Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cats with fatty liver disease: Delilah's story

Written by Delilah's owner, Heather

Delilah before fatty liver disease
Delilah in late July 2008, before fatty liver disease

Delilah is a 13 year old tabby cat. Delilah picked me when she was about a year old, when she showed up at my door step as a stray.

Delilah had not had any medical problems until the fall of 2008. Then there were many life changes for her and myself. I graduated college and began a new job. She began getting sick at the end of July in 2008.

Delilah was a portly cat, and I noticed she seemed listless and reclusive and she had lost some weight. I did not think this was a bad thing to begin with because she could stand to lose some weight. I was very wrong.

I moved to a new residence and noticed that Delilah seemed to get worse. She no longer sat with me, or slept beside me as she used to. She hid under the couch in the living room. I took her to the animal clinic, and broke down in tears because I thought I could have done something earlier.

By this time Delilah was extremely jaundiced. Her once green eyes were now yellow as well as her ears and gums. Delilah was diagnosed with fatty liver syndrome, and I was terrified since I did not know anything about it. My vet seemed very optimistic. Delilah spent a week in the hospital and I visited her every day and she still looked like the sick little cat I had brought in the week before.

Delilah, one week after feeding tube placement
One week after feeding tube placement

When she got to come home it was with an extra attachment, her freshly placed feeding tube. Feeding Delilah was stressful and seemed like a lost cause. She also took several different medicines orally for nausea and her liver.

The first week Delilah threw up daily and was only taking in about 20 cc of food through the tube in one sitting. She did not gain weight, in fact she lost more. She was also severely dehydrated when she went back to the clinic.

Two weeks after feeding tube placement
Two weeks after feeding tube placement

The second week I began to keep a journal of how much food she was getting, what time she would vomit, and if she had gone to the litter box. This provided me some peace of mind because it allowed me to see any progress she made.

My twin and I force fed and pilled Delilah for the next several weeks, and she got weekly trips to the clinic. I would call my vet almost daily to ask questions and often I felt stupid or that I was being over sensitive about everything Delilah did. I fed Delilah 4 times a day, and often she did not get the required amount because she would either vomit or start to push away.

The four feedings were difficult because it meant making time for them. I would get up an hour earlier than I typically did just to prepare the food for her, and try to get it into her before I had to get to work. When I came home from work it was the same routine.

Delilah also took several medications orally. This was not enjoyable for me or Delilah. She took one for nausea, one for her liver, one for acid reflux, one to boost her potassium, and one for constipation (put through the tube).

It wasn’t until Delilah changed medicine for nausea that she began to come out of hiding. She originally was on a medicine called metoclopramide, which she would take about 15 minutes prior to a tube feeding. She switched to a medicine called Zofran or Ondansetron. This medicine was extremely expensive ($50 for 2 pills), but for the difference it made in Delilah I would have paid much more. My vet told me that this drug is used in human patients that are going through chemotherapy. I had high hopes for this medicine.

Delilah also switched foods from science diet a/d to Iams max calorie. This made a difference. Once Delilah began to take Zofran she drank water from a bowl. The next evening she finally ate something on her own. Delilah is not a cat who likes treats or wet food, so I used goldfish crackers from Pepperidge farm. That evening Delilah ate 3 of them and I felt like shouting from the roof of my apartment complex. I was on cloud nine because I knew all the tears and hard work were not wasted and Delilah was going to pull through.

After removal of feeding tube removal
After removal of the feeding tube

I continued to force feed Delilah small amounts and she began eating more. Just in time for Halloween Delilah finally got her tube removed.

In the beginning it was extremely hard, and the vomiting was non-stop. Many nights I thought it was useless, and I was making her last days worse than if I had just let her alone and not tried to force feed her. I cried many nights at the thought that I was going to lose my baby. But with perseverance on my part and Delilah’s strength we made it through the difficult time. So, if you are going through the same with your cat don’t give up! Fatty liver does not have to be fatal if you are willing to put the work into it, and ride the emotional roller coaster.

Delilah, recovered from fatty liver disease
Complete recovery from fatty liver disease!



  • At July 10, 2009 at 12:19 AM , Blogger Pretty Pirate said...

    This is all so familiar, good job on your part. It's so hard and stressful to think you are going to lose your little friend after all the work. It's so confusing, they seem better, then they get worse. I'm so glad your sweetie made it. I wish I would have had your blog to read when I was going through this. Thanks for sharing, I know it will help many people going through the stress of this disease. To read my ordeal check out the blog I started for sam.

  • At July 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Hi Pretty Pirate,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting! I added the link to your blog in my sidebar. I didn't have anything like this when I was nursing Cleo back either, and boy I can only imagine how much it would have helped to be able to talk to someone else who'd been through it!

  • At July 27, 2009 at 6:57 PM , Blogger het923 said...

    I wish I did have this site when I was nursing delilah. It seemed like everything I read was about a cat not making it through FLD. I now have the opposite problem with delilah, I had to put her on light food because she is eating too much and almost too heavy. I consider this a problem in a sense, but I rather have the problem of too much food than not enough.

  • At July 27, 2009 at 8:31 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    I hear you! When Cleo started eating again, well, let's just say she wasn't doing it half-assed. She's heavy again, perhaps even heavier than before. Like you, I'd rather have the problem of her eating too much than not enough, but it also means I have to keep tabs on what she's eating to make sure she doesn't stop for any reason -- fat cats are more likely to develop FLD if they stop eating for short periods of time.

  • At July 30, 2009 at 11:51 AM , Blogger Mel said...

    I am so glad I found your blog. I'm facing this with my own kitty, Carlton. He was started on new hyperthyroid meds a few weeks back, and clearly was a little under the weather, but with my travel and job lately I didn't register that he wasn't eating enough. I feel horrible.

    Got him to the vet on Tuesday morning, where they admitted him on the spot. He had lost 5 lbs, had started to get jaundiced, etc. Even through all of that, though, he was playful and social so I just didn't pick up on it. Anyway, the first two days at the vet were awful. He was syringe fed and given some supplements and vitamins and fluids. He looked so frail and sickly and didn't want to move around much. This morning when I was with him, he played, jumped, purred like a steam train and even ate a little bit of dry food on his own! But he isn't getting enough calories eating on his own and he started to really fight the syringe feedings, so I gave the go ahead for the e-tube. They are putting it in right now and I am worried about it. He was feeling so good today (although his liver values are still scary of course) and here we are putting a hole in his neck! I know his best chance is through a good amount of high quality calories, and if this makes that happen, then... Still really worried; I know many cats come back from HL but I've read so much negative stuff as well. It's been great to see so many hopeful stories on this site. Thank you.

  • At August 1, 2009 at 2:32 PM , Blogger het923 said...

    I was really worried about the tube when Delilah got it. I saw all these pictures of the tubes going through the nose and they looked scary. If it wasn't for the tube I don't think Delilah would of made it. It took usually two of us to hold down delilah while we tube fed her especially whens he began feeling better. I even had to chase her around one day to get all the food in. The tube is not a big deal (at least for delilah it wasn't.) Our other cat didn't like the tube in delilah and she would hiss at her. Also Delilah would shake her head and wiggle the tube out a bit but we would just take her to the vet about once a week to get it fixed. I put some bandage tape on the tube to help it stay in place. After delilah got the tube out of her neck the hole healed within a couple days. Its a tiny hole and they didn't even bandage it up. I just had to put neosporin on it. Good Luck!

  • At September 23, 2009 at 10:29 AM , Blogger Debbie said...

    I am currently going through all this with my cat 6-year-old, Sora, right now. A little less then two weeks ago I brought her to the vet due to her lack of eating and her weight loss. She was doing so good for a week but she is refusing to eat again.
    I found your blog while doing some research today and it is helping me figure out what to do to get her to eat and it's one of the few positive Feline Hepatic Lipidosis sites I have found. So thank you.

  • At September 28, 2009 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Mel, I'm sorry I didn't seen your comment sooner (but thanks for responding and reassuring Mel, Heather!). How is Carlton doing? I hope the feeding tube helped. Let us know how it went. Is Carlton eating on his own again yet?

    Debbie, I'm glad my blog has given you hope. Let us know how Sora is doing, and if you have any questions that aren't answered on my blog, and I'll try to provide what advice I can.

  • At September 29, 2009 at 7:47 AM , Blogger Kenoryn said...

    I'm really glad I found this. Our cat Dactyl has fatty liver disease and we've been having to force-feed him with a syringe as well as various pills - he still drinks some water on his own, thankfully. I had the same fears as you, that maybe he wasn't going to make it and I was just being cruel making his last days miserable. I feel terrible when I'm shoving things down his throat so many times a day and he's giving me a furious glare and hiding from me as soon as I let him go... I also felt really bad because I think we could have caught it sooner. We noticed he was losing weight but when I switched foods he ate some right away and I thought he just hadn't liked the food he was on before. If I had been paying attention after that I would have seen that he only ate that one time. I'm glad to know you felt the same and in your case Delilah made it through. One thing I have found so far is that he doesn't like to eat the same thing twice, but when I bring a new food for him to try he'll sit down and eat a little bit of it on his own. Unfortunately he won't touch the l/d prescription cat food so I have to force feed him that anyway. I'm concerned now that we haven't really solved the problem of whatever caused him to stop eating in the first place, and without addressing it maybe he won't start eating on his own...

  • At October 3, 2009 at 8:23 AM , Blogger H said...

    Is Dactyl nauseated looking? If you touch his nose he might gag so that is a good sign that he is nauseated. This was Delilah's whole problem. She would smell the cat food and gag. It almost looks like they are licking their lips, but its extremely exaggerated. Did the vet give you any medicine to help with this? Like I said in my post Delilah had two different kinds of medicines for nausea. She also had to take an apetite stimulant. You could try something really smelly like tuna water or canned chicken. (Delilah doesn't eat wet food so none of this interest her.) Is he throwing up what he is eating? If he is, it might be nausea too. Delilah had always been a cat who threw up a lot, but it was even worse when she had FLD. If he still isn't getting enough calorie you might want to consider an e-tube. Like in an earlier post, I don't think Delilah would of made it without the e-tube. The e-tube isn't a big deal, but it can be messy. One day I was fixing a syringe and I squirted it all over my kitchen ceiling.Delilah also had acid reflux. She had to take pepic ac, half a pill a day. The acid reflux caused Delilah to throw up as well. It seemed like everything that could cause her to throw up did. The reason he might be eating different food is that he wants to eat, but is just feeling so nauseated that the food makes him sick. He has to eat to stop feeling nauseated, but he doesn't want to eat it. Its like a double edged sword. Good luck with Dactyl! Let us know how your baby is doing!

  • At October 12, 2009 at 2:29 PM , Blogger Kenoryn said...

    2 weeks after the vet visit when he was diagnosed, Dactyl has gained about a kilogram and has started eating on his own again! I'm still force-feeding with a syringe a couple of times a day to make sure he's getting enough, and his liver enzymes are still very high, but beginning to come down. Hooray! He hasn't seemed nauseated, and that has been a big help as he mostly keeps his food down. The other part of the issue was that he doesn't like wet food - never has - and that's the prescription food the vet gave us. Another vet was able to give us a dry version of the same thing that he eats.

  • At October 21, 2009 at 7:35 PM , Blogger H said...

    Glad to hear it! He sounds like he is on the road to recovery. Lilah was never a fan of wet food either, and it was a real struggle to get to eat because dry food just doesn't have the same strong smell as wet. Though she much rather eat roast beef instead of cat food any day.

  • At November 7, 2009 at 11:25 PM , Blogger wayfarer said...

    I am so glad to have found your story. My cat Jonathan is currently being treated for FLS by Purdue University Vet School. They say he also has triadism -- trouble with the liver, pancreas, and gall bladder. His bile shows a bacterium growing, and it appears that Jonny will have to be put on an expensive antibiotic that is about the only thing that can cure this bacterium. My cat vomits frequently, especially after taking Denosyl to stimulate his liver. He has an e-feeding tube, and, of course, I am sleeping little because he must be fed so frequently. Jonny is taking special canned liquids and other meds as well. I am glad to hear that it was an emotional roller coaster for others involved in home care. Luckily, I am retired and can devote myself to my cat exclusively. Any encouragement that can be offered would be deeply appreciated. Thanks.

  • At November 10, 2009 at 10:07 PM , Blogger Debby said...

    Hi.. So happy to find your blog, my cat Valentino is also suffering from Fatty Liver Disease..He spent 3 days in the hospital, his liver levels were 8 times more than normal, jaunticed ect..

    he has been home 9 days now. I am force feeding him through a syringe by mouth the Hills a/d. he was eating a little on his own, but not consistantly.

    I started him on Milk Thistle Extract, after reading so many good things about it. My vet said try it , it can't hurt.

    Well he had his levels tested today, and they were down to almost normal!! He still isn't eating on his own much, but I have been able to get a can a day of the a/d into him along with whatever I can get him to eat. My vet is very optimistic about his progress.

    I highly recommend trying Milk Thistle extract. The one I'm using is made by Animals Apawthecary, I've seen it on line, but I got it at a holistic pet store. It contains alcohol, so I'm looking for another one that doesn't, would make it easier to give.

    good luck to all with this situation.


  • At November 16, 2009 at 5:52 AM , Blogger Debby said...

    Hey, just checking in, valentno is doing so well,he is eating on his own now. He will only eat "pro-plan salmon and rice entree" that's it...

    I am also force feeding the hills a/d. as much as I can. As he is feeing better he fights me more.

    I am still giving him the Milk Thistle extract. twice a day. I do think this is what is saving him.

    My Vet is astonished by his recovery. Still it will take about 6 to 8 more weeks of this to truly stabilize him.

    If you have a cat in this condition you must try the Milk Thistle, any brand. It does truly work...

    You can email me if you want about my cat and such at

    I hope for the best..


  • At November 23, 2009 at 7:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm very glad to have seen this site. It's been less than a week since I took my cat, BlackJack (age 5 estimated by vet), into the vet. I feel bad I didn't notice if he was eating or drinking. We have two other cats (and other pets as well), so sometimes it's hard to tell. But, I came home from work one morning and noticed he was jaundiced, so off to the vet he went.

    He is now home with a feeding tube and a $1500 vet bill under our belt. I have to call today to set up his checkup for the end of the week. He has eaten some already on his own, but not a lot. He gets most of his stuff through the tube. He uses his litter box okay, though, and I love that he still will lay on me and purr. :) It's very reassuring. He gets meds once a day through the tube and the second day home we had to give him two shots (my husband learned how to do that and took care of it).

    He's fighting the good fight and is such a nice boy. We found him as a stray the beginning of the year with a bloody back claw and an ice-covered tail, ear mites and round worms galore. He was so scrawny, but as soon as he had the choice to eat, he did. I think that's how he got overweight as my other two cats are not (and I rarely feed canned food, treats, and especially not people food unless it's raw or unseasoned meat).

    Anyway, that was long and I'm sorry, just wanted to say I appreciate the site as it makes me feel better about Jack pulling through!

  • At November 29, 2009 at 4:08 PM , Blogger Your said...

    MY CATS STORY: Thanks so much for typing this blog, I love to hear others experience and hear about what works and what doesn't. My job was going through revamping their website & they held out paying a lot of people for about 2 weeks. I had no money to buy my cats food (which I've been feeding them organic for most of their lives) but of course they had to eat so I went to dollar store & bought two bags there. HUGE MISTAKE! A week or so after my cat Laz ate that I noticed her hiding under the chair, she strained when she tried to go #2 and nothing would come out, and she hasn't been eating, also, her back bone was showing more and more everyday, I got worried Friday night when he hind legs weren't working so I took her to the 24/hour vet and they did blood work and Xrays. She has fatty liver disease and the xrays showed huge pieces of poops stuck in her intestines. They gave her an enema and only got one piece out and the vet showed me it was rock hard and compacted poop. That trip to vet was $295. She wasn't getting any better the next day, this time her whole body was limp she wasn't eating or drinking or pooping and her neck fell down like she couldn't life it. Took her back to the vet, they put her under anesthesia and gave her another enema and some fluids to dehydrate her. The vet was worried cuz my cat bled a lot when she pulled the poop out. That's trip was $169. They gave me fructalose to take home and tube feed her every 8 hours. It is now Sunday and what a weekend. I love this cat though id do anything for her. Today she moved a small distance from one end of my bed room to another, then out to living room under a chair, then from under chair to the couch, so that's good. I've been worried about getting her fed since she's not eating so I went to the health food store and bought Halo pets cats stew because I knew it was some what liquidy and I could use the tubes the vet gave me to feed her the fructalose to feed her the juices of the cat stew. Ever since I tube fed her about 3 or 4 times, oh I also tube fed her whole milk because the vet said whole milk is good for FLD cats. I also read how milk thistle is good so I'm going to go get some of that later. But yea today after I tube fed her cat stew made by halo pets and that whole milk, shortly after is when she came out of hiding and sat on couch. I'm not giving up, I'm going to give it a shot and try and get her healthy. Hope all is well!

  • At December 2, 2009 at 7:11 PM , Blogger H said...

    I'm sorry to hear about blackjack and Laz, but it sounds like they might be on the road to recovery. The main thing for cats with FLD is to eat. They need those calories to get the weight back on them. Delilah was a scrawny 5-6 pounds at her lowest and she is back to 8-9 pounds a year later. The most reassuring thing is to get that weight checked. I counted it as a small success when Delilah would gain even one tenth of a pound. I had to give laxatives to Delilah through her e-tube later on because she was straining so much to go the restroom it would make her vomit, so getting all the pipes clear and running smoothly again will definitely help. Its also a good sign that they move around. Delilah would sit for hours under my couch or loveseat. She wouldn't even bother to move when I reached under to grab her, but once she started to get some food in her and feel better she began moving from there to the bathroom and to the bedroom. If your vet will give you a prescription you can get the science diet a/d at Pet's mart. They just have to call over there. A/d is really smooth, but its thick so you have to mix a little bit of water into it. Its high in calories, but it can cause constipation. Let us know how your babies are doing! This website is so great for the success stories. When I was nursing Delilah back all I could find were medical sites about it or depressing outcomes.
    Wayfarer how is your cat? The vomiting is something terrible. Its a huge set back and every time it happened with Delilah I just wanted to cry.The vet may want to try a different medicine. That is what it took for Delilah to turn the corner. Just remember you are doing what is best for your kitty even though it may seem that it isn't. Many times I thought I was just making it worse by doing this, but I couldn't of been more wrong. Also, I don't know if you have carpet but after all the vomit on my carpet I have found that if you just use plain hot water in any home steam cleaner like a bissel steam vac and follow it with a pass of some sort of carpet cleaner, it does a decent job of getting most of it out. Please let us know about Jonny!

  • At December 3, 2009 at 10:27 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Kenoryn, I'm so glad Dactyl started eating on his own! I see that was almost 2 months ago. How is he doing now?

    Wayfarer, I've heard several times about medications upsetting a cat's stomach worse. Certainly that happened with Cleo. I work from home so when Cleo got sick I was able to feed her frequently -- I agree, it helps. How is Jonathan doing?

    Debby, thanks for the updates on Valentino! I'm glad he recovered! I don't think milk thistle extract is a necessity -- most of the people I talk to whose cats have recovered didn't do anything other than force feeding. H is right -- food is the main thing!

    msktty, how is BlackJack doing? Don't feel bad that you didn't notice he wasn't eating -- I didn't notice with Cleo. It's difficult when you have more than one cat eating out of the same dish! It sounds like he is still acting more or less the same, though, which is a good sign. It means he's feeling well enough to cuddle! Let me know how he does!

    Your, it sounds like your cat stopped eating because she was impacted! I've heard of that happening before. How is she doing now? The Hills A/D is a good wet food, and is thin enough that with a little added water it'll go through a syringe. The main thing is that your cat's diet needs to contain lots of protein -- that's what gets the liver going again! Let me know how Laz is doing!

  • At December 6, 2009 at 8:51 PM , Blogger Kenoryn said...

    Dactyl is now back to normal weight, and his liver enzymes are within normal range! What a relief! It was a lot of work. He's still taking nutritional supplement pills (Zentonil) every other day, but that's not so bad. The vet says he may need it for the rest of his life, depending on the condition of his liver - it remains to be seen.

    Thanks again for the support!

  • At January 26, 2010 at 11:32 AM , Blogger wayfarer said...

    My empathy to everyone going thru the fatty liver experience with a beloved cat. My Jonathon was so improved after some treatment decisions I will describe below that the vets were about to remove the feeding tube, since he eats totally on his own and has gained weight. Now all of a sudden he is running a fever and vomiting a little again. He is getting zeniquin to hopefully lower the fever. I am hoping the antibiotic works. (He also gets doubts of pancreatitis.)

    To let some writers know what helped with Jonny, Cerenia controlled the constant vomiting. It was developed for dogs as a motion sickness aid. However, it works in cats, and my vet said it is approved for cats and can be used longterm, altho it is usually given only for 4 days. Also, I agreed to let Jonny have a low dose steroid shot, even tho some studies say steroids may harm the liver. I also gave Jonny prednisolone tablets thru the e-tube for two days. The vomiting stopped and he began eating normally and gaining weight. (A pancreatic inflammation may have had something to do with his vomiting at this time. He has triadism -- problems with the liver, pancreas, and gall bladder).

    At the time I went the steroid route, the vet at Purdue Univ. wanted to pull the e-tube and put a tube into my cat's intestines instead. I thought the cat had been through enough, and he already had some liver damage, so I prayed and chose the steroid route. Any readers who might consider trying this must consider potential damage. I used very few steroids with big results, but apparently I took a chance.

    Also, it's true that Milk Thistle helps. One poster here wanted to get it without alcohol suspension. It is available in glycerin suspension here in my hometown at from Indiana Botanic Gardens in Hobart, IN. It is even on sale. The extract mixes in drinking water as well. It easily goes down an e-tube. You can also give it by mouth with a syringe, or if you put a few drops in their water, your cat(s) will probably drink it, and it is a small price to pay for liver health for a sick cats and even currently healthy cats.

    I have started giving my other cat 4 drops of sarsaparilla in 1.5 cc of water daily for a bladder problem. Sarsapirilla is recommended by Dr. Pitcairn in his book about natural health for cats and dogs. When I give a homeopathic remedy, I cut the mixture to 1/4 the recommended dosage for humans, judging from the fact that Jonny was prescribed 1/4 of a pepsid tablet by the vet, when a human would have taken one whole tablet, or four times the dose. I hope this helps someone, and if anyone can give me any suggestions, I would appreciate it. My prayers are with anyone whose cat is fighting fatty liver disease.

  • At January 26, 2010 at 11:34 AM , Blogger wayfarer said...

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  • At January 26, 2010 at 11:35 AM , Blogger wayfarer said...

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  • At February 7, 2010 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Our 6 year old cat Kitten just came home from the vet today with fatty liver disease. He has all the medications you mentioned, and a/d food which I am supposed to force feed up to 6 times a day. His vet does not think he will pull through and wants to give him only a couple of days before he is put down. I now have more hope after reading your story, and am hoping persistence pays off for us!

  • At February 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM , Blogger Kenoryn said...

    Downanselmo, you should definitely stick with it longer than that! Our cat took about a week before he made any visible improvement at all. It was a month before he was eating entirely on his own, and it was two months until his liver enzymes were back to normal. Four months later he's just about back at his normal weight. Your cat may seem miserable and you may feel like you're doing more harm than good, but it's worth it to stick with it. As long as he's getting enough food and water every day, he'll only be getting better!

  • At February 7, 2010 at 3:53 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Downanselmo, a couple of days is NOTHING. According to most sources online it takes on average 4 to 8 weeks of force feeding to recover! Stick with it and if your vet won't support your decision, or doesn't seem to know how to treat fatty liver, find a different vet! It's not uncommon for vets not to know much about this disease or to advise giving up, but the fact is this is a VERY curable condition and doesn't necessarily mean the end of your cat's life. Cleo recovered more than 4 years ago, and she is still with us, still healthy!

    A word of caution, though -- do try to figure out what caused your cat to stop eating in the first place. With Cleo it was the introduction of a dog into the household, which kept her from going to her (rather exposed) food dish. If it is another disease that caused him to stop eating, though, you will have to treat that as well as the fatty liver in order to get him well again.

  • At February 9, 2010 at 7:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    After a few days of force feeding orally, this morning I could only get 2ml of food into kitten and 1 medication. He was drooling so much that nothing would stay in. I talked to the vet a few times today and they gave me two options, either have a feeding tube put in (which would be around $1600 for everything) or put him down. I was also told he more then likely would not survive the anesthesia from the surgery to put the feeding tube in. I was really upset all day but then I called the vet back and asked if I could just try to have the feeding tube in and bring him home in a day to care for him at home. She reluctantly agreed to do this, but continued to remind me that he more then likely wouldn't survive the surgery, and if somehow he did that his prognosis is still poor. I just couldn't give in to putting him down today. He is still affectionate, he still wants me to brush him and has been purring and snuggling. A short time ago, the vet called and told me he made it through the surgery to put the tube in very well! Hopefully he will make it through the night at the vet and Thursday I can bring him home and start feeding him through the tube. Thank you so much for this site. This is one of the only sites out there that gives some hope and shows success with this. I hope I can get him through this.

  • At February 9, 2010 at 8:18 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Downanselmo, please keep us updated on how Kitten does with the feeding tube. It sounds like he needed one. Just keep pushing the food and he has a good fighting chance!

    Any idea yet why he stopped eating in the first place? I can't stress enough how important that is to try to figure out!

  • At February 10, 2010 at 6:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    There are two possibilities to why he stopped eating. One is the addition of a new dog. He's never been scared of dogs but this one chases him out of curiosity. The other thing could have been about a month and a half ago the vet said he needed to go on a diet right away. He went from having food in his bowl whenever he wanted, to 1/2 cup 2x a day. He is a big cat, he was 21 lbs. I think the sudden decrease in food could have stressed him out. I wish I did my research on that too, because now I've been reading that any decrease in food has to be done very gradually.

  • At February 12, 2010 at 8:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I was wondering, did any of your cats drool a lot at first?

  • At February 22, 2010 at 3:57 PM , Blogger H said...

    Delilah didn't drool, but she had a feeding tube so nothing went in her mouth. Downanselmo, if you need any tips on the tube let me know. I feel like I am a pro at that since I had to fight constantly with delilah to put the food and meds down it. Delilah always wiggled her tube around when she shook her head (when she was feeling better.) It didn't stop her from eating or drinking on her own either.

  • At February 22, 2010 at 11:40 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Carrie, when I had to put my other cat on antibiotics recently, he drooled and foamed at the mouth like crazy every time I gave him a dose. I think it was that he didn't like the taste -- why they give banana flavored meds to cats, I don't know! Is it possible your cat doesn't like the taste of the food you are giving him?

    It could also be his body's response since he doesn't feel well. In any case, as long as it isn't interfering with your ability to feed him, I would keep an eye on it but not worry about it too much!

  • At March 12, 2010 at 7:18 PM , Blogger Jolene said...

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  • At March 13, 2010 at 12:16 AM , Blogger truckinkat said...

    My cat Eli has had this since late January. He rides in an 18 wheeler whith me. I haven't had to put a tube in him yet but I have to feed him. He eats a little on his own but not enough. I am giving him S-ame, milk thistle, vitamins, and famotidine. Thank you for the information.

  • At March 29, 2010 at 8:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What a helpful website...thank you. My cat is going through the exact same thing as Delilah. It is so wonderful to see the survivor stories. My kitty has been struggling in and out of the vet for 6 days now. Her liver numbers are better and she actually kept food down today. However, the vet says her potassium numbers continue to drop. Have you any experience with this?

  • At April 1, 2010 at 8:32 PM , Blogger H said...

    I had to crush up potassium tablets into delilah's food so she would get a whole one by the end of the day. The vet kept her on those the whole time she was tube feeding because her potassium was a little low. I also think she got a shot with vitamins and such at one time when I took her in for a check up which seemed to help her because she wasn't very active and that was messing with her potassium levels as well. Hope that helps!

  • At April 1, 2010 at 8:32 PM , Blogger H said...

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  • At August 31, 2010 at 5:40 PM , Blogger JR said...

    I don't know if you're checking this. I hope so. My cat has liver problems. We've been forcefeeding her for two weeks. Tonight she threw up right after the first bit of food. I think she's constipated. I don't know. Our vet isn't explaining a lot and gave us a 1800 number - big help. Should we keep feeding her? Is the throwing up that normal? Am I freaking for nothing? Please help! I love our little Zoe and want her to do well.

  • At August 31, 2010 at 5:50 PM , Blogger Kenoryn said...

    JR - throwing up is normal. You just have to keep at it. I'm guessing your vet has given you a prescription food like Feline LD, and it's meant to be highly digestible so your cat produces very little waste (also means you don't have to get as much into your cat, which can be hard to do and keep down.) I found it was best to feed small amounts very often instead of a larger amount at once. My vet wasn't good at explaining things either - thank goodness for this site!

  • At October 29, 2010 at 8:31 AM , Blogger rgcblackie said...

    My beloved cat, Gattaca, was just diagnosed with FLD, and I am going through an emotional rollercoaster. Three-times-a-day feedings (thank God not through a tube), pills, and forced water ingestion. She was diagnosed this Monday, and I feel like a horrible owner for not catching on to the serverity of her condition sooner. After reading some of these posts, I will ask my vet about the Milk Thistle. I have a gut feeling it will help. Also, I will ask about a nutritional gel that may be added to her high-caloric wet food. In addition, I will aslo ask about mixing up the cat food to give her variety (maybe the i/d, AD, and Iams high caloric). From what I've read, this is going to be a long and very emotional road for me and her, but these posts do give me hope. And believe me, right now, I really need it! Now if only I can get her to drink more water and act less lathargic!!! Pray for us, please.

  • At November 5, 2010 at 12:44 AM , Blogger Heather said...

    My cat, Snow, a snowshoe siamese mix has had this twice now...we are in round 2, which I caught early on (thank goodness) and his ears were only slightly yellow. He's stopped eating as of last Saturday (when he threw up his last meal) and he's still gagging at the smell of food. He's taking all his food well. I can get 90-100 cc's of food in him a day with just three feedings. I am going to add a 4th Friday - Sunday since our hours are better for work and we can do that. He's still urinating in the right spots (bathtub or his litter box) but I haven't seen a bowel movement in days - which concerns me. I am adding milk thistle and omega 3 fatty acides (his coat is so gorgeous now!) and I ordered some of the IAMS food with the Max Calorie. It was Eukanuba Max Cal in 2006 and it worked AWESOME. I highly recommend it - if it's the same cocktail with the new ownership? I hope so!
    This second bout is killing us and we want him to go back to eating soon...we have no one to care for him when we leave for Iowa in 2 weeks and we are anxious about that. If we board him, he will get uptight and that will be a huge setback. I don't know what to do. Maybe a vet that makes house calls? I refuse to do a tube if we can still get him to cooperate with the syringe and he's eating so much food! I can get nearly a full can of food in him a day, with supplements and I add pumpkin for constipation (hopefully that will work) and I am fingering in some nutri-cal in between meals to keep his calorie intake up and make sure his sugar levels don't drop too low.
    I would like to feed him more frequently...since he's only throwing up small amounts 2x a day at most.
    One last thing..the antibiotics make him froth as well. I used to give them last, but I am going to give them in the middle of feeding him now. He seems to hate them!
    Any thoughts, feedback or ideas would be great.

    He's a 15 lb cat...rescued at age 1 and lost 6 lbs the first bout and only 3.5 this bout.

    He's 4-5 lbs overweight, but I have restricted his diet and it just worries me to do that. I am thinking of getting in regular syringe feedings with Omega 3 and supplements on a weekly basis going forward to ensure he's getting enough to fight the compromised liver.

    Hope he pulls through...we miss him! He's not himself lately...

  • At November 5, 2010 at 10:20 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Heather, you didn't mention if you had taken him to the vet this time around. Make sure you check for what could be the cause of it. How long have you been force feeding him? If it's been a while and he's not getting better, that's another reason to screen for what else could be wrong.

    It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on it and you know what to do. I wouldn't go to Iowa, though, unless he has started eating on his own well enough that you don't feel you need to supervise him. Even if you find someone who can feed him while you are gone, will they be able to get a full can into him? A tube will only work if they are still able to feed him 3-4 times a day, as you do. And will Snow be able to deal with you being gone okay? Any change during this time could be devastating for Snow. It's not worth going away for Thanksgiving and risking your cat's life.

  • At November 5, 2010 at 3:04 PM , Blogger Heather said...

    Oh yes, I am sorry - I immediately took him to a vet when he started acting odd. He's breathing through his mouth and not acting like himself. The vet notices the slight jaundiced ears, but his gums and eyes were pink. I was shocked she found it before me!

    His bloodwork and xrays looked fine - except his bilirubin was 1.8. He was very dehydrated and a little tender in the tummy. The x-ray supported the thought that his intestines were bunched up a tad. We are doing subq and 120cc's of food a day. We have been doing this for 3 days.

    I refused the tube feeding, the surgery and additional investigatory tests. Everything was already costing nearly 500.00. He was much worse in 2006 when I syringe fed him back to life AND we have had 6 other cats in this house for these past few years and so we had to make some cost based syringe feeding is all I can afford until I pay for more bloodwork.

    I really have to go to Iowa...we just got married and this is our first trip back to his parents house. We only go home every other year (his home, I am from Oregon). Our current cat sitter visits 3 times a day, so if he is eating on his own - that will work. And, they love her...she's good about hanging out and feeding them with both wet and dry food and playing with them. I just don't want to add additional burdeons on her and I don't want snow to be boarded at the vet. That would make it horrible for him.

    He did fine when we were on our honeymoon and this is only 4 days...we were gone for 16 days this summer. He is very shy, so it's not an invalid question.

    It's the other cats he sometimes doesn't like and we lost 2 this maybe that is bothering him. We are down to 3.

    I will take him back to the vet in a 10 days and check the bloodwork. He was cleaning himself and meowing more today. And he followed me into the bedroom and climbed up next to me - which he hasn't done in a while. And he only throws up a small amount once a more than that. So things aren't as bad as they could be...and I think he could take more food...he opens his mouth for the syringe up and through ~50 ccs and then he gives me the clenched jaw...

  • At November 5, 2010 at 3:04 PM , Blogger Heather said...

    Oh yes, I am sorry - I immediately took him to a vet when he started acting odd. He's breathing through his mouth and not acting like himself. The vet notices the slight jaundiced ears, but his gums and eyes were pink. I was shocked she found it before me!

    His bloodwork and xrays looked fine - except his bilirubin was 1.8. He was very dehydrated and a little tender in the tummy. The x-ray supported the thought that his intestines were bunched up a tad. We are doing subq and 120cc's of food a day. We have been doing this for 3 days.

    I refused the tube feeding, the surgery and additional investigatory tests. Everything was already costing nearly 500.00. He was much worse in 2006 when I syringe fed him back to life AND we have had 6 other cats in this house for these past few years and so we had to make some cost based syringe feeding is all I can afford until I pay for more bloodwork.

    I really have to go to Iowa...we just got married and this is our first trip back to his parents house. We only go home every other year (his home, I am from Oregon). Our current cat sitter visits 3 times a day, so if he is eating on his own - that will work. And, they love her...she's good about hanging out and feeding them with both wet and dry food and playing with them. I just don't want to add additional burdeons on her and I don't want snow to be boarded at the vet. That would make it horrible for him.

    He did fine when we were on our honeymoon and this is only 4 days...we were gone for 16 days this summer. He is very shy, so it's not an invalid question.

    It's the other cats he sometimes doesn't like and we lost 2 this maybe that is bothering him. We are down to 3.

    I will take him back to the vet in a 10 days and check the bloodwork. He was cleaning himself and meowing more today. And he followed me into the bedroom and climbed up next to me - which he hasn't done in a while. And he only throws up a small amount once a more than that. So things aren't as bad as they could be...and I think he could take more food...he opens his mouth for the syringe up and through ~50 ccs and then he gives me the clenched jaw...

  • At November 5, 2010 at 3:05 PM , Blogger Heather said...

    oops, the bilirubin was .8 not 1.8..she said it should be .4.

  • At November 5, 2010 at 3:41 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Heather, if he's eating when you leave for Iowa, I agree he should be fine for 4 days. It's if he's not eating that I don't think you should go. He may have been fine for 16 days during your honeymoon, but he wasn't ill then! Getting enough food into him is critical, and going without it for 4 days when he's already this sick could have a devastating impact on his chances of recovery. Are you sure he'll let your sitter force feed him? Are you sure she'll be comfortable with it? I don't think you should board him, either -- too stressful, and I've heard nothing but horror stories from people who have hospitalized their cats to be force fed -- but that means if your sitter can't do the force feedings, you really will have to stay.

    I definitely agree with you on the feeding tube. The only purpose for a feeding tube is if the cat is not allowing you to force feed by mouth -- some cats have a really hard time with this, and fight like mad, but most will allow it from someone they trust. And I think the surgery is way to stressful for a cat who is just barely hanging on to life, as most are when they are finally diagnosed.

    When he locks his jaw, try sticking the tip of the syringe in the corner of his mouth and wiggling it just a touch. That should make him open it, and then you are in a perfect position to squeeze a CC or two onto the back of his tongue, so that he can't refuse to swallow, either!

    Please, if your cat isn't eating, reconsider your trip. Snow needs you right now much more than your in-laws!

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  • At November 15, 2010 at 6:46 PM , Blogger Nancy said...

    my cat also has fatty liver disease. i was wondering if anyone can tell me how long does it take before your cats starts moving around. he had a feeding tube put in 2 days ago and i've been feeding him faithfully but he doen't move except to go to the litter box. he sits in his cat bed all day all night. i feel so bad that i'm feeding him but just making his suffer.

  • At June 21, 2011 at 11:04 AM , Blogger nattiee318 said...

    I love Delilah's story, wonderful to see a happy ending. I am going through this stuff with my cat right now. Her bilirubin levels were high, then dropped a little and today they are high again. She has been at the animal hospital for three days now. At his point the vet feels we need to use the tube in her stomach. I suggested brining her home and continue syringe feeding. The vet feels the success rate won't be the same. She is having the tube inserted in an hour. I might be bringing her home tomorrow and continue with the tube feeding. I hope that is the case, because when I pay tomorrow, it will be $4,200. I can't afford too much more than that. Anyone else faced with the high prices as well?

  • At July 20, 2011 at 7:24 PM , Blogger Heather T said...


    It was very very expensive with Delilah. She was in the hospital a couple days plus all the medication and blood work. There was the also the tube and special food. I remember it being close to 4k in total for Lilah. The vet was able to work with me so I did a payment plan. Maybe your vet will do the same thing. I'm sure a lot of people have high bills with a vet because they are just like a doctor. Lilah is still doing well. I recently went on vacation and when she was boarded she refused to eat so they gave her stuff to kick start her appetite. She came home and is doing fine. I think the best way to prevent FLD happening again is to figure out why they stopped eating in the first place. Lilah's issue is that she doesn't like to be without me.

  • At July 22, 2011 at 10:07 PM , Blogger grneyedb said...

    My 12 year old male, Tigger, has FLD. He was a pretty fat cat (20+ lbs) and then I went out of town for a few weeks (1 month ago) and now he down to 14 lbs. His first blood test showed liver numbers that are off the charts:

    (normal range) His number
    ALT (12-130) 554
    ALKP (14-111) 1071
    GGT (0-1) 49
    TBIL (0-.9) 8
    CHOL (65-225) 232

    Has anyone seen numbers like these? The vet did not think he would survive but much to their surprise, he happily eats the A/D food and does not throw up. I think he is living off love (mine for him). I visit him several times a day. How long before I can take him home and nurse him back to health?

  • At July 30, 2011 at 9:58 PM , Blogger iraethan said...

    My girlfriend and I recently moved in together and we both brought a cat with us. One of the cats, Duncan became very stressed, stopped eating and became very reclusive. He has fatty liver disease and it has been devastating on both of us.

    He was in the hospital for 24 hours then we brought him home to a safe room. He has a feeding tube. His first feeding went well, but this morning, he threw up his second feeding, I was so discouraged. But his other two feedings went well today.

    He seems more responsive than when we took him into the vet, but he is so very far from recovery.

    One thing I noticed today is that he is drooling fairly regularly. Is this normal for a cat that is tube feeding or a cat with FLD?

    Along with his food, I am thinking about getting some other nutrients like Milk Thistle, Vitamin E, Caritine and/or Choline. Has anyone had success with these?

    I know this could be a long road to recovery, but I was thankful to run across this blog post. It gives us a little hope...

  • At July 30, 2011 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...


    I didn't personally use anything other than force-feeding to get my cat well. She was on antibiotics, but that was for a urinary tract infection she had as well when she was diagnosed with FLD. I tried anti-nausea medication but gave up quickly with that -- it either didn't work, or made it worse, because she usually just vomited up the pill.

    However, I can tell you that I've heard a lot of positive things about milk thistle. I don't think it's necessary, but it may help. It's up to you whether you use things like that, but I wouldn't try to give your cat TOO many supplements. I think there's something to be said for keeping the diet simple, with as few things to upset your cat's tummy as possible.

    As for the vomiting, I have to tell you, Cleo threw up at least every other day for most of the 4 weeks I was force feeding her. It'll happen a lot. Don't worry about it too much. Just set a quota of how much food your cat needs every day, and try to get as close to that as possible each day. If a little gets thrown up every day, or if you miss a feeding here and there, it won't make too much of a difference if you are fairly consistent and getting enough food into your cat otherwise.

    Of course, there are a few things you can do to minimize the vomiting somewhat. Small, more frequent meals helps a lot. Feed slowly, 1 or 2 CCs at a time, giving a moment or so for your cat to swallow in between "bites," to try to avoid triggering the gag reflex. Remember, the liver failure actually makes your cat feel sick to its stomach, so it's going to happen sometimes regardless, but you can minimize it a little by being careful.

    Good luck and feel free to comment again if you need anything else!

  • At September 16, 2011 at 8:03 PM , Blogger Nkill24 said...

    Thank you to everyone on this blog for giving me hope. My handsome boy Bob started getting sick back in Feb and we discovered in April he in fact had fatty liver disease. We took him to three different vets and was told if he didn't start eating on his own he would need a feeding tube. With the reality that my husband and I couldn't afford a $8000 feeding tube we hoped for the best but expected the worse. That is when I then read this blog and decided I wasn't just going to sit back helpless and watch my cat starve. I then started to force feed Bob with my fingers 5-6 times a day. After about 4-5 weeks, and my husband and I leaving for a night, Bob started eating on his own. I still fed him until he was strong enough to fight me, literally tooth and nails. I am so happy to say we took Bob in for his 3 month visit last week and all his blood values are back to normal! Once again thank you for giving me hope when most other websites filled me with fear and sadness.

  • At September 22, 2011 at 3:10 PM , Blogger Patti said...

    My 6 year old cat was diagnosed
    with fld in July 2011 a feeding tube was placed on 7-28 I was told she would not make it if we didn't it is now almost 8 weeks and she still can't eat on her own the sight of food makes her gag she is still vomiting a lot I can only feed about 30 ml per feeding and sometimes she still vomits and the drooling is still bad We were told last night that if she doesn't get better soon the next step is steroids or liver biopsy she already had a needle biopsy at the start of this it has already cost us about 7,000 I really can't afford a 4,000 biopsy desperate in NJ

  • At October 3, 2011 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Lacey said...

    I just came home from the vet today, and I feel horrible for not going sooner. My cat Alice has FLD as well, and I feel terrible when I have to force feed her four meds a day... but I'm going to stay positive. Thanks so much for your article. It really gives me some hope.

  • At January 21, 2012 at 7:23 PM , Blogger Le' Zette said...

    So so so happy I found your blog...i'm right smack in the middle of this happening to my Egypt(14yrs) and me. I just brought her home today from the vets, she was there over night with an iv because she was so dehydrated. The vet gave her a cocktail of meds to help make her feel better. I was given a huge syringe to feed her soft food from hills (critical care diet). As soon as she came home she drank water on her own which is a huge deal, but she has not eaten on her own yet...Everyone here has definitely given me a lot of hope! If anyone can think of tips or advice please respond. Thank you so much :)
    Egypt and L.

  • At January 31, 2012 at 3:01 AM , Blogger summer said...

    Hi. I've just lost my four year old to this disease and I feel I could have done more. I took her to the vets fri where they took her in straight away. They put her on fluids straight away and said she had an infection, put her on antibiotics and the next day I went in she recognised me straight away but was very wobbly on her feet. They had syringe fed her some food that day and said the toxins were now going to her brain. They were not very hopeful and said she might not make it through the night. The next morning I had a call to say she wasn't any better and not moving. I went in to see her and she looked awful, she was breathing very fast, her eyes dilated and looked very drugged up. She had a lot of fluid in her stomach. She had not moved all night. They recommended to put her to sleep. I agreed, but now feel I might have made the wrong decision. Should they have tube fed her immediately? I now feel so lost and very guilty about a decision that was forced on me. Should I have done more for her? Please help

  • At January 31, 2012 at 10:33 AM , Blogger Kenoryn said...


    I'm no vet, but based on what you mentioned about an infection and antibiotics and about toxins reaching her brain, it sounds like your cat may have had another condition like septicemia/sepsis (blood poisoning). I understand it's very difficult to save a cat with septicemia.
    So far as I know infections are not related to fatty liver disease... perhaps your cat had another type of liver disease, or had an additional complication that most cats don't.

    Very sorry for your loss.

  • At January 31, 2012 at 11:27 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Oh, Summer, I am so sorry! But don't feel bad. It really sounds to me like there was something else wrong in addition to fatty liver disease. FLD by itself is treatable, but if the cat is sick with something else, you have to be able to treat that too if they are going to recover. It sounds like it was the "something else" that was the big problem for your cat. Don't feel like you made the wrong decision -- what you described doesn't sound like FLD, and I think the vet was probably right that putting her to sleep was the best move at that point.

    Again, I am so sorry.

  • At September 15, 2014 at 12:04 PM , Blogger Haldan Blecher said...

    Thanks for this blog post. It is reassuring and makes me think that my Bengal cat, Cleo, will pull through. My girlfriend and I have been force feeding her, and injecting her with fluids/electrolytes, in addition to 3 different meds. But we simply cannot afford the process to put in a feeding tube if necessary, and it is only getting harder to perform the force feedings. What do we do if it becomes impossible to get Cleo to take the feedings? We were quoted about $2000 for the tube+hospitalization, which is far far more than we can afford to pay, especially after we've already spent over $500 on vet visits and meds. The local ASPCA gave us the same quote...

    We love our cat very much, and want to do everything possible, but feel terrible that we cannot afford to get her the treatment she needs. We are both very worried that the home treatments will not be enough to get Cleo well. Any advice financially would be very appreciated! Thanks.

  • At September 26, 2014 at 10:31 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Haldan, how is your Cleo? I realize you commented nearly 2 weeks ago, which is an eternity for an owner of a cat with FLD, but my blog gets so many spam comments that I didn't see yours until now.

    I would guess that force feeding is getting harder because Cleo is getting stronger, which is a good thing. Don't give up! Do you wrap her up in a towel when you force feed? There are some other things to do to make it easier on your end, such as getting a new syringe when the plunger gets sticky, that will help you be able to give her food faster and easier when you get an opening. I'd also advise trimming her claws with nail clippers. Also use the tip of the syringe in the corner of her mouth to get her to open it, rather than trying to pry her mouth open or go in from the front of her mouth.

    If it does come to having to put a feeding tube in, you might look for a low-cost vet clinic in your area. If nothing else, I think you can get a Care Credit card to pay for vet care.

    Good luck -- let me know how Cleo is doing!

  • At October 27, 2014 at 1:28 AM , Blogger KK said...

    I rescued my Mom cat and her kittens from the pound in 2001 and kept the family together. The Mom died on July 29th. I noticed that her son Clifford, the cat who I had bonded to most closely, lost his appetite about two weeks after she died. He at food, but not much. I had a terrible problem with ants in my home getting into the food and it was really hot so I thought he wasn't eating much because of the heat, ants, and he was mourning for his mom. He was acting perfectly normal other than the reduced appetite.

    I took him to the vet on September 29 because he had started to look like he was not feeling well. The vet did blood test, urine & an xray. The tests came back the next day and the vet told me that he thought he had fatty liver and wanted to put a feeding tube into him that day.

    I let him do it. After the tube was inserted, I was given instructions regarding how to feed him and did a trial run with the tech that day. Then I took him home.

    He threw up the first feeding the following day, but was kept down the three subsequent feedings. That night, he looked like he was having trouble breathing so I took him to emergency. By the time I got there, he was breathing ok so the vet just sent me home with him and told me to continue with the feedings.

    The next day, he seemed ok in the morning and then he looked really terrible later in the day so I took him back to the vet.

    The vet told me he was in liver failure and offered to put him to sleep. She also said if I was willing to go to extreme measures, I could take him back to emergency. They couldn't treat him at my regular vet because it was too late in the day.

    I went back to the emergency night vet and she tried to save him, but he went into cardiac arrest. I had her work to bring him back and she was successful, but she discovered that his lungs were full of fluids when she did it.

    While I was deciding whether to have her do a blood transfusion, he went into arrest again. This time, I let her put him to sleep.

    I don't know what went wrong and I can't stop blaming myself for not getting him to the vet sooner. He was looking and acting like he was perfectly healthy up until a couple of days before I took him to the vet though. He weighed 9 pounds on the day of his death so he wasn't wasting away. The only symptom of any illness he was showing me was the reduced appetite, but he was still eating so I didn't realize he was sick.

    His litter mate brother had fatty liver in 2005 and I fed him through a tube for an entire month and he is fine now.

    I am just so confused about what went wrong with Clifford and I don't understand why he wasn't able to pull through. Maybe he was just too old. He was 13 years and 8 months old.

  • At November 11, 2014 at 2:23 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Oh, KK, don't blame yourself! You DID notice and took him to the vet. It sounds to me like he had something else wrong that was causing him not to eat, if his lungs were full of fluid. Perhaps pneumonia, which I know from experience (having had one cat who had to be put to sleep due to pneumonia among other problems, and a dog who got over pneumonia but only after a couple of months) is REALLY tough to get rid of, especially when they are older. There is a reason why it's a big deal when elderly people get pneumonia!

    Fatty liver disease is treatable, but only if whatever caused them to stop eating is ALSO treatable. And it sounds like you might not have been able to do anything, even if you had caught it sooner.

    I'm so sorry for your loss.

  • At November 20, 2014 at 11:24 PM , Blogger KK said...

    Clifford's lungs were clear when the vet inserted the feeding tube on Tuesday. He threw up the food on one of the feedings but I don't think he aspirated. He kept the other feedings down. I think he may have had a mild cold when the vet did the operation, but all went well. I don't know how his lungs got the goop in them over a two day time frame. I think that it may have been connected to the liver failing somehow. He had a mild case of pancreatitis when the tube was inserted, but nothing else showed in the blood and urine tests. Even my vet was surprised at how he just went into organ failure in a matter of 48 hours after the tube was inserted. He was still eating on his own before they started the tube feeding. That's why I am so very confused about what caused his rapid decline.

  • At November 26, 2014 at 5:49 PM , Blogger Shaaron S said...

    Guys, how long before your cat pooped when on the feeding tube?

  • At November 28, 2014 at 4:42 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    If they didn't have anything in their system before you started feeding them, it may take a couple days, especially if you start feeding smaller amounts or not very often at first to give hem a chance to adjust... Has your cat pooped yet?

  • At November 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    That "mild cold" could have been the early signs of pneumonia setting in, KK. It sounds to me like he had a lot going on all at once. He may have been sicker than either you or the vet realized, honestly. Usually when they decline that fast there's something else causing everything. That happened with my mom's cat, and it turned out she had lymphoma -- another disease that often causes cats to stop eating and develop fatty liver disease.


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