How To Syringe Feed Your Cat

Posted on: 15 June 2017


When cats don't feel well, they may not want to eat. Unfortunately, if a cat doesn't eat for a long time, it could develop fatty liver disease, which can be dangerous to its overall health. It's important to know how to syringe feed your cat if you're ever in a situation where your cat simply will not eat. Read on to learn how to make sure your cat is getting some food in its belly even if it isn't interested in eating.

Only Syringe Feed With Vet's OK

If your cat won't eat, it could indicate a whole host of problems. For example, your cat could have a gastrointestinal obstruction or be unable to defecate, which may make it unwilling to eat. Your cat could also have another problem that's making it unwilling to eat, like nausea or kidney disease. As a result, you should only syringe feed your cat after discussing it with your veterinarian. Your vet will let you know if it seems like a good idea or if you should bring in your cat to be examined and tested for problems.

Make a Gruel

To syringe feed your cat, you will need standard wet cat food and a needle-free syringe. However, most syringes are narrow enough that cat food can't be pushed through it on its own. As a result, you'll need to turn your wet cat food into a consistency closer to gruel.

To do this, you'll need a blender, or at least a fork. You must mash up the cat food as finely as you can and then slowly add in water until it becomes liquid-like gruel. Don't add too much water at once or your cat will have to consume more liquid in order to get a good amount of food in its belly. Once the food is thin enough that you can put in the syringe and it will come out the other end, you're ready to go.

Secure Cat

Most cats aren't thrilled at being syringe fed, so you'll need to secure your cat to prevent either of you from being hurt. The best way to do this is to have a second person help to keep your cat calm. Set your cat down on a comfortable surface and have the second person hold their feet together so they can't raise them and scratch you.

If you don't have a second person available, you can try using a blanket to wrap up your cat like a burrito. This method can be useful in keeping your cat still when you don't have any help.

Feed Slowly

Now that your cat is secured, insert the tip of the syringe into your cat's mouth, over their tongue. Don't put it in too far; you don't want the food to be squirted down their windpipe. Just the edge of the tongue is fine. Slowly push the plunger down and eject a small amount of food onto your cat's tongue. Remove the syringe and allow your cat to lick and swallow the food. Wait a few seconds and watch for your cat to gulp the food down. Then, when they're done, repeat the process.

Make sure to allow your cat a moment between each food injection to allow them to breathe and swallow. You don't want your cat to choke on their food.

Syringe feeding a cat isn't a long-term solution, but it can help to prevent your cat's health from declining if they won't eat. Talk to your vet if this is a common problem or if your cat experiences vomiting or diarrhea in combination with their lack of appetite.

For more information, you will want to contact a company such as Parkview Animal Hospital.