Helping your cat recover from surgery or disease

Your cats recovery after disease, trauma, stress or surgery

If your cat is recovering from sickness or has had an operation or chemotherapy, it can be quite a traumatic time for you all. But don’t worry, there are many ways you can help them to recover.

Of course, your vet will give you clear instructions on aftercare, looking after their wounds and trying to avoid infection. But one of the most important ways you can help with the recovery process is feeding a recovery diet.

When you get home it’s likely that they will want to head straight to bed (especially if they need to sleep off the anaesthetic) so make sure they get some peace and quiet for a while. Soon they should be pain free, comfortable and happy to eat again.

Feeding your cat after surgery

Your cat isn’t going to feel much like eating, so start them with small light meals. Your vet will recommend recovery food. Give them this food for as long as your vet recommends. As always, make sure your pet has easy access to clean, fresh water.

Recommended food for recovery

Collars and eating and drinking

They may have been given a funnel-shaped collar to prevent them from licking, biting or scratching their wound or bandage. It's important to leave this on all the time, especially at night and whenever they are left alone. They should soon get used to wearing it, but make sure it doesn't hinder them eating or drinking. If it does, you’ll need to remove the collar at meal times and whenever they want a drink of water.

What is the correct diet for my cat after illness or surgery?

Recovery diets have increased calories, protein and fat meaning even if they eat less they still get the nutrients they need. These foods are designed to be fed during states of illness and recovery. However, if you have a severely ill cat, or when there is an “end-of-life” situation, you can continue feeding a recovery diet.

 An ideal recovery diet is:

  • High in protein to support maintenance of lean body mass
  • High in energy, as your cat will probably have very little appetite and significantly increased metabolic rate as they recover. The food should be rich in energy so that small amounts can provide the energy needed
  • High in fat and protein, which will mean lower carbohydrates as recovering cats will be insulin resistant
  • Highly digestible ingredients as they may not absorb nutrients as well as normal
  • Tasty and attractive - to encourage them to eat

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Dominic Ebery
SPECIFICTM Nutrition Team, Dechra

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