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My cat has a spinal cord injury

May 14th, 2010, 11:19 PM
I got my cat from the spca about a month ago. He was neuterd and already declawed in his front paws. He's really skinny and doesn't eat alot. First we noticed that he walked a little bull legged, eating his kitty litter and he was licking everything (cement, the tile floor, windows.. etc). We thought he was lacking something like minerals and thats why he was eating litter and licking things... $300 blood tests later... nothing.

Even in the month since we got him he is having significantly more trouble walking and jumping. We took him in for an x-ray (because of the walking). They found that he has a fractured spine between the last and second last vertibrea. The vet gave us some prednesone to give him for the next 2 weeks, then thats it, he said you can't really do anything after that.

We inquired about an mri and he said that it wouldnt really tell us much of anything else that we didnt already know.. therefore not really worth it. We are ok with having him with a fractured spine as long as hes not in pain.. And the fact that he's getting worse is very worrysome. He's started to pee and poop outside his litterbox now. He still goes to the litterbox room downstairs but just goes outside of it instead of in it for the last few days. We don't know what to do with him as far as the litterbox and if the mri is a good idea, his worsening walking condition and where we should go from here. Any advice or comments are appreciated.

May 15th, 2010, 04:51 PM
Hi there! I once had a kitten who had a fractured spine, but it was severe enough that is paralyzed him in his back legs. He also was incontinent. You should inquire with the SPCA if you got free health insurance with your adoption, because that might reimburse some of your costs.

Luckily in some cases the animals are able to recover from spinal injuries. My little kitten was recovering but passed away from an unrelated infection. He went to physical therapy and wore a diaper around the house because he had no way of using the litter box.

For the litterbox you should just get a big, flat litter box or any kind of plastic storage box and design a way for it to be easier for him to get in and out. That is probably part of the problem. It probably bothers him to step into it (depending on the height) and it might be making him just not want to use the box.

Other than that there is not much that you can do. There really is no reason to waste money on an MRI, as like they said, it likely won't show anything that they didn't see, and probably will set you back a few grand.

Good luck! Just give him some TLC and he should slowly recover.

May 16th, 2010, 02:54 AM
What is his estimated age? Kitten, adult or senior?

Litter & concrete licking is sometimes a sign of anaemia so I would keep an eye on this if it continues or if there is any change in his eating, drinking or activity level let the vet know.

I would also suggest a low sided kitten litterbox to make it easier to get in & out of.

There may also be some pain in his front feet due to being declawed :( you may want to try some of the softer litters like Feline Fresh Scoopable Pine Litter ( made from Pine or Yesterday's News ( made from recycled newspaper or sWheat Scoop ( made from wheat. These may be easier for him to stand on while he does his business.

What are you feeding? A raw diet or high quality grain free canned only diet is best, trying a few different brands/flavours may entice him to eat more. Wellness, Nature's Variety, Evo, Innova, Merrick, Eagle Pack are all good choices

May 17th, 2010, 06:05 AM
Thanks everyone for the advice so far. We've switched his litter box to a 3" high box that you would get with a flat of beer and he has already been using swheat litter, and he still has the same problems. He is approx. 2yrs. old, just a baby. We give him wet food everyday alongside his normal dry food. So far he eats Fancy feast, wet and dry as a preference. Most of all he likes his temptations kitty treats. No apparent front paw pain. The pooping seems to come on its own, but he still makes the effort to go downstairs. We just moved another box upstairs, well see how that goes:fingerscr

Jim Hall
May 17th, 2010, 07:27 AM
definatly put a couple of boxes around where he hangs out so he can get to one easily
Is there any chance you can get him on a bit better diet? bearing in mind that its better to eat than not

get the bowl up so he doesnt have to lower his head so much and sit down by him when he starts to eat maybe he likes company and some one to watch his back

bless you so much for taking an exceptional pet

May 19th, 2010, 12:57 AM
We've been giving him wet food but he barely eats, we give him all the treats he wants because it helps bulk him up (he'll always eat treats).

I've tuned myself in to him over the time we've been together. I can tell that he is in pain. Today his walking has been terrible, having to sit every few steps. I want to try a joint and bone formula for him that has glucosomine etc. Not sure if that will help. He still likes to play and eat treats. As I'm typing we are training him to go in the litter box in our porch, bypassing the stairs he needed to take before. It's slow goings. The next step may soon have to be kitty diapers if his incontinence doesn't improve.

It's so hard to see him in pain, and not know how much pain, what to do, or if his fracture has gotten worse since the last x-ray. The vet said it may never heal, especially if its an older break, and he couldn't tell us how old it is. We're trying to conclude if it's better to confine him or not on the basis of it may not heal anyways, so he'll be missing out on the enjoyments of life like going outside when we take him for walks (we have a cat stroller too) vs. not to confine him and he gets worse.

Sorry for the long post. Thank you all for the concern and continual advice.

May 22nd, 2010, 02:58 PM
A cat who is in great pain usually will not eat anything, though it may continue to drink and really just shuts down. If your kitty reaches that point where it's no longer interested in anything, it would be kinder to have him euthanized. I'm sure you don't want to see him suffer.

May 24th, 2010, 10:27 AM
Poor kitty and poor you! What a hardship. I'm very familiar with the "how much pain is too much" type of question having been facing a similar situation myself. As you said, you are very in-tune with him so you will be the best judge of what to do. Best of luck to both you and your boy.