How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16194
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
60269376
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have a cat called Fringe, he is about 2 year old and

Customer Question

Hi,
We have a cat called Fringe, he is about 2 year old and quite a small cat. I moved him into mine and my girlfriends new home (relocated) about 8 months ago. At first he suffered with diarrhea, which we had him checked out of the vets for and they said he was in the thin side but all samples checked out fine. Since then he has settled in OK but we recently went away for 2 weeks and we have come back and he has gone very thin and his left back leg seems to have gone weak. We are trying to build him up but he seems very lethargic at the moment. We have been back one week and hoping you may know what this is, could it be anxiety with us leaving him for that length of time, he is a very needy cat.
Thanks
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Was he monitored daily while you were away? How was his appetite and stools at that point?

Any retching, gagging, lip licking or vomiting now?

Is he drinking normally? Can he keep water down?

Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

What are you seeing with the back leg? Is it going out from under him? Or does he just seem weak due to muscle wasting?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Dr B.We paid the pet shop to feed him twice daily so I believe he has been monitored while away.His stools until that point have been fine, no vomiting.He is drinking normally,.I have just checked and his gums are quite pail but not necessarily sticky, my girlfriend tells me he has kept licking his lips a lot.He is asleep at the moment and I just put pressure on his belly and he is not showing any signs of discomfort in fact he is not moving he seems absolutely shattered.The back just seams weak as his back end has gone very small, he has lost his balance on it a couple of times I have noticed today.Thank you
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you,

Would you say they are paler then normal for him?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I'm afraid I couldn't answer that correctly as I'm not sure the colour before really.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

No worries. I appreciate that most people don't' check their cat's gums on a regular basis.

That aside, I would suggest having a word with the person who fed him to see if he did eat properly while you were away. As well, do double check that they didn't see diarrhea in the litter box while they were cat sitting him.

Now Fringe does sound to be a stressy cat and based on his history I would be concerned that there is more to what we are seeing here. First, since stress has an immune dampening effect, we have to be wary that he currently has a brewing GI infection playing a role here too. This is especially suspect since lip licking is a nausea sign in cats and the selective grazing of food is another. As well, if there is any chance that he didn’t eat properly while you were away (which I very much suspect with the weight loss) then there is real risk of fatty liver syndrome from this and that often causes nausea and appetite loss as well for cats. And it can make it more of a challenge to get them eating again.

With this in mind, we need to tread with care here. If he eat wet food for us,t hen I would suggest using a calorie rich diet (ie Hills A/D, Royal Canin Recovery diet, even canned kitten food) or a liquid diet (ie Clinicare, Catsure) with him. As well, there are paste supplements (ie Nutrical) that can also be used. Each of these has more nutrition per bite even if we cannot get much in and will help get more weight back onto him sooner. (And if the weakness in the back legs is due to muscle loss from self-starvation, then getting nutrients in will help with that too.

Of course, if that appetite wanes any more or he has any vomiting, then we'd want to have a check with his local vet. They can check for infection and rule out fatty liver syndrome by checking a blood sample. Depending on their findings, he may just need an injection of an anti-nausea medication, antibiotics +/- appetite stimulants. Of course, if they find severe signs of this complication, then IV fluids may also need to be considered.

Finally, since he is a cat that stresses with life changes (be it a new house or you away), I would note that he could benefit from a de-stressing support for future changes that could upset him. Often we will use Feliway, (also known as Comfort Zone in the pet stores) which is a synthetic cat pheromone that helps to relieve stress. This can be used as a spray or a plug-in diffuser. There is also a diet on the market called Calm by Royal Canin that contains a number of stress relieving supplements. As well, there are nutritional supplements like Zylkene and Kalmaid to soothe anxious cats that could also be used here to help him cope at those times. And as they are not drugs per say, they can be used together as needed. Furthermore, he may benefit from a cat sitter he knows staying with him or even being boarded by his vet.

Overall, Fringe's situation doe sound to have its roots in being stressed while you were away. Still, because of that we are now facing a few potential issues for him. So, we do want to increase his calorie intake with the above. But if he doesn't start perking up or if we see any other nausea signs (ie gagging, retching, further appetite loss), then we'd need to plan to have a check up with his vet to address those other issues so we can nip them in the bud for him.

All the best,

Dr. B.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. *Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you very much for your detailed reply, it makes total sense what you are saying as he is pretty stressed when we leave so this sounds like the trigger to his loss of appetite. I will look into the pastes and foods you have suggested to try and get him back to full strength, he is eating and has started to put on weight since our return, so hopefully that will continue. He is actually very relaxed in the house when we are around but will try Felliway.If I notice he isn't putting on any more weight or things don't start to improve I will most certainly take him to the vet, I thought rather than stress him at this point this would be a good alternative to give an expert opinion.Thanks so much.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

You are very welcome,

I am glad that I could give you a plan of action for Fringe and that all sounds spot on.

Though just to note, since you are home, you don't necessarily have to use the Feliway now. When I noted it above, I was meaning that it'd be ideal to use before you go somewhere and while you are away to try to help him cope better. So, you being home is likely enough just now but that would be something to consider if you do leave him again in the future.

All the best,

Dr. B.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.
Hi Craig,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. B.