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Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My cat is very weak. He hasnt moved much in the last 48 hours.

Customer Question

My cat is very weak. He hasn't moved much in the last 48 hours. He will drink a little chicken soup. He is not vomiting and dosn't have diareaha. Is there anything else I can do for him?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!
I would like to help you and your cat but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

did this start suddenly?

In the last 3 days, has he been spending a lot of time in the litter box?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No he has barley been to the litter box at all and yes it did start suddenly he seemed fine untill the night before last
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Is he indoors only?

Could you please go and check a few things:

1. Count how many breaths he takes in one minute

2. Lift his lip above his canine teeth – so you can see his canines and the teeth behind them. Are his gums sticky and tacky, or are they wet and slimy when you touch them with a finger?

3. Are his gums and tongue:
- dark red
- dark pink
- bubble gum pink
- light pink
- white

Are they lighter or darker than your own?

4. Do you see any bruising on his gums or on his belly beside his penis or in his groin area?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He does go outside
His gums are light pink with some dark spots
its hard to tell how many breaths he is taking because he starts purring when i go near him but i think i counted about 120
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Oh, I am really worried about him!

The fact he is reluctant to move, is breathing VERY fast, and is not eating or drinking makes me worry about:

- trauma (like being hit by a car)
- toxins (such as antifreeze or rat poison)
- congestive heart failure
- blood clot to the back legs

Based on what you have told me, I am most concerned that he might have been hit by a car, managed to get home, but then started bleeding internally and has become weaker and weaker.

I would strongly urge you to go IMMEDIATELY to a veterinarian! Call to let them know you are coming, but do not make an appointment for later. He needs immediate care! Just tell them you think your cat has been hit by a car and they should see you right away.

Can you do that?

I am really concerned....

If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will be back to provide it.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Best wishes!


Dr.Fiona and other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Chewy is a scardy cat he dosn't go near the road and we live at the end of a dead end road. We are the only house on 13 1/2 acres. I have not put out rat poison
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Can you feel his feet?

I would like to know if his front feet are warmer than his back?

If you stand him up, is he able to stand, or does he fall over?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
His front and back feet are both quite warm. He can stand but can't jump up on furniture. I do not see any swelling, bruising or bite marks
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Is he walking very gingerly, with his back legs kind of crouched?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No he just seems shaky
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Any chance you could check his temperature for me?

Instructions are here:

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Oh, that is normal, so that is good!

If you feel all over him, are there any lumps/bumps or sore areas?

Feel inside his abdomen too. I would like you to put a hand under him and push up towards his back bone. Anything hard and round in there, about the size of a kiwi or orange?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Sorry to disappear - your question disappeared from my list.

How is Chewy?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Chewy is hanging in there. He actually ate a little dry food this morning, I don't dare give him very much though. He is still weak and seems tired, but I am taking his interest in food as a good thing
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Glad to hear that he is eating now!

Really try to get some calories in with the fluids, and small frequent amounts of things like human baby food.

I hope he is feeling better soon!
Please let me know if he starts vomiting or showing any other symptoms...

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Chewy used the litter box last night and he is eating small amounts of wet food. He is trying to walk around but is still stumbling. I am still giving him chicken broth, he still shows no interest in water.
We dump our scraps and leftovers on the garden. Do you think its possible he ate something bad?
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Usuallly if they eat something bad, there is vomiting and/or diarrhea....

Can you check Chewy for me?

Is he at all yellow in colour:
- on the whites of his eyes (lift his upper lid)
- on the inside upright part of his ear
- on the roof of his mouth at the back?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No, he isn't yellow. Yesterday he ate a bowl of wet food mixed with milk. He seemed better last night he used the litter box and walked out to the couch. This morning he is back to laying in the chair and dosn't seem very interested in eating or drinking.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Chewy is a puzzle. I do feel that *something* is going on with him, and that he would be best to be examined.

Is he still breathing reallly fast?

How many breaths per minute?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
About 65 it is hard to tell because he purrs. I will probably have to take him to the vet. Our vet is about an hour drive away. I was hoping chewy would improve more than he has. Thank you for taking the time to try to help me with this. I do appreciate it. Bonnie
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
I am happy to try to help but do agree that (despite theXXXXX you should take Chewy in. Try to get an early morning appointment as I feel they may need to keep him to observe him and/or do some tests.

I am concerned about his really fast breathing. Maybe he is anemic? Maybe he has a heart or lung problem?

Whatever it is, it does not sound like it is improving on its own.

Keep me posted!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I took chewy to the vet. They gave him fluids under his skin and a B-12 shot. He has perked up a little. They said that if this dosn't work he could have liver failure, feline lukemia, or F.I.P virus. I am hoping he continues to improve. I lost my favorite cat ever to F.I.P. virus. I really don't want to lose another. Thanks again for your help and concern. Bonnie
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
I'm glad that has perked him up!

Given how long it has been since he has been eating well, I'm a bit worried that he may be developing Hepatic Lipidosis (Fatty Liver Disease).

This is something that overweight cats are more prone to but that can affect any cat.

Let me explain...

If a cat decreases his food consumption by approximately 30% for as little as 2 weeks he is likely to develop hepatic lipidosis. Also, if a fat cat stops eating completely for 2-3 days he is likely to develop hepatic lipidosis.

Essentially what happens is the body goes into a state of starvation, and a signal is sent out that the body must mobilize the fat stores to provide energy.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a signal about how much fat to mobilize and fat cats have a lot... so it all gets sent to the liver to be converted from fat into glucose. And the liver gets overwhelmed and shuts down. This leads to nausea and vomiting, which means the cat won't eat, and the body tries to mobilize more fat. The cycle continues and the liver gets into more trouble.

Often, in older, overweight cats an underlying problem like cholangiohepatitis (an inflammation of the liver and bile ducts) could have been the initial reason for the loss of appetite. Or it could be something as simple as a "cold," hairball or dental pain... but the consequences of not eating or eating very little are serious.

I will add some links with further details:

Appetite stimulants can be helpful.

Cyproheptadine is one that I have used for years, but more recently I have started using a new appetite stimulant in cats that I have had great success with.

You could ask your veterinarian if he or she can get ahold of an antidepressant for humans called Mirtazapine (Remeron is the trade name in Canada).

Here is a link:

It has been used as an appetite stimulant in cats and dogs for the last couple of years with great results. You would use it instead of the Periactin (cyproheptadine). Your vet could call the human pharmacy to see if they have it - they likely do! It is fantastic for cats as it only needs to be given twice a WEEK, so it is minimally stressful. Also, it is very effective and many cats eat ravenously within an hour of getting this medication.

And here is a link to cyproheptadine,the older appetite stimulant:

Now, as to what you can do at home for your cat...he definitely needs fluids, but what you can do is try to get some calories into him in a liquid form - that way he is getting nutrition at the same time as fluids.

I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering the liquid.

Also, you can pick up Clam Juice in most grocery stores (sold in with the V8 or the canned tuna) and mix that with some water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand).

Whiskas makes a tetra pack of "Kitty Milk" that is lactose free milk with flavouring added.

You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that, or syringe it in little bits into your cat's mouth. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.

If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.

Offer him some canned cat food, and mix it with water to make a slurry if he won't eat it.

Boil a chicken breast and then put it in the blender with water to make a baby-food consistency gruel to offer.

You could pick up nutristat

It is a calorie-dense paste that you can syringe into them to get maximum caloric impact from a given volume of food.

Here is another link to ways to encourage cats to eat:

It has some good suggestions.

I'm afraid you may have to force feed him with a syringe. The human baby food (or making your own puree with cooked chicken breast in a blender with lots of water) goes through a syringe quite well.

I would like to see you getting at least a can a day of food into him - so about 3/4 cup of food. That seems like a lot! But if you can do it by giving him 10mLs (2 teaspoons) every half hour that will make it easier. You really have to work on this!!

Do talk to your vet about Mirtazapine as I feel that this may be the answer to your problems!

Good luck with him, and please let me know what happens!

you do NOT need to hit accept again, even though the system will prompt you to do so!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I don't know what was wrong with chewy, but he is back to jumping on my lap every morning. He is eating dry food again and appears to be gaining weight. I was mixing wet food with milk and he was eating that, I think that helped replace fluids. I am just gratefull that he is better. Thank you again. Bonnie and chewy!
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
YIPPPPEEEEEEE!!! Oh, this is great news! Bonnie, I really appreciate you taking the time to update me - I love getting good news!

I hope that he continues to improve. It sounds like he is well on the road to recovery. What a clever cat!