What Can I do for a Sick Cat in an Isolated Place?


La Digue - Seychelles Beachtiarescott | more info (via: Wylio)
My 9 year old male cat has suddenly developed a very poor apetite.

We do not have properly qualified vets on the island and no facilities or equipment. But one of these vets saw my cat this morning and after manual exam (no blood or urine tests) said he was in excellent condition.

I saw his stool this morning it seems rather yellow in colour. He is still eating very little, wont touch his dry food Royal Canin Joint Support and only little bit of the fresh cooked fish he so loves. I realize it is not much to go on but please see if you can give me any piece of mind. We love our kitty very dearly.

Mahe, Seychelles Islands

The Seychelles definitely have a reputation for being beautiful, but it sounds like the islands aren’t the best place for a cat to get sick.

Based upon your description I can’t tell you what’s wrong with your cat, and I’m sorry to say that I probably can’t offer you much peace of mind either. However, I definitely have some thoughts about what you can do.

It is going to be hard to treat your cat if you can’t find out what’s wrong. Are there any vets on the island who can run blood tests or take X-rays? Call around and see if you can find one who’s better equipped than the one you visited. There are literally hundreds of conditions, ranging from not-so-serious to deadly dangerous, that can cause 9-year-old cats to stop eating. You need to know what you’re treating if you want to treat it right.

Also, although your main concern is that your cat is not eating, I also am worried that he may not be getting enough fluids. Cats that don’t eat often don’t drink enough water. Even the most rudimentarily equipped veterinarian should have the capacity to administer injectable fluids to a cat — can any vet on the island do this, or possibly help equip you to do it?

If injectable fluids are out of the question, then I’d recommend that you try to encourage your cat to take fluids by mouth. Make sure fresh water is always available from multiple sources. Consider sprucing up a bowl of water with a little canned tuna juice or chicken broth.

Also, continue to coax your cat to eat. Offer cat food as well as palatable human foods such as fish, chicken breast, or chicken baby food.

Appetite stimulants may be available from pharmacies on the island (in the USA and Europe these medicines are available by prescription only, but in many developing countries they can be purchased over-the-counter). Two commonly used appetite stimulants in cats are mirtazapine (1/8 – 1/4 of a 15-mg tablet orally every three days) and cyproheptadine (1/4 – 1 whole 4-mg tablet orally once or twice daily). Both medications sometimes cause behavior changes (sedation is most common), and experts generally recommend against combining the medications. Generally these medications only should be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian, but desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures.

Although fluids and appetite stimulants may help the situation, I must emphasize that the best option by far, if possible, is to find a vet who can actually diagnose the problem. Without a diagnosis, it is impossible to make truly accurate treatment recommendations.

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