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How to Take Care of a Sick Cat (When You Have Lots of Cats)!

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does my cat love me
31January 2016
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Taking good care of a sick cat is a challenge in itself.

 

But when you already have lots of cats, things get a little more complicated.
You need to make sure everyone in your cat family is happy.
Including you!

When my little tabby Moofy had cancer, we had 4 other cats too.
Moofy’s cat cancer care routine was intense – she needed a lot of my time and attention.

But I couldn’t put the other cats in cold storage while I cared for Moofy!
I had to find ways to look after all the members of our cat family at the same time.

Here’s what I learned.

 

How to Look After Lots of Cats – And One Sick Cat – At the Same Time

 

  1. Minimize change

keep-the-cat-family-happy

Cats love routine, and are often stressed by change.

This is especially true when it comes to dinner time!

 

Your sick cat will likely need meds or different food from your other cats.

That doesn’t have to be a big drama that disrupts the normal routine.

Feed your other cats at the usual time and place, and set up a separate feeding area and bowl for your sick cat.

 

  1. Supervise dinner time

Normally, you would probably put on your waitress apron, serve pussycat dinner, and go and do your own thing while your furry customers eat.

Not anymore.

A sick cat may be taking special drops or supplements. She may be on a particular diet. How can you make sure the other cats are not eating her food?

Easy. Supervise.

Put your waitress apron back on, and watch your furry customers at a discreet distance, like all good waitresses do.

If you just stand quietly nearby while your sick cat takes her meds or eats her special dinner, you can be sure that the other cats won’t wolf down their meals, and elbow a weaker cat out of the way so they can have a second helping!

 

  1. Be prepared for jealousya-sick-cat-can-get-needy

Your sick cat will need more of your time and attention than she did before.
There’ll be treatments, medicines, and new routines to set up. And she’ll be feeling vulnerable, so may well be a little more needy than usual.

 

All of this is perfectly natural.

But try telling that to the other cats. Believe me, they will notice that one of the cat family is suddenly getting all the attention.

Try and include a little play time, or a quick snuggle with the others every day. When your sick cat is sleeping, grab the opportunity to give your other cats some attention.

 

  1. Monitor the cat family dynamic

When you have lots of cats (or even just two), a sick cat changes how the group interacts.

You may find that one of your other cats becomes more aggressive, or bullies the sick cat a little more than they would normally dare.

If you watch for this kind of behavior, you can put a stop to it early on, well before it becomes an established pattern.

 

  1. Living with lots of cats already requires patience

And now you need just a little more.

A sick cat will need regular care. You have to be consistent with treatments, keep trying to give meds when she doesn’t want to take them, and coax her to eat if she’s being picky.

That means you might get a little short tempered with other members of your cat family.

Try to remember it’s not their fault that you have a sick cat in the household. You may need extend your patience to them as well, if they show signs of aggression or anxiety. They deserve your patience too.

 

So don’t worry if you have lots of cats … PLUS a sick cat.

 

With a little planning and thought, you can still take good care of your whole cat family.

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Liz Hardy is the founder of CatMamas.com, where cats are not just pets – they’re family.
  • I have a multi-cat household and one of my older cats is required to eat the tasty soft food. Of course I have to supervise her mealtimes, like a good waitress (as you hilariously point out!) and the others wolf their’s down to try and get to her food afterwards. I feed the others out of those cat feeding towers to slow them down, while she has the privilege of eating out of a bowl. She is not a sick cat (thank goodness) but it’s still a challenge to juggle mealtimes because she’s such a slow eater. I always end up giving them a tsp each of her tasty food in the end. I’m thinking of getting one of those personalized automatic feeding bowls programmed for only one cat, but that would only be my last resort! Love your posts and the illustrations!

    • That’s a tricky one, Yas. That’s why I actually physically stand there while the feeding frenzy unfolds – so you can supervise. I have seen something called a Cat Cube (from memory!) – a little clear perspex cube that one cat can fit into and eat in isolation. Thanks for your kind words! So nice of you.

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