Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.
Now when a young cat becomes lethargic and goes off their food , it is a vague clinical signs that can occur with a range of issues. Common causes in a cat Daisy's age includes bacterial gastroenteritis, viral disease, pancreatitis, parasitic infections, dietary indiscretions, toxin and/or foreign material ingestion. And of course, if you think she could have ingested something toxic or something that could have gotten stuck in her gut, these would be urgent issues that we'd not want to delay seeing her vet for.
To complicate matters, we get very concerned for cats who go off their food or have poor appetites (and this is getting worrying) because cats were not well designed for the anorexic lifestyle. When they are off their food, body fat is broken down and released into the blood stream, causing their liver distress (ie. hepatic lipidosis) that can make getting them better even more difficult for us.
Now if Daisy is turning away from food and eating grass, then it can be a hint that she is experiencing nausea despite not showing any vomiting (often nauseous cats go off their food rather then eat/vomit like a dog would). To address and rule out nausea as an anorexia differential, you can try her with antacid therapy. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if she does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease her upset stomach.
Once that is absorbed and taking effect, then you will want to consider tempting Daisy to eat with light/easily digestible diet options. Examples would include boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk),meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used here (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity.) You might try doing this after the antacid has had a chance to settle her stomach and see if she is more keen to eat for you.
On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on her water intake and hydration status. If possible, you do want to check her hydration now. To check this and make sure she is not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test at home. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. ( They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principles are exactly the same) If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have your kitty seen by the vet before this gets any further out of control.
In regards XXXXX XXXXX you can do to help stave off dehydration at home (though do note that if she is already then she will likely need more the oral rehydration), encourage her to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. As well, wet foods (as mentioned above) are 35% water, so getting her to eat will help us deal with water intake as well. If she isn't amenable to drinking, you may wish to offer unflavored pedialyte via syringe feeding. While we cannot do this if they are vomiting, it may be an option for this situation. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal 48mls per kilogram of her body weight a day. If you do give syringe pedialyte, this should obviously be divided up into multiple offerings through the day rather then all at once. This value will give you the total she needs for the day and is a good starting point to give you an idea of the feline daily requirement. If she does vomit if you give pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want vomiting because of our intervention).
Overall, when a cat Daisy's age is showing malaise, lethargy, and isn’t eating for us; it can mean a wide range of underlying issues. Therefore, if you try the above and do not see her picking up in the next 12-24 hours, then you do want to consider following up with her vet at that point and not let this linger any longer. They can assess her hydration, have a feel of her abdomen and just make sure there isn’t anything in that stomach that shouldn’t be. Depending on the findings, cover her with antibiotics, give strong any-nausea/vomiting medication by injection, and appetite stimulating drugs to get her back on track and back to normal.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
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