You’ve brought your cat home after being treated by the vet – what’s next? The type of care your cat requires depends on your cat’s condition and their degree of debilitation.
Your veterinarian will give you instructions about how to nurse your cat. However, this is often a stressful time for you as the owner and there may be a lot of information provided, so don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions until you are satisfied you will be able to nurse your cat at home.
How do I medicate my cat?
It is important to give the correct dose of medicine at the correct time and until the course has finished, or you might put your cat at risk. Ask your vet for a demonstration on how to administer the medication to your cat.
Never give human medications to your cat unless they have been prescribed by your vet, as the active ingredients or quantities may be toxic.
Where should I keep my sick cat?
Sick cats are less able to maintain their body temperature, so put them in a warm, quiet place where you are able to keep an eye on them. You may need to provide a hot water bottle or a heating pad. Ensure you use bedding that is easy to wash and put the litter tray within easy walking distance for your cat.
How should I feed my sick cat?
Sick or convalescing cats often have higher nutritional requirements than normal. Depending on your cat’s condition, a special therapeutic diet may be recommended by your veterinarian. However, sick cats often suffer from loss of appetite so you may need to tempt them with their favourite food or try a mixture of wet and dry foods. Warming up wet food can make it smell more appetising. Sometimes cats need to be force-fed, but this depends on how stressful it is for the cat.
Encourage your cat to drink by providing plenty of fresh water. If they stop drinking, consult your veterinarian as dehydration may need to be corrected with an intravenous drip in hospital.
Does my sick cat need help grooming?
Yes. Unwell cats will not groom themselves properly, so daily brushing and cleaning away any discharge will help them to feel better in general.
How should I monitor my sick cat?
Regularly observe how much your cat is eating and drinking and how often he uses his litter tray. Look for signs of illness such as vomiting or diarrhoea, sneezing or coughing. If you keep notes, this will also help your veterinarian assess your cat’s progress.
By Provet Resident Vet
Contributors: Dr Rebecca Bragg BVSc, Dr Julia Adams BVSc