How To Care For A Sick Cat
Learn how to care for a sick cat including what to feed it, how to administer medication, and taking its temperature.
If a veterinarian says a sick cat can be cared for at home, choose a quiet corner of the house, away from traffic, where the cat won’t be disturbed but can still be with you and your family. This spot should be free of dampness and drafts and have a temperature of about 72 degrees to help avoid chills. A box with a washable blanket or rug can serve as the cat’s bed. If the cat must be confined to restrict activity, place a window screen on top of the box with a weight on top of it so the cat can’t knock it off.
If a cat needs liquid medication, it should be poured or inserted with a syringe (without the needle) into the side of the cat’s mouth. Do not put in so much that he has to swallow too fast. For small kittens, a drop at a time is sufficient. Rapid swallowing can force liquids into a cat’s lungs and cause pneumonia. Hold your cat’s head, if you can, to prevent him from shaking or spraying his medicine everywhere.
Pills and capsules should be given with the cat in front of you on a level surface, such as a table, facing toward your right side. Grasp his whole head in your left hand with your thumb and fingers pressing from opposite sides of the upper jaw. Pull his head gently backward until his nose is pointing straight up and hold it in this position. With your right hand, pull down his lower teeth to prevent his closing his mouth. Then drop the pill or capsule on the back of his tongue, giving the pill or capsule a slight push with your finger so that it goes down his throat. It helps to coat the pill with butter or margarine.
If a cat prefers pills to liquid or vice versa, ask the veterinarian if he has the medication in the preferred format. This is not always possible.
Never give cats an aspirin. It is very harmful to the cat’s stomach. And use only prescribed medications and dosages.
Often, a sick cat cannot clean itself. Help the cat by using a damp wash cloth and assisting with his needs. If a cat is unable to move, turn him over several times a day to help prevent sores.
You can use an ordinary rectal thermometer to take the cat’s temperature, however, the newer, faster, electronic thermometers will make it easier. For a cat, 100 to 102 are normal. To make insertion easier, use a bit of Vaseline.
In order to get well, a cat must eat. Since most sick cats have no appetite, try tempting him with a variety of cat foods, and if he has a favorite, see if he will eat it.
If the cat won’t eat by itself, you must try to feed it. You can try using broth, milk or water in the same way you administer liquid medication using a syringe. With solid foods, insert a spoon into the side of the cat’s mouth behind the teeth and scrape the food onto the roof of his mouth. Large amounts may force vomiting, so use smaller amounts more frequently.
Make sure you follow your veterinarian’s advice.