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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21465
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat has been acting very scared and skidish past

Customer Question

My cat has been acting very scared and skidish for the past 3 days. she starts to gag opens you mouth and severl drops of thick salivs come out, she frightened when this happens about 2 times aa day. she is the most finicky cat I have ever owned and in these past few days she wants to eat nonstop and talks and crys loudly.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

How old is she?

Has she had any vomiting?

Has she been drinking more?

Are her gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, does she have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Could she have eaten anything she should not have (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

Any diarrhea?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Mina is my 3 yr old orange tabby. She has not vomited just gags a few times a day, hold her mouth open, drool falls out in large droplets, and her eyes dilate. She is not doing the coughing kind of gagging that she does when she coughs up a hairball. It is different. Her gums are pink. She has no pain or tenderness. Her stool are actually more hard. The one thing that has really changed is her behavior. She has always been the pickiest eater and now she is crying for food constantly and eats anything. She gobbles it down and yells for more. She never seems satisfied. I don' t notice her drinking any more than normal. We let her out during the day and she usually runs off to prowl around but since this gagging incident, she doesn't go beyond 5 ft from the house and runs back into the house. Three things that have happened in the past 3 weeks is that she had a bacterial UTI and was on antibiotics for 2 weeks (liquid) which is now resolved. The other thing is that a male cat has been coming our yard which she is acting very submissive to (she usually go after any cats that enter the yard). The third thing is that she was playing with a long piece of cellophane wrap and after her weird behavior I looked at it and there is a piece missing about 1/2" wide and 4 inches long and I cannot find it. I was wondering if she might have swallowed it. Sorry for being wordy but I think something is not right with her but I can't figure it out.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you,

I have received your reply and will respond with my thoughts shortly.

Speak to you soon,

Dr. B.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you,

First, no worries about being wordy, she is showing some odd signs.

Now I would note that Mina's reluctance to go far is quite normal in cats that feel unwell. This and hiding tend to be instinctual for our prey species, since going out into the world when you cannot pretend that you feel 100% does make you a target for predation. So, this isn't an uncharacteristic behavior for a cat that feels unwell and very unsurprising if there is perhaps another cat visiting that could be making her feel threatened. And that side of things should settle if we address the underlying issue for her.

Now the reason I noted that her signs are odd is because the do not easily fit together. We often see the gagging with nausea, but nauseous cats do not often eat more as she is. As well, we can also see the gagging signs associated with throat irritation, inflammation, dilation (megaesophagus) or damage (if she has eaten something abrasive); but again this usually does not trigger increased appetite. That said, on rare occasion we can see some animals eat or drink as a means to try to soothe the throat (just as you or I would have ice cream with a sore throat) so that would be a consideration. Furthermore, if we consider this from the other side, we can see increased appetite with issues like parasites (worms), metabolic disease (ie diabetes, thyroid issues), or organ issues (ie pancreatic disease, diseases affecting stomach acid secretion, etc). And if she was eating more and thus stretching her stomach, that could cause retching/gagging for her.

So these would be our considerations for her signs. In regards ***** ***** to address throat irritation, you could consider a trial on soft foods +/- using a cat safe cough syrup (ie glycerin/honey cough syrup with no drugs in it or even plain honey) to see if soothing her throat reduces her signs. As well, just since she is younger and worms are so commonly a cause of increased appetite, you may want to treat for those as well at this stage. And if you suspect any nausea at all, you could consider a trial on an antacid for her (ie Pepcid (More Info/Dose Here), Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here), or Zantac (More Info/Dose Here).). And further to all this, if you did want to just rule out diabetes right off the bat, I would note that you can collect (by keeping her with an empty litter box over night) a urine sample and submit that for checking before she sees her vet.

Of course, if you try this but her signs aren't settling or her appetite is severely elevated, then we'd want to consider a check with her vet. They can examine her to rule out those throat based issues +/- check bloods to rule out metabolic disease. Depending on their findings, it may just be a case of treating inflammation with cat safe anti-inflammatories) or further testing (ie ultrasound) to make sure all is well with the stomach and pancreas.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Dr. B, Thank you for advice. It was very helpful and I will try some antiacids to see if it makes her feel better. It might be a throat irritation from the oral antibiotics we have her too. We will keep a close watch on her and take her to the vet if the symptoms persist.
Thank you
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome, my dear.

That sounds like a perfect course of action and hopefully we can just settle this for her.

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. B,

I am sending this to you because I thought you should know that my cat shortly after our last email started having mini seizures which including the gagging and drooling. It would last a minute and then subside. Of course this was all happening over the the 4th of July weekend. By the time we got her to the vet on Monday at 8am, she was seizing every 2 hours. The vet gave her anti-seizure medication and immediately after she started convulsing non-stop. We had to put her to sleep. Her blood work was clear, they could not find any problems. It happened so quickly, my vet consulted a neurological specialist and they said that she was too bad and it was unlikely that anything could be done for her. I thought you should know in case you you get similar symptoms sometime in the future from a client. We are heartbroken but we didn't want her to suffer.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,

I am so sorry to hear that she developed such seizures. With how fast they arose, her normal bloods, and lack of response to the anti-seizure medication, I would be concerned she had been exposed to something toxic. I do hope neither of see anything else like that but I do appreciate your letting me know about her situation.

Please take care,
Dr. B.