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Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16846
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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My cat is lethargic and not eating or drinking

Customer Question

my cat is not well he is very lethargic and not eating and not himself looks tired and isn't drinking either and curled up looking cold.

Already Tried:
offering water, offering food he just wants to be left alone and be quite which is not like him at all.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
Has he been losing weight before this started?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
no he was full of beans this morning like he normally is - waiting for his breakfast and eating with enthusiasm then off out the cat flap for adventures...
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
ok, thanks. Is he truly 22 years of age?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
no sorry he is 22 months of age, typo , newted at 6 months he had never been ill ever !
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
ok, thanks. Can you find any areas on his body that seem painful?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
no i have checked him all over nothing seems painful, he is walking fine abliet slow and lethargic, his fur seems to be standing up a bit though, checked him to see if he is de-hydrated and his fur goes back ok .. i am really worried about him as he has never been ill its just not like him.
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
OK, thanks for the info. Is he fully vaccinated?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
no he had his first injections but i never took him back for his next ones, i have another cat that has never had injections and she is 6 now and never had a problem and she has never been ill, i am sceptical about them, he only goes out in a small area in the vacinity where I live in a commual block of flats in a nice woodland area and he never ventures out of the grounds.. he was fine this morning full out beans and cheeky like his normal self ? i cant see any signs of sickness, he is just very lethargic and not himself his eyes look tired and he is in his cat house under my bed just lying there .. :>(
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
OK, thanks for the reply.

Here's my thoughts: I am suspicious that while outside, he may have encountered another animal, such as another cat or perhaps some wild animal. He may have received a bite wound from this other animal, and that wound is now causing him to be lethargic and quiet. We see this scenario VERY commonly in cats that are allowed to go outdoors. It can be nearly impossible to actually find the wound, so in many cases we have to treat the symptoms as best as possible, using anti-inflammatories and antibiotics.

Now, without having had all of the required immunizations, he does not have full protection against serious illnesses such as Panleukopenia. This is a viral illness that can be easily picked up in the environment, and can show up with symptoms in just a few hours after seeming to be normal earlier in the day.

My advice would be to have him seen by a veterinarian today, in order to have him examined, and have some blood tests done to rule out infections and viral illnesses such as Feline panleukopenia, and Feline Leukemia.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

should i call the emergency vet now and get him to the surgery its 11.40 pm at night, the message on the answer phone is to only call in an emergency wi.l he be ok till the morning they open at 8.00 am or call them now ?

Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
Are his gums pink and moist, or are they pale, or dry?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I am not sure to be honest they look normal but they have never been really pink i dont think they are dry

Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
OK, thanks. If he is just acting weak and lethargic, and isn't painful, or vomiting, or pale, then there may not be much danger in waiting for the morning. If you don't have an emergency clinic nearby, and it's just a vet on-call, then it's unlikely that any significant care will be provided tonight anyhow, so calling may not help much. Of course, if his condition worsens, you may not have a choice in the matter.

Remember, I can only make recommendations based on the info you've told me, I don't have the luxury of making professional assessments since I haven't done a physical examination.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
ok thanks for your advice i would rather keep him here tonight with me any way if there is not much chance of any care till the morning as it is an emergency call out vet, the practise is shut till 8.00 am i will take him in the morning if no improvement - can they go downhill very quickly if its one of the things you think it is ? he isnt vomiting he is just lethargic and not eating or wanting to drink ?
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
If it's what I suspect, and he has either a bite wound or a viral infection, then 12 hours really shouldn't make a huge difference. However, sometimes things progress faster than we expect them to, so it's very important for you to keep a very close eye on him throughout the night, and try to encourage drinking some water, at a minimum.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thank you .. i have given him a syringe of water and he has drunk it and will keep an eye on him during the night and take him in the morning. is it a good thing to get him vacniated at the vets now ? he does bring in a lot of voles and little mice and we have a lot of birds around here, i get lots of presents from him.
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
I would get him vaccinated once he is feeling better. Vaccinations are important for all cats, but especially for outdoor cats!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thank you for you help, you have been very kind and patient - i love my little biscuits and will get him vacinated once he feels better, he will be ok wont he ? its been a nightmare night, my horse has been kicked as well this evening and has a cut on his outside hind leg on the outside of the hock and i have had to deal with that at the yard, may be doing a double vet call tomorrow for my horse and my cat. Good night, please reply and I can then accept so you get payment. Kind regards Sharon.
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 8 years ago.
I wish I could give you some sort of guarantee about biscuits, but you must realize that I haven't examined him and have no way of predicting what may go on. I suspect that he will do OK if he continues to accept water from you, but please monitor him very closely and get him to your vet immediately in the morning.