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Rebecca, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17090
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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I apologise that this is rather vague. About 4 weeks ago my

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I apologise that this is rather vague. About 4 weeks ago my 6 year old male (neutered) cat started to drink more than usual. This has generally continued, although it is hard to know what is out of the ordinary for him as he usually spends a lot of time outside and he isn't doing so - I suspect a combination of how he is feeling and the dreadfully wet weather we are having. His appetite is less than normal. He is eating but not as much as usual. He has dried food. However, he normally supplements his diet with plenty of fresh food. Again, he won't be doing this as much as usual as he isn't going out - though he was out for a couple of hours yesterday evening so I don't know if he ate then. He is quite quiet and I don't think he is himself. Yesterday, he seemed a bit more like himself. He ate more and didn't seem to drink as much as usual. However, he hasn't been out today. He has had two or three significant drinks by mid afternoon and he hasn't eaten much at all - a bit of his dried food and some dreamies. I took him to the vet on Christmas Eve. My vet is super. He did not know what was wrong but gave him an antibiotic injection and (I think) an anti-inflammatory injection. The visit to the vet was traumatic for both cat and me. I don't want to take him back unless I have to. I am coming to the conclusion I should return him if he is no better by Friday but, in the meantime, could you advise on what might be the problem. Diabetic? Kidney? Other? Also, what tests might he need? Many thanks. Oh and he is peeing in his litter tray every night which he doesn't normally do - but then he isn't going out.
Hello, I am sorry to hear you are worried about Woods. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help. It sounds like you think he is eating less than usual, and possibly drinking more than usual? Don't apologize for being vague! Cats are secretive about not feeling good, so we have to pay attention to subtle things like changes in appetite, behavior, drinking, and activity to be alerted to when they are sick. Did he have an above normal temperature at you vet? Did he seem dehydrated at all? He is young to be diabetic or to have kidney disease, but both of these do increase thirst and can decrease appetite. So can a bladder infection, or liver disease, pancreatitis, many things. If he were my own cat, I would do a urinalysis and basic blood tests next if he continues to be "off". You can test his hydration at home: Gently pinch skin over his shoulders and let go; it should go back into position in less than 1 second. If it takes longer, he is probably dehydrated. Also check his gums, see if they are a normal pink, or pale (unless he has black gums from pigment on his gums, then it is hard to tell). Let me know what else I can answer or help with.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Rebecca
Temperature was normal at the vet and he didn't spot anything in particular wrong with Woods. Yes, he is drinking more than normal and hasn't eaten much at all today. Normally, he has a tendency to be tubby little thing during the winter, but he isn't and has lost a bit of weight. He is cleaning himself as normal though. I thought I spotted him 'sneezing' once or twice yesterday but nothing really to put your finger on. I don't want to disturb him while he's asleep now but I don't think he is dehydrated. He just seems off. I don't want to distress him by taking him back to the vet too soon, as it really does stress him, but I want to take him back if I should. I'm tempted to see how he goes the rest of today and early tomorrow. If he doesn't eat any more today perhaps I should try and take him back tomorrow or Friday. What do you think?
Do you know why he gave antibiotics if temp was normal and nothing seemed wrong? If he is losing weight and eating less, he is telling us something is wrong. One thing you could to is try to collect some urine and take that to your vet. If the urine is dilute, or has excessive protein, or has sugar in it, or shows bacteria and/or white blood cells then we have a clue to what is wrong. The way to collect urine is to clean out, rinse and dry a litter pan and put a little shredded newspaper in it. You sometimes have to confine him to a small room with this litter pan, and food and water, and hope he uses it. If he does you can gather up the loose urine not absorbed into the paper (don't use too much paper) with a syringe with the needle removed, a turkey baster, or an eyedropper or even just pour it into a jar. Alternatively your vet may be able to sell you some Nosorb (nonabsorbant plastic beads) to use in the litter pan, and also give you a syringe to collect the urine. He may just have a "bug" and be back to normal in a day or two. If he is not, I would take him in for blood tests and urinalysis. Let me know what other questions I can help with.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Rebecca. That is very helpful. No, I don't know why he gave him the injections. Poor Woods didn't like it much! I will try to gather the urine tomorrow. Fun. Thanks again for your advice.
You are welcome! Please let me know how he is doing.
Kindly consider rating my answer (that way the website knows I helped you!); you can still get back to me with questions and updates after rating.
Rebecca and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Will do. Thanks again.
You are welcome! Thank you for the good rating. Let me know what you find out and how he is doing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello again RebeccaJust to say, I went through to see how he was doing and gave him a little brush and he then had something else to eat out of his dish - not a lot but a bit - and then he only had a little drink. One other thing that may or may not mean anything - my border collie, who normally does his best to ignore that Woods exists, is finding him very 'interesting' and sniffs him all over. Does that mean anything? Woods must have a different aroma????
Woods must have some sort of interesting smell but there are many things that could be: changes in his stress hormone levels, anal gland secretions, infection in the bladder, change in the smell of his bowel movements. Dogs have such an incredible sense of smell it could be a tiny metabolic change. All the more reason to have tests done.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again.
You are welcome.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
May I ask Rebecca. Am I able to come back to you within the next day or so if worried?
Yes, you can pick up this thread again anytime by going to My Questions on the website.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Rebecca, that is very reassuring. May I just ask one more thing and then I won't bother you again today. As Woods is eating a bit, should I give him another couple of days to see if he seems better before taking him - or his wee - to the vet?
A day or two should be OK. I would take him tomorrow or Friday at the latest if he is not improving. Let me know how he is doing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again. Will let you know what happens.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Rebecca
Just to update you on Woods. He was the same this morning. He had a big drink and a little to eat. Then to confound me he went out for a couple of hours - which he hasn't been doing. However, in view of his drinking and thinking about your advice, I telephoned the vet and spoke to the nurse who offered me a pack for urine collection. I collected it and it is all ready in his litter tray. I should be able to collect it in the morning and take it straight to the vet. Later during this morning he looked as though he was asking for food - even though he had his usual dry food out in his dish. Without much confidence I opened a tin of tuna in spring water (not brine!) and he loved it. He ate half the tin and then the remainder later this afternoon. He has just been out for half and hour and had a bit of his dry food when he came in and has gone into his bed. I am quite pleased with all of that, although I remain concerned. I am pleased to have arranged to take the sample without taking him as I don't want to distress him until I know I have to do so. Thank you so much for your advice. Is it ok for me to update you on his progress without having to start the process again and pay another fee?
Thanks for the update. I am glad to hear he is more himself, going out and eating today.
Please let me know what you find out on the urinalysis. If you respond to me here, there is no additional fee. If you start a fresh question, then you would pay another deposit.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Rebecca
Urinalysis indicates diabetes. The nurse was very helpful on the 'phone. He said that depending on the type of diabetes Woods could have something in his food or have injections. He said that they have a number of patients who have injections and do well. I won't want to put Woods through a disproportionate level of distress but, on the other hand, he is still a young cat and I want to give him a chance if that is reasonable. Woods and I are seeing the vet on Monday morning when a blood test is likely to confirm the situation. Any comments in the meantime? Many thanks. Adele
Diabetes; so he must smell sweet to your dog! Most diabetic cats are type I, meaning they will need insulin. I would start a low carb, high protein diet right away; once in awhile you can put a diabetic cat in remission if you lower the carbs in the diet. If he does need insulin, I would advise getting a glucometer, and learning to check his blood sugar yourself, if you can. I find it easier to control diabetes when the owners can check the glucose at home and call me, and we can adjust the insulin dose without stressing the cat and bringing him to to the office for blood tests. Let me know what you find out.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Rebecca
Thanks for the further advice. Something rather strange has happened. As Woods seemed not to want to eat very much at all of his usual dry food - and as he enjoyed the tuna on Thursday - I tried him with some sachets of wet food. He loves them! This morning, for the first time in weeks, he had not wet in his litter and he went straight to the wet food I'd put out for him and not to the water bowl. I haven't seen him go to the water bowl today yet. I am hoping this just means he is getting enough from the wet food he is eating. He doesn't seem to be overeating and has had two and a bit pouches of food thus far. He has been out for 40 minutes or so but otherwise remains quite quiet. He is certainly more alert today though. Any thoughts why all this might be?
Thanks for the update. If he is getting more water, fewer carbohydrates, and more protein in the wet food, that might be enough to get his blood sugar back to normal. I would consider testing his blood sugar to be sure. I am glad he seems better. Let me know if I can help with or answer anything else.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. Will do.
You are welcome.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Rebecca, is there a chance he might not need insulin? Not clutching at straws, just wondering.
There is a good chance he might not, if his blood sugar is normal and can be kept normal with diet.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Fingers crossed. Will let you know. Thanks.
You are welcome.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello RebeccaI took Woods to see the vet today. Over the weekend, Woods had continued to eat the wet food regularly - though was not overeating and would just eat what he wanted - and he did not return to his excessive drinking and, consequently, his litter was dry in the mornings. He also seemed slowly a bit brighter. I reported all of this to the vet who was, as usual, really nice and sensible. He said that, in view of the last few days, I should continue with the new feeding routine and do another urine sample in 2 weeks. If the sugar reading is still high then he will do a blood test. He says that the new diet might be enough to set him right though. It was a very positive experience. Woods was calm in his carrier and throughout the whole procedure. I think it was good for him and will give him confidence when we do have to go back to see the vet. I am not building my hopes up but am pleased with today. I would never have believed the difference food could make. It was as if he knew the dry food wasn't doing him any good and didn't want to eat it. Very odd. Many thanks Rebecca for your continued support. It is good to have you at the other end of the computer!
Thank you for the update! I hope his next urine test is negative. Sounds like you have a wonderful vet. Rebecca
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, we are very fortunate. I forgot to mention that our dog has also lost interest in Woods. While he still has the occasional little sniff, he isn't pursuing him as before. I'm hoping this is a good sign. Is it ok for me to keep in touch with you via this link until we know where we're going with Woods? Thanks. Adele
I think you may have a dog that can help you tell if Woods is hyperglycemic. They actually train dogs to alert diabetic people if their blood sugar is too high or too low. You can give me updates here. If you have a new question about Woods, the website asks that you open a new link. I hope he does not have to go on insulin.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Rebecca. The wonder of dogs never ceases to amaze me. Woods is definitely better and feeling better in himself, although he's still not back to normal - if you can ever have a 'normal' for any cat. As he was used to 'grazing' with his dry food, I'm trying to feed him little and often with the new wet food. He seems most hungry in the morning and will then eat a little at other times through the day. Do you think this is ok? Should I be aiming for any particular pattern and regularity?
No, just keep him eating the new food; let him pick when.