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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My normally sociable cat has suddenly curled up in s pyramid

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My normally sociable cat has suddenly curled up in his pyramid bed and seems really lethargic and weak. I tried lifting him up and he gave out a sheep, but he isn't a big fan of being picked up anyway. I'm not sure what to do, as I say it has come on really suddenly as this morning he was his normal self. Should I take him out of the pyramid bed to check he has not been injured or anything when he has been out?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern about Percy. I do have a few additional questions to ask about him first if you don't mind:

1. Can you tell me the color of his gums?

2. Can you try and feel his abdomen in between his back legs?

3. Do you think you could take his temperature?

4. Do you know when was the last time he urinated?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, his gums are pink, I felt between Percy's back legs and he didn't squeal but I don't know what I'm looking for. I can't take his temperature I'm afraid as he is tucked right into his pyramid, and I don't know when he would have urinated as he tends to do it outside. Definitely not for the last 4.5 hours
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, did you see the above? Many thanks
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I did. It just took time for me to type a response to you; sorry for the delay.

Thanks for the answers to my questions and the additional information.

Gum color is normal which is good. The fact that he didn't react too strongly when you felt in between his legs is also a good thing. When male cats become lethargic, I always worry that they may be blocked and can't urinate. When the bladder distends, they typically act quite uncomfortable or painful when you feel in this area. Since he usually urinates outdoors, we can't entirely rule out this as a possibility but it seems less likely given his lack of a significant reaction.

1. I absolutely understand about not being able to take his temperature but if you manage to do so, it might be helpful. Normal is between 100 and 102.5. If it's elevated, then, of course, we'd have to wonder why. The various possibilities include a viral or bacterial infection or the early phases of an upper respiratory infection or even a condition called Fever of Unknown Origin. This latter condition is pretty much what it sounds like....the patient is running a fever and yet we can't determine an underlying cause. In most cases, once the fever is reduced with medication, the patient returns to normal within a very short period of time.

2. Another possible explanation for his behavior would be pancreatitis. Often these patients don't have much interest in food and will often act lethargic. This is another condition for which we don't have an explanation as to why it develops but it almost always comes on acutely with no warning. We have several different tests for pancreatitis but I've come to doubt their reliability in some cases.

Treatment primarily consists of fluids and pain medication since we believe pain is why the patient behaves as they do.

3. I suppose there could be other possibilities such as problems with his heart or other systemic disease but he's awfully young for such problems.

4. Some cats will just have "off" days and we're none the wiser as to why. I suspect a virus but have yet to prove it.

Unfortuantely, I wouldn't advise any over the counter medications since cats are so sensitive to many of them; I wouldn't want to worsen the situation unless or until we have a better idea of what might be going on with him.

If at all possible, I'd try to gently feel all over his body for any sensitive or painful areas. If he had an encounter with another critter when he was outside (even a day or so ago), he may have an abscess or wound which is now causing him problems. If that's the case, you might be able to detect where it's located.

If you manage to take his temperature and it's high and/or he continues to worsen in any way (has trouble breathing, for example) and/or you locate a specific area of sensitivity, then a vet visit may be prudent.

Otherwise, if he's continuing to eat, I might monitor him for the rest of today and reassess tomorrow.

I hope this helps. Deb

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks deb, I'll see if there are any sensitive parts of his body and then take him to the vets tomorrow if he is in the same condition. Hope he just suddenly snaps out of it ��
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

You're more than welcome.

I, too, hope that he's back to normal tomorrow; I've seen stranger things happen in my career!

Best of luck with him. Kind regards, Deb

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ah, I just rubbed along his back and he let out a yelp
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On his right shoulder type area. Let out a sudden Yelp an will let me touch him anywhere else
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the update although I'm sorry I was off my computer when you responded back.

It's certainly possible that he's been bit or injured in some way if he has a very specific area of pain. I suppose it's also possible for him to have an issue with his spine (such as compression of the spinal cord) but this is a far more commonly seen problem in dogs than cats.

If he'll let you, I'd apply a warm compress to the area which may help to increase blood circulation. If he has an abscess, then it may rupture which would actually be a good thing since you'll then be able to flush it with dilute Betadine or Iodine (to the color of weak tea). From the sounds of it, though, I suspect that he's not going to let you do much.

But at least we now know why he's probably behaving this way. I also suspect that he's running a fever which is why he's lethargic.

Regardless, this doesn't sound like an ER type of situation. Waiting to have him seen tomorrow should be fine.

Just in case you were wondering, I wouldn't give him any aspirin since this drug can be toxic to cats if not carefully dosed. Even though I'm certain he's uncomfortable, I wouldn't want to cause more harm.

Please continue to keep me posted if you have a chance. Even after you've rated (if you do, of course), we can continue to communicate about this issue at no additional charge to you. Deb

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I'm just following up on Percy. How are things going with him? Deb

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Apologies, I have been away for a few days in Portugal. We took Percy to the vet's and another naughty cat had attacked him! He had a puncture mark in his right shoulder. He is absolutely fine now, he's been on antibiotics and pain killer but was his old self after a couple of days, which was a massive relief! Many thanks for following up on him ��
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

No apologies necessary but that's fantastic news about Percy. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know.

Best of luck with keeping him out of trouble...or at least trying to keep him away from the "attacker". Kind regards, Deb

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