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Old 06-08-2019, 04:25 PM
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My cat doesn't want to eat.


My guess is he has a tooth that's hurting him -- my I noticed maybe a week ago that my cat didn't seem to want to eat very much, and when he did try to eat he'd take a few bites and then kind of wince like he was in pain and then run away. I switched to giving him wet food instead of dry food. He ate that for a while but now he won't eat that either. He acts like he wants food when I'm opening a can, but when I put it in a dish in front of him he approaches it cautiously, and then backs away from it, like he's afraid of it. I think now he associates food with pain. Well he did gobble up a can of food Thursday evening; I think he was just really hungry by then, now he's back to not wanting to eat anything. He has a vet appointment for next Wednesday; that was the earliest appointment they had. He acts perfectly normal otherwise, he's being his usual sweet, affectionate self, he was playing with his favorite toy earlier, etc. But I'm worried about getting at least some nutrients into him between now and then. I bought some of this last night but he doesn't seem to want that either. I'm thinking maybe I'll try giving him a bowl of chicken broth or something like that; maybe he'll take something that's completely liquid. Does anyone have any other recommendations?
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:36 PM
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Does anyone have any other recommendations?
What other clues do you need before going to the vet? Your cat has a bad tooth and is in pain.
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:44 PM
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Yes, I made an appointment with the vet. Next Wednesday was the soonest they had. Are you saying I should take him somewhere sooner?
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:47 PM
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You've got an appointment for the vet, so you done good.

Keep making soft food available, and you can try chicken broth or the water from a can of tuna. You can warm up the canned food a little (not too hot) which will make it smell tastier. You can also try getting some nice deli turkey for him and see if that's more enticing.

If he's playing with his toy and being cuddly, he's probably eating more than you think. If he gets listless and stops going to the bathroom, call your vet back and see if they'll take him sooner.
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:50 PM
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Yes, I made an appointment with the vet. Next Wednesday was the soonest they had. Are you saying I should take him somewhere sooner?
Either another vet or an emergency vet. I can tell you my vet would never let a cat go that long. Room would be made that day to do at least a quick evaluation and pain relief if needed. And this is a busy office.
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:03 PM
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Surprised your vet is taking that long. Mine have always been able to fit in emergencies. Either you didn't make it sound urgent or the person answering the phone doesn't get the big picture. I'd consider finding another vet. There are several well-rated veterinarian clinics in or near Folsom.
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:05 PM
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Seems it's bad-cat-experiences day at the SDMB.

IF he is eating something, that's one thing. Maybe monitor and keep your appointment( but try to bump it up ). But if he is eating essentially nothing, you might have to start worrying about hepatic lipidosis, which can be quite serious and have a quick onset in cats. In that case the emergency vet as advised above might be the way to go. Just be prepared for a small fortune in vet bills .
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:25 PM
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I'm also surprised the vet is making you wait that long. An infected tooth, if that's what it is, is likely to get worse over time. If he's quit eating altogether, I'd call them back -- actually I'd do it anyway. If you told them a week ago that he wasn't eating and seemed to be in pain and they still didn't give you an appointment until next Wednesday, I'd be looking for a different vet in general, not just between now and then; presuming that there's another one in the area.

Is he dehydrated? Pinch up the skin between his shoulder blades, let go and watch whether it goes right back down. If it does, then he must at least have been drinking something. If it stands up or goes down slowly, he's dehydrated, and he needs fluids long before Wednesday. If you can't get him to drink and he's dehydrated, don't wait that long.

If he's playful, that's a very encouraging sign.

I second the tuna liquid, and yes, meat broths (with no onion or garlic in them.) If you smear the nutritional paste inside his mouth, he'll more or less have to swallow it; but, if his mouth is very sore, doing that might hurt him. You could try smearing it on a paw and he may lick it off; but be prepared for it to get smeared on everything else in the area, also.

ETA: will he let you look in his mouth? He might have something stuck in there.

Last edited by thorny locust; 06-08-2019 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:04 PM
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Unless you're in the Arctic Circle there should be an emergency vet in your area. Go. Now. If you're cat is in serious pain then 4 days is an eternity to suffer.
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:55 PM
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Update: We went to the emergency vet. He has gingivitis. We got pain medication, antibiotics (the vet didn't see an obvious infected tooth, but just in case), and an appetite stimulant to hold him over until the Wednesday appointment.

The pain medication just needs to be applied to his gums. I thought that sounded easy, but getting him to let me open his mouth proved difficult. I did manage to squirt it in his mouth at least...

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Is he dehydrated?
I don't think so. He did get a drink of water while I was trying to administer the pain medication.

Last edited by WildaBeast; 06-08-2019 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:26 PM
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Either you didn't make it sound urgent or the person answering the phone doesn't get the big picture.
A little bit of both, probably. After she offered the Wednesday appointment I tried to explain the situation and that I thought it was more urgent, but she just said "sorry, that's the soonest we have" and I didn't really press the issue after that.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:19 PM
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I'm glad to hear that you went to a vet. Cats actually can starve themselves to death if eating bothers them too much.

I hope that dental care resolves the issue for your kitty.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:38 PM
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Thanks for updating, WildaBeast. Hope the meds help; it does sound likely that they will.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:36 PM
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A little bit of both, probably. After she offered the Wednesday appointment I tried to explain the situation and that I thought it was more urgent, but she just said "sorry, that's the soonest we have" and I didn't really press the issue after that.
Make sure you mention this to your vet -- that receptionist needs more training! (Or replacing.)

It should be easy to bring this up when discussing the emergency vet visit, and what was done.

P.S. If you were in such pain that you couldn't eat, would you let your dentist fob you off with an appointment many days away? No, and you shouldn't let your Vet office do that, either.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:37 AM
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Sadly cats will suffer in silence and even if you figure it out they are the worst patients. Hope things go well.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:34 PM
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He's currently gobbling up a bowl of wet food. Either the pain killer and appetite stimulant combo is working, or he's just gotten so hungry he's eating regardless of the pain.

I don't really like having to be the mean guy who holds him down and shoves a syringe full of medicine in his mouth, even though I know he needs it. He went and hid from me under the bed after his second dose of pain killers this morning.

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Sadly cats will suffer in silence and even if you figure it out they are the worst patients.
I know. I feel really bad about not noticing anything was wrong until it got so bad he wouldn't eat, but he was acting perfectly normal until then.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:59 PM
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Yay for eating cat!

Very likely it's the meds working. And IME eventually they come back out from under the bed and forgive you. One of mine does definitely have a tendency to disappear around Pill Time; but he likes his scritches otherwise.
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:07 PM
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I suppose I should give him the antibiotics now. I didn't give him that one last night because it said to give it to him with food so I wanted to wait until he ate something, and now he has eaten something. But man that's a daunting task. It was hard enough getting the very small dose of pain killers into his mouth. Getting the much larger dose of antibiotics into his mouth is going to be a challenge.
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Old 06-09-2019, 02:51 PM
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I suppose I should give him the antibiotics now. I didn't give him that one last night because it said to give it to him with food so I wanted to wait until he ate something, and now he has eaten something. But man that's a daunting task. It was hard enough getting the very small dose of pain killers into his mouth. Getting the much larger dose of antibiotics into his mouth is going to be a challenge.
Is it liquid or a pill?

If a pill, try holding it with tweezers, to reduce the chances of teeth in your fingers; and have handy a syringe of water (the one you probably used for the liquid meds should work) to squirt into his mouth on top of the pill, both to make it easier to swallow and to make it harder for him to hide it in his mouth and spit it out later.
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Old 06-09-2019, 02:53 PM
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Good to hear the cat is eating and drinking. He'll forgive the medicine once the connection is made. Now that he's eating you use food rewards to reinforce the connection.

You can help the vet with observations by counting the frequency of what comes out the other end. Ask ahead, the vet may want a sample.

Last edited by Magiver; 06-09-2019 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:29 PM
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Is it liquid or a pill?
Liquid.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:59 PM
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Hold his head firmly and with the same hand, press his jaws at the sides of his mouth. This will cause his mouth to open and you can squirt the antibiotic in. It's easier said than done the first couple of times but you will become a pro.
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:36 PM
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Muckle him by the scruff of his neck with authority. that will usually work to make him somewhat limp (but not always on all cats) and then just squirt the medicine in. Best of luck!!! Poor little guy.

..
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:46 AM
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I recommend two people. One to hold the cat (grasping at least the front paws to hold him immobile) while the second one administers the medication.

If you are alone, the best solution I've found is to essentially body slam the cat to the bed. Your body holds him immobile, allowing you to use both hands to administer the medication.

Beware. Some cats are stinkers, and can hold the medicine in their mouths until you release them, then they spit it right out. While giving you a "Neener! Neener!" look.

There will be tons of cat hair all over the place, too.

Good luck!


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Old 06-10-2019, 11:08 AM
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Word of warning about commercial broths - alliums (onions and garlic) are very poisonous to cats, and you're going to be very unlikely to find a broth meant for human consumption that doesn't have one or both. Broths bought at the vet store will be good for cats, or you can boil some raw chicken and give them the broth.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:21 AM
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You can add some warm water to canned food to make it thinner, so he can lap it up instead of having to take bites. Instead of trying to find something liquid that is good for cats, take the known thing that's good for cats and make it softer/liquid.

Like all things cat, there's a chance he won't eat it just because.

Last edited by eschrodinger; 06-10-2019 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:22 AM
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If you are alone, the best solution I've found is to essentially body slam the cat to the bed. Your body holds him immobile, allowing you to use both hands to administer the medication.
Yeah, I'm sure it would be easier with an assistant, but unfortunately it's just me.

My problem now is that when he sees me coming with the syringe he immediately runs and hides under the bed before I can capture him.

Last edited by WildaBeast; 06-10-2019 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:25 AM
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Word of warning about commercial broths - alliums (onions and garlic) are very poisonous to cats, and you're going to be very unlikely to find a broth meant for human consumption that doesn't have one or both. Broths bought at the vet store will be good for cats, or you can boil some raw chicken and give them the broth.
Good to know! I didn't try giving him chicken broth, but that's what I would have tried if I had. Good thing I didn't!
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:40 AM
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Yeah, I'm sure it would be easier with an assistant, but unfortunately it's just me.

My problem now is that when he sees me coming with the syringe he immediately runs and hides under the bed before I can capture him.

Put the syringe on the dresser or headboard or nightstand, and walk away. Try to look nonchalant.

When he emerges from whatever vitally important business he must attend to, pick him up like you're going to give him lovies, talking to him in that nauseating baby talk we all use. Do the hugs and kisses bit while you sidle to the bedroom. The instant he tenses up, grab him by the handful of slack skin between the shoulder blades. Ignore his swearing.

Hold him away from you (grab TIGHT!) and get the syringe. Do the body slam thing. You'll probably get hurt. Once you squirt the medicine in his mouth and you SEE him swallow, let him up.

I had a cat that was MEAN. Over the years, he decided he loved me, but only me. And I could still get mauled if he got pissed off. But the body slam is guaranteed to work.

Keep your bedroom door closed, so he doesn't hide under the bed forever.

If you end up losing too much blood, have the vet's office label him as "noncompliant for meds." There are options available.

Again, good luck.


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Old 06-10-2019, 01:26 PM
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My 18 year old cat who died in March was on liquid medication twice a day for a few years. You'd think she would have resigned herself to it at some point but no. Almost to the end, if I did not catch her off guard, I would have to chase her through the house saying "sit! sit!" which she would eventually do (I miss that ).

I used the sit-on-her technique on the bed, which left both hands free. If that works for you, just be sure to put the syringe in the side of his mouth so you aren't shooting the liquid down his throat.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:27 PM
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I usually ask for tablets, then I buy some frozen shrimp. When the shrimp is thawed I slice a pocket in one and hide a tablet. When I give the cat five shrimp, he will gobble them up and the tablet will be gone. He actually loves tablet time.
The only exception is painkiller (I can't remember the name). He love the taste of that and will happily lick it off the syringe.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:20 AM
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We had animals that never fell for "hide the pill in some food" trick. The little shits would gobble down the food, walk three steps, and then spit the pill out, like they were aiming at a spitoon.

Coated pills, wet it, and shove it down the cat's throat with your index finger. Non-coated, slather the pill with butter or bacon grease, and again, use your index finger to shove the pill down the throat.

Some talented cats can bring the pill back up like a cow does with cud, and will spit it out while glaring at you. Repeat as necessary.


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Last edited by VOW; 06-11-2019 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:22 PM
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Another update: We saw his regular vet today and among other things I got her to give him an antibiotic injection, so so more need to keep trying to give him them orally. The bad news is that he needs to have his teeth removed. We're going back for that Monday.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:24 PM
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Another update: We saw his regular vet today and among other things I got her to give him an antibiotic injection, so so more need to keep trying to give him them orally. The bad news is that he needs to have his teeth removed. We're going back for that Monday.
Aw. Sorry to hear about the teeth. How many and which ones? How old is your cat?
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:33 PM
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All of them He's 7, but he is FIV positive which makes him more susceptible to oral diseases like this.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:50 PM
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All of them He's 7, but he is FIV positive which makes him more susceptible to oral diseases like this.
Sorry to hear that. He'll appreciate the relief from pain. Hope things go well.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:39 PM
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All of them He's 7, but he is FIV positive which makes him more susceptible to oral diseases like this.
My condolences WB, but at least he has been eating again, and he will still be able to eat soft food after this. Cuddle him well.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:05 PM
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The cat that is currently occupying my lap had bad teeth when I adopted him from the shelter. He ended up getting them all removed.

His favorite food is dry cat food, go figure!


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Old 06-12-2019, 11:44 PM
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How awesome of you to care for an FIV+ cat. I hope the dental goes well.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:24 AM
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Dropped him off for his dental surgery this morning. Wish him luck.

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How awesome of you to care for an FIV+ cat.
At least until this came up it was really easy to forget he was FIV+. He seemed like a totally normal healthy kitty.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:16 PM
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Dropped him off for his dental surgery this morning. Wish him luck.
Good luck, O Cat!

Also to the Cat's Human.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:42 PM
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Best of luck and good healing to your kitteh.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:39 PM
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The vet called a little while ago. He's doing fine and recovering from the anesthesia.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:30 PM
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Yay!
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:53 PM
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Glad to hear it. How he's feeling better very soon. And eating.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:13 PM
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Go team Cat.

I suggest some cut up fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy on everything.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:27 PM
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Oh good. Thanks for update.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:52 PM
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The anesthesia is the most concerning part of any vet procedure. The operation can be relatively minor, but the cat has to be monitored very carefully while unconscious.

Congrats! The hard part is over! You can go the soft food route, but don't be surprised if he demands his regular fare!


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Old 06-17-2019, 09:37 PM
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And he's home recovering now. He's been mandated soft food for the next two weeks, then he can go back to his normal food after that if he wants. He's was acting kind of scared at first, hiding under the bed, but he cam out after not too long, used his litter box, and let me pet him and remove the bandage from his IV. And he wasn't too resistant to taking his pain medication.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:42 AM
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Sounds like he's on his way to a good recovery. So happy for both of you that he will want and enjoy food again.
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