When To Stop Force Feeding A Cat? Here’s Your Answer

Cats are usually very selective about their food and do not prefer all kinds of cuisines. Their choices become even more strict and limited when they are sick.

During extreme cases, the owner is often compelled to take the help of a syringe or a tube to forcefully feed the cat to keep it healthy and active. Force feeding, if done in a proper way can save the life of your pet.

In this article, we will walk you through when to stop force feeding your cat and couple of ways to encourage themself to eat more.

When to stop force feeding a cat?

1. It starts to grind its teeth

If you notice that your cat constantly grinds its teeth together during the feeding process, it is a good sign that you should stop feeding it forcibly.

The cat clenches its teeth together when it has a full stomach or it has no appetite to have any more food.


Force-feeding through a syringe or a feeder can be a painful process for the cat, which might compel them to grind their teeth together.

You should not attempt to feed the cat again with a feeder without supervision as it might be causing extreme pain to its jaws.

This could also stress out the cat as it is not accustomed to having food in this way. If such circumstances arise, you should opt for a liquid diet for some time to ease its jaws.

It could also grind its teeth because of some underlying dental problems like toothache, rotting tooth etc.

It is important to consult with a doctor if your cat does not want to have the usual amount of food and you have to force-feed them.

2. Vomiting

If you start to force-feed a cat, their body might not be willing to accept the food. In such a scenario, the cat vomits out whatever it has been fed.

It might also vomit when the amount of food exceeds the amount needed by the body. You need to be extremely careful while force-feeding a cat who has a tendency to vomit.

If it starts to vomit regularly, you need to immediately stop the process and consult a veterinarian.

Vomiting can be extremely dangerous to the cat and can cause a number of health issues.

It could lead to aspiration in the cat which is a condition caused by entry of foreign substances into the lungs.

It causes an infection in the lungs which leads to inflammation and breathing problems. Vomiting could also lead to pneumonia, choking, and other serious conditions which might be fatal to the cat.

3. It starts to run away from you

If you are a cat owner, you would know that a pet is not usually scared of humans. If you opt to force-feed the cat due to its health issues, it is likely to accept the process as long as it does not harm him.

But, if it starts to run away from you after you begin to force-feed it with a feeding tube or a syringe, it might be a good sign that the cat is not happy with the procedure.

If you have to chase the cat around the house to feed it, there is a possibility that it is not proving to be useful for the cat.

It might also start to show aggressive behavior towards you. The process might be stressful to the cat, and the food ingested under such circumstances would not do it much good.

It might also be causing it some kind of pain that they are unable to express to you. Therefore, you should not opt to feed your cat forcibly without proper consultation from a doctor.

4. It has started to gain excessive weight


Although it might be important to force-feed a cat in some cases, the owner needs to be aware of the amount required by the pet.

If you do not have the necessary information about the total amount of calories needed by the cat in a day, there are chances that you might overfeed it.

If you notice that your cat has started to gain weight drastically after you begin to force-feed it, it is essential that you stop the process.

You should conduct extensive research on the amount of food required by a cat and its nutritional needs.

You should only opt for the process when you are willing to stay within the limit of the recommended amount of food.

Obesity might cause several problems in the cat and might affect its overall well-being. Therefore, you should not overfeed a cat and seek medical assistance in case of the cat’s drastic weight gain.

5. Your cat does not want to return to regular food

If you continue the process of force-feeding the cat for an extended time, there is a possibility that it might get accustomed to it.

It will eventually start hesitating to eat food normally and seek your assistance in feeding.

You should immediately discontinue forcing feed the cat when you see signs of improvement in the cat.

If it is healthy enough to eat food normally, you should gradually discontinue the previous process. You could start regular feeding with wet foods and broths first to ease the cat.

Couple of ways to encourage ways cat to eat more

Cats are picky eaters, and some of them have a very low appetite, which often leaves them underweight.

If your cat does not have the average amount of food, you could consider some ways which would encourage them to eat more.

Wet foods and canned foods are ideal for cats with a low appetite. These foods will provide the cat with the necessary calories and nutrients even if the cat eats the food in low quantities.

You could opt for foods with a strong flavor like fish, chicken, etc. which will enhance its appeal to the cat.
If a cat does not eat much, you should provide it with little bits of food from time to time so that they are not bored with the taste.

You should provide enough love and care to your pet and ensure that they are well taken care of. Cats do not eat enough when they are stressed or scared.

Therefore, you should ensure that the cat is happy with the surroundings and make the necessary arrangements for its comfort.

You could offer food to the cat with your own hands or stay close by when it has its food to encourage it to eat more.


You should always remember that the cat is a member of your family, and you should take care of it the same way.

The well-being of the cat should be your top priority. If you notice that the cat’s health is deteriorating and believe that it needs to be force-fed, you should not do it without supervision.

You should consult a veterinarian to enquire about the proper ways of force-feeding and act accordingly.


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  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1098612X18791877
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17415349.2016.1243995?src=recsys&journalCode=tvnj20
  3. https://vetcpd.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FEL-ANOREXIC-preview.pdf
  4. https://www.banfield.com/getmedia/9679f69d-e239-4d43-9e36-4b41d691535c/3_1-Nutritional-needs-of-ill-Pets
  5. https://felinecrf.org/persuading_cat_to_eat.htm
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