Owner's 4-week hospitalization - pet sitter starved my cat
by Lisa K
(Orange County California)
Murphy my cat
Hello. I am writing to receive advice on a very sensitive subject. In September, I shattered both ankles and had surgery then 2 months in a rehab facility. My vet forwarded me her very good friend who agreed to sit for my kitties. My female kitty is a very fragile kitty, 12 years old. She has feline asthma, and was a previous diabetic kitty but has been off the juice since April 2011. She had a very good appetite and was eating wet food twice per day, perfectly.
So, the sitter would come every 12 hours, feed the cats and then leave. They were alone for at least 10-11 hours during the day and then at night. She apparently, and not to my surprise, became very inappetant from apparent pining for me. She had lost over 2 pounds in about 3 weeks and the week prior to my returning home, she had lost 2 pounds in 7 days.
The situation gets even weirder -- I had ordered some very special treats for my babies and had contacted her to see if they liked them -- she said they loved them and they could hardly stay away from them. But, when I returned home last week, I found both packages of treats had never been opened. As I looked at my 12-year old siamese, I then noticed that he appeared to have suffered no trauma whatsoever. I believe this is because his food is kept on the counter top away from my little girl b/c when she was diabetic, she could not have dry food. So, he ate hardy, and she had nothing.
She would eat very little of the food that the sitter would leave down for her, and would take up the food when she left, so my little baby was starving to death. Only eating at the most, 1/2 can of food per day. When I would contact the sitter, she would tell me she was eating well.
She's lost a total of 4 pounds in a little less than one month. I had a gut instinct that something was not right as I lay in a rehab
facility and asked the sitter to take the two of my cats to the vet's office for boarding, have a senior panel done on Murphy and a urinalysis. She had a terrific panel. She did, however, have a UTI.
When she came home, she appeared very "shell shocked," and afraid, almost severely traumatized and I am having a hard time getting her back on her scheduled eating. She hid for over 2 days. She appears to now have some sort of disconnect with food and taking herself to the food dish without my coercing her to do so. I believe she has suffered some sort of trauma due to the inattention of her need to eat a full meal twice per day.
While I am having some success at almost teaching her to feed again, she does go in and out of inappetance. I doubt that the UTI would cause her to lose 4 pounds in a month.
I desperately need some ideas on how I can manage her until she gets her appetite back. My vet has prescribed an appetite suppressant which I will use for a time, but not for long. What I need to stay away from is hepalipidosis. I had a friend come over 3 days ago to syringe feed her -- something that I've never had to do. When I weighed her last night, she had gained .9 ounces, which is great. (that's in days)
Any ideas on finding a way to give her the will to regain her strength to eat would be appreciated.
What a terrible story and one that is rather difficult to advise on as I have not had this situation myself. It does sound like you are on top of things though and that her weight gain should continue now you are taking care of her again.
I will leave this question open for my other helpful visitors to help with if they have had experience with this sort of problem themselves. I always think that experience is worth so much.
I hope she is better soon and that you are also on the mend now.
Best wishes Kate