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. Deb Your Own Question
Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 8940
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Deb is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat appears lethargic and growls at you when you touch m,

Customer Question

my cat appears lethargic and growls at you when you touch him, no matter where.
He is a bengal cat and has never exhibited this behavior, he is just going on 10 years old.
No outword sign of trauma or injury.
he does go outside, has been for 4 years since we moved to long island ny.
This seems to have developed through the night, last time he was "normal" was about 10 hours ago
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 months ago.

Hello Suzanne, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern for Kidd. I do have a few additional questions to ask about him first if you don't mind:

1. I'm assuming that taking his temperature is not likely to be something you can do?

2. When was the last time he urinated, if you know?

3. I don't want you to be injured but can you have someone wrap a towel around his head and then you feel in between his legs? Does he react even more strongly when you press on his abdomen there?

4. Is he eating and drinking?

5. Any vomiting?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
He ate and drank for us. He seems to growl and ? Generalized limp when he walks
Not favoring any side or limb
He is resting now and appears comfortable
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for the answers to my questions and the additional information although I'm sorry I was off my computer when you did so.

That's great that he's eating and drinking. It's always to good to double check a cat's temperature in these situations since a fever often explains lethargy. If you manage to take it, normal is between 100 and 102.5.

I always worry about a urinary blockage when male cats are growling and don't want to be touched but if he's not particularly overly sensitive when you palpate his belly in between his legs, then this condition is less likely. Or if you've seen him urinate within the last few hours, then he's not likely to be blocked.

Given your description of his behavior, several thoughts come to mind:

1. He could have been in a fight or encountered another critter and been injured although there are no obvious wounds on him. Abscesses can sometimes take a day or so to develop and become obvious.

If he lets you without getting injured, I'd gently palpate over his entire body very slowly to see if you can isolate one particular area of pain or discomfort.

2. He might not have been bit but perhaps he was involved in some other trauma which has caused bruising or soft tissue injuries to muscles. You're not likely to find specific evidence of either so this is sometimes a diagnosis after ruling out other things.

3. Another possible explanation would be Toxoplasmosis which is a condition commonly contracted by ingesting rodents (mice and such) or birds. Since he's an outside cat, this condition would have to be included on the list.

Many of these patients will run a fever although not all of them will but they can also experience balance issues or discomfort.

Given his outdoor lifestyle, the most common explanation is going to be either #1 or #2 above.

I'd dearly love to be able to suggest over the counter medications for you to give him but since cats are highly sensitive to so many of them, it wouldn't be safe to do so at this point without knowing what exactly is causing his behavior.

If you're able to localize a specific area of discomfort, you can apply a cool compress to the area which may help.

Ensure that he's urinating and continue to encourage fluids, which will be important if he's running a fever.

If he continues to behave this way tomorrow, then a vet visit may be prudent. I've seen a few cats just have "off" days, but I doubt that this is his issue. It sounds as if he's in a degree of pain or discomfort...the source of which may not be immediately apparent but is present nonetheless.

I hope this helps to provide conditions which might explain why his behavior has changed to dramatically in such a short period of time. Deb

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 months ago.

I neglected to mention that any one of the conditions I listed can develop quite suddenly; there isn't usually a slow build-up to a problem but rather an acute presentation of it. This is particularly true for cats although it can be said for dogs as well. Deb

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 3 months ago.

Hello again,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Kidd. How are things going with him? Deb

Related Cat Veterinary Questions