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Ask S. August Abbott, CAS Your Own Question

S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Own Animal Care/Rescue Org.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7370
Experience:  Up to 300 cats saved each year; Animal Care author; Behavior & Nutrition Consults
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Cat acting strange, moping around; cries when picked up

Customer Question

My cat has been acting differently over the last few days. Normally, he is very playful and likes to run around with our other cat. For the last three days, he has not been playing as much and tends to sleep more. He cries and growls when we pick him up. He is eating and drinking as far as we know, and haven''t noticed any change in bowel movements. He seems to mope around and will play for a short time if we initiate it, but he seems uncomfortable. Also, he does not sit - he is only laying down. Our other cat is acting fine and doesn''t seem to be sick. Please help.

18-month old male cat
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 6 years ago.

Has he been neutered ? Had his initial vaccinations?

Is he indoor only or does he go outside?

Any flea problems, past or present?

Do you notice any abdominal swelling ?

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
He has been neutered and declawed. Vaccinations are all up to date. He is an indoor cat only; has been on my parents' screened patio on occasion but not since Christmas. We adopted him from the Human Society when he was eight weeks old and he had some fleas, but has not had a problem with them since. He hasn't had any other medical problems since we have had him. No abdominal swelling that I can tell and it did not bother him when I rolled him over to feel around his stomach.

Thank you!
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 6 years ago.

Doesn't it always happen? Something like this on a Friday afternoon/night right after the vets close and the only option is an emergency care center.

Well, let's try to manage this the best we can until you can have him seen (many vets are open tomorrow).

I'd like it if you actually saw him use the litter box and make both stool and urine normally. That would be a great relief so please watch carefully for that over the next few hours (I'll be here for quite a while tonight).

I'd also like you to actually see him eat something. Put out some canned food that he can't resist and be sure about this. It's important that he keep it down (no vomiting) over the next few hours as well.

Take a look at his back end and note any swelling, redness or anything else unusual.

I'd also like you to take his temperature.

If you don't have a thermometer specifically for animal use, you're going to convert the current ‘people' plastic digital thermometer right now. You can always pick up another people thermometer tomorrow, but at this moment, you're going to take your companion's temp.

Put a dab of KY Jelly or even petroleum jelly at the tip. In a pinch, a bit of cooking oil will do. Make sure the thermometer is ‘on' and insert it about 1" into the anus, ever so gently and while soothing them, keeping things calm.

Normal temps for both dogs and cats are between 100.5 and 102.5

Let me know what you find ok?

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I apologize for the delay; we have been waiting to see if he would go to the bathroom but no luck yet. We are closely monitoring.

We have seen him eat both canned and dry food as well as drink water; he doesn't seem to be having any difficulties keeping it down.

His temperature was 104.3! Yikes!

We didn't see anything unusual around his back end and he didn't seem too bothered when we took his temperature. Other than being lethargic and crying/growling when he is picked up and just acting differently in general, we haven't noticed anything else. No mucus coming from his eyes; no sneezing or coughing.

It's probably not much to go on, and we'll take him to the vet tomorrow. Problem is that our vet isn't really the greatest but we haven't really taken the initiative to find a new one because our cats have been very healthy for the most part and I hate to take them to the doctor if it's not absolutely necessary. Guess I'll be finding a new one after this! If we had some idea of what might be going on, that would be helpful and anything that we can do tonight to make him feel better would be appreciated.

Thank you again for taking the time to listen and respond.
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 6 years ago.

That temp is pretty high, but in that he's eating still is very encouraging.

Keep him on only canned/soft food until seeing the vet, to help maintain his hydration, especially with this temp.

Try to encourage more drinking, even if you need to use an eyedropper every 20-30 minutes (hopefully he'll just cooperate and drink, even some watered down milk is acceptable in situations like this. Keep in mind though that dairy is not good for cats overall).

Cold packs at his pulse points (inside of shoulder/thighs) for a few minutes every hour may also help.

Though I'm sure he's not happy with the temp taking, please monitor. It's also going to be worthwhile to have an urgent care center in mind, just in case.

Urgent care centers are usually regular vet offices that have 'after hours' care, so make calls and find out. Sometimes they'll be listed when you call a vet that's closed, as their recordings give emergency numbers.

I'm here for a few more hours, so don't worry about delaying responses. I'll see you (just be patient with me if I'm working with someone else it might take several minutes for me to get back to you, ok?)

 

S. August Abbott, CAS, Own Animal Care/Rescue Org.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7370
Experience: Up to 300 cats saved each year; Animal Care author; Behavior & Nutrition Consults
S. August Abbott, CAS and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
His temperature is up to 104.9. We are going to try the cold packs. He still hasn't gone to the bathroom. Do you think it will be fine to take him to the vet tomorrow or should we consider an urgent care center tonight? Nothing else has changed in regards XXXXX XXXXX symptoms.

Thanks!
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 6 years ago.

When is the last time you know for sure he made urine or stool?

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I couldn't say when the last time he for sure went to the bathroom. My husband and I both work and the litter box is not in a main area. When my husband cleaned the litter box, there didn't seem to be a large difference in the urine or stool; maybe a little less urine but nothing drastically different (we have another cat as well).
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 6 years ago.

This is perplexing and part of me hopes your thermometer is wrong.

There are only a few things typically associated with unexplained fever; however, my impression is that this is an indoor cat. He's been vaccinated and came from the Humane Society which would often mean he's been checked for Feline Leukemia Virus before being adopted out. He hasn't been around other cats or boarded and the only other cat in the home is perfectly fine.

Please correct me if any of these statements are wrong ok?

You've had him for about a year now without any health complications until now, right?

How about cleaning the thermometer thoroughly with alcohol and firm rubbing, rinse and dry, then taking your other cat's temp. It may help determine whether the temp is a mis-read or not.

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No, all of the statements are correct. He has never been outside. The only time that he was boarded was in October 2007 when he was declawed. He was there for two nights. A friend of mine had her cat declawed at the same time and was in the cage next to mine - she is doing fine. During the same time, he had the following vaccines: Rabies, FVRCP, FELV. He has had no health problems since we have had him; generally, he is very playful and hyper. We thought originally that maybe he was jumping around and playing and fell and maybe hurt himself or sprained something (he plays very rough; he's the type of kitty that jumps and then looks to see where he's headed). He is jumping down from chairs and the couch in a gingerly way, but is not limping at all. We checked the temperature of our other cat and it is 100.1.
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for that confirmation.

I'd find an urgent care clinic, make a call and ask them whatever details are necessary to have with you if you need to bring your boy in tonight.

Since he's still producing at least some urine/stool, is interested in eating/drinking and this is all rather a sudden onset, hopefully the cold packs will get his temp down and get you all through the night until you can see someone tomorrow.

This next advice is something I almost never recommend, but in this case and based on your own judgement, it may be worthwhile:

Aspirin for cats may be offered in certain situations, usually at a dose of 10 mg per kg (since 1 kg = 2.2 lbs, this is just 5 mg per lb of body weight). If you have a 6 lb cat, this would mean less than half of a baby aspirin (which is 80-81mg).

Between that and some cold packs (be sure not to use ice, or at least wrap it very well so you don't hurt his skin with the cold), it should get the temp down and buy you some time until being able to get him seen first thing tomorrow.

With this said, do not hestitate to take him in if you sense even a little bit that it's necessary. You're seeing him and you know your cat - trust your instincts. Do not trust me and do not trust anyone or anywhere else on the internet ok? Only you are seeing him and know what you 'feel'.

Again, I'll be here for at least a couple more hours, so let me know.

I'm West coast by the way. Where are you?

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for all of the guidance and information. I've called my vet and have the number for the urgent care clinic that is listed on their voice message. Their office opens at 8am, so I intend to get there at 7:50 :) We are on the east coast so there's only about nine more hours that he needs to get through. We are going to keep watching him and if anything changes we'll take him in immediately.

Thank you again; we have greatly appreciated your input. Have a good evening
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 6 years ago.

Thank you too.

Please let me know what happens.

You can also try just keeping his foot pads wet with cool water to help bring the temp down. If you find it surpasses 105, nearing 106 there is a significantly higher chance of seizures - so keep an eye on him. You might not be getting a lot of sleep with that one eye open, but that's what happens when we have cats. Just like kids.

Again, thank you and remember that you can re open this question anytime and you do not have to press accept again.

 

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