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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17140
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat is hangy and quiet , coat not too good and eating something.

Customer Question

My cat is hangy and quiet , coat not too good and eating something. Could it be watrerworks trouble? cat aged 9 What can I give him to eat . is tuna from a tin suitable?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Roddy is not eating for you and is lethargic with a poor coat.

If he goes out and hunts then he can be exposed to many things indoor cats aren't (toxins, infectious diseases etc.), there are many possibilities.
There are so many things that can interfere with appetite without necessarily showing any other external signs this may be difficult to pin down, especially early on in a disease process.

Because he is a bit of an older cat such things as internal organ failure (like kidney disease), chronic pancreatitis or even a mass in the abdomen are possible causes.
If he goes outside unsupervised then eating things he should not like wildlife or toxins are possible causes. Even indoors cats will find things to eat as well, such as rubber bands or toy pieces.

Early on in an infectious process he may not have a fever but he may feel achey and nauseous and as such not want to eat.

If this has been going on a day or two and his gum and tongue color are a nice bubblegum pink, he is drinking and keeping water down with a soft comfortable abdomen that isn't painful with gentle pressure then I am less concerned.

You can try some things at home to see if you can't get him feeling well again.
At home you can give either:
1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 2.25 to 4.5 kilograms of body weight every 12 hours
OR
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 2.25 to 4.5 kilograms of body weight every 24 hours
These are acid reducers and should help him feel better and more likely to eat.

I also recommend feeding soft foods mixed with water to make eating and swallowing more comfortable. While tuna is fine to perk his appetite it is not a balanced diet and does not contain the essential amino acid taurine which cats need to be healthy. I do not recommend it for more then a day or two.
If he is refusing to eat even soft foods you can try offering meat baby foods or force feeding them with a syringe, or offer a bland diet of 2/3 boiled, minced white skinless chicken and 1/3 boiled, white rice mixed with some low salt chicken broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow.

If he continues to not eat he should see his veterinarian for an examination, some blood tests, intravenous fluids and supportive care.

But if his gum/tongue color are white or yellow, his belly is tense or painful with pressure and this continues for 3 days or more then it is time to have a veterinary exam. I would not attempt home care at that point as cats that don't eat for more than a few days can get into trouble with severe liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) as they break down fats for energy to live.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.