Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Monday, February 22, 2010


Kitty in a box marked FRAGILE

A couple of months ago, I blogged about having to force-feed my other cat, Prince. Although he didn't get fatty liver disease from it — presumably because he was already thin to begin with, as feline hepatic lipidosis is more likely to affect an overweight cat — he stopped eating for reasons unknown in November or December.

For a little while, I had him in and out of the vet. They did a blood panel, and finally an ultrasound. The technician thought she identified resolving pancreatitis (meaning it was getting better), and a thickening of the intestine walls that meant either irritable bowel syndrome or lymphoma. Opting not to do a biopsy to find out which (I don't think he's strong enough), I got a prescription for a low dose of steroids and another round of antibiotics (this time banana flavored — just what a cat wants, right?).

For a while it seemed to have worked. Prince started eating again, and I stopped feeding him. Within a few days, however, I began to suspect he'd stopped eating again. Since then, it's been back and forth — and every time he fakes me out by making me think he's well again, he loses more weight. He's skin and bones right now, and it scares me.

So for now, I've resigned myself to force-feeding him no matter what he seems to be doing on his own. He just can't afford to lose any more weight. In fact, I'd feel much better if he gained some.

On Sunday, Prince jumped into a box marked "FRAGILE," which seemed rather appropriate. Cats are so much more fragile than we think they are. Someone posted on Craigslist the other day seeking advice because the cat they'd just adopted wasn't eating, and everyone told them to just ignore it, the cat would be fine. People assume that because they are fairly independent, they are also resilient, and that they can take care of themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth, as any of us who have dealt with fatty liver disease know!



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