Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Lethargic Kitty

elalu
April 24th, 2012, 04:57 PM
About a month ago (March 31) I took my cat (and bunny!) in for a routine vet visit. He was given a rabies vaccination along with his 3 year FVRCP. He had a few spots with thinning hair on his front legs and one spot on his side, but the vet was absolutely certain he was over-grooming himself because of a combination of stress (from travelling a few weeks prior - in a house with other kitties) and some mild skin allergies. He was also given a round of Tresaderm, to be given by ear twice daily for seven days, to treat a chronic bacterial ear infection.

He seemed fine after the vet visit, but he absolutely hated the ear drops. Over the next week he grew more and more lethargic. He's always been incredibly sensitive and anxious, so I decided to give him some time to get back into his routine after the ear drops were finished before hauling him back to the vet.

After two weeks he was worse instead of better, with a large (2-3 inch) open wound on his shoulder where he had been scratching and licking constantly. He was down to 8.8 pounds after being an even 10 pounds for as long as I can remember. He was completely lethargic - hiding under the bed and barely touching his food. I took him back to the vet (a different one this time, because the normal one was out) who did some blood work - which he said came back normal, though I didn't think to ask for a copy of the results - and gave him a Depo Medrol shot to help with the itching. He said the cat's temperature was half a degree higher than normal, but he didn't feel that was anything to be concerned about.

The vet assured me that I should see some improvements by the weekend, but my cat is much the same. He's barely touching his food (though he happily wolfs down his treats still, along with some GNC high calorie booster gel), but he seems to be drinking normally. He's sleeping much more than normal and just not taking much interest in anything. I can get him to play a little, but not for long and certainly not with the same energy that he used to have.

I've been giving him lots of love and attention lately (and I'm home with him all day), and have given him lots of treats just to get something in his belly and keep him from losing any more weight. I'm not sure what else to do for the little guy. Ultimately I know I'm going to have to take him back to the vet, but I'm not even sure what questions I should be asking now.

Does anyone have any advice to get him eating more? (He's already being free-fed Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry food, along with several kinds of wet food twice daily. Refuses to touch tuna.) Or advice to just help him perk up in general? Or even some advice on what to harass my vet about next time I talk to her?

I never thought the day would come that I'd be sad my cat wasn't trying to destroy the furniture or chase me around the house! :(

sugarcatmom
April 24th, 2012, 06:50 PM
About a month ago (March 31) I took my cat (and bunny!) in for a routine vet visit. He was given a rabies vaccination along with his 3 year FVRCP.

How old is your kitty? Was there a check-up (physical exam/blood work /urinalysis?) done during this visit or was it just for shots?


He had a few spots with thinning hair on his front legs and one spot on his side, but the vet was absolutely certain he was over-grooming himself because of a combination of stress (from travelling a few weeks prior - in a house with other kitties) and some mild skin allergies.

Would love to know how the vet could be "absolutely certain" about something like that. :rolleyes:

sugarcatmom
April 24th, 2012, 06:54 PM
Does anyone have any advice to get him eating more?

Forgot this part. Try offering him some plain chicken baby food (make sure there's no onion powder in it). What kind of canned foods does he normally eat? Have you tried any other ones?

Here are some tips for encouraging an inappetant cat to eat:
http://www.assistfeed.com/FelineAnorexia.htm
http://www.felinecrf.org/persuading_cat_to_eat.htm

elalu
April 24th, 2012, 07:56 PM
He's somewhere around three years old - unfortunately I don't have an exact age since he was a pound kitty, but he's still quite young.

He's had a physical exam and a blood work done, but no urinalysis. The physical and shots were done on the first visit - blood work on the second a couple of weeks later. (Looking at his records, I don't think the blood work was a full panel. It says "small" whatever that's supposed to mean.)

On the positive side, the hair loss does seem to be clearing up, so hopefully it was just stress. (Unfortunately I think he may have a permanent scar where he scratched his shoulder raw. :( )

As for canned food, the main ones we've been rotating between are Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Flaked Chicken, Nutro Max Cat Seafood & Tomato Bisque Chunks in Sauce, and Nutro Max Cat Chicken Supreme. I've tried tons of other foods, probably too many, in hopes of finding something he'll stick with. Of course he's turning his nose up at all three of those now - it's gotten so bad I've given in and fed him a few cans of Fancy Feast (Chicken Hearts and Livers)... I figured bad food was better than none, especially with how much weight he's lost.

I've tried sticking with food as healthy as possible - even tried a raw diet - but he seems to have other plans. :frustrated:

sugarcatmom
April 24th, 2012, 11:07 PM
He's somewhere around three years old -

Just a youngster! What's his name?

(Looking at his records, I don't think the blood work was a full panel. It says "small" whatever that's supposed to mean.)

I always like to get a copy of all lab work for my home files, just in case I have to go to another vet for some reason. Gives them a point of reference. Maybe you can call and ask them to fax or email you a copy.

On the positive side, the hair loss does seem to be clearing up, so hopefully it was just stress.

Good! Stress can certainly have a profound affect on our kitty's health. Feliway diffusers and spray can sometimes help with that, as well as maintaining as much of a routine as possible (like regular meal times, play times, grooming sessions, etc).

As for canned food, the main ones we've been rotating between are Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Flaked Chicken, Nutro Max Cat Seafood & Tomato Bisque Chunks in Sauce, and Nutro Max Cat Chicken Supreme. I've tried tons of other foods, probably too many, in hopes of finding something he'll stick with.

How you introduce new foods can be tricky. Some cats prefer to take it slow, so just plopping down something they've never tried before doesn't go over too well. Very gradually mixing the new with the old (just teensy amounts at first, like start with pea-size and work your way up) is usually successful. I would also recommend staying away from fish-based foods or limiting them to donce a week, for reasons you can read about here:
http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/why-fish-is-dangerous-for-cats/
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/01/03/fish-as-a-protein-source.aspx
http://catnutrition.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/eight-strikes-against-fishy-feeding-for-cats/

I've given in and fed him a few cans of Fancy Feast (Chicken Hearts and Livers)... I figured bad food was better than none, especially with how much weight he's lost.

Fancy Feast isn't the worst food around. In fact, it's actually a better option than the Blue Buffalo kibble. Now may not be the time to start a drastic diet change, but perhaps when your boy is feeling better you can try to eliminate all dry food. It's quite possible that he's reacting to something in the kibble and at the very least, it isn't contributing anything to his overall health. You'll probably also find he's more receptive to trying new wet foods if he doesn't have constant access to dry. www.catinfo.org

I've tried sticking with food as healthy as possible - even tried a raw diet - but he seems to have other plans. :frustrated:

More links for you on trying to transition cats over to a better diet:
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/03/10/how-to-transition-your-cat-to-raw-food-diet-part-1.aspx
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/03/17/how-to-transition-your-cat-to-raw-food-diet-part-2.aspx
http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/switching-foods/

One more thing: please reconsider any further vaccinations. I know rabies may be a legal requirement depending on where you live, but there is no need for any others, especially if he's an indoor cat. We are waaaaay over-vaccinating our pets - to the detriment of their health.
http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/veterinarian-ultimate-vaccine-authority/
http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_8/features/Annual-Pet-Vaccinations_20036-1.html
(while the above links refer to dogs, the info applies equally to cats)

elalu
April 25th, 2012, 12:56 AM
Just a youngster! What's his name?

These days his name is Stitch. When I adopted him (a couple of years ago), the lady at the pound insisted that "he" was actually a "she" named Amora. It didn't take long to figure out that wasn't quite right. :laughing:

I always like to get a copy of all lab work for my home files, just in case I have to go to another vet for some reason.

I'll definitely be asking for a copy of the lab work from now on, I just wish I had thought of it sooner!

Feliway diffusers and spray can sometimes help with that, as well as maintaining as much of a routine as possible (like regular meal times, play times, grooming sessions, etc).

I've seen the diffusers and been tempted to try one, but I was skeptical about how effective they might be. I'll definitely give them another look and do some research. I have been trying to keep as much of a routine as possible, even skipped out on Easter with my family this year because I didn't want to add to his stress. Though considering how much he loves sliding around on her wood floors as fast as he can go, maybe I should have taken him!

How you introduce new foods can be tricky.

Oof, you're telling me! I've never met a creature with eating habits so strange as this one. I would be happy to try mixing his foods and gradually changing them... except he refuses to eat the same canned food more than a couple of times in a row. If I feed him the same thing too often he'll stop eating it entirely! And waiting him out is a battle of wills that he always seems to win.

(I did try adding the raw food to his canned food, but even with the tiniest amount he absolutely would not go near it. Apparently he found the whole business very offensive! After a week or so I declared him the winner.)

He doesn't actually seem to have a problem trying new foods. Occasionally we'll find something he likes and he'll happily devour it the first time he has it... but it's so hard to find those few!

When he is feeling better we may try to kick the kibble habit. At the moment I'm happy to get anything into him. He's a fairly large cat - even at 10 pounds he was a thin, at his current weight he's all bones. (And thank you for all the links, I've definitely got a lot of reading to do!)

One more thing: please reconsider any further vaccinations.

Absolutely. I've done a ton of reading about them during this whole ordeal - one of my first concerns was that he might be having a bad reaction to them. I don't think I'll be rushing back in for more anytime soon.

marko
April 25th, 2012, 07:43 AM
SCM is giving you some very good advice. :goodvibes:

Just wanted to add that there's no reason why you can't go back to your vet and get copies of past tests. (You could just say that you are starting your own file and want copies for that file). You paid for those tests and the 1 cent of paper that the results are printed on belong to you.

Dog Dancer
April 25th, 2012, 12:45 PM
elalu, welcome to the board, you and Stitch. SCM gives wonderful advice, and full of great information. I have to agree with her and Marko that you should just pop back into your vet's office and ask for a copy of the bloodwork, they shouldn't give you any grief at all. Well, let me reword that, call first and tell them that you're going to swing by and would like to pick up a copy of the results. They should have no problem giving them to you. If they balk I'd be looking for another vet honestly! As amazing as it is to me (because these results are all greek to me) SCM and a few others here are great at reading these results and can gain a lot of info to help you with. Make the call.

Good luck to you with resolving Stitch's problem. I hope it's real easy from now on out, and we all thank you for rescuing a pound kitty :thumbs up. They're the bestest.

sugarcatmom
April 25th, 2012, 01:43 PM
I've seen the diffusers and been tempted to try one, but I was skeptical about how effective they might be.

Depends on the cat and the situation, but I'm a big fan of Feliway. It's significantly helped all 4 of my cats in various situations (like moving, introducing new cats to each other, home renovations, etc). In fact, my feline-only vet uses the diffusers in all of her exam rooms and I've noticed a big difference in the stress level of my senior kitty when he goes in. He even purrs and eats treats from her hand now, whereas previously all he did was scrunch into a terrified ball.

he refuses to eat the same canned food more than a couple of times in a row. If I feed him the same thing too often he'll stop eating it entirely!

Ah yes, very familiar with that scenario. You should see my "kitty pantry"! I've probably got about 30 different brands/flavours of canned food in stock, plus several kinds of frozen raw. It seems that many cats get bored of wet food much sooner than kibble, which probably has something to do with all the addicting flavour enhancers that manufacturers coat the kibble with. Best thing is to pick up the dry and start Stitch on a feeding schedule (when he's feeling better).

Good luck!

ggirard
April 25th, 2012, 11:19 PM
to hear about your kitty, but my advice is to take her back to the vet. You don't want her to loose weight or stop eating. Cat anorexia is very dangerous, you don't want her getting that. I hope you find results. :)

sandyrivers
April 25th, 2012, 11:57 PM
Hi,

When I introduced my two cats Tonali and Elphin to wet food quite a few years ago, they were very reluctant to eat it, as back then, I was feeding only dry food (hey, I was a novice with cats)!

I know this will sound silly, but when you get up in the morning and have your coffee, breakfast and reading your newspaper, have a bowl of wet cat food right beside you, and pretend to be REALLY interested with it...
Even put a spoon in it, and fidget around in it... when your cat will come close by (my cats just couldn't resist laying down on my morning paper), gently push him away from the bowl of wet food, until he becomes interested in ''what's in there''. When he is, scoop up a small spoonfull of it and let him have it. Once this is done, put away the wet food in a container in the fridge until your next mealtime, time at which your cat will come back and investigate the wet food again...
By pretending the wet food was for me, and giving them a very small portion of it at a time, they eventually taught that this was a real treat for them, and the transition was done smoothly...
This is how I got my first two cats to eat the wet cat food...by pretending it was for me! They seemed overly interested in the food because it was ''mine''...
Eventually, I got more cats, and they were fed wet food on a daily basis, but this could be a good trick to have them eat different wet foods.

Also remember that cats, like humans, can have preferences... some weeks, they may be really into fish, as other weeks they may be more into beef or turkey. So if one day your cat isn't really into one flavor, he just may feel like eating something else!
I know if I would be stuck eating always pretty much the same thing every day, food would become quite lame and I too would loose interest... Cats like humans like variety in taste and texture!



sandyrivers

Jim Hall
April 26th, 2012, 08:39 AM
wet food the smellier the better and warm it up a little
lol fancy feast elegant medleys are my cats fav treats when they dont feel to good

elalu
April 28th, 2012, 03:16 PM
Thank you all again for the excellent advice. It's very much appreciated. :)

Stitch seems to be ever so slowly improving - becoming a bit more active and taking interest in his surroundings again. I'm still having a hard time getting him to play or eat much, but thankfully he's not losing any more weight. He's still a long way from his old self, but I'm feeling a bit more optimistic.

I did swing by to pick up the results from his blood work. It was just a small panel, but maybe this will shed some light on the situation.

BUN: 17 (15-35 mg/dl)
Gluc: 105 (70-125 mg/dl)
ALP: 4 (0-90 IU/L)
T-Pro: 7.7 (5.8-8.0 g/dl)
ALT: 47 (10-100 IU/L)
Cre: 1.9 (0.6-2.0 mg/dl)

growler~GateKeeper
April 28th, 2012, 05:51 PM
Happy to hear he seems to be improving, have you tried added a bit of cooked chicken, bit of cheese, tiny pinch of catnip, tiny bit of butter or freeze dried treats like Purebites (http://www.purebites.com/products.html) or Liv-a-Littles (http://www.halopets.com/natural-treats.html) to the top of the food to entice his interest?

Can you post the reference ranges for those numbers please, should be in brackets on the same line, each lab is different so some times the normal ranges for a test done at one vet are not the same for another.

elalu
April 28th, 2012, 06:44 PM
Happy to hear he seems to be improving, have you tried added a bit of cooked chicken, bit of cheese, tiny pinch of catnip, tiny bit of butter or freeze dried treats like Purebites (http://www.purebites.com/products.html) or Liv-a-Littles (http://www.halopets.com/natural-treats.html) to the top of the food to entice his interest?

I haven't tried adding anything to his food (besides treats) but I'll definitely try the chicken and cheese. Cheese especially has always been a favorite treat. Somehow I ended up with a cat that isn't reactive to catnip though, he's no fun.

Can you post the reference ranges for those numbers please, should be in brackets on the same line, each lab is different so some times the normal ranges for a test done at one vet are not the same for another.

Absolutely, edited the earlier post to add those. :)

growler~GateKeeper
April 28th, 2012, 07:15 PM
Blood values look fine for a 3ish year old cat, the Creatinine is quite close to high end of normal but the lost weight/muscle mass could explain that.

I found barbeque chicken from the deli section of the grocery store to always be a hit :laughing: you may need to smoosh the chicken/cheese into the canned food a bit so Stitch doesn't attempt to just eat the treats off the top :D