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Our new Manx cat

February 15th, 2004, 01:30 AM
Hi, all, I'm new here. :) I have been looking around for a while for a cat bulletin board and this seems like a nice, friendly one! I'm from Brisbane, Australia and my partner and myself have three cats - Kiri (domestic shorthair female tortie), Claude (smoke tabby male) and our new boy, Jaffa, and that's the one I need to ask about.

On Boxing Day last year, Jaffa decided to come and live with us by following one of our cats in through our cat door. He was very thin, very dirty and very tired, and he very quickly worked his way into our hearts by being not the slightest bit afraid of us and purring whenver we touched him (although he wasn't that keen on the bath we gave him! :)). To cut a long story short, we decided to keep him. We had him desexed the first week and asked the vet about him, and he said his health, teeth etc were pretty good and that he was very lucky to have found us. He also said Jaffa had hookworm and suggested we worm him, which we subsequently did. This was a few weeks ago now, and my concern with him is that he is continuing to seem hungry 24/7, eat everything put in front of him, yet he never gains weight. (wish I had that problem!) I'm wondering if anyone knows if cats who have been without much food in their formative weeks as kittens end up sort of stunted or unthrifty. See, as he has a fused short tail, a round, big head, a soft undercoat, a way of talking to you by "trilling" and a funny run that looks like a bunny hopping, we've concluded he is at least part Manx, and because of this and his extreme thinness he has an almost comically big head and big feet and a little skinny body! Does anyone have any suggestions for us?

Lucky Rescue
February 15th, 2004, 10:26 AM
From your description, Jaffa sounds like a purebred Manx! And yes, he was very lucky to have found you.:)

It's typical for strays who have starved to continue to be obsessed with food. This will probably ease off a bit in time, but he may always act like he is starving. And yes, kittens who suffered severe starvation can stay small or have problems later life, but I think Jaffa was once someone's pet and was probably not on his own all that long.

Do you know how old he is? Is he truly thin? Bony? Some cats are naturally thin, but should not be bony.

Since he lived outside, I think you should have some blood tests done to determine that he is not carrying any illness. You might also want to have another stool analysis, in case he has other kinds of worms or parasites. Tapeworms can cause the kind of hunger you describe.

What are you feeding him, and how much?

Do you have a pic? Our rescue raised a litter of 8 Manx kittens, and they were just as you describe Jaffa, right down to the big round heads and bunny butts!:D

February 15th, 2004, 05:54 PM
Lucky Rescue, thanks for your reply. :)

To answer your questions - no, we don't know how old Jaffa is. We think he's fairly young, though, because of his suckling behaviour. If you pick him up, he starts purring and tries to suckles on your clothing while kneading. It's very cute. :) Our next oldest cat, Claude, who's two, used to suckle our earlobes until he was about a year old, so we're going by this.

Yes, we tend to think he wasn't always a stray, too, because I think a truly wild cat a) wouldn't have come into our house in the first place and b) wouldn't have let us near him if he had. Because he was in the main lounge room, it's almost as if he WANTED to be seen.

As for how thin he is, he's pretty skinny. I know what you mean about cats being naturally thin, but this is different. I do have a pic and I will post as soon as I get it off the digital camera. But I think the problem is that he looks like he's meant to be a much bigger, more robust cat (especially if he's a Manx - they're very stocky cats!) You can feel his backbone quite prominently and he looks a bit sick.

I feed him a lot of different things, 2 or 3 times a day. In the mornings we give all of the cats dry food (not sure what you call them in the USA, but I mean those dry cat biscuits). Then for dinner I usually give him chicken meat. I buy a cooked chicked every few days to feed both him and Claude because they love it (and no, I don't give them cooked bones, of course!) A friend suggested we start giving him more carbs i.e. pasta, rice to fatten him up.

I think taking him back to the vet might be a good idea because we have no idea if he has been vaccinated against anything, and when we do that I'd like to ask a few more questions about his thinness. But in the meantime, if anything I've said gives you any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Lucky Rescue
February 15th, 2004, 06:18 PM
Cooked chicken is not a balanced diet for cats, although it is helpful for short term problems, like diahhrea.

Cats are one of the most carnivorous of animals, and are not meant to eat things like rice and pasta long term. If his thiness is due to medical problems, no diet it going to help him.

Cats should eat a good quality catfood - either canned or dry or a combination. If you wish to feed raw foods, a lot of research is needed first.

You are saying you can feel his backbone and he looks sick - take him to the vet! This is NOT normal,and is either the result of starvation or illness.

Since you've had him awhile, I'm leaning towards illness or parasites. He needs to be checked ASAP.

March 28th, 2004, 02:23 AM
I found a pic! What do y'all think? :)

March 28th, 2004, 07:50 AM
Welcome to from waaay Down Under
What a pretty cat and so lucky to have found you and you seem to be doing everything right.
I too have experienced the "foundling"symptoms(eat,eat,eat as if the last meal) in one of my catsnow almost 2yrs,but unlike yours he's getting porky:D
Lucky is an excellent"Dear Abby"when it comes to our four-legged friends and especially kitties,good luck with the orange beauty!!!

Lucky Rescue
March 28th, 2004, 08:24 AM
He is just gorgeous!

What did the vet say is causing his boniness?

March 28th, 2004, 08:34 AM
Yes please let us know as it could help someone else faced with the same problem.