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How to feed a cat with a broken jaw

Updated February 21, 2017

Caring for a cat with a broken jaw can certainly be a challenge. Even the most routine parts of pet ownership, such as feeding and grooming, are much more difficult when a beloved pet has such a devastating injury. Making sure your cat receives adequate nutrition while the broken jaw heals can be a difficult task, but is well worth the time and effort to help your pet recover.

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  1. Talk to your vet about your cat's diet. While its jaw heals, it will be very difficult for it to eat on its own and take in enough nutrients to stay healthy. Your vet will guide you on the proper amount to feed it, and will most likely advise you to break the feedings down into five or six small meals per day to optimise its nutritional retention.

  2. Select a high quality, nutritionally sound canned cat food, spooning the recommended amount into a bowl. Your cat will not be able to eat from the bowl itself, but the bowl will act as a visual indicator that it's feeding time. Mix a small amount of a calorie paste, such as NutriCal, into the food. The calorie paste is packed with vitamins and nutrients that your cat's diet may be missing and will help it maintain proper weight and energy as the jaw heals.

  3. Scoop a small amount of food onto the spoon and offer it to your cat. it may be reluctant to eat off the spoon at first, so place it against the cat's mouth. It may be necessary to softly open its mouth and scrape a little of the food onto its tongue, gently force feeding it a few bites until it realises it can lick the food from the spoon on its own.

  4. Continue feeding the cat from the spoon until it seems full or loses interest. Offer fresh water throughout your feeding session to help wash the soft food down. Don't be alarmed if the cat doesn't eat as much as normal, since eating can be painful, especially during the first few weeks of recovery. Cover any remaining food and store it in the refrigerator.

  5. Wipe your cat's face with a soft, clean, damp towel after eating. Your cat may have difficulty cleaning itself with a broken jaw, and the combination of soft food and sticky calorie paste can quickly mat its fur, so make sure you remove any bits of food for a clean, healthy cat.

  6. Tip

    Carefully follow your veterinarian's instructions to speed along your pet's recovery. Give any medications just as directed and take it in for follow-up appointments on time for optimal care.


    Never feed your cat anything not advised by your vet. While it may seem interested in eating table scraps, they can cause more harm than good and may prevent your cat from eating normal cat food in the future.

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Things You'll Need

  • Canned cat food
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Calorie paste
  • Toothbrush
  • Clean towel

About the Author

Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.

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