Poor Calcifer hasn’t been feeling well this week. It started Monday when I couldn’t get him to eat more than a few pieces of his dry food, or take more than a token lick of his canned food. Since Calcifer is normally a very finicky cat this wasn’t totally unusual. But after it continued like this for the rest of the day I knew something was wrong. He acted like he wanted to eat, but just couldn’t. I gave him some NutriCal, which is a high calorie supplement in a gel form and is supposed to help stimulate a cat’s appetite, and later some hairball medicine in case he had a hairball stuck. He’s a very fluffy cat so he ends up ingesting a lot of fur even though I brush him and Ginko just about every day. Unfortunately Calcifer also washes Ginko so he ingests even more fur from his brother, who’s quite the shedder.
Then I checked Calcifer’s teeth and gums to see if he had an infection in his mouth that was keeping him from eating. Surprisingly he didn’t object too much about me handling his mouth and running my finger along his gums. He’s actually got some very healthy looking teeth and gums, so that didn’t appear to be the issue.
When he still wasn’t eating the next day I knew I had to do something. He’s not a very heavy cat in the first place and really can’t afford to lose any weight. So I called the vet and made an appointment to get him in as soon as possible. Unfortunately that wasn’t until Thursday, so in the meantime I had to figure out how to get some food into my skinny kitty. I got him some chicken baby food and some Kitten Chow and he showed some interest in that. When Ozzy was elderly and sick from kidney disease the only thing that would spark his appetite was chicken baby food, so I had hopes it would have the same result with Calcifer (even though he’s only 6, not at all elderly).
I felt better that I was at least getting a little something into his belly, but he still wasn’t eating much and wasn’t feeling good. Even Ginko knew his brother was sick and was being very sweet to him.
Wednesday I brought Calcifer’s carrier up from the tack room and put his favorite blanket in there so he would get comfortable with it and not freak out when it was time to go to the vet the next day. Both cats took turns hanging out in the new Cat Cave ;) Calcifer really seemed comfy and cozy in there.
Before his appointment I gave him some Rescue Remedy to help take the edge off his fear. He actually likes the flavor and will lick it right from the dropper. When it was time to go he was already curled up in his carrier and all I had to do was close the door. Of course he wasn’t at all happy about the ride to the vet, or the exam, but he took it better than I expected.
This was the first time I’ve been to the Prescott Valley Vet Clinic and I must say I really liked them. Dr. Rogers and her assistants were very good with Calcifer and gave him a thorough exam. They took some blood tests to see if any of the usual cat issues were the problem: thyroid, diabetes, liver, kidney. He had a fever so she gave me some antibiotics for whatever infection he may have. She also gave him some subcutaneous fluids since he was a little dehydrated. When we got home Ginko was very concerned about Calcifer and gently washed all the places where they poked and prodded him.
I gave Calcifer his first dose of antibiotics when we got home and he actually perked up a bit and ate some baby food and kitten food. Today he seemed to be feeling even better and ate more kitten food and even a bit of his canned food. I’m still giving him the NutriCal and will continue until he puts on the weight he’s lost. The vet said he should weigh 10 or 11 pounds and he was down to just 8 :(
Dr. Rogers called this afternoon with his test results and he seems to be a very healthy cat, thankfully. No issues with his thyroid, kidneys, no diabetes, and just slightly low liver enzymes- nothing to be worried about. So he may have just picked up a small infection and that put him off his food. He’s got a few more doses of his antibiotic and the vet has some pills that are supposed to help his appetite, so I’ll pick those up next week.
I’m still feeding him every few hours, sitting on the floor with him and putting a small pile of kitten food on the floor, just the way he likes it, and letting him lick the baby food off the spoon. It’s time consuming, but he’s worth it. Hopefully he’ll get back to eating like normal (which still isn’t all that much). But I’ll do whatever I have to to keep Calcifer healthy. I love this cat with all my heart <3
And if anyone has any tips on getting a finicky cat to eat, please leave a comment below- I can use all the help I can get!