With a cat that licks and swallows when presented with food/tuna water, it suggests NAUSEA. Basically, the smell makes her feel like vomiting and this makes her drool, so she licks and swallows the drool in her mouth. In cats with a sore throat, they stretch their necks out and hesitate before swallowing, and may vocalize while they swallow.
The name we give to the problem your cat has is "Fever of Unknown Origin." Basically, this is a catch-all phrase to indicate that we have not yet diagnosed the underlying problem. I am not going to be able to tell you what is wrong with your cat but I can tell you what would be going through my mind and what I would be looking for.
So, now on to what *may* be going on with her! The things that I would be checking him for would be:
1. Cholangiohepatitis/pancreatitis - your girl could have an infection in the area of her pancreas or bile ducts, which can occur for no known reason. This is called cholangiohepatitis and pancreatitis. This is at the top of my list of things that I am concerned about with her. It comes on suddenly as you have described with no know cause. It causes fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Blood work and x-rays aid in diagnosis, and treatment involves hospitalization, intravenous fluids and intravenous antibiotics. It is very serious, and can be fatal if untreated.
2. A cat bite wound What happens with a cat bite wound is that there are 2 puncture holes - one caused by the upper and one by the lower canine tooth. The cat's teeth have a lot of bacteria on them, and these bacteria get placed deep below the skin when the bite occurs. The hole is small and quickly scabs over, leaving the bacteria below there.
The most common type of bacteria in the cat mouth is Pasteurella multocida - and it LOVES to grow in a warm, moist environment that has no oxygen present. And that is exactly what you have with a bite wound!
So, the bacteria multiply, and the body sends in white blood cells to fight the infection, and soon you have a big pocket of pus and bacteria: an abscess! The abscess grows bigger until it ruptures and the pus pours out. This relieves the pressure and allows the hole to close over which then allows the process to start again.
If you cat were bitten, she might be very sore, and would have a high fever. It can be very hard to find the bite wounds if they are covered by fur. This should respond to antibiotics.
Here is more information:
3. Feline Leukemia Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a devastating virus for which there is no cure once cats are exposed. If your cat is vaccinated for this, then do not worry any further about it! Transmission occurs through infected saliva; bites by or sharing bowls with infected cats. Symptoms are numerous including fever, frequent infections, weight loss, depression, decreased appetite, and swollen lymph nodes. Prevalence of the disease is worldwide with locally high numbers of incidence possible in infected groups of feral cats.
Blood tests can identify infection. Supportive care is the only option for treating cats positive for feline leukemia; prevention is the therefore the best solution. Felines should be tested and vaccinated if owners intend to allow their cats outside. If owners are intending to keep cats indoors with no potential for exposure to cats outside of the household, cats need not be vaccinated against feline leukemia. However, an initial blood test upon bringing a new kitten or cat into the household is recommended to identify whether the cat is carrying the virus.
4. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is another serious and destructive virus. The disease is most commonly seen in facilities housing large numbers cats, such as catteries and animal shelters. Transmission occurs when a cat comes into contact with an infected cat's bodily secretions, primarily saliva and feces. Unfortunately, the virus can survive a long time outside of the body and can remain a source of infection on a dirty food bowl or litter pan. Initial symptoms include upper respiratory problems, depression, and weight loss. Two types of the disease are recognized. "Wet" type FIP-infected cats appear with large "pot-bellied" abdomens that are actually filled with fluid, eventually leaving the cat struggling to breathe. "Dry" type FIP-infected cats have minimal fluid accumulation and exhibit weight loss, depression, anemia, and fever.
Unfortunately, FIP is hard to diagnose as test results are unreliable; by the time symptoms are identified as likely resulting from FIP, the disease has already significantly progressed. The only way to care for an FIP-positive cat is to provide supportive care based upon the symptoms. A vaccine does exist for this virus but is quite controversial and is not frequently used. The best prevention is to minimize a cat's possibilities of exposure.
5. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is yet again, a seriously destructive and fatal virus for which there is no cure. FIV exists throughout the country and is transmitted through bite wounds. There is no vaccine to prevent FIV. Once the virus infects a cat, the cat may live a relatively normal life for many years. Since the virus affects the immune system of the cat, the cat is less able to fight off infections of any sort and will require supportive care as needed. Symptoms include fever, recurring infections and illnesses, weakness, depression, and weight loss. Prevention is best achieved through minimizing potential exposure to potential carriers. FIV-positive cats hospitalized should be treated similarly as cats carrying FeLV or FIP. Never allow direct contact with other cats and practice good hygiene and disinfecting practices. There is currently no known correlation between FIV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
6. Toxoplasmosis - this is caused by a parasite that cats can get from their mother, or from eating mice or birds. The common symptoms are fever, depression and loss of appetite. It responds to antibiotics. For more information, see:
7. Hemobartonella - this is a parasite that affects the red blood cells and causes fever and weakness. It can be diagnosed on a blood sample and responds to antibiotics. Here is more information:
I don't want to make you panic! A lot of the things that I have listed are very serious and some even fatal. I do feel that your kitty is quite sick and really does need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. I realize that your vet is probably not open, and this means a trip to the emergency vet... but I am very worried about your kitty and really do think that you need to take her in as I am concerned that she may not survive until Tuesday....
Here is more about fever in cats:
I realize that this may be expensive, so I will include some information aobut financial aid that may be available to you.
I'd start with the local animal shelters to see if they know of any low cost or subsidized vet care in your area.
Nationally here are some groups that might help you afford the vet bills:
American Animal Hospital Association
" Through the AAHA Helping Pets Fund, veterinary care is possible for sick or injured pets even if they have been abandoned or if their owner is experiencing financial hardship."
Angels 4 Animals
"Our services range from financial aid to complete treatment
to those pets and pet owners in need."
A credit card company for health care, including veterinary care.
"With a comprehensive range of plan options, for
treatment or procedure fees from $1 to over $25,000, we offer a plan
and a low monthly payment to fit comfortably into almost every
God's Creatures Ministry
"This fund helps pay for veterinarian bills for those who need help."
"Our efforts focus on serving the elderly, the disabled, and the
"We are dedicated to insure that no
companion animal has to be euthanized simply because their caretaker
is financially challenged."
The Pet Fund
"The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit association that
provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need
urgent veterinary care."
United Animal Nations
"The m ission of LifeLine is to help homeless or recently rescued
animals suffering from life-threatening conditions that require
specific and immediate emergency veterinary care. We strive to serve
Good Samaritans and rescue groups who take in sick or injured
animals. In certain cases, LifeLine can also assist senior citizens
and low-income families pay for immediate emergency veterinary care."
They also keep a list of local and national help resources here
Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance (FVEAP)
"Seniors, People with disabilities, People who
have lost their job, Good Samaritans who rescue a cat or kitten - any of these folks may need financial assistance to save a beloved companion."
The Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program is a nonprofit 501
(c)(3) organization that provides financial assistance to cat and
kitten guardians who are unable to afford veterinary services to save
their companions when life-threatening illness or injury strikes.
If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it!
Best wishes and good luck to you and your pet! Fiona