Oliver has HCM. How can we convince him to eat?

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.


Purred: Tue Jan 11, '11 9:52pm PST 
Our beloved, not-quite-two-year-old Oliver was just diagnosed with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HCM) a few days ago. We are devastated, but trying to cope as best we can. As one of the side effects, he refuses to eat very much. We've been feeding him Wellness Core dry cat food since he was about 6 months old, but he's barely touched his food bowl in the last couple days. I understand there is a special diet for cats with heart conditions, which we will be looking into soon, but the vet said it's mostly important for him to eat right now even if it's treats. Does anyone have experience getting their cat with HCM to eat--any special brands, specific consistencies (wet over dry), etc? Any other advice or words of encouragement about this awful disease would be welcome as well. It's hard to believe our little guy who was happy and active as can be just a week ago is now facing this uncertain fate.


RESPECT The- Star!
Purred: Wed Jan 12, '11 7:42pm PST 
I have one, he was diagnosed at 10 months, 2 cardiologists said he would not live past 1 yr old, I said
OH HECK NO! Refused to accept that, told my vet start your book now, as he is the one that is going to make it, and find me another cardiologist. I had her looking up stuff on the vets only site, I did extensive research, talked to breeders, vets, anybody who would help me, and found out, this is not a death sentence, and it is very very manageable. He just turned 4 yrs old in Oct, they let him go back on the circuit, 4 months later, he still finished in the top 10, and he is doing very well, and his cardiologist is at UC Davis. big grin

Was this detected at a wellness exam? What grade did the vet estimate? Grades are 1-6, with 1 being moderate and 6 being severe. Did they do an x-ray? They need to do one, first thing they should of done, that shows if the heart is enlarged, and if there is fluid on the heart or lungs, which is not good. Next they do a CBC and Wellness blood panel, it should be sent to Antech or Idexx, I highly recommend Antech, that shows if any values are not normal, too high or too low, and if there are any other issues going on. Then they do the ultrasound. That is the only way, to proper measure the heart, and how the left ventrical is working or not working, and determine the proper grade. What tests have they done? Has he been to a cardiologist? Which one? Highly highly recommend the one at UC Davis, tell your vet.

What is happening, is the left ventrical is not working properly, it should open and shut tight, like your front door, instead, it swings, like a saloon door, letting in too much blood, or not enough.

Who, told you he has HCM? The vet? or the cardiologist? What grade did they tell you he was? What tests have they done? They should also, give you a copy, of all of them, they just photocopy it.

Bump never acted sick, never stopped eating, altho, eating is his hobby. We just got back from a show that past weekend, he was in first place in his region, and this is as a kitten, which they immed pulled him from the circuit.

There has to be something else going on, that he is not eating, most don't stop eating, even when they are diagnosed. Thats another reason, to do the x-ray and blood panel.

What meds did they put him on?

They usually put them on baby aspirin, one every 3 days, that thins the blood, and Atenenol, spelling, that slows the heart rate. Dosage depends on the cats condition. Bump is not even on any meds anymore, like I said, this is very very manageable. And, at his last wellness exam, back in Oct, he was downgraded to a
grade 2. He does however, have to have more wellness exams, and more blood panels done, as if something changes, they want to catch it quickly. His last blood panel done then too, was all normal.

You now have to be extremly careful of any, ANY meds given to him. Meds given to a normal kitty, can kill an HCM cat. Centrine is one, that is a anti spazmodic, similiar to you or I taking Pepto. Before any meds are given, you have to ask, is this safe for a HCM cat. Never except prob or I don't know, make them look
it up. It is now, your responsibility, the meds given are safe.

NEVER NEVER give him any meds over the counter, without checking with your vet first.

He needs to be on a quality grain free feed, that is LOW IN SALT, THAT IS IMPERATIVE. It has to be grain free, soy free, by product free, glutens free. I feed Blue Wilderness, chicken, the blue one, its by Blue Buffalo, you can get it at Petsmart or Petco. 6 lb bag is $18.99, sometimes on sale for $15.99, it lasts me
2 weeks. I highly recommend it. Wet is better, but Bump won't eat any wet, he will also not eat any other of the quality grain free feeeds. BW cans are $1.39, sometimes on sale for $1.09.

You want to mix the wet, with warm water, so its real soupy, this keeps them flushed out, which is imperative for little boy kitties, and keeps them hydrated. Since Bump won't eat wet, I mix 1 heaping teaspoon baby food, Gerber chicken or turkey ONLY, with warm water, so its almost like a broth, twice a day.

You have to sched feed him, as you need to monitor his eating, and any change in eating habits, he has to go to the vet. Any change, behavior or feed, anything, you cannot wait, he has to go in, he now has a weakened immune system. L-Lysine is a good idea, which Bump won't eat that either, dosage depends on the age and weight of the cat, will get into that, if you want to go that route, getting tired, mol, getting past my bedtime. So he was put on vitamins, Feline Missing Link, my vet said its one of the better ones, you can get that at Petsmart or Petco, its a powder, dosage is 1/4 teaspoon once a day, has to be refriderated once opened, ballpark $12, but lasts like 3 months.

To get him to eat now, try some Gerber baby food chicken, mix with warm water, so its soupy, use like 1 teaspoon.

That he is not eating now, bothers me, that is not one of the normal symptoms, makes me think something else is going on.

He has to be kept in a stress free household, no yelling, no fighting, no alot of commotion, no alot of people over, no loud parties. Bump loves to show, been doing it since he was 4 months old, that is why they let him go back on the circuit, we travel all over the east coast.

Real tired now, please don't hesitate, if you have any questions, this is very very manageable.

I was first told, thats it, thats all there is. I refused to accept that, and I was hanging out there all by myself, no one to give me any info or help me. I and my vet just starting doing the research, and talking to breeders and vets. Bump's is a genetic defect, prone to Maine Coons and Ragdolls, was traced back to his great grand mother. I also have a great vet, she goes up and beyond, which that is very important to have, a vet that is willing to help you.

(((((((((((BIG HUGS TO YOU))))))) hug way to go wave

big grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grin


mystery poop!- who did it?
Purred: Wed Jan 12, '11 10:53pm PST 
Bumppurr has good advice.

have you tried heating up canned cat food? or maybe soaking his dry in water?

Member Since
Purred: Wed Feb 12, '14 10:00pm PST 
I know this thread is old but i'm desperate. Kitty Got diagnosed after suffering from heart failure and liquid around his lungs. They removed the liquid, put him on heart meds, and he's stabilized, even acting like his old self. But he won't eat on his own. Went to the vet today, it had been a week since his diagnosis, told the doc he wasn't eating. He gave him a appitite enhancer and it doesn't help. Through this whole ordeal i've been feeding my cat with a syringe and that how he got better. Now because of the meds my kitty acts like he's starving but won't eat, he looks miserable and acts miserable and feels like a giant step backwards for him getting better. There must be an underlying cause but my vet apparently doesn't know what it is. Just wish merlin would eat on his own and I'm so scared for my sweet loving cat, that he might not make it through this.


Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
Purred: Thu Feb 13, '14 5:18am PST 
There are things you can sprinkle on food to make it more appealing (Forti Flora, bonito flakes) but this sounds more serious. There's a difference between being finicky and not feeling well enough to eat. If your vet can't get to the bottom of why he's not eating, it's time for another vet IMO.