You just rescued a stray cat that is obviously malnourished. Now, it’s your responsibility to nurse this poor animal back to good health. However, you should be aware that treating a malnourished cat will take tons of special care.
Cause of Malnutrition
Usually, the main reason for cat malnutrition is lack of access to high quality cat food. It goes without saying that a feline needs essential nutrients in order to stay healthy. Unfortunately, stray cats don’t have access to good food.
Another common and quite dangerous cause of malnutrition are hairballs being present in the cat’s intestine or stomach. When hairballs or other objects like ropes or wires obstruct the intestine, the following symptoms may occur:
- Disinterest in food
- Retching after eating
- Repetitive dry coughing
What should you do?
If you think your cat is malnourished, there are things you can do to better your pet’s health. Below are some tips from a Dubai pet food delivery service to nurse your feline friend back to health.
1. Visit the vet
Animal specialists are the only ones who can rule out the possibility of disease. That’s why it’s important that you go to the vet first to have your adopted cat checked. The vet will administer the necessary vaccines as well as take scans to give you a proper diagnosis of your cat’s condition.
If you are, indeed, dealing with a malnourished cat, your vet will work out a food plan for your pet.
2. Give vitamins and supplements
There are certain vitamins and supplements that can help a malnourished cat gain weight more quickly. These may include probiotics which help restore good bacteria in your cat’s intestinal tract. Your vet may also give your feline a vitamin B12 injection and supplements to mix in your pet’s food.
3. Treat parasites
Besides vitamins and supplements, your vet may recommend deworming for your cat to treat him for any parasites. Parasites can bite, irritate, and suck your feline friend’s blood. They thrive in the skin, swim through your pet’s bloodstream, and feast in other parts of his body.
Through early treatment, you can prevent parasitic infections from becoming life-threatening and hampering your cat’s weight gain.
4. Feed him small, easily digestible foods
A cat who hasn’t eaten for a long time may have a hard time digesting food. Even if your adopted cat wants to gulp down food, you should discourage him from eating too much, too soon. This may lead to vomiting which can be traumatic to your pet’s already fragile system.
- Feed your cat a few tablespoons of food, at least an hour apart. This will give your feline enough time to digest properly between feedings and get the nutrients he needs so he can rebuild his strength.
- If your cat won’t eat willingly, you may have to forcefully spoon-feed him until he develops an appetite and eats on his own.
Malnourished cats also have a hard time keeping down food. If your cat has an upset stomach, it’s recommended that you feed him a simple diet of poached chicken breast and plain cooked rice. To prepare this meal:
- Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces for your cat to eat and digest. You can also add a bit of water into the food to make it easier to eat.
- If your cat is reluctant to eat, sprinkle some dried liver treats over the food. Most cats won’t be able to resist the taste of liver and it’ll help restore your feline’s levels of vitamin A.
- Refrain from treat feeding as very rich foods may aggravate an upset stomach.
5. Address dehydration
Malnutrition is often connected to dehydration especially among stray cats. Signs of dehydration in cats may include loose skin and sticky, thick saliva. To help your feline overcome dehydration, make sure to constantly provide plenty of fluids.
Besides water, your cat will need electrolytes. You can buy electrolyte solutions with minimal flavoring at many drugstores. You can begin feeding your cat once he is no longer dehydrated.
Are you up for the challenge?
Does it break your heart to see a cat that’s all skin and bones?
Adopting an animal is a huge responsibility; you have to be fully committed before you decide to take in a stray cat. If you can provide the food, water, and care that the cat deserves, then by all means adopt.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.