Assist-feeding procedure

Equipment needed:

  • Hand or face towel or gentle/soft nap microfiber cloth
  • Lots of paper towels
  • Bowl of tepid water (can put a drop of lavender hydrosol (NOT essential oil!) or a drop of Bach's Rescue Remedy in it)
  • Small (5ml = 1 teaspoon) plastic syringe from the pediatric section of the drug store. In the U.S. there is a brand called "Four Paws" which is my favorite. It holds about 15ml or 1/2 oz, and is available at pet/feed stores or from amazon - I like the tapered one which I snip off at about 1/2 way down the tip to make the opening larger. Do not get the ones from the vet or vet supply stores with the wide opening. They stick, and do not hold up well at all.

Steps in syringe-feeding:

  1. Blend some cooked or raw homemade food in a blender. Alternatively, you can use rx Hills AD (not for long-term use) or Carnivore Care (also not ideal but better than nothing). Even better are the newer all-meat formulas e.g. by EVO, Wellness, Wysong, Merrick, which are all smooth and easy to administer via syringe. In some cases, one can run it in the blender with some meat stock, then strain it if's still not fine enough. Ad some supplements (optional) - digestive enzymes, yogurt or probiotics - various strains of lactobacilli and bifido bacteria, and anything else relevant to your cat's situation.
  2. Boo Boo and Hunny Bunny both weighed around 7.5 - 8 lbs. We fed them 4 syringes each meal (morning, late afternoon/early evening, and night). Draw up the food into the syringes before you go in to feed your kitty.
  3. Extricate your cat from under the bed (poor baby!) with some sweet talk and petting. Put a 3-6 mo. infant-sized bib around his (her) handsome (pretty) furry neck.
  4. If you're doing this without another human to help you, straddle your cat so that s/he faces away from you, and cannot back away from the feeding. In our case, John just held Booey/Bunny in his lap, and I syringed the meat.
  5. Gently press down on both sides of the upper jaw to get the mouth open. Press down gently on syringe plunger. With Booey we found it worked best to not squirt it from the side; instead we would lift his chin a bit and squirt down at an angle but from the front of his mouth. Be careful because kitty can gag or choke if you try to squirt the liquid straight down his throat. Some cats e.g. Bunny, do better if you come at them from the side. Cats can be susceptible to aspiration pneumonia, so always take it slow and easy and when in doubt stay toward the front of the mouth and squirt from the side, not front.
  6. Give kitty time to swallow the food, then squirt again. We squirted each tiny syringe 4-5 times or so, with breaks in between. During breaks, if you spot any food on kitty's lips or mouth, dip the washcloth in water, and wipe away. Dry, so as to not make kitty any more uncomfortable than s/he already is.
  7. Give your kitty his/her favorite treat(s), and lots and lots of pets and cuddles. Handsome devil Boo Boo loved being combed so we had a petting session afterwards, and he purred for us.