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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17267
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat is not eating very much but is eating grass!!

Resolved Question:

My cat is not eating very much but is eating grass!!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I am sorry to hear that Mo isn't eating his food but instead wants to eat grass. Cats will eat grass when they feel nauseous, and a few bites are fine but it is an irritant, which will make him feel more nauseous, so I wouldn't allow him to eat any more.

Not eating their food but choosing to eat grass instead can be related to something as simple as a quick change in diet or treats, or him getting into something he should not have like the garbage, a bug, plant material or a toxin or a full or partial gastrointestinal obstruction . More serious causes, and less likely given his age, are chronic pancreatitis, esophageal reflux, a dietary allergy or sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, heartworm disease, internal organ failure (kidney or liver disease), hyperthyroidism, or even infiltrative cancers like lymphoma.

In his case because he's a younger fellow there are some things we can try at home but if he's not improving I would recommend checking some bloodwork to start, a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and T-4. Depending upon exam finding abdominal radiographs may be needed too. If those look normal then a specific blood test for pancreatitis, a fel spec PL (feline specific pancreatic lipase) should be done. This test is highly specific for pancreatitis in cats.

The next step diagnostically if those don't reveal his underlying problem is an abdominal ultrasound and/or either exploratory surgery or endoscopy to gather biopsies of his gastrointestinal tract to look for inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.

In the meantime you can try giving him an acid reducer to see if that helps. They work by decreasing stomach acid production which leads to decreased acid reflux, common on an empty stomach. Reflux is quite painful and can definitely interfere with appetite. You can try either:
1) Pepcid ac (famotodine) at 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 2 to 4.5 kilogram cat every 12 to 24 hours
OR
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 2 to 4.5 kilogram cat every 24 hours.

I would pick up all food and water for a couple hours to allow his stomach to settle. When you give him water make sure it is in small amounts only. If he drinks too much too quickly that can lead to vomiting.
Dietary changes may help as well.

At home a few hours after you give him the acid reducer you can try a bland diet of 2/3 boiled minced white skinless chicken or meat baby foods and 1/3 boiled white rice mixed with some warmed low salt chicken broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow.

Once he is feeling better, and eating well, start reintroducing his regular diet, slowly mixing in more regular and less bland with each meal. It should take a week or so to convert him fully back to his regular food.

Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Where can I get theses acid reducer?
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
You can purchase them over the counter (no prescription needed) at any drug store. They are the same medications that people take.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Oh ok. I think he has caught and been eating birds lately so I don't know if that got anything to do with it and he has lost weight too.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the further information.
Certainly eating wildlife can cause nausea and stomach upset, and if he eats enough of them that can lead to a gastrointestinal blockage.
His weight loss is of concern, so if he isn't coming along quickly with home therapy he needs to see his veterinarian.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok thank you for your help. Mo was a stray and I would hate to loose him now.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome.
Given that he was a stray we do need to worry about immunosuppressive viruses like feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus that can make them systemically sick. I hope that is not the case with Mo, but if he's not bouncing back I highly recommend asking your veterinarian to test for them.
Please let me know how things go for your fellow, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
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