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purrdoc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
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Experience:  feline-only vet for 11 years
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My cat has been lying around for two days, and yesterday he

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My cat has been lying around for two days, and yesterday he went outside but, just layed around all day. Last night I put him in his bed at ten, and he was still there at eight this morning, and now he is just laying on the couch sleeping. I noticed his back legs were shaking last night, but they are not doing that now. I would take him to the vet, but I have no money, due to being layed off recently. Thank you for your help. oh, and his ears are not hot, and his nose feels fine, nothing coming out of it, or his eyes.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  purrdoc replied 7 years ago.
Hello- Thanks for the question- I would be glad to help you.

Is your cat eating and drinking?
Any vomiting or diarrhea?
Any limping or stiffness when he walks?
Does he still purr for you and want to be petted?

Thanks and I will look for your reply. I am at work today so there may be a delay in my response but I will get back to you asap.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He ate some yesterday, but nothing today. He is still laying on the couch sleeping. he oes not purr when I pet him. Just acts like he feels super bad. No limping when he walks, no vomiting, and no diarrhea. He just looks likes he is out of it, when I look at his eyes. thank you.
Expert:  purrdoc replied 7 years ago.
Hi again and thanks for the additional information.

Many cats who have a fever will be lethargic as you describe. I think a good place to start would be to have you check his rectal temp.
If you find a cheap digital thermometer or an older mercury one, both of these will work. Use some vaseline or lubricant for the thermometer and just go slow. You only need to insert the thermometer about 1 inch. The digital ones only take about one minute. Try to use as little restraint as possible as most cats do better with less holding. If his temp is below 100 or above 102.5, this is abnormal.
The ear temp and nose moisture is not an accurate way to determine if fever is present.

I would also highly recommend you try to get him to eat something by trying different foods. Tuna or tuna water, clam juice, pure meat baby food, cooked egg, any meat that isn't breaded or fried, any cooked seafood, goat's milk, unflavored yogrut, etc can all be used to stimulate appetite. Try to avoid lunchmeat as it is salty and may worsen dehydration.

To help correct dehydration due to not eating, slowly syringe some unflavored pedialyte to him every hour or so.

If you could get back to me with his temperature reading, I would be glad to continue helping you.
purrdoc and 3 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  purrdoc replied 7 years ago.
High Protein/ Low Carbohydrate (grain-free) diets

Nutritionally speaking, cats are “obligate carnivores”. This means they need very high levels of protein to thrive and don’t have a very good ability for utilizing carbohydrates (grains, sugars). Cats also need some nutrients that can only be obtained from animal tissue, not plants. By ancestry, cats are descendents of desert cats (African wild cat, F. lybica). This is why they have very concentrated urine and don’t need to drink as much as other species of similar size. In the wild, cats hunt primarily small rodents and birds as prey. All these creatures are about 70% moisture. This is how cats in the wild get most of their water requirements.

Now let’s think about what we typically feed our cats over their lifetime. They usually get most of their food in the form of dry kibble. Some people feed canned food but rarely exclusively. This traditional way of feeding cats presents two major problems as discussed below.

First, most of the common brands of cat foods are full of carbohydrates in the form of grains (corn, rice, soy, wheat). As “obligate carnivores”, cats aren’t designed to use high levels of carbohydrates for nutrition. Cats specifically do not have the enzymes in their liver or saliva that are optimal to process carbohydrates. Their mouths, teeth, digestive tracts, pancreas, and liver are specifically designed for a high protein diet. So why are most pet food companies putting so many grains (carbohydrates) into cat food? The answers could be many including convenience, larger profit margins, or the mistaken conception that cats are small dogs. When reading the ingredient label on food, a meat source is usually listed first but this doesn’t mean the diet is high protein. If the next several ingredients are a form of grain (listed above), this is a high carbohydrate food. Plants do contain protein, but for an obligate carnivore like cats, this is a lower quality protein. Animal based proteins have biologic values (a measure of usability) ranging from 100% (egg) to 78% (beef). Plant based proteins range from 67% (soybean) to 45% (corn).

What does a carbohydrate loaded diet mean in the long run to your cat? High carbohydrates can predispose to obesity, just like in people. Diabetes is common in cats and high carbohydrate diets and obesity are known to be risk factors. Obesity also leads to arthritis. Add to this scenario the typical spoiled, well-loved cat that doesn’t have to “hunt” for its food, and you have a sedentary lifestyle that also increases the risk of obesity and diabetes. It is known that a high carbohydrate diet actually changes the ph level and thus the bacterial types that grow in the mouth and digestive tracts. This change in bacterial content can lead to intestinal problems in some cats. Grains can be a source of allergies for some cats too.

The second problem a dry diet creates is a potentially dehydrated cat. Wild cats get most of their moisture from the prey they eat (mouse=70% water). The average dry food is only 10% water. Most feline practitioners and internal medicine specialists are now recommending an exclusively canned diet since the moisture in canned food most closely mimics their natural prey. It is thought that the lack of moisture in dry diets can contribute to urinary tract disease such as cystitis, crystals, and stones.

Many people have been told canned food is bad for teeth and can lead to dental disease. This is only partially true. Although canned food can leave more residue on the teeth than dry food, dry food does virtually nothing to help keep the teeth clean. It would be the equivalent of your dentist telling you it is ok to eat crunchy cookies to help clean your teeth. There are a few dental diets on the market that do a better job at scraping plaque off the teeth, but they are high carbohydrate and are only minimally effective at actual cleaning. The real reason for dental disease is lack of daily care. Obviously it is difficult to get a cat to accept daily tooth brushing, but there are some “cat friendly” options available. Your veterinarian can advise you on these products.

**So what should your cat eat for optimal health? The more moisture your cat receives, the better. If your cat loves canned food and you don’t mind feeding it exclusively, it is currently thought to be the best option as it mimics their moisture requirement. Grain-free canned food is the lowest in carbohydrates. If your cat refuses to eat canned food, the grain free dry foods are still the best option nutritionally. Many cats will accept the dry food with some water added. It is imperative to have fresh water available at all times.

It is important to realize there is no such thing as the perfect pet food. Changing brands every once and a while or mixing brands may help ensure your cat gets the best each company has to offer. It is also good to offer variety so we don’t train our cats to become finicky eaters. There are many grain free dry and canned foods on the market. High protein levels may not be advisable for select medical conditions. Please talk to your veterinarian regarding the recommendations for your cat.

For more information, visit

Expert:  purrdoc replied 7 years ago.
High Protein/Low-carbohydrate (no grain) food data sheet

Canned food: Before Grain (not meant for exclusive feeding)
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
Innova Evo
Newman’s Own Grain Free
Wellness Core
Wellness Grain Free
Best Feline Friend

Dry food: Taste of the Wild
Before Grain
Indigo Moon
Wellness Core
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
Innova Evo

*canned food ranges from 30-40 calories/oz with little variation between brands.

* dry food varies widely in calories and is ranked lowest to highest above

**Most cats need about 200calories/24 hours. This is about 1 tuna sized can per day per cat. To figure 200 calories of dry food, check the bag for calorie content/cup or contact the company

More information can be found at these companies websites

When making any diet change, transition slowly by mixing old food with new food, preferably 50/50 to start, then gradually wean off old diet.
Expert:  purrdoc replied 7 years ago.

Fancy Feast Low Carbohydrate Flavors

The following foods from Fancy Feast are not grain-free, but are considered lower carbohydrate (less than 10%) than most commercial foods and do not have any wheat gluten, which can be very allergenic. These foods are available in most grocery stores.

Chopped Grill Feast Tender Beef & Chicken Feast
Flaked Fish* & Shrimp Feast Tender Beef & Liver Feast
Flaked Ocean Fish* Feast Tender Beef Feast
Gourmet Chicken Feast(this one looks very similar to another chicken variety that contains gluten) Tender Liver & Chicken Feast
Savory Salmon* Feast Turkey & Giblets Feast

*Remember that it is a good idea to limit serving fish to a few times a week.

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