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Biscuit health update

My cat Biscuit had surgery in March and they found cancer. She did well for a while, but the cancer was likely to recur.

Lately she hasn't been eating enough and is losing weight (she gained weight after the surgery but now she's back to the same weight she was just before the surgery), so I took her to the vet today.

The vet thinks cancer is recurring in the lymph nodes. Her bloodwork was normal. He prescribed an appetite stimulant (Mirtazapine, a human antidepressant) and B12 injections.

I'm glad he didn't suggest any more extreme interventions. I just want her to have a reasonable quality of life for as long as she can.

I hear Fancy Feast is the food of choice for tempting low-appetite cats to eat.

Good thoughts/candle-lightings/opinions welcome.

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/780832.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
Many healthy thoughts for Biscuit! *hugs*
Jul. 18th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry Biscuit isn't able to relish her food.

My 17-year-old cat has kidney failure, so his appetite is very dicey too. Fancy Feast is indeed highly recommended for cats with poor appetites. It's also high in fat and protein, so even if they don't eat a lot, they get good value for it. It's not actually good for cats with kidney failure, except insofar as eating is far better than not eating, but it should be fine for Biscuit.

I have some tips for persuading cats to eat, but your vet may have provided those already.

Jul. 18th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
I'd like to know your tips. All the vet said was "canned shrimp." :)
Jul. 18th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's a new one on me! Maybe it's bad for kidney cats.

My vet suggested low-sodium chicken broth. It shouldn't have any onions or garlic in it. This combination is hard to find; I've found it at the co-op. Or one could cook it if one were really dedicated, but I don't cook meat for us and haven't quite got to the point of doing so for the cat. He also suggested tuna water -- not tuna itself, but the water from tuna canned in it. These both get poured over the cat food, just a tablespoon or so.

Another trick is elevating the food. Some cats get acid reflux and eat better if they don't have to lower their heads all the way to the ground. We use an old Morton's Kosher Salt box to elevate Ari's food. I don't think he actually has reflux, but he seems to like a variety of positioning. Yet another trick is "sleepy eating," where you put a bowl of food down in front of a sleeping cat. Mine tends to jerk awake, sniff eagerly, and eat much better than when he actually asks for food.

Warming the food slightly either by heating it in the microwave or by putting a spoonful or so of hot water in it and mixing it around can also help because it increases the strength of the food's smell. You have to be careful with the microwaving, of course, and stir well and make sure there aren't any hot spots remaining.

Offering small amounts frequently, if you can, is sometimes helpful, and means you toss less food. I had to get used to throwing food away, though, because sometimes whatever I was trying was Just Not Right, whereas a different flavor would work.


Jul. 18th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
Those are great ideas, thanks! (My cat is completely weird -- she won't touch human tuna water. But I'll try the chicken broth and the heating.

Her food is on the table where she sleeps, and she tends to eat it lying down.

I'm trying a lot of different kinds of food. Around here, Freecyclers will happily take anything left over, I find.
Jul. 18th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Hee, I almost put in a disclaimer about how cats are very idiosyncratic and any of these methods may not meet with approval. If she eats lying down, she has clearly chosen her position and that's the end of it.

Jul. 18th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
Best to both of you.
Jul. 18th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
What we've used for our cats, and works ridiculously well, is baby food. The surprisingly hard part is finding baby food that's just "pureed turkey and water;" most of them want to add all kinds of stuff--vegetables, chemicals, whatever. But the just plain ol' pureed turkey baby food is amazingly popular with our cats. As a bonus, other stuff can be added easily--medication, other foods, more water if they seem to not be getting enough, whatever. You may have luck mixing a bit of baby food with a bit of Fancy Feast. I have no idea how well it would work to soak a little bit of Biscuit's regular food in baby food and then mix it up; it might work great, or not at all. But I do hope that's helpful. And -hugs- and sending goodthoughts.
Jul. 18th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, and: we recently had to dropper-feed one of our cats. He was extremely sick and dehydrated and refused to eat even the turkey food. We got--I don't remember what it's called, basically a feeding syringe, filled it with turkey baby food and water, and then held him down and stuck it in his mouth. He drank it grudgingly, and a lot of it got on him and the floor, but I think overall it was more beneficial than annoying to him. ;)
Jul. 18th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm definitely going to try the baby food. (I found a place online that sells the kind with only the two ingredients!)

I'm not sure how well syringe feeding would work, because Biscuit really panics when I put things in her mouth, but I'll give it a try.
Jul. 18th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
We have had luck with Fancy Feast, especially the fish ones which seem to be nice and stinky. Nothing wrong with giving lots of treats as well, if she likes them.

Good luck! Thinking good thoughts.
Jul. 18th, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
Some cats really like the flavor of nutritional yeast, and it's good for them and helps keep fleas away (high protein and high in B vitamins). You could try a very small dusting on Biscuit's wet food and see what the response is.
Jul. 18th, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
I didn't know that about nutritional yeast. Thanks!
Jul. 18th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
Good thoughts, for you and Biscuit, sent...poor kitty.
Jul. 19th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
bonito flakes. Whole paycheck carries them.

My kidney patient cat was fond of the Fancy Feast Appetizers. They look more like actual food than mush.

She also enjoyed ahi tuna steaks, raw (TJs carries frozen ones pretty cheap) - but she always was a cat who enjoyed her maguro.
Jul. 19th, 2012 04:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for the ideas!

Bonito flakes were like crack to my other cat but Biscuit won't touch them. Go figure.
Jul. 19th, 2012 07:46 am (UTC)
poor kitty :( good thought for her
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 19th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
I tried to give her butter the other day but she wasn't having it. I'll try shrimp next...
Jul. 23rd, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
Aw, poor kitty, poor you. Sending hugs to you and good vibes for Biscuit.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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