How to Hand Feed a Sick or Injured Cat or Kitten Article obtained from www.answerbag.com
Things You'll Need: Small liquid syringe (two teaspoons or smaller) Blender Cat food Nutritional Supplement Damp washcloth Drop cloth Cup or bowl
Step 1: Select a good spot to perform the feeding. Setting the cat in the corner of the room is ideal, to keep the cat from wandering. Put a drop-cloth or newspaper down at the location to avoid a mess on the floor, as can sometimes occur with hand-feeding. Sitting at the cat's level (i.e. on the floor) will allow for better maneuvering. For people who cannot easily sit on the floor, try a corner of the kitchen counter, a window seat or even a window sill.
Step 2: Begin by mixing the food. Canned wet food is best and often doesn't require blending. Add a bit of water, creating a thick milkshake consistency. If the food cannot be sucked up easily through the liquid syringe, place in the blender and blend until the cat food particles are fine to the point where they are sucked up the syringe without resistance.
Step 3: Add two teaspoons of a nutritional supplement to boost the calorie and protein content. The cat will get full faster, but the food is diluted due to the addition of water, making it less rich in nutrients. If supplement is not available, use a high quality kitten food instead, like Science Diet, as this has a has a higher calorie and protein content to compensate for the water that's been added.
Step 4: Place the cat food into a cup or bowl and then collect other items necessary for the feeding, including the liquid syringe. Also dampen a washcloth or small towel to wipe the cat's face after each bite or two - this will prevent head shaking that is guaranteed to fling food particles throughout the room, creating a big mess. Bring the items over to the location where the feeding will take place.
Step 5: Collect the cat, set it down in the feeding spot, and fill the syringe with the milkshake-consistency food.
Step 6: With your free hand (the hand that won't be operating the liquid syringe), grasp the cat's face, with your thumb on the chin and the rest of your fingers on the top and back of the head. Use this hand to stabilize and guide the cat's face during the process.
Step 7: Bring the syringe to the cat's mouth and slip the syringe inside the mouth just behind the large canine teeth. If the cat refuses to open its mouth, use the thumb on the other hand and slide it from it's position on the cat's chin to the corner of his mouth and gently slide your thumb in between its jaws at the corner of his mouth. This will open its mouth slightly. Do not open the mouth completely, as this will make keeping the food inside the mouth more difficult.
Step 8: With the mouth mostly closed around the liquid syringe, depress the plunger to release the food inside the mouth. The opening of the syringe should not aim at the back of the throat. This will cause the cat to cough and choke on the food. Instead, shoot the food diagonally across its mouth, aiming toward the very back teeth on the opposite side of the mouth.
Step 9: As soon as the food has been released into the cat's mouth, withdraw the syringe and return your thumb to the cat's chin to hold his mouth mostly closed. With the free hand that was operating the liquid syringe, stroke the cat's chin, and keep its head angled slightly upwards to promote swallowing.
Step 10: Once the cat swallows the food, use a warm, damp washcloth to wipe up any drips or excess food around the mouth.
Step 11: Repeat steps six through ten until the food is gone or until the cat begins to resist. A cat who is unfamiliar with hand-feeding may only tolerate a few bites in the beginning, so frequent, small meals may be necessary until the cat becomes accustomed to the process. For cats who will only eat a little, add extra Nutri-Cal to make the food more potent until the cat learns to accept the hand-feeding process.
Tips & Warnings
- If the cat appears to be coughing and choking during the feeding, thicken the food by adding more cat food.
- If the cat appears to have a difficult time swallowing the food, add a little more water to the food to make it a bit thinner in consistency.
- Try to get your cat to eat on its own before resorting to hand-feeding. Offer meat-flavored baby food, tuna, or smear a little bit of cat food on the cat's snout to trigger the cat to lick the food - this can sometimes help to initiate eating.
- Never shoot food directly down the cat's throat. This can cause choking and aspiration of the food into the lungs, leading to lung infections, pneumonia and death. Instead, place the syringe just behind the large canine teeth (the large, longer teeth at the front corners of the cat's mouth) and aim the stream of food diagonally across the mouth, aiming at the rear teeth on the opposite side of the mouth.
- For kittens who are not yet fully weaned, instead opt to hand-feed using a cat milk replacement.
- Always keep the cat upright during feedings to avoid choking and aspiration of the food into the lungs.
- A cat who is not eating may also be refusing fluids. Subcutaneous fluid injections will be required to prevent dehydration.