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Serious Illness, Accidents and Surgery in Cats

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Imagine being hurt or injured and not able to ask for what you need to feel better. That is exactly what your cat feels during a serious illness, or after an accident or surgery. All she wants to do is pounce and play, but she needs adequate time and nutrition to recuperate. She'll need additional care and attention from you at this time.

Helping your cat recover

You should always give medication at the correct times, and take care of wounds and dressings as instructed. It’s also important to provide your cat with lots of love, reassurance and encouragement to eat (cats tend to avoid eating when they are sick or hurt), and only feed the cat food recommended by your veterinarian.

Correct balance of nutrients

Because the body has difficulty obtaining enough energy during this time, cat food needs to be high in energy, easily digestible, and extra-rich in essential fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

What happens during recovery?

There will be times in your cat’s life when she will need help to recover. This could be due to a wide variety of conditions— from minor illness or elective surgery to something more serious like an accident or cancer. Cats need extra energy and nutrients, in an appetizing form, to speed up the recovery process. Even if a cat is not severely distressed, you can help recovery by feeding the right cat food and giving plenty of care and love at home.

Is your cat making progress?

Recovery can be delayed by a number of factors including incorrect nutrition and not eating enough. Whatever the reason, it’s important to look for the following signs. If you notice any of them, contact your veterinarian.

  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Tired, lacking energy
  • Wound is not healing
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Increased breathing rate
Common signs of dental disease

IMPORTANT: Rapid weight loss, particularly when combined with loss of appetite indicates a stress response requiring attention. If you are in any doubt, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Remember to keep a close on eye on your cat's condition to help her get through this difficult time. In addition, watch for other conditions and complications, such as infections.

The importance of nutrition

The food your cat eats plays an important role in her overall health and well-being. The food you feed her can have a tremendous effect on her ability to recover. She will be under a lot of stress from healing and dealing with her condition, so she will need more energy to deal with these changes. However, she may be reluctant to eat.

Most food won't have the right consistency or taste for cats who don't feel like eating. These cats will need therapeutic food that provides exceptional taste and has the right consistency to be spoon fed, if needed. Also, her regular foods may not provide the added fat, protein and key nutrients cats need during recovery. Feeding her a cat food that is highly digestible and has increased levels of key nutrients will speed her healing.

Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. When your cat is recovering from an illness or operation, it’s even more important to feed the right cat food. For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your cat’s recovery.

Ask Your Veterinarian About Recovery from Serious Illness, Accident or Surgery:

  1. Are there any foods I should avoid giving my cat because of her condition?
    • Ask how human food can affect your cat’s health.
  2. Would you recommend a Hill’s® Prescription Diet® cat food for my cat’s recovery?
    • Ask about special nutritional concerns for your cat
    • How much / how often you should feed the recommended food to your cat
  3. How quickly should I expect to see signs of improvement in my cat’s condition?
  4. Can you provide me with written instructions or a booklet on recovery care for my cat?
  5. What is the best way (email/phone) to reach you or your hospital if I have questions?
    • Ask if you need a follow-up appointment.
    • Ask if a reminder email or notice will be sent.