Talking With Pet Doctors

Tips And Tricks For The Successful Syringe Feeding Of A Cat

by Christy Adams

When your cat won't eat, there are few ways to make a cat do so against their will. If your cat has an ongoing issue that causes appetite problems, like kidney disease, your veterinarian may provide you with the tools necessary to syringe feed your cat. This should only be done when necessary, but it can help to provide your cat with essential nutrition and fluids when they refuse to eat on their own. Here are some tips to make it a little easier for you and your cat at home.

Water Down

The vast majority of wet cat food won't be able to be put into a syringe and actually come out the tip. They tend to be too thick for a syringe. In order to make it work, you'll need to blend your cat food with a little extra water. Check the consistency as you go and stop once the food will flow out of the tip.

Go Slowly

A cat's windpipe is located right next to their esophagus, meaning that it's very easy for a cat to choke if you force them to eat too much at once. In essence, if your cat has to take a breath and their mouth is still full of cat food, they could choke. This is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

Take regular breaks between syringe pushes. Let your cat lick up and swallow the food and breathe before trying it again.

Expect Gas

An unfortunate side effect of syringe feeding can cause your cat to have a bit of smelly gas afterward. This is usually because cats swallow a significant amount of air while they're taking a syringe feeding. If your cat has audible burps or farts a bit after a feeding, try to laugh it off—it just means that they're well fed.

Remember a Cat's Stomach

You need to keep in mind that you're feeding a cat, not a dog or a human. A cat's stomach is designed to only hold a couple of tablespoons at a time. As a result, you should immediately stop feeding once you reach this amount. Give your cat some time to digest its food, pass its gas, and then go for another feeding later in the day.

Feeding a cat this way can be difficult at times, so if you have questions or concerns, reach out to your veterinary clinic. Remember that you're doing it for the good of your kitty, and they're worth the time and effort it takes.