It is very common for cats to stop eating when they are ill. In such cases, it may be necessary to force-feed your cat. There may be several reasons for your cat’s illness and lack of appetite. For instance, respiratory illnesses often make cats lose their appetite. This is because cats will not eat food that they cannot smell and when they lose their sense of smell on account of a respiratory illness then they may have to be force fed. Other common causes for cats refusing food include a sore throat or a bad tooth.
A sore throat may make swallowing difficult for your pet and he/she may thus refuse to eat. Similarly, a bad tooth may cause discomfort while eating, thus discouraging your cat from eating. If your cat is refusing to eat, he/she should be attended to immediately. Not eating for long periods of time may be harmful for your cat. In addition, if your cat is under treatment for some kind of ailment, then he/she may not derive any benefit from medications if not fed well. In such instances therefore, you may have to force feed your cat. Force-feeding your cat does not have to be a difficult and traumatic process. With the help of a few simple tips, you can get your cat to start eating normally again.
Before attempting to force feed your cat, it is important to remember that you need to be calm so that your cat does not put up much resistance. Speak to your cat in a calm and gentle voice before you begin the force-feeding. While restraining him/her in order to feed, ensure that you exercise very little force. Holding your cat too hard may cause him/her to become afraid and uncontrollable. The trick is to hold your cat gently, with your fingers wrapped around the back of the neck skin. You can then place your thumb and index finger on either side of his/her jaw to coax it open. This is more effective than attempting to pry your cat’s mouth open.
Once you have managed to keep your cat’s mouth open, you can easily feed him/her fluids with the help of a dropper or syringe without a needle. Allow your cat some time to breathe in between the feeding and insert small quantities in his/her mouth at a time. This may be a slow process and owners have to be patient while force-feeding their cat.