Updated: Nov 15
Our feline companions start showing signs of reduced appetite, it's often an indicator that something isn't quite right. In the realm of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), where every nuance of your cat's health matters, changes in appetite can be particularly concerning. At CureFIP US, we understand the unique challenges faced by cat owners dealing with FIP. That's why we've curated this comprehensive guide to appetite stimulants for cats with FIP. Here, we delve into the world of appetite-stimulating solutions, from prescribed medications to natural remedies, providing you with the knowledge to support your beloved feline friend on their path to recovery.
FIP, a disease caused by the feline coronavirus, can take a toll on a cat's overall well-being, including their appetite. Recognizing the significance of this symptom and understanding how to address it is crucial. Whether you're navigating the complexities of FIP treatment or simply seeking ways to enhance your cat's appetite, our guide covers it all. We'll explore prescription options like Mirtazapine and Cyproheptadine, renowned for their effectiveness in stimulating appetites, as well as natural remedies like catnip and acupuncture, which can provide holistic support. Join us on this journey to empower yourself with the knowledge and tools needed to help your FIP-afflicted feline regain their appetite and embark on the road to recovery.
Here, we'll provide an overview of the most commonly prescribed appetite stimulants and the scenarios in which your veterinarian might recommend them.
Initially developed as an antidepressant for humans, Mirtazapine exerts its effects by elevating serotonin levels in the central nervous system. Simultaneously, it suppresses serotonin activity in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in an enhanced appetite and reduced nausea. Veterinarians often prescribe this medication to cats grappling with decreased appetite or nausea associated with kidney disease, liver disease, or gastrointestinal ailments.
Form: Tablet or transdermal gel (Mirataz)
Frequency: Mirataz gel is applied once daily to the inside of your cat's ear, while tablets are administered as directed.
Side Effects: Generally well-tolerated, with drowsiness being the most common side effect.
Though primarily an antihistamine, Cyproheptadine is frequently employed in feline medicine due to its appetite-enhancing properties. It achieves this by interfering with serotonin in the brain.
Form: Tablet or syrup
Frequency: Typically administered twice daily
Side Effects: Generally well-tolerated but may induce drowsiness or, conversely, excitement in some cats.
Capromorelin, marketed under the name Elura, represents a novel appetite stimulant specifically tailored for cats with chronic kidney disease. It mimics the actions of ghrelin, a hormone that induces hunger in cats.
Form: Liquid administered orally
Frequency: Typically administered once daily
Side Effects: Common side effects include vomiting, hypersalivation, and lethargy.
While not classified as an appetite stimulant, Maropitant citrate effectively combats nausea, a common trigger for appetite loss or anorexia in cats. Its mechanism of action involves blocking substance P, a neurotransmitter responsible for initiating vomiting.
Form: Available in tablet and injectable forms
Frequency: Administered once daily to combat vomiting
Side Effects: Relatively uncommon, though some cats may vomit after taking the tablet. You can mitigate this side effect by providing a small amount of food alongside the tablet.
Natural Appetite Stimulants for Cats
While consulting your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is paramount when your cat experiences appetite loss, several natural stimulants can complement medical care and encourage your cat to eat. Here are a few natural options:
Catnip, an herb from the mint family, contains an oil known as nepetalactone, responsible for eliciting behaviors like affection, relaxation, and increased activity in cats. Catnip can also alleviate anxiety and pain. If pain, stress, or anxiety underlie your cat's decreased appetite, catnip may prove useful. Catnip is available in various forms, including fresh (more potent), dried, and spray. It's worth noting that not all cats respond to catnip, and excessive consumption can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and unsteady movement.
Acupuncture can serve as a valuable tool in addressing various conditions responsible for decreased appetite in cats, such as pain, intestinal disorders, immune issues, dental problems, and nausea. Some cats, including kittens, seniors, or those on the thinner side, may exhibit resistance to needles. However, most cats tolerate needle placement when performed by a seasoned veterinary technician in a calm, quiet environment. Specific acupuncture points tailored for cats can alleviate nausea and appetite loss. An experienced holistic veterinarian trained in acupuncture can determine the most suitable treatment plan for a cat exhibiting these symptoms.
Canned Food and Toppers:
When dealing with unwell cats displaying diminished appetites, offering highly palatable canned food often constitutes an excellent initial step. Canned food can be served on its own or mixed with dry kibble. Brands like Purina's Fancy Feast and Friskies boast an array of flavors and varieties, including shreds, chunks, and pâté options. Sometimes, presenting a novel food variety is sufficient to reignite your cat's interest in eating. Alternatively, you can experiment by adding tuna juice or low-sodium chicken broth to your cat's dry kibble. Mar's Temptations treats are a favorite among many cats and are nutritionally complete, meaning they can serve as a primary meal for cats that refuse other options. Should these strategies prove ineffective, you can explore particularly enticing treats such as tuna, canned chicken, chicken baby food, or cooked eggs. Therapeutic diets like Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Recovery RS or Hill's Prescription Diet a/d Urgent Care are also often well-received by ailing pets.
Additional Methods to Encourage Your Cat's Appetite
Sick cats often prefer to dine in a tranquil environment at their leisure. To facilitate this, establish an area devoid of other pets that might intimidate or distract your cat during mealtime. To prevent odors that might discourage your cat from eating, ensure you clean your cat's food bowls daily. Some cats may exhibit improved appetite when served food on plates rather than in bowls. Leaving dry kibble out at all times permits your cat to feed alone at night. Additionally, lightly warming canned foods can enhance their aroma, making them more appealing to your cat.
At CureFIP US, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guidance on supporting your FIP-afflicted cat's well-being. We understand that your cat's health and comfort are of paramount importance. By combining veterinary expertise with natural remedies and a compassionate approach, you can help restore your beloved feline's appetite and overall health.