Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Friday, March 12, 2010

Force-feeding your cat: What to feed

I've said it before but it's worth repeating: Force-feeding is the most important method of treatment if you want your cat to recover from fatty liver disease. As such, the type of food you feed is pretty important.

There are a couple of things to consider when choosing a food to force-feed your cat.

1) A cat with feline hepatic lipidosis needs protein in order to get the liver going again, so the food needs to be high in protein.

2) Most likely you will be feeding via a syringe, so the food needs to be thin in consistency.

When Cleo was sick, my vet had me feed her Hills Prescription Diet a/d, which is a thin-consistency, high-protein food meant for either dogs or cats. By adding a very small amount of water, I was able to make the food soupy enough for it to pass through the syringe. The food also contains a minimum of 8.5 percent protein, which isn't super high but is high enough for curing a cat of hepatic lipidosis.

Buy Hills a/d

Because Hills a/d is a prescription food, you will need to buy it either from your vet, or online with a prescription (the retailer verifies the prescription with your vet). It does make force-feeding much easier, however, and is well worth getting the prescription.



  • At May 12, 2010 at 7:38 PM , Blogger Laura said...

    help. My cat has been dealing with this for a month now. he has been on about a million different drugs, only exaggerating a little, it seems. And the issue is that his bil number has gone UP!!!! It was 9.7 a month ago. It was 5.0 two weeks ago. He had blood work done yesterday, its now 24. But William, my cat, is showing signs of being his old self. Scratching, meowing (he has always been a talker) waiting for us to come in. Responding to snaping fingers. So we are at a loss as to what to do now. Any ideas? Any experience with this ind of a relapse? I'd appreciate any advice you can give!


  • At May 12, 2010 at 11:30 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Laura, my first questions would be if you are force feeding, and if the amount he is getting has changed in the past two weeks. Did he start nibbling a little on his own, and you assumed he was doing better, and backed off the food? Suddenly getting less food again could have caused the relapse.

    I would also ask what changes in drugs have taken place since the blood work 2 weeks ago. I'd be cautious about giving him a constantly changing cocktail, and focus on the food instead. Cleo recovered on force-feeding alone -- no drugs. (She was on an anti-nausea drug early on, but it made her vomiting worse, so I stopped giving it to her within days.)

    In my experience, when Cleo started acting like herself again, she was on the mend. Just keep making sure you are getting plenty of food into him!

  • At May 22, 2010 at 3:13 AM , Blogger Tiffany said...

    Hi, I've been up for the past hour, sick with worry, reading your blog and an hoping you can help me. My cat was diagnosed with this 7 days ago. He's been to two different vets ( because the first one didn't seem to understand pets as family) and neither has been able to give me a food goal for the day. They just say 'as much as you can.' buuuut I need a goal. My cat is a larger breed, american bobtail, weighing 14 pounds now and is skin and bones. I'm getting about 55-60 cc's in him a day via force feed but I'm constantly asking myself if it's enough. Any guidance??? Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  • At June 19, 2010 at 12:57 AM , Blogger fruitsbsk_8 said...

    I happened upon your blog after many, many searches on this disease. I am very grateful right now, to say the least. To at least get some helpful and noted advice from someone who has had a cat in this condition keeps me positive.

    I went on vacation approximately 23days ago, and when I returned, I learned that my cat had not been adequately eating as well as before. I returned home about 13 or so days ago, and it was then I noticed my cat was not herself. 7 days ago I took her to the vet and she had orange urine, a sign of liver disease. She has been on antibiotics since then and has been eating Hills A/D through a syringe, as much as she can keep down. I have been putting milk thistle in her food and watering down the food as much as possible for the past.. 2 or so days. It seems within a week she has gotten a bit worse, despite my efforts. Her skin is a dull yellow and she drools ever so often. When she vomits, the vomit is almost just like thick saliva and sometimes there's apparent food and medicine inside. She was eating some of her favorite foods there for a while briefly after the vet visit and before, like tuna and turkey, very sparingly just to see if she'd eat, but now she turns those away as well. She got excited for some milk today and happily lapped it up, so I'm still very hopeful that she is hanging in there the best she can. The force-feeding method with the milk thistle inside is all I can do at this point and I can only hope she pulls through and starts doing better. Starting tomorrow I'm going to start working on getting a schedule down for her feeding. My cat suffers from esophagus problems and frequently vomits (2-3 times per month, at least) even when she is well! I am worried that this ties in to her not being able to keep food down and it worries me more. Thankfully, I am off for the summer from work and am able to be by her side as much as possible.

    Again, thank you for putting this blog up and I apologize for the long comment. If you can suggest anything at all that would be useful or encouraging to the situation, I'd be most grateful. :) Thank you!

  • At August 31, 2010 at 2:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi, my cat is recovering from HL after a month of assisted feeding via oral syringe & liver meds/supplements. She eats on her own now!

    I just wanted to point out that there is a Yahoo group out there that could make ALL the difference in the world for someone going through this right now. I had found your blog, which was helpful, but I needed a little more of an active support group & then found that. It was such a great help to me & I'm extremely grateful for them. Perhaps you could link to it? It's such a trying time for anyone that ends up with a HL kitty & I just want people to have access to all the help that they can get.


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