You might be wondering why your cat is not eating after surgery. There could be many reasons for this.
You must understand what your cat is trying to tell you and how to relieve these signs so your cat will eat again.
Here are ten things you should know when a cat is not eating after surgery:
Table of Contents
- Cat stopped eating after surgery
- Is it normal for a cat to not eat or drink after surgery?
- Why is the cat not hungry after surgery?
- How long can a cat go without eating after surgery?
- How do you force-feed a cat after surgery?
- Caring for Your Cat After Surgery (5 Tips)
- Final Thoughts on your cat not eating after surgery
Cat stopped eating after surgery
After any surgery, it is normal for your cat to be more reluctant about consuming any food or liquids. This is a natural response as your cat’s body is still trying to keep up with the effects of the surgery.
The lack of appetite after surgery can become even more evident when there has been significant trauma in the digestive tract. Your cat may experience loose stools, vomiting, nausea, etc. These signals that your cat needs something more than usual in its diet, and you should take note of them as soon as possible.
There’s a big possibility that your cat is nauseated and is feeling very uncomfortable. In some cases, the vet can recommend anti-nausea medication and observe if there are changes in their appetite.
Some surgeries, particularly those involving the digestive tract, can result in a cat not eating and drinking for a short period after the surgery. This is entirely normal and expected after the operation.
If the cat stops eating and drinking, this is a clear sign that the cat is in pain. You should immediately take the cat to your veterinarian for treatment, especially if you notice that it hasn’t been eating or drinking for more than 12 hours.
Is it normal for a cat to not eat or drink after surgery?
After surgery, some cats might not eat or drink for a few days due to pain or anesthesia.
Also, depending on the type of surgery, the vet might have a special diet for your cat that’s entirely different from what you usually feed them. This is completely normal and expected after the operation.
Unlike humans, cats are still getting used to their post-surgery condition that food may not be the first thing on their minds. It usually takes time to build a cat’s appetite, especially after a long and intense surgery.
However, if you notice that your cat is not responsive to any efforts to feed them even after over 6 to 12 hours, you need to consider calling for professional help.
Why is the cat not hungry after surgery?
After surgery, a cat could not feel hungry for various reasons, some of which are more likely than others. One of those reasons is that the cat is recovering after an operation. It is quite possible that your cat is in pain and avoids having its stomach filled with food until the ache has been alleviated. This might be the reason why your cat is acting in this manner.
The anesthesia may be causing your cat’s lack of hunger. Your cat may be experiencing some of the side effects. This adverse reaction to anesthetics is possible in feline patients. However, after the operation, it is anticipated that they would lose their effectiveness over time.
A third possibility is that your cat has been fed orally and requires an intravenous diet or more fluids because it has been malnourished. After surgery, a cat probably won’t return to their eating habits at once, especially if the procedure affects the digestive tract.
Before transitioning back to their regular diet, the veterinarian could suggest feeding them wet cat food or anything else in liquid form in the meantime.
If you observe that your cat is not hungry after surgery and continues to not eat or drink after a significant length of time, you should seek the assistance of a specialist as soon as possible.
How long can a cat go without eating after surgery?
The length of time a cat can go without consuming food or liquids depends entirely on the cause of the diet change.
Certain factors might affect this, such as the type of diet your cat had before surgery, the amount of pain they are in, and the medication being given.
If your cat has not eaten for more than 12 hours, you must bring it to the veterinarian immediately. Your cat will have been in severe pain.
Technically, a cat in peak condition can last around two weeks without eating, but it can only live three days without drinking water. However, your cat will grow increasingly fragile the longer they go without the nourishment they require.
When a cat has just finished surgery, it is generally weakened and will need immediate nourishment. Your cat needs to eat to regain strength. While it is expected that it doesn’t have a strong appetite after the procedure, you must be concerned if this loss of appetite is prolonged.
Partner with your veterinarian in these crucial hours, especially if your cat’s condition continues to decline because of not eating. They will be able to help you by providing the proper steps to take to ensure your cat’s well-being.
How do you force-feed a cat after surgery?
After any surgery, it is normal for your cat to be more reluctant about consuming any food or liquids. Before you consider force-feeding your cat, you need to have discussed this first with your veterinarian after the surgery.
Force-feeding a cat is a procedure to administer food intake and nutrients that will allow your cat to recuperate. Cats may be too weak to eat themselves or continually reject food due to their severe loss of appetite.
A dropper or syringe is the most straightforward way to force-feed your cat. You must follow the instructions provided by the vet. Experts suggest human baby food or blended gruel feed the cat. Use large syringes without the needle. For kittens and small cats, a 10cc syringe would be perfect. If you have a large cat, use the 60cc syringe.
Expect your cat to spit it out or drool a lot so prepare an absorbent towel. Feed your cat in small amounts often. There will be some resistance, so giving them little by little is the key. Draw the food up in the syringe and put it in the corner of your cat’s mouth. Squirt it in and let them swallow the food. Repeat the process until done. Cats need 20cc of food per 1 pound of body weight per day.
Caring for Your Cat After Surgery (5 Tips)
If your cat has been operated on, you must be extra attentive to its diet. Follow these tips to ensure your cat gets what they need to remain healthy and happy:
1. Offer your cat wet food instead of dry food.
You may need to offer your cat wet food instead of dry food after surgery. Wet food is easier on a cat’s stomach and helps prevent dehydration. Canned, pâté or stew-style foods have a higher water content and may help to improve your cat’s appetite. Some brands have options for different life stages, so look for a food that has a formula for post-surgery cats.
Wet food allows the cat to sip in nutrition and won’t need your cat to chew. This requires your pet to make little effort to ingest the food necessary for recuperating. Some experts recommend gruel and even human baby food.
2. Make sure your cat gets to drink an adequate amount of water.
A multitude of problems, such as fever and an increased chance of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI), can be brought on by dehydration. After undergoing a delicate surgery, cats are at an increased risk of dehydration.
To prevent your cat from being dehydrated, you should ensure it has access to enough drinking water. Cats at the top of their fitness can go without food for an extended time, but they cannot survive for very long without water.
Check on your cat from time to time to ensure that they’re drinking its water. Place water drinking bowls near the areas they frequent so they can easily find something to drink.
3. Try to feed your cat once a day only.
Post-op cats need to be left alone to heal and recuperate. Unlike humans, cats are recommended to take their meals once a day. Cats typically hunt for food in the wild, so they sometimes go for hours without food.
For cats recuperating from surgery, giving them time and space in a peaceful environment without too many interruptions is best. Feed them once a day only. This is also a good approach so that you can easily observe their intake and take note of any reactions.
Make sure that your cat is comfortable. Minimize its movements and allow enough quiet time. This will enable your cat to heal rapidly.
4. Try out hand-feeding and giving appetite stimulants.
You may try to feed him by hand, or you could put a little bit of food on your finger and then touch it in his mouth. If your cat is still recovering from dental surgery, hand feeding or feeding it with a spoon is a terrific option for providing it. Get involved and make things more complicated for yourself. There are moments when your own hand makes the ideal platter.
Your veterinarian may recommend an appetite stimulant. Some of the more often prescription stimulants are things like mirtazapine and diazepam, as well as steroids. As always, follow your vet’s instructions on the proper dosage.
5. Go to your cat’s post-op follow-up appointment with the veterinarian.
Your veterinarian will have the opportunity to monitor your cat’s recovery at follow-up appointments. During these sessions, the veterinarian will check for symptoms of discomfort or infection, as well as ensure that your cat’s bandages are being changed appropriately.
Share your cat’s eating habits and discuss the best ways to help it regain its appetite and return to its old eating habits. Ask your veterinarian the proper way to force-feed your cat should the need arise, and secure your vet’s number should you need to rush your cat to them because of an emergency. It’s always best to consult a professional to ensure your cat’s health.
Final Thoughts on your cat not eating after surgery
The most important thing to remember is that your cat is suffering from pain after surgery. This can be relieved with pain medications and with proper treatment. You should take your cat to the veterinarian immediately if it has not eaten for more than 12 hours.
Your cat is a big part of your family, and you want to ensure it feels right to eat after surgery. When a cat undergoes surgery, it must eat something to help them heal.
It would be best if you had a lot of patience to deal with a cat recuperating after surgery. Make sure to observe their movements. Follow your vet’s instructions and do your best to make them comfortable to allow them enough time to go back to their healthy and energetic selves.