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My Pet World: Cat loudly demands food, but needs empty stomach before surgery

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Fran,

A friend asked me to take a cat that was formerly homeless because her other cats were fighting with him. That cat is now a year old. This week I planned to take him for vet care. He had to fast from 9 p.m. until we saw the vet at 7 a.m. He wanted food and kept me awake nearly all night. When it was time to leave for the vet’s office, he hid where I couldn't get to him. As I prepared to go, he again demanded my attention because he was hungry. He was completely out of control.

I phoned the vet and rescheduled the appointment. I know that fasting is necessary in prep for anesthesia, but this is hard to deal with. He settled down as soon as I fed him.

I live alone and am 75 years old. Your insight on how to deal with this would be very helpful.

— Fran, Montana

Dear Fran,


Cats can be very demanding when they’re hungry. But fasting is essential to ensure your cat has an empty stomach before surgery. Anesthesia can make him vomit, which is not just messy for the vet techs to clean up, but dangerous as he can choke or asphyxiate on the vomit.

If he can't eat after 9:00 p.m., feed him at 8:45 p.m. You might have to rearrange his eating schedule a few days beforehand to ensure he is hungry at 8:45 p.m. and then take him to the vet's office at 7 a.m. as planned.

Another approach is to arrange for him to spend the night at the vet’s office the night before. There might be an additional charge, but it’s worth it if you want to sleep. If that’s not in your budget, you can leave him in another room and turn on some white noise for him (and for you in your room as well). Drugstore ear plugs for you also can help mute his demands.

Don't feel bad about any of these choices. He doesn't understand what you are doing is for the best and that he will eat again very soon. All will be forgiven once he returns home and returns to his routine.


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