When To Stop Force Feeding a Cat?

When To Stop Force Feeding a Cat?

When you are force feeding your cat because it is sick and you want to ensure that it is getting its daily nutrition, be sure to know the right time to stop. If your cat is grinding its teeth or vomiting, stop force feeding it. If the cat is eating on its own, force feeding is no longer necessary.

If you want to learn more about force feeding a cat and when to stop, keep on reading.

When to stop force feeding a cat

When cats are sick, they become even more picky about their food than they already are when healthy. In extreme cases, force feeding is necessary to save your cat’s life. If properly done, your cat should feel better in a few days. Here are the signs you need to watch for before it is okay to stop force feeding:

1. Vomiting

When you force feed your cat, it might not be willing to accept the food at first. It will probably vomit or spit out the food. When you give it more food than its body needs, the cat might also vomit out the excess. Be very careful when feeding a cat who tends to vomit easily.

If your cat still vomits each time, even when you are being cautious, it may be necessary to take it to a veterinarian for expert help.

Frequent vomiting is not good for cats because it may cause further problems, especially for an already sick cat. Vomiting can also lead to aspiration wherein foreign bodies enter the lungs. Aspiration can lead to infection and inflammation in the lungs. This can lead to breathing problems and even pneumonia.

2. Teeth Grinding

When you observe your cat grinding its teeth while you are feeding it, this is usually a sign that you can stop force feeding it. Cats instinctively clench and grind their teeth together when they feel full and have no more appetite.

Do not attempt to feed the cat again with a feeder after seeing it grind its teeth. This can cause more discomfort and pain for the kitty’s jaws.

Force feeding through a feeder can be painful for the cat, and can also make them grind their teeth. This can also be stressful for the cat, especially one who is not accustomed to being fed this way. If you feel it necessary, opt for a liquid diet to make it easier for your cat.

Grinding may also be a sign of underlying dental issues. Always consult a veterinarian before starting force feeding so you are advised properly.

3. Running Away

If your cat is well adjusted to people, you know that it will not be easily scared by people. If you are force feeding your cat due to health issues, it will normally have no problem with the process, as long as it is not painful. But if your cat starts to run away from you after you begin force feeding it, it could be a sign that they are not happy with the procedure.

If you have to chase your cat to feed it, it might prove to not be useful for the cat.

The cat might start to show aggressive behavior towards you. The process might prove too stressful for the cat, so the food ingested in these situations will not do much good. It may be causing the cat pain that they will not be able to convey to you. In this case, you might be better off stopping the force feeding.

4. Excessive Weight Gain

It is important to force feed your cat in special cases, but you as the owner need to know how much and how often to feed your cat. Overfeeding is a common side effect of force feeding. If you do not have the needed information on the calories your cat needs per day, it may gain weight drastically. Make sure you do your research on the type of food you are giving your cat and if it is providing your cat the nutrients that it needs.

Force feed your cat only when you are knowledgeable and willing to stay within the limits of the recommended amount of food. Obesity can cause problems in your cat and affect its overall well-being. Be careful not to overfeed your pet.

5. Not Wanting Regular Food

If you force feed your cat for too long, it might get accustomed to that method of feeding and no longer want to eat on its own. The cat will look for your assistance during every meal. If you notice this behavior in your cat, it is best to stop force feeding as soon as you notice signs of improvement in your cat.

If the cat is healthy enough to eat on its own, gradually discontinue force feeding.

Ways to Encourage Your Cat to Eat 

Cats are picky eaters, and some always have a low appetite. This can sometimes result in the cat becoming underweight. The following are ideas to help encourage your picky kitty. 

  • Try giving your cat wet and canned food for cats with a low appetite. These foods are full of the nutrients any cat will need even if they only eat a small amount each meal.
  • Try giving them food that has a flavor your cat might like, such as chicken, turkey, or fish. This may help encourage their appetite.
  • If your cat does not eat much during meal times, try giving them little bits of food from time to time throughout the day.
  • Always ensure your cat that it is loved and that you care for it. Cats who are not comfortable or stressed will not eat well.


Force feeding your cat may be necessary when it is sick and not eating enough. But there are signs to watch out for that indicate that the force feeding needs to stop. 

When your cat is vomiting, grinding its teeth, running away from you, gaining an excessive amount of weight, or no longer feeding itself, encourage your cat to start eating on its own so you no longer have to force feed it.

Image: istockphoto.com / Chalabala