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Feline fatty Liver Disease and Tube Feeding - How to Survive

Posted Jan 07 2009 3:21pm
Again, the zero- carb post is on hold. Having a cat with fatty liver means pretty much everything is on hold - treatment really takes up most of your thoughts, and a lot of your time. The danger exists, then, for caregivers to get totally stressed and burned out, and that's no good. Whether it's an animal, a child, an elderly parent...caregivers need to take care of themselves, or else they can't take good care of their sickie.

So, for all the puss lovers out there who may be dealing with a FHL cat, here's some tips to make life a little easier!

  • Don't fear the tube. Tube feeding can be scary - it's weird to see your puss with a big tube sticking out of its neck. Remember the tube is helping, not hurting. My fella is totally sicked out by the tube and afraid to feed Cow, but I'm working on it because I could use a break, especially at 6am! I am afraid I'll syringe my coffee into the cat, and put his blender food in my mug. I am not a morning person.
  • Enlist help if possible. Tube feeding is not that bad - it's pretty easy, actually, much more so than force-feeding by hand. But it is stressful, and you don't have to do at least one other person how to do it. Guilt them into it, if you have to. In this situation, it is both acceptable and effective.
  • If puss is lethargic and not moving around much, and vomiting is a problem, make a box for him/her and line it with multiple layers of blankets, towels, etc. When puss barfs, you just remove that layer of blanket and chuck in the wash, and the clean blanket is already there. You won't have to move your puss much to do this. If puss is happy on your bed, sit him/her on layers of towels. I have gone through three comforters and three sets of bedsheets in two days - no more! Sacrifice the towels. I received a set of extremely ugly tea towels for Xmas that are doing the trick just fine. Cow is partial to barfing on the ice-skating snowmen towel - which was my first reaction when I unwrapped it.
  • Play music when you tube feed. This is for your benefit, of course, but you can also pretend the puss likes it. Just be careful not to sing, as this can be nausea-inducing for your cat, who is forced to listen. If you do sing, be sure to insert your cat's name into the song, or something relevant to the situation. Example: "Hey Jude" becomes "Eat Food". This will annoy your cat enough to distract him/her from upchucking.
  • Take a break. Climb down from the cross for an hour or so and do something that will make you laugh. I was deep into martyrdom today, so I watched The Simpsons Movie and that snapped me right out of it. Do something that requires no brain cells. Pamper the crap outta yourself too - since I work at home, I decided to spend the day in my bathrobe working from the comfort of my bed. If you can't do that, then wear your pj's to work and if anyone bugs you, start sobbing uncontrollably and show them a picture of your puss with his/her tube - they will leave you alone, possibly forever.
What not to do - stress eat. Unless, of course, you're stress eating with a nice, fatty ribeye!
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