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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24410
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My cat barely ate this morning. Found some up in s bowl. He

Customer Question

My cat barely ate this morning. Found some spit up in his bowl. He gagged once but nothing came up. We checked the house but couldn't find anything gotten into. Very lethargic and low energy. Weak and muffled meow. Haven't had him long so we were hoping it was a hair ball. Fed him a little butter off the finger while my boyfriend went to get something for the store for hair balls and we gave him that once he got back. Also got him to drink/eat a little bit by mashing up some tuna with water to at least get something in his system. It's been a couple hours and he still seems lethargic and now isn't taking the tuna water. Having a hard time finding a vet open near me. I am just worried and want him to be okay or know if I'm over reacting.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

I understand your concern at this time but I believe that it's more appropriate to "watchful wait" at least until tomorrow. Deorro has been symptomatic for less than 24 hours and so gives us little to go on. The fact that he ate anything is a very positive prognostic indicator. Cats in need of urgent attention don't eat. To determine just how urgent a need for a vet is at this time I need you to do a few things for me...

1) Check his gum and tongue color. They should be nicely pink - not whitish (anemia) or bluish/greyish (cyanosis/hypoxia/lack of oxygen to his tissues).

2) Check his respiratory rate at rest. He should be taking less than 30 breaths/minute while asleep or at rest.

3) Take his rectal temperature. Any body thermometer will do when placed 1.5" into his rectum for 1 minute. Normal is 100.5-102.5F. This is a two person job!

Please let me know what you find.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I guess that's why I got nervous when we didn't go for the tuna and water again an hour later. I just lost a pet because of a freak accident (my old neighborhood recently discovered it had contaminated soil) and it's left me very anxious. His gums are pink And it took 35 seconds to get to 15 breathes. My boyfriend is going to get a thermometer now. He keeps gagging every so often but nothing's coming up.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

So far, so good. I understand how you might be extra attentive at this time. His gagging/non-productive vomiting is an important symptom but it's not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder. Please let me know what his body temperature is when you can. Please stay in this conversation rather than opening up a new one.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We took it twice. Both times came out to about 105°
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Well done.

Ouch! That's awfully high. Normal is 100.5-102.5F. That would explain his lethargy and lack of energy. He'll need the attention of a vet at your earliest convenience.