When your cat is ill, the most important thing you can do is keep him warm, quiet, well fed and watered. Cats dislike noise and bright lights and seek secluded areas when they are sick. For the indoor cat, set up a retreat in a room not used by members of your family or other pets.
A soft towel lining a cardboard box and placed on the floor of a closet is ideal. With the door slightly ajar, the cat has darkness and solitude. For the outdoor cat, line a tire with an old blanket in the garage, making sure there are no drafts.
To keep your cat warm, heating pads and hot water bottles (not too hot) may be effective, or you can cut the food off a sock and make a sweater to keep him warm. In addition to administering any medication prescribed by your veterinarian, you need to supply your cat with plenty of fluids.
If your cat is not drinking and does not seem his normal self, contact your veterinarian. You may be advised to force fluids into his mouth with an eye dropper or plastic syringe, but be careful because the fluid can be forced into the lungs and result in pneumonia.
If he clamps his teeth down firmly on the dropper and will not open his mouth, insert the tip through the side of his mouth. You will find an opening there and can squirt in the water.
Clear chicken broth and the juices from cooked meat can also be used as fluids. These have the advantage of making your cat thirsty, prompting him to drink on his own. If he is dehydrated, your veterinarian may need to administer fluids under the cat's skin or into a vein. There will be other signs of illness in such a case.
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