Do you remember the last time that you were sick? Your entire body ached; your head felt like bearing a ton of weight; and you lost your appetite. No matter how hard it was for you to eat, you knew that you had to recover. But even the sharpest mind couldn’t tell the sickest body to put some food in it. Then, you were spoon-fed by your mother or granny.

Situations like this are not uncommon among pets. When experiencing sickness, they also need to be force-fed. If you have a cat, you’ve probably had to force feed it once in a while. However, there are times when you must know when to stop force-feeding your cat. 

When to Stop Force-Feeding a Cat

When the cat wants to eat normally

Cats can lose their appetite when stressed or experiencing sickness. When this happens, human help is required to help your cat stay healthy.

It means force-feeding your cat. There are many ways that you can use to force-feed your cats. It includes feeding liquified food using a syringe or a feeding tube. Either way, they both don’t sound pleasing at all to you at all.

So, it is not anymore enjoyable for your cat as well. However, when your cat doesn’t want to eat, you have no other choice. It is imperative that you keep it well-fed and hydrated during the time of sickness of stress.

Sooner or later, when your cat recovers from said problems, they would want to resume their regular eating habit. Try to give your cat his favorite food and see if he is ready to go back to his usual main course or not. It might take more time to prepare, but it is worth to facilitate your cat the best way possible.

At the end, who wants to eat from a tube for the rest of their life?

When you hear grinding in its teeth

Another way to know when to stop force-feeding a cat is when you hear it grinding its teeth. As mentioned above, force-feeding typically includes using a syringe to feed the cat. The use of this equipment may require to be applied for days until your cat can fully recover.

However, the prolonged use of a syringe or a feeding tube for force-feeding can cause pain to our little tiger. When force-feeding, your cat usually would have to open its mouth to fit the feeding tube, either naturally or by force.

Nonetheless, by having to eat in a way that he is not generally used to, the cat could experience tiredness that leads to pain in the jaw.

Also, if your cat has any tooth problem, force-feeding can be hurtful, and he would make a grinding noise. That is when you know when to stop force-feeding and look for alternatives to maintain the energy supply for your cat.

When you haven’t practiced proper force-feeding

When to Stop Force-Feeding a Cat

Another time when you should stop force-feeding your cat, or not do it entirely, is when you haven’t practiced force-feeding. Without proper training, force feeding can pose problems for your cat.

First, you could potentially hurt your cat. Force-feeding is a skill, and it requires you to be delicate and as careful as possible while not injuring your cat.

Second, not knowing how to position your cat correctly could make it vomit and suffocate him. When you have practiced force-feeding, it is essential that you keep in mind to inject the syringe into the cat’s cheek pockets and not into its throat, and make sure that his head isn’t leaning back.

When your cat vomits

Vomiting can be extremely dangerous to your cat. It is crucial that you treat your cat with extra care when this happens either by sickness or force-feeding. The vomit can cause aspiration, a condition in which the cat’s lungs become inflamed due to foreign matter’s inhaling.

Other than that, vomiting can potentially cause pneumonia or other pulmonary severe infections. Thus, it is essential to know to be extremely careful when it comes to force-feeding your cat when it vomits. If necessary, you would even need to change the method which you use to force-feed it. If your cat is vomiting, a way you could try is to feed him only a teaspoon every 20 minutes. It should allow him to hydrate just enough not to vomit.

When your cat has reached his ideal weight

The last time you would want to force-feed your cat is to reach its ideal weight. Just like humans – with different heights – cats have their ideal weight depending on their kind. And just like humans, cats need someone to monitor their weight carefully, or else they can experience diabetes. A lot of us have seen fat cats and enjoy the look of a chubby, fluffy cat.

However, you should understand that different cats have different ideal weights. For example, the reasonable weight for most domestic cats is 10 pounds. While a Siamese cat, specifically, can have 5 pounds as their ideal weight. A Maine Coon, on the other hand, can weight up to 25 pounds and be healthy.

You may want to know: How to stop cats from spraying

Ways to encourage your cat to eat

Force-feeding is needed and crucial when your cat loses his appetite, as he is still required to eat. However, there are different ways you can make your cat eat without the use of syringes or feeding tubes. Here are some of the ways you could use to stimulate the kitten’s appetite:

  1. Feed your cat with warm food. The heat will boost the flavor, the texture, and the scent of the food.
  2. Give your cat some meat baby food. This type of food is made to be appealing and easy to be consumed by babies, the same way it will also be for your cat.
  3. Let your cat eat food from your hands. In case you didn’t know, cats also require love and care from humans. By letting them eat from your hands, you’re also giving it the attention that they desire.


It’s always good to keep in mind that cats are our friends, and we should treat it with uttermost care. They require the same level of carefulness, tenderness, and love as much as our fellow human friends. Spend time with them so that you could understand more about their habits and health to know when to stop force-feeding them.


  1. You have quite a thorough article on force feeding which i seldom find on other sites. Thank you so much for helping me with force feeding my darling 15 year old for two weeks already. She hardly eats off a plate now, and the prednisolone twice daily, for 2 years now, hasn’t yet enticed her to eat more than the force fed 5.5 oz AD cans Vet prescribed. With the easier to use large syringe I just found yesterday, she and I are still friends! I’ll try the baby food on my hand though.


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