Assist Feeding – The Power of Love
by Kathy Fatheree
I had great plans for Christmas. I was going to travel with my family to go visit my youngest brother and his wife and their 2 kids. I haven’t visited them in 4 years and I they couldn’t wait to show me everything they have done to their house. The kids were anxiously awaiting Aunt Kathy to arrive so that we could play, play, play. Then, on December 21st, I awoke with a clatter. rather a sneeze. and another. and another. and another. For someone who only sneezes once, I knew I was in trouble. Yes, I had the cold of the decade.
I managed to work all day on the 21st but had to comehome at lunch on the 22nd and I was history. I climbed into bed and didn’t get out until Christmas day. I had missed the trip to my brother’s house. Wow… it felt good to catch up on all that sleep though. And you know what? My CATS loved me catching up on all that sleep, too. The sleep I have been missing out on for months! I took naps during the day and I dozed on the couch watching Christmas movies at night.
Each movie, a different kitty crawled up on top of me to keep me toasty warm and for some good quality time. something we don’t get to do very often.
All of this quality time and each cat’s response to it really surprised me. I know I have been busy, but I didn’t realize how much my kitties were missing quality time. Their moods really elevated and their interaction with me quadrupled! Phoebe, who is a very quiet cat, started to run and play and even sleep right next to my pillow at night. In fact, she jumped in bed as soon as she realized that I was getting ready to climb in. Before falling to sleep, I would spend just a few minutes rubbing her face and talking silly nonsense and telling her how pretty she is. Oh. did she ever purr.
We often don’t realize how busy our lives are and how much we try to cram into this short 24-hour day. If you are caring for a sick kitty and are assist feeding whether by syringe, finger or tube, your day is drastically shorter than the average persons and there in not an extra minute to spare. In fact, your weeks may fly by in the blink of an eye.
One thing that you must carve time out for, is to spend quality. undivided attention.. quiet. one-on-one time with your sick kitty. Some cats enjoy more quality time than others so let your cat tell you how much time he or she wants from you. Sick kitties often need a lot of close quality time because it reassures them and comforts them amid that stressful force feeding or pilling that is occurring every time he or she turns around.
Phoebe (who is not sick) only wants to be pet for 5 minutes at the most and then she starts to whap her tail or lets out a little growl. HOWEVER, for those 4.5 minutes prior, she wants me to lay my face right next to hers as I pet her and do that silly kitty nonsense talk. These few short minutes really recharges her connection with me and her mood is escalated for the entire next day. When I don’t spend this 4.5 minutes each evening, she become somewhat withdrawn. not in a bad way, but she just draws back a little and waits until I figure out that I’m not giving her that oh so important quality time.
If your kitty is sick, be sure to set at least 10 minutes aside in the morning and 10 minutes at night to do nothing but lay next to your kitty, speak reassuring words of love and stroke that beautiful fur. Turn off the TV, block out all distractions, put all the medicines and food away and do nothing but focus your love on your kitty. You may only be able to pet a head like with my Phoebe, or you may be able to stroke the entire body and give little shoulder massages. The Power of Love and the Power of Touch have been studied and written about in many scientific journals about how they help speed healing many times over. Just like with humans, animals need to feel love and caring touches to heal.
Especially during a stressful Holiday Season, take time to unwind, speak your kitty love talk and caress your kitty with soft loving touches. And don’t be surprised if this special time is a healing time for you as well.
The holidays have us all going crazy, so this will be a short article. But I did want to spend a little time on something we usually don’t put a lot of attention to, and that’s not so much what we feed our kitties, but how. To you and I, a dish is a dish is a dish, but that’s not the case with Fluffy. As we all know, cats have the most finicky temperament of any creature, and the slightest little “offense” –or deviation from what they’re expecting– will turn them completely off. We see it with many aspects of their general demeanor, but it’s especially apparent with food. And the presentation of their food!
For starters, aroma is highest on the list; if it doesn’t smell good to them, you’ll have better luck winning the lottery than getting fluffy to eat it. Secondly is temperature, which we’ve discussed on here before: Most cats will not eat what doesn’t seem natural to them, and let’s face it.how many cold or boiling mice have you seen in your day?
Those are pretty standard things we all know, but it goes deeper than that. How and when you feed them, where you feed them, and even their food dish or plate are crucial things to consider if we want mealtime to be an enjoyable experience for them. I’ve heard so many different arguments about tall or short bowls versus flat plates; colored dishes versus clear or white ones.and I’ve come to the conclusion that every single argument is correct. If it works for your kitty, then it’s right, simple as that. But if you experiment with this, you’ll discover that these silly little things aren’t so silly, after all; they really do make a difference in whether or not Fluffy is excited at mealtime.
When dealing with relationships, sometimes we lose our sense of perspective. It’s human, but it’s wrong. My Dad was a simple man, with an uncomplicated sense of logic that always seemed to work, and more than once over the years I heard him use a phrase that somehow took up permanent residence in my pointy head: “Let’s not forget who brung ya’ to this dance, okay?” You may wonder what this has to do with cats, so let’s see if we can find a link.
How many times have we all been exposed to this situation: ‘Company’s on the way over and the wife is allergic to cat’s.better put Fluffy in the spare bedroom until they leave.’ Or, ‘Big party tonight.people coming and going; better put Fluffy in the spare bedroom until the party’s over with.’ Did you ever respond to that in such a way? I didn’t. Not once, not ever. My cats love me whether I’m broke, rich, ugly, handsome, or naked. They don’t care about any of that, and I have to ask: Could I say the same thing about these occasional visitors to my home? The answer, of course, is an emphatic “no”, which leads to the next question: Then why am I punishing my cat for something it didn’t even do, just to accommodate an occasional visitor? And you can be sure that your kitty does see this disruption in their lifestyle as punishment.
So you see, my Pa’s phrase is really all about loyalty, and in my house loyalty is placed where it belongs.with those who love me day and night, sick and healthy, rich and poor. I don’t (and wouldn’t ever) risk compromising that kind of devotion for someone who doesn’t like a few kitty hairs on their jacket. We can meet in a restaurant, I can go to their house, but the fact remains: Cats live here, guests do not. I know who “brung me to this dance”, and it wasn’t an occasional visitor or friend. I hope it’s the same in your household.
Disclaimer: 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.