How nutrition can help 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. One way you can help them get better is by feeding them a diet that gives them all of the nutrients they need to support their recovery .

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.

How can diet help with their recovery?

Specialist recovery diets have increased level of calories, protein and fat so that even if they eat less they will still get the all nutrients they need. These foods are designed to be fed for a short time during 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 - this supports maintenance of lean body mass
  • High in energy.  During recovery your cat will probably have very little appetite at the same time as they have an increased metabolic rate. So just when they need more food they are eating less. Foods that are high in energy mean that even small amounts will still give them the energy they need
  • High in fat and protein will also mean lower in carbohydrates.  This helps as recovering cats will probably be insulin resistant
  • Highly digestible ingredients help as they may not be absorbing nutrients as well as they normal do
  • Tasty and attractive - to encourage them to eat

Recommended food for recovery

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