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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My cat has gone off his food, he is very subdued, not asking

Resolved Question:

My cat has gone off his food, he is very subdued, not asking for cuddles as he normally would. He also seems to have slightly labored breathing and looks 'tucked up' in his flanks. Even the way he moves looks different - not quite as fluid and easy.

He arrived as a stray kitten and he's now 6 and half years old. We have never been able to pick him up, so we are not sure exactly how to get him to the vet without causing him stress.

Any advise you can offer will be gratefully received.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.

Do you know if he has urinated in the last 12-24 hours?

Is he breathing with his mouth open?

Try putting him in the litter box- does he try to urinate or strain?

Press on the sides of his abdomen- does he seem painful?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have not witnessed him urinate....hold on while I go and press on his tummy
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
Ok, I'll wait.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi, I'm not sure if my last message reached you.

He is breathing with his mouth closed, and he showed no sign of pain when I pushed on the sides and underneath his belly.

My housemate is convinced he has advanced feline aids and will need to be put down, but I'm hoping that is not the case.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
Ok thanks.

I was trying to determine if he is blocked- a urethral obstruction. They have a very large and painful bladder when you press on the abdomen. It doesn't sound like this is the case.

There are many things that can cause the labored breathing: asthma, pneumonia, heart disease, pain, fluid around the lungs and organ disease/ acidosis.

I would go in and get him seen tonight if you can. In cats, the lungs are the "shock organs." Basically this means that we see labored breathing as the sign of shock in many diseases. I wouldn't make the connection to feline aids (FIV) quite yet. It could be lymphoma in the chest from FIV, but that's a hard connection to make just based on labored breathing. There are many other potential causes that are more likely. Many of these are treatable.

Chest x-rays +/- ultrasound will help a lot in narrowing down the differential list.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
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