Cat with poor appetite after chemotherapy for mammary cancer

by Amy

My 10 year old cat just finished chemotherapy for mammary cancer. She has also had the tumor removed as part of the biopsy. Her blood work looks completely normal and she is doing fine except for her appetite. She only wants to eat treats. I have tried all kinds of cat food wet and dry. I recently boiled some chicken for her and she liked it but only on the day it was cooked. Do you have any ideas on how to boost her appetite?

Dear Amy,

Especially for sick cats or cats recovering from an illness or treatment, there are some tips to follow when it comes to feeding.
You shouldn’t feed your cat anything straight from the refrigerator, or expect her to eat anything that has been refrigerated. You can try to warm up something that has been refrigerated, but many cats will not go for this.

Try opening fresh canned food and warming it, ever so slightly, in the microwave for a few seconds, until it is just warm to the touch. In terms of foods to try, Fancy Feast makes several enticing flavors, and “human foods” such as tuna water, chicken broth, and boiled chicken or lunch meats often work as well. If she responds to it, you may just need to offer your cat fresh cooked food for a while until she is feeling better.

When all else fails at home, though, you should definitely discuss your cat’s decreased appetite with your veterinarian. You should discuss using appetite stimulants, such as Cyproheptadine, with your veterinarian. You could also ask your vet about prescription diets, such as Royal Canin Recovery, which is designed for cats recovering from surgeries and illnesses. While it does seem that your cat is eating some, it is critical that she gets enough of her nutritional requirements during this time.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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