[Felvtalk] Mo update

Amani Oakley aoakley at oakleylegal.com
Sun Apr 9 15:14:55 CDT 2017

Hi Sheri

It is extremely difficult to go through what you and Mo are going through, and all of us have been there. I too have known the frustration and guilt of constantly harassing one of the babies in my charge with food. However, I have very often seen them come through the other end, and so, while things look bleak right now, if they are able to get enough to eat and if the meds end up helping, all is forgiven and forgotten. There is no question it is absolutely gut-wrenching to have to decide if you are helping or hurting at this time, and only you can know the right answer. All of us would  do different things, and every situation is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Make the decision out of love and no matter what the outcome, remember that it was out of love that you did it.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I find baby food very helpful in these circumstances and I will squirt the food via syringe, into their mouths because they need more than they will take on their own right now and squirting it in their mouths actually means I harass them for LESS time. After the worst of the crisis passes, they usually will begin to show interest in the food without the need for the syringing, but even then, if they aren’t getting enough intake, I will keep syringing to ensure they are getting enough, until they get to the point that they are licking up enough on their own. It is a vicious circle of course, because not getting enough to eat makes them feel horrible and week, and worsens their appetite even more, etc. Thus, I try to break that cycle by ensuring they are getting enough intake, to allow the meds time to kick in.

When I started in “rescuing” of strays, I was told by the animal welfare group with which I was volunteering, that you cannot get a cat to eat, who doesn’t want to eat. I have not found that to be the case, but I think that my success has been due to keeping the feeding time short and effective, and thus, I keep the skirmishing short. I can get 1 3-cc syringe of pureed baby food into most cats in just a few minutes, and even 10 syringes will take 15-20 minutes (because if I go that far, my baby is clearly open to getting more food). Keeping the time short and effective will minimize the fighting and unpleasantness for both of you, so if I can only get 1 syringe in before my baby gets terribly unhappy, then I will stop. But my minimum is 1 syringe at a feeding, and I set goals to increase that as I am able.

Sadly, of course, we all know that the meds may not work, and so the food intake ends up being for naught (along with the regretful harassment). For me and Zander, that is one of the ways that the weekly bloodwork I was having done, was helpful. I was able to see improvement in the bloodwork, so it lessened the uncertainty regarding whether I was going down the right road. However, even bloodwork results are not always definitive because you can see an improvement in the numbers but it is not enough to end up helping. For that reason, doctors are taught to “treat the person, not the numbers”. Nonetheless, as long as you are seeing a few good moments and glimmers of improvement, there is hope and we are with you and Mo.


From: Felvtalk [mailto:felvtalk-bounces at felineleukemia.org] On Behalf Of Sheri Burbridge
Sent: April-09-17 1:20 PM
To: Felvtalk at felineleukemia.org
Subject: [Felvtalk] Mo update

I feel a lot like Bob right now, it's hard to tell if we are making progress. I'm trying very hard to be patient but time is not on our side and it's difficult.

Mo has been eating less and less every day and won't really lick the gel off anymore so I'm going to try the baby food today. With how picky he is I don't have much hope of him liking it. I feel like a bully constantly restraining him and shoving things in his mouth. I know it's the only hope he has but it's still hard.

Yesterday I set up a little area for him on a nightstand by the window. There is a pad for him to lay on, his own water bowl, and he can look out on the back yard while the afternoon sun shines on him. It makes me feel better that this is where he's spending his time and not in a dark room somewhere. He seems so relaxed and happy there.

This is all so mentally and emotionally draining. I am so grateful for you all that understand this struggle and don't think I'm crazy for putting so much effort into this.

I'm going to try the baby food a bit later and also see if he will try some chicken. I cook for my dogs and have a batch going today so I might as well give it a go!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, thanks for listening.

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