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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17931
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hi my 19 year old female cat is not eating properly she has

Customer Question

Hi my 19 year old female cat is not eating properly she has a few small picks at food then starts pawing her face and licking her paw its as if her food is getting stuck and she is gagging she is drinking and urinating and her faeces are normal Thanks
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 years ago.

Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I'm sorry to hear that Sasha is having so much trouble eating.

It sounds like she is experiencing pain when she is eating which causes her to paw at her face.


This discomfort can be from an infected tooth (teeth), gum disease, a mass or a foreign body caught between her teeth, in her gums, tonsils, behind her soft palate, or the roof of her mouth, under her tongue or even in her esophagus.


Because she is able to drink, is drinking a normal amount of water and wants to eat I don't believe that her discomfort is related to organ failure and secondary erosions in her mouth or gastrointestinal tract but that is a remote possibility given her age.


I think she needs a thorough veterinary examination including sedation to look up behind her soft palate, down into her throat and under her tongue thoroughly and possibly some radiographs of her skull and chest.


In the meantime I recommend blenderizing cat food with some warm chicken broth so she is able to get appropriate nutrition. Try offering food several times a day so even if she can't eat much at once she can still take in enough calories.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi I just had a look at her mouth on her right side she was drooling from there I gently pressed on her teeth and she was drawing away she has already lost her two large teeth on her left side her drool and breath are very pungent(foul)

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the further information.

With that I am definitely concerned about infection. Unfortunately invasive, destructive tumors of the jaw are also a possibility at her age as they can lead to a secondary infections too.

She definitely needs an examination and at least antibiotics and pain medication until a thorough cleaning and removal of any bad teeth and a biopsy can be collected.

In the meantime do blenderize her food and make it soupy so she doesn't have to chew.

It may also help to use an antibacterial oral rinse like CET rinse to keep the bacteria population under control in her mouth.

Best of luck, please let me know how things go for Sasha.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you and I will be in touch with her progress

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, I would very much appreciate hearing how things go for her, Dr. Kara.