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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10863
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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hi, my cat has not moved from his bed, eaten or drank in

Customer Question

my cat has not moved from his bed, eaten or drank in the last 24 hours. His eyes are glassy looking and the inner eye lids are partially exposed. I'm worried he's going to get really dehydrated before I have a chance to get him to the vet tomorrow morning. I tried giving him a treat earlier as I know he hadn't eaten and he did eat that one but the smell that came from his mouth was horrific. I tried giving him another treat tonight but he wouldn't eat it which is very unlike him as he's normally a greedy guts. Does he need to see the emergency vet or will he be ok till the morning?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

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

I'm sorry that Tye isn't feeling well. 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 (if he'll let you look)?
2. Do you have a thermometer so you can take his temperature?
3. When was the last time he urinated?
4. Is he painful when you press on his abdomen?

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 4 years ago.

I've tried opening his mouth but he's holding it closed fairly tight. He won't let me see them properly but the tiny bit I could glimpse just now was pale pink.


Unfortunately I don't have a thermometer to take his temperature.


He hasn't moved all day and I'm pretty sure he hasn't moved durning the night. I'm not sure when he climbed into his bed as I was out to dinner last night so saw him in his bed around midnight when I got home. He's not moved since apart from changing sleeping positions and sitting up every now and again. He's normally really really active and vocal.


I just pressed around his belly and he exhaled a bit but I'm not sure if it was coincidence. Normally if he's injured and I press something that hurts he'd hiss at me.



Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Thanks so much for the additional information.

Gum color sounds normal which is a good thing as is the fact that he's not reacting when you press on his abdomen. When a male cat becomes lethargic, I always worry that they may be blocked and can't urinate. This would obviously be considered a medical emergency since it can be fatal. However, most cats are quite uncomfortable/painful when you press on their bladders so this is less likely to be his problem.

1. I do understand about taking his temperature although if you can manage to get your hands on a thermometer to take it (if he'll let you, that is) may be very helpful. Normal is between 100 and 102.5.
Fevers can cause cats to suddenly behave as you describe.

Of course, then we'd have to wonder why the temperature is elevated. Explanations for this could be: a bacterial infection, a virus (such as leukemia, AIDS, FIP, or an early upper respiratory infection), or toxoplasmosis.

Since he has such a strong odor emanating from his mouth and he's so resistant to your looking in there, it's possible that he has an abscess or infected tooth which is causing his issues.


There is also a condition in cats that is called Fever of Unknown Origin--which is exactly what it sounds like in that that we can't find an explanation for the elevated temperature. Treatment is primarily supportive which consists of fluids and drugs to reduce the fever. Most cats recover very quickly once drugs are initiated.

2. Pancreatitis can happen very suddenly; these cats just stop eating and can become lethargic. We don't have a good explanation for why this happens, either.
We do have a test for this (spec fPL) although I've come to doubt its reliability in some cases; treatment consists of fluids and pain medication (we believe the pain is why they stop eating).


3. Other systemic diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, auto immune diseases, problems with the heart, etc. can cause these symptoms although usually there are other signs such as increased thirst or urination, weight loss, vomiting, etc.


I would love to be able to advise you to give him over something over the counter but
it’s not considered advisable or safe to do so since cats are so sensitive to many of them and they could cause more harm.

However, I share your concern about dehydration. Maintaining hydration with water or Pedialyte is important, especially if there’s a fever. You can dribble this into the side of the mouth with an eye dropper or syringe every 30-60 minutes even if he won't easily open his mouth. If you approach the side (not the front), there's a gap in the teeth into which you can provide the liquid.

Given the extent of his lethargy, it might not be a bad idea to have him seen tonight if you could. I'd rather be safe than sorry in a case like this, especially if there's any chance that he might be blocked.
But, if he seems to rally a bit, especially after you get fluids into him, then it may be acceptable to wait until tomorrow to have him seen.

I hope this helps and that he's feeling better soon. Deb

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Amazingly whilst waiting for your response he has jumped down from his bed. I offered him some wet food which he has had a little bit of, mind you very little and I moved his litter tray close by so that he didn't have to go downstairs. He's now done both a wee and a poo. The poo is solid at the start - mid poo a bit wet and end of poo solid again. I think he's even taken a sip of water. He's now walked into my room and sat by the heater which I've switched off as I don't want it dehydrating him even more. Would it be safe to say that he might be ok through the night now till tomorrow morning when I'll take him to the vets to be checked? I'm going to try and get some more water into him though. I have a feeling you might be right about the mouth infection, it would explain not wanting to eat or drink and the extra smelly death breath. He is sitting really close to the heater on his haunches.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
That's very encouraging news that he seems a bit more active now:)

Yes, it sounds like you'll be safe to wait to have him seen until tomorrow.

If there's something going on in his mouth, then offering him watered down canned food may be the way to go. You could mix it with water or a bit of tuna or clam juice in a blender and see if he'll find it easier to eat it this way.
But, if not, then I would try to get fluids into him as you plan to do...hopefully, he'll let you!

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you ever so much. I really appreciate your help. The little guy means the world to me and I hate to see him suffer. Just want to make sure he'll be alright. I will try offering him some tuna mixed with water, he's a sucker for fish. again, thank you so much.



Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

You're more than welcome. He sounds like a very special cat:)

I hope you'll keep me posted about him; I'd like to know how he makes out. Even after you've rated (if you do, of course), we can still continue to communicate at no additional charge to you. I can also send you a follow up email tomorrow to which you can respond when you have the time to do so.


Good luck with him. Regards, Deb

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is indeed :) He's gone back to his bed and looking rough again so will keep you posted. I hope he'll be ok overnight.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
I didn't expect that he would miraculously feel better but the fact that he appeared less lethargic was encouraging.

I'll look forward to continued updates about him. Deb
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Just thought I'd give you an update on Tye. I took him to the vets this morning and he had a high fever. They've given him some antibiotics to try and combat it but I have a follow up appointment on Wednesday so that they can see how he is fairing. He's started eating and drinking today so that's a bonus and perked up a lot when I got home from work but has still not moved from his bed. He's also lost a 1/2kg which isn't great but I guess not eating and drinking for a couple of days will do that.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
I’m just following up on our conversation about Tye. How is he doing? Deb
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Please ignore the follow up query above; the computer automatically sent it after you had sent me your follow-up...which I appreciate, by the way.

At least now we have an explanation for his behavior. Trying to determine the underlying cause of a fever is a cat is sometimes a challenge if it doesn't decrease and stay within a normal range. Hopefully, he will respond to the antibiotics.

Please keep me posted, if you have a chance. Deb