PM , Blogger angelinocat said...

    My cat may have fatty liver disease. He hasn't eaten for a little under a week and won't even drink water. I won't get the results of his blood test until this Friday or Saturday, and I hope it isn't too late by then. He is an overweight kitty...always has been. My neighbor was feeding him a lot when he would go outside. I told her to stop but she wouldn't, saying that he would cry and cry until someone fed him. Now I am so worried about him because he vomits up everything, even the anti-vomiting medication the vet gave him. I'm giving him antibiotics for the intestine, but he's still not eating. Do you have any suggestions? Like how to force feed him without getting that implant-tube in his stomach? I can't afford to get that surgery if he does need it. My email is Please email me back if you can!


  • At January 7, 2009 at 11:33 PM , Blogger Dharma said...

    Thanks for updating your blog! Good news is Jakey is eating on his own now but having some allergy problems. He too also had been diagnosed with both pancreatitis and fatty liver disease but now blood tests have come back with everything normal and good. He's having a lot of bloody scabs which the vet thinks is due to food allergy. I stopped feeding him Spot's Stew and now he's on a special duck food diet to see if it clears up. He's still not his normal weight yet, very skinny, can still feel his boney spine but I think he's gaining weight.

  • At May 5, 2009 at 4:16 PM , Blogger jkj454 said...

    My heart goes out to those of you who have a cat w/ hepatic lipidosis ("Fatty LIver Disease"). Despite being told this was over 80% curable, we lost our dear cat Harrison just before Christmas. We did our best to treat this disease by use of a feeding tube; actually, Harrison's appetite did return at some point and he began eating a few crunchy pellets daily, but then he soon regressed and we had to put him down. Our vet thinks possibly an undiagnosed cancer caused his ultimate demise.
    I will never forget the two or so months we woke up every four hours to give Harrison his tube feedings, medications, etc. It was physically and emotionally draining, and I am still mentally recovering from the loss of my feline buddy.
    Best of luck to cats and cat lovers who have to battle this disease; I sincerely hope your results are better than ours.

  • At June 1, 2009 at 12:15 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...


    I'm sorry I didn't see your comment sooner. I have been trying to catch up on comments I missed and found yours. Please let me know what happened with your kitty.


    A duck food diet, huh? That sounds funny -- you'll have to let me know how it's going, as I noticed it's been a while since you left your comment. Don't worry about Jakey still being skinny -- it took Cleo ages to regain all the weight she'd lost. Despite my best efforts, she's back to her old overweight self -- it's hard to put a cat on a diet when you have a second cat that eats just barely enough to stay alive, for fear that he'll end up on the diet, too!

  • At June 1, 2009 at 12:19 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...


    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. There were times when I really feared I was going to lose Cleo, and it was a terrifying feeling. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to actually lose her. My thoughts are with you.

  • At January 21, 2010 at 3:40 PM , Blogger Tinkerbellsmom said...

    I havent posted on here because I lost my Tink to cancer March 31st of 2009. It is just too hard STILL to this day to talk about it. Especially since she went thru such a hard time with FLD. She has these knots on her chin and her mouth was swollen, so I rushed her to my vet. This was on Saturday. He told me it was lymphoma (cancer) and she would stop eating and drinking, start vomitting and then I would have to put her to sleep. So I wanted a 2nd opinion, and got blood tests done. That following Tuesday, it was confirmed and she had cancer. Nothing could be done. So I wasnt waiting for her to vomit and I wasnt going to put her thru that. She already spent that Sunday and Monday with barely being able to eat, and I couldnt let her suffer anymore. SO that Tuesday she peacefully went to sleep while I held her in the vets office.
    Tink and I spent her last weekend together the whole time. I brushed her long white persian hair, I let her sleep on her "princess chair" she loved. I laid in the dark closet with her and petted her and I cried the whole time. I wouldnt sleep for those 2 nites afraid I would wake up...and you know....finding her asleep without me telling her how much I loved her. She is resting in my back yard now in her own pretty spot. Not many people understand how it is to lose a pet. But Tink and my other animals are not pets, they are my children. And Tink was so special. She was so strong thru her 3 month liver ordeal and she came out of it. But I guess heaven needed another angel, because she is there now. I dont regret NOT ONE second I had to help her with FLD, and those months after she was cured, were the best months, albeit, not many, of her life, cause I showered her will all the love I had.
    I will always miss and love Tinkerbell and cherish her. For those of you who have cats with FLD, dont give up, cause you never know whats around the corner and how much time you do have left with your cat. God Bless.

  • At January 21, 2010 at 4:00 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Pam, I'm so sorry to hear about Tinkerbell. I've lost a few pets over the years, and I know what you mean about them being more than just pets. They are to me, too.

    I'm glad you had those last few months with Tink being well. I can imagine her bout with FLD simply made you appreciate your time with her that much more. And at least you know that when you did let her go, it was because you had no other choice. If you had given her up when she had FLD, you always would have wondered if she could have been saved. At least this way you know that there was no other choice, that you did the right thing.

  • At February 11, 2010 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Tinkerbellsmom said...

    Thank you Katharine, I do want to thank you AGAIN for all your help during Tink's awful FLD time. If it wasnt for you and your advice, I wouldnt of known what to do. And I think your site about this is just a great thing and Im very thankful that this site is out here to help other cats like Tink and Cleo with their condition.

    My Tink had a great 4 months after she was cured...and I will always hold a place in my heart for this website. And of course, my Tink thanks you. :)

    I miss her so very much every always cherish your cat! :)



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