& Linda Kehler
Complications: chronic hepatitis, diarrhea, rhinitis/sinusitis
I think my kitty isn't eating: Bud was a problem eater from
the time he became symptomatic at age 9, largely because of gastric
inflammation. Up to that time he had been a 13-14 lb cat. When his
first episode of hepatitis occurred in February 2002 he stopped
eating almost entirely. When I saw that he was starving to death
and endangering his liver further from FHL I tried the assist-feeding
I have described in desperation. I wish now that I had begun it
much earlier. As Bud's overall health gradually improved as a result
of the program of FIV therapy I put him on (described on his website
as well as some effective antibiotic therapy, his appetite improved.
I honestly do not know today how much he would eat if left to his
own devices. I do know that eating on his own he would not choose
the food he ought to have.
when assist feeding began:
I've chosen to Assist Feed:
as I said, I don't syringe feed. I figured, if I could accomplish
the same end without it, that was the route I wanted to go. The
first time I fed him this way and it worked, I was so elated, I
was shaking. Now that I feed him myself, I don't have to worry that
he isn't eating enough or that he isn't eating the right kind of
food. Unfortunately, his prefered food is dry, Friskies Special
Diet, which he ate from his youth because of an episode of "blocking"
at age 3. But because of his FIV, he needs a better quality of protein.
I still allow him to eat whatever dry food he wants because I know
he is getting adequate nutrition from me in wet form.
hand feed cut up pieces of ordinary cat food. Bud first got used
to a blanket restraint when being pilled, so it was not much of
an adjustment to use a blanket restraint for feeding. I place a
thin sheet blanket along the left side of an upholstered swivel
rocker which has just enough room for the two of us side by side,
he to my left. The blanket is folded in two lengthwise, touching
the floor at one end and running up the chair back at the other.
Loose folds of slack are created on both sides of the blanket: along
my left thigh and attop the arm of the chair. I place Bud beside
me on the blanket, pull the slackened fold next to my leg around
the front of him, pinning it to itself with a cloths pin at the
back of his neck. The folds on the arm of the chair are then tucked
down to Bud's left at the cushion base and the blanket portion hanging
down towards the floor is brought across Bud left to right and tucked
between my thigh and his body. This creates a secure restraint that
allows free use of both hands. if Bud gets rambunctious I can apply
pressure to his back with my left forearm. I then draw a sheet around
his neck like a giant bib and pin it behind with a clothespin; this
is to catch food and, just as important, to keep food off him. I
then pop pieces of food into his mouth from a bowl sitting on my
lap using an action approximately like that used in pilling; i.e.,
pinching the corners of the mouth to open it. When I first began
feeding in this way I would press his mouth shut as soon as the
food was in it, then make a circle around it with my left thumb
and index finger, leaving him just enough room to move his jaws
but not enough to spit the food out. Over time, this became less
and less necessary. Now I do not need to restrain his mouth in any
way. Once he begins chewing I can use both hands to catch bits of
food and return them to the bowl. The blanket restraint really is
not necessary any more either, though I still use it. Bud has become
extremely compliant about the whole process.
tuna, naturally, but only chunk light in water
Drugs: tenofovir, emtricitabine, abacavir
antibiotics at this time; various antiviral and immunomodulatoiry
supplements; ketotifen for inflammation (experimental)
Please email me at Kathy (at) AssistFeed.com
© 2003-2013 by Kathy Fatheree. All rights reserved.
Kathy Fatheree is not at all a medical expert. Contents of this web site
are a collection of Kathy's assist feeding experiences as well as the
experiences of other cat owners who have assist fed their cats. While
every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information,
Kathy Fatheree or anyone associated with this web site cannot be held
responsible for anything that may happen as a result of using the information
on this site.