and Feeding Technique:
As Pud needed to put on weight, AND be on a renal diet, I chose
to use Walthams renal support, as it had the highest fat content
(and therefore more calories) than the other k/d foods available.
I calculated that she needed at 250-300 calories/day, and worked
up to feeding that amount over time. For fiber I also add brown
rice, and some vegetables.
I cook brown rice, and some veges (pumpkin/carrot/squash etc)
and puree these with a stick blender. She gets about 2 teaspoonfuls
of this added to her food per day. I push the Walthams renal support
through a sieve, add some extra water, and some of the rice vege
mix. Mix it well, and keep it in a tupperware container in the
fridge. I make 2 days worth at a time. At feeding time, I use
a small kitchen scale, and measure out the food into a smaller
plastic container. I sit this small tub of food into a larger
bowl filled with quite warm water...and wait until it is just
warm before starting the actual feed. I use a 10ml syringe, and
have modified a bit of an 'extension' to the tip, with some IV
tubing. I just use the one syringe, and re-fill it several times
during the feed.
Pud has a feeding towel, I wrap her in it just like you would
a baby in a blanket, and then hold her in "baby" position
in my left arm.
works for us, as she was always used to being held like that anyway
(can anyone say "Freudian"...lol). At first the towel
helped to restrain her a bit, she never fought, but would get
a bit wriggly during the first few times. Now I think it works
well to help support her back during the feed, it catches drips
and I use an edge of it to wipe the corners of her mouth during
the feed. I used to use a new towel every day, but I only have
to wash it once a week, as there are very few drips now. I support
her in the crook of my left arm, and feed her with my right hand.
I put the syringe into the side of her mouth, and she gets about
1ml at a time, and then time to swallow. A 50ml feed (5 syringes
worth) now takes about 20 minutes to get through. At the end of
the feed, she gets another syringe of just plain water...we aim
for 100ml of water/day for her CRF. I also add whatever meds she
needs to the feed at each individual sitting. She gets fed twice
a day when I work, and 3 times when I don't (same amount but smaller
divided doses). Currently Pud has been fed like this for 8 months,
and her weight in Dec'03 is 10 1/2 lbs...so now she is offically
"fat", and I am trying to learn how to feed her less...and
what quantities I need to maintain her weight, rather than have
her continue to gain it. Assisted feeding has been a HUGE success
for us, and her vets constantly comment on her great condition.
I really believe her good nutritional status, has enabled her
body to help fight the cancer better. She also had more chemo
in July/August, was syringe fed the whole way through it, and
sailed through it this time.
1. You BOTH need to get used to the syringe feeding...I doubt
any cat loves it, but they do get used to it...don't give up!!
The first few feeds we did, I was covered in cat food and she
spat most of it out, and clearly wasn't happy. It probably took
a good month to get the hang of it for both of us. Now it's just
routine, and she accepts it without any fuss.
Stay calm!! Syringe feeding can be very stressful, as you are
only doing it because your cat is sick, so getting the food in
is important to you. But try not to let this show, your cat will
feel if you are stressed and uptight. I talk softly to Pud the
whole time, tell her what a good girl she is. Be gentle, move
slowly and calmly, try not to rush.
When I first started feeding Pud, I would always try and do something
positive afterwards, she loves being brushed, so I would groom
her after each feed, and spend some time cuddling. I think it
helped to associate the feeding with something good.
Other people will think you are either totally crazy, or just
don't know when to 'let go'....IGNORE them.
Even with added fiber from the brown rice and veg, I find Pud
still gets a bit constipated, I use lactulose as well to avoid
this becoming a problem
Remember that each cat is an individual...try an work with their
existing personality to try and figure out what will work for
you (eg: if your cats hates being in a certain position then don't
use that, even if it works for others), modify the way you feed
until you find the routine that works best for you.