How To Force Feed a Cat?

How To Force Feed a Cat?

Force feed your cat by creating a meal base from pureed baby food or cat food with no additives. Put the meat in a bowl and add a squeeze of high-calorie nutritional paste or some corn syrup. Mix it together well and add enough water to make the mixture runny. 

Draw the mixture into a large syringe and gently squirt it into your cat’s mouth a little bit at a time. If you want to know more about force feeding your cat, keep on reading.

Why is force feeding a cat important?

Before we dive into the hows of force feeding, let us first understand why it is necessary for cat owners to force feed their cats in special cases. Force feeding is recommended when your cat is too sick and weak to feed on its own. By force feeding, you are helping your cat get its daily nutritional needs. As long as the cat is not malnourished, recovering from disease should be easy. 

Kittens that are born with defects may also need to be force-fed to survive. For example, a kitten with a cleft palate may have a hard time suckling. Even kittens whose mothers refuse to feed them may also need to be force-fed. Deformed kittens are sometimes eaten or trampled on by the mother or its siblings. The kittens are often rescued and force-fed regularly so they grow at the same rate as their siblings.

Cats that have undergone any dental surgery or procedure may have a problem eating on their own for a while, so force feeding is an option to help them eat and recover quickly.

The exceptions to force feeding are end-stage cats, such as those with end stage anemia, feline infectious peritonitis, and end stage renal disease.

Enticing Your Cat to Feed

You may be able to encourage a cat to eat by slightly warming some canned cat food before offering it to your pet. When the food is heated, it gives off enticing smells that may make the food more appealing to your cat.

Offer the warm food to your cat on your finger. If the cat does not eat it off your finger, try wiping it on the cat’s lips where they can lick it off. As with any kind of cat feeding, be patient with the cat and take your time. Be gentle and try not stress your cat out.

Preparing to Feed

A sick cat may be so lethargic that she is unable to resist your efforts, but most of the time, your cat will not appreciate being force fed no matter how hungry it gets.

Your cat may bite, fight, and scratch. It is best to take precautions to protect yourself and the cat.

When you are ready to feed it, wrap the cat in a blanket or towel, leaving only their head exposed. Make sure not even one foot is able to escape the wrap. Hold the cat securely on your lap so it feels safe.

How to Force Feed a Cat

Supplies needed:

  • Blended gruel or baby food
  • Syringe
  • Large towel
  • Wet cat food and treats

To start force feeding your cat, you will need to get human baby food from the grocery store. If you have no access to baby food, you can use wet cat food and blend it into a gruel consistency. Get cat food that is meat-based, such as turkey, chicken, or fish. Make sure there is no garlic in the ingredients list, as this can cause an upset stomach.

Check the calories on the back of the packaging; whenever possible, find food that is at least 100 calories per 2.5oz container. It does not have to be exactly that amount, but the more calories the better.

While feeding, keep a big, absorbent towel nearby, because cats often spit out the food or drool a lot when you are force feeding them. You can also wrap the towel around them like a bib to help with the mess. 

Draw the food up in a syringe, 10cc for kittens and small cats, 60cc for big cats. Put the syringe in the corner of the cat’s mouth and squirt a little in. Wait for the cat to swallow, then repeat.

Feed the cat small amounts often rather than large amounts of food only a few times a day. As long as you are able to feed the cat 20cc of food per 1 pound of their body weight, they will be fine. This is based on the 100 calories per 2.5 oz  of food, so if your food is lower in calories, increase the volume of food accordingly.

Cats are not huge fans of force feeding– they get angry or impatient. Giving them smaller amounts more frequently may make them tolerate the process better.

Continue to offer the wet cat food everyday while you are force feeding. At least once a day, try warming the wet food up, putting it on its lips or in its mouth, and putting it next to its face to try and coax it to start eating again.

It can take anywhere from two days to two weeks for a cat that stopped eating to start eating on its own again. Just keep offering food until it is able to feed itself without a problem.


Force feeding your cat may be necessary when it is sick, if a kitten has defects, or when the cat just had dental surgery.

Force feed a cat baby food or blended wet cat food in a syringe. Wrap your cat in a towel so it does not scratch or fight you. Feed it small meals throughout the day as opposed to only two or three large meals. Feed it for up to two weeks if needed, until your cat is able to feed itself with no problem.

Image: / Santiaga