As if being sick is not enough, your ailing cat will also have to deal with the side effects of medication. With this, don’t be surprised if your cat on antibiotics is not eating or acting like its usual self.
While feline antibiotics have side effects, such discomfort is a small sacrifice toward recovery. Our role as pet owners is to ensure that our cats have all the support and care they need.
This starts by ensuring that the kitty receives proper nutrition despite its poor appetite. But truth be told: this will be a challenging task.
Still, I will share some of my tried and tested methods for boosting a sick cat’s appetite. These worked for my cat Watson and even our Golden Retriever Sherlock.
Can antibiotics cause loss of appetite in cats?
Poor appetite is the most common side effect of any medication, not just antibiotics. The stronger the dosage, the worse the effect will be.
Some antibiotics suppress your pet’s appetite. This is aside from your cat being sick and too weak to ingest food.
Moreover, antibiotics will trigger an imbalance in your feline’s gut health. This happens because antibiotics can’t differentiate between “good” and “bad” bacteria.
Due to this, both types of bacteria get wiped out. Your cat will become queasy, thus the reluctance to consume any food.
Aside from poor appetite, the following are also potential side effects of antibiotics in pets:
- Yeast infection
- Allergic reaction
You should call the veterinarian for consultation if your cat experiences any of these. The vet may change the dosage or switch to a different antibiotic.
How to encourage your cat on antibiotics to eat
Encouraging your cat to eat while on antibiotics is not an easy task. Felines are naturally stubborn even when they are well, especially when they are sick.
Still, there are steps you can try to help your pet get its much-needed nutrition. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to ask your cat’s vet for the best solution.
Aside from that, you can also try these methods:
1. Offer soupy canned food
Sick cats don’t have the appetite for dry kibble. Instead, you should offer them soft canned food.
If the canned food is too chunky or thick, try adding some warm water to make it soupy. This way, the food will be easier to chew and swallow.
Also, it will let your cat receive much-needed hydration to speed up recovery.
You should never force-feed your sick cat unless the vet tells you so. Unnecessarily forcing your cat will only create too much stress, which will make it more reluctant to eat.
2. Give a low-sodium broth
If your kitty doesn’t really like to eat solids, you can start introducing nourishment through a low-sodium broth. This is a tasty fluid that will encourage your kitty to at least take a sip.
As your cat regains its appetite through the broth, you can start adding small servings of canned food. It will also help to assist your cat in eating by spoon-feeding.
Many ailing cats don’t want to eat because they have to exert effort in standing up for long periods. You can solve this problem through hand-feeding.
3. Keep the food warm
Cats prefer warm food over cold meals. Try adding warm water to the food and see if it will entice your pet to eat.
Note that heating your cat’s kibble on the stove or microwave is not recommended. The direct heat will cause chemical changes in the food, which might destroy its nutrients.
Aside from that, some dog food products will have a foul taste if heated. Unless the label indicates that it’s safe to reheat, you should refrain from doing so.
4. Mix the food with fish oil
Cats love fish, so a few drops of fish oil will surely help encourage them to eat. Mix two to three drops of fish oil into the mushy canned food.
Aside from improving the taste, fish oil will also add aroma to your kitty’s food. This will enhance the food’s appeal to your cat.
Also, fish oil is good for feline’s coat health. It’s rich in Omega fatty acids that promote shinier fur and healthier skin, so your pet will reap multiple benefits here.
5. Provide small servings
When feeding a cat on antibiotics, it’s best to provide small servings at a time. This way, a large meal won’t go stale because your kitty won’t eat it.
When giving canned food, scoop a small amount and transfer the entire can into a sealed container. Place this on the fridge to avoid spoilage or contamination.
6. Keep the feeding calm and quiet.
It would help if you also kept the surroundings calm and quiet when trying to feed your sick cat. Avoid loud sounds, sudden movements, and too much foot traffic.
This is to prevent unnecessary stress on your cat. You’d want the feeding experience to be positive, so your pet will be more cooperative on the following meals.
7. Ask the vet about appetite stimulants.
If your cat on antibiotics will not eat no matter what you do, you can consult the vet about the potential use of appetite stimulants.
A medication called Cyproheptadine is often used to boost the appetite of cats. It’s an antihistamine that interferes with the brain’s serotonin to trigger hunger.
Never give your cat any appetite stimulant unless prescribed by the vet. Non-prescribed stimulants can have adverse contraindications to your pet’s antibiotics.
Aside from that, appetite stimulants must be given at a specific frequency and dosage. Your cat’s veterinarian is the best person to prescribe this.
How long does it take for a cat to feel better on antibiotics?
Medications like antibiotics will take around two hours to take effect. However, it will need a few days of intake for your cat to start feeling better.
Remember that cat antibiotics must be taken religiously based on the vet’s recommendation. This is to ensure that the medicine will work in eliminating the infection.
Skipping doses or not finishing the prescribed course will mess up your cat’s recovery. Worse, it will also make the bacteria resistant to the antibiotic.
The vet will prescribe a 5-day antibiotic course depending on your cat’s condition. It can be longer or shorter, and you must follow the dosage as instructed.
How long can a sick cat go without eating?
Cats can survive without food for up to two weeks. However, sick cats may not endure as long due to their compromised health.
It’s essential to keep your cat nourished as it recovers from a health problem. You shouldn’t let your pet go by without eating for days as this will negatively impact its body.
If the medications are causing appetite issues, you should call the vet to ask for solutions. You should contact the vet if your cat hasn’t eaten for a day or two – no need to wait for two full weeks.
What can I feed a sick cat that won’t eat?
Sick cats tend to be very picky. They usually prefer smelly and tasty food that’s easy to consume.
You can spice things up by adding tuna juice, fish oil, low-sodium broth, or warm water. Stick to wet food so your cat also receives hydration.
In some cases, sick cats prefer eating alone. Try leaving the food bowl beside the kitty for a few minutes and see if it will be touched.
As much as you’d want to do everything to make your sick cat eat, never indulge it in table scraps. Meal leftovers are tasty but can also worsen your feline’s condition.
Can you give human antibiotics to cats?
No, you should never give any human medication to your cats. Antibiotics for humans have different formulations and dosages that are unsuitable for animals.
This thing is best left to the hands of your cat’s veterinarian. Medicating your cat to save money may result in an expensive animal hospital visit.
Human antibiotics can cause poisoning in domesticated pets. It can also lead to unnecessary complications that will risk your cat’s life.
Is pet amoxicillin the same as human amoxicillin?
No, pet amoxicillin is not the same as human amoxicillin. Human-grade amoxicillin can be potent and potentially deadly for animals.
If your cat ingests it, the human-grade medication will unleash severe stomach upset. If taken for long periods, it will also cause overdose, kidney failure, and liver problems in felines.
Overall, pets metabolize medications differently than humans. It’s enough reason not to share your medicine kit with your kitty.
Antibiotics and other medications will impact your cat’s appetite. It’s made worse by weakness and discomfort brought on by your pet’s health problem.
Still, there are ways to encourage your kitty to consume food. You can offer soupy and smelly food or consult the vet about the potential use of appetite stimulants.
Whatever method you use should be comfortable and safe for your pet. Involve the vet if you have doubts or questions about your cat’s diet during recovery.
Above all, never self-medicate your cat to save money on vet bills. This may do more harm than help in the long run.
Marco Vasquez is a passionate animal lover and writer with extensive experience in the pet care industry. He has worked with various pets, including dogs, cats, birds, and fish, and deeply understand their unique needs and behaviors. Marco’s love for animals has driven him to become an expert in pet health, nutrition, and behavior, and he is always eager to share his knowledge and insights with others. As a member of the Petcosset team, Marco brings his expertise to help pet owners make informed decisions about the well-being of their little friends. He enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with his pets in his free time.